The Marriage Crisis of Ashley Madison

Brad says…

The world is reeling from the hack and subsequent data release of the notorious affair supporting dating site Ashley Madison. Their sickening advertising slogan, “Life is short. Have an affair” only begins to show how bad this crisis is.

Let me be clear, I don’t think the crisis lies in the light shining on this evil place. The crisis is the fact that for years this kind of place operated collecting the email addresses and the eyes and of millions of potential affair seeking individuals. This crisis should be a wake-up call in our marriages and in our churches.

The Facts:_84410073_ashley_madison

The email addresses, names and credit card details from more than 28 million accounts was stolen from this site who markets to married men desiring an affair. A few days ago that information was released on the internet complete with databases where someone can see if they, or someone they knew had an account. According to other news stories, over 85% of the email addresses belong to men.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, there are reports that Ashley Madison did not verify email addresses unless it was for a paid subscription. So there is no telling if some of these accounts were erroneous. That being said, the amount of money in paid accounts that has been reported is simply astounding. Reporters created a graph shows each U.S. state organized by how many dollars they spent on Ashley Madison per capita. Estimates are between $1 and $5 per capita, not per subscriber, per total population! That is insane amounts of money showing just how serious this crisis really is.

Marriage in Crisis

For some of you the Ashley Madison reveal has hit home and become a reality. I am sure you are feeling crushed, and wondering what to do now. Here are things you need to do.

  1. Remember even if the worst has happened, affairs do NOT have to be the death of marriages. You will need help, but your marriage can survive.
  2. Being on the list doesn’t mean they have had an affair, although there are serious issues to address either way.
  3. Being on the list means you need to have some conversations, maybe some that you have been avoiding for some time.

As large as the company running this website was, it is estimated that the pornography industry makes more than 8 billion dollars in the U.S. annually. Just to give you an idea of the scope of that number, 8 billion dollars is roughly equivalent to the bottled water industry. (source) My concern with anyone on this list, is that they are engaging in other things online that have led them to an awareness that Ashley Madison exists, and drawn them into the trap of lust and pornography.

The hope is that this crisis will bring these issues of darkness into the light of truth. This will hopefully begin a process of repentance and healing that these marriages desperately need. The damage wasn’t done a few days ago when information was released, or when it was discovered. The damage in the marriage happened much earlier, bringing it to the light needs to be an opportunity for healing.

This leads me to my next issue.

Wake Up Call to The Church

It would be simply naive to believe that this crisis doesn’t impact Christians, church members and pastors! If the estimate that 5% of Americans had an account are accurate, that means that around 175 couples from my church are going to be going through a rough time soon. How many couples in your church are going to be in crisis? What are you prepared to do about it? Where are these couples going to go to get the healing they so desperately need?

The church needs to get serious about being an active part of healing marriages and not just speaking out about how marriages are crumbling. I wrote my post, “The Marriage Pastor” 4 years ago, sharing my observations that many of the largest churches in the US have marriage ministries consisting only of premarital coaching and Divorce Care programs. Unfortunately, over the past 4 years not much has changed to fill that glaring ministry gap!

I’m still waiting to see the day when the church wakes up to realize the role of “Marriage Pastor” is just as important as Youth Pastor. Woodland Hills Family Church’s TwoIgnite ministry, Orange’s Married People program, and (our personal favorite) Watermark’s re|engage are three great examples of what churches who realize the importance of marriage can do. I pray that this crisis helps some other churches wake up to the reality!

Who else but God’s people, will be the ones to stand up and refute the lie, “Life is short. Have an affair”. We need to be the ones shouting, “Life is too short to have an affair”, and “Life is too short not to grow your marriage!”

We love your feedback! Let us know what you think!

How is your church responding to this crisis? 

Have you been impacted? How are you working on allowing this light to lead toward healing?


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5 Responses to The Marriage Crisis of Ashley Madison

  1. Good thoughts, Brad. We’re about to see some hurting marriages – not that they weren’t hurting before (like you said) – but now it will be visible. We need to be ready to minister where the needs are.

    Man, what a messed up world we live in!

  2. The churches are messed up. I am starting a marriage seminar business to deal with all of these issues. I wanted to have them in churches. Every church that I have approached have refused me, why because I also deal with sexual issues in marriage. They all tell me that I can’t talk about sex in church even though it will only be discussed with people who sign up and want their issues resolved.

    This is precisely why the churches are losing more members than they are gaining. My own church did not even see the need to deal with conflict resolution issues ( I teach from a Biblical perspective) and the lack of conflict resolution issues is the number one reason for divorce in our country.

    They only want to teach part of the Bible and don’t want to deal with all the sex positive messages from the Bible. I can’t tell you how many women who have told me that growing up the only messages that they heard from their church was that: “sex was bad, dirty and wrong and that good girls don’t do it.” Is it any wonder that so many women have damaging inhibitions about sex?

    • John,
      I agree that many churches have put their head in the sand regarding many area of marriage. Somehow they feel like we should just “figure out out”. That just doesn’t happen without some open, honest, deep conversation.

      The only thing I disagree with you on is your alluding to women having inhibition towards sex as the main result of this. I see widespread damage in both men and women. I see men who don’t know how to even try to “Love their wife like Christ loves the Church” just as often as I see women how are sexually inhibited. I think the Church needs to be part of speaking God’s Word and life into all!

  3. The churches were messed up because families were messed up. The only reason why this is so is because there is a lack of the fear of GOD in the hearts of men even pastors and church leaders inclusive.

    Because churches lack the fear of GOD, that is why they don’t see extra-marital affairs as a sin that GOD frown at.

    If only churches will wake up and realize that the devil had launched an unprecedented attack on the families.And once the devil gets families to mess up, churches will equally be a mess.

    • Princevinco,
      I have to disagree with you a bit here. I have not been in a church yet that doesn’t see extra marital affairs as sin. I think they see it as sin, but one that “no good Christian should ever even consider wrestling with”. They are too “high and mighty” to recognize that it is happening right in their congregation.

      I agree with you that the devil has an attack on the family. Once he gets a MARRIAGE to mess up, the family messes up, the church becomes a mess… However churches often do very little preaching or teaching on marriage. God talked about it. It is all over the Bible! But we don’t talk about it. WHY?

      I’m not sure it is a lack of the fear of God that is the issue. I think it is a belief that Christians should be perfect and not involved with sin. It is a misunderstanding of grace that keeps us too proud to admit that WE NEED HELP!