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4 Ways to Protect Your Marriage Against Emotional Infidelity

This might have you rethinking how you use technology as well as how you connect to your family members.

The institution of marriage has come under a great deal of scrutiny. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles warned us more than a decade ago that “the adversary’s attacks upon eternal marriage will continue to increase in intensity, frequency, and sophistication.” One area of concern involves modern technology, which has opened new avenues for engaging in what is termed “emotional infidelity.”

Heavenly Father’s teachings on the sanctity of marriage, however, remain clear. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” tells us that “children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”

The scriptures declare, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14; see also Mosiah 13:22; D&C 59:6), and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife [or husband]” (Exodus 20:17; see also Mosiah 13:24). Story after story—from David and Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 11) to Akish and the daughter of Jared (see Ether 8:8–17)—warn us of the destructive results of lust and infidelity.

So when God’s teachings on the sanctity of marriage are so clear, why do some put their marriage at risk for the fleeting excitement of emotional infidelity?

Redefining Infidelity

Texting, email, games, chat rooms, and social media offer an array of new ways for individuals to connect outside of marriage, and the result is an enormous increase in technology-assisted infidelity. As a marriage therapist, I have seen emotional infidelity develop through all of these channels.

One client said to me, “I feel like I’m in a nightmare. I mean, this is not who I am.” Her husband had discovered a series of texts on her cell phone between her and another man in their ward. The texts ranged from flirtation to wholehearted emotional sharing, and her husband was deeply wounded.

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