Book Write-Up: Anatomy of an Affair

Dave Carder.  Anatomy of an Affair: How Affairs, Attractions and Addictions Develop, and How to Guard Your Marriage Against Them.  Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2008, 2017.  See here to buy the book.

Dave Carder is a pastor and counselor.  He has degrees in psychology from Wayne State University and the University of Toledo.

Anatomy of an Affair covers a variety of issues.  First, there is the question of how adulterous affairs can develop: what people are missing in their marriages when they commit adultery, and what they are looking for.  Carder discusses different kinds of affairs, and he also addresses apparent puzzles, such as the question of why many who commit adultery do so with someone who is unlike their spouse.  Carder provides exercises that can assist a married couple in taking the temperature of its marriage.  Second, there is the question of how a married couple can recover from adultery.   The book has exercises on steps that a couple can take in forgiveness and in adding spice to its marriage.  Third, there is the question of what motivates the “other woman” or the “other man,” as well as sex addiction.  Often, they are attempting to cope with their own feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, even trauma in some cases.

The book is filled with real-life case studies.  A lot of them followed a predictable pattern, but some of them had distinct details.  There was one sad story about a woman who was given to her grandparents when she was a child, and her parents lived right next door, raising her brothers and sisters; as a result, she felt unwanted.

Much of the book is probably common-sense, but, for a lot of people, that common sense needs to be put into accessible words: they are hungry for a repertoire that they can draw on as they seek to avoid adultery, or to move on from adultery.  This book provides that in an empathetic and practical manner, while suggesting resources that readers can consult.

In terms of critiques, I have two.  First, on page 107, Carder appears to recommend that married couples have occasional sex in an “unconventional place” to add spice to their marriage.  Couples should keep in mind, however, that sex in a public place is illegal in several places and may have dire legal consequences.

Second, many have criticized the “Billy Graham Rule” (the rule that a married man should not be alone in a room with a woman who is not his wife) for discouraging Platonic friendships between men and women, and even for holding women back professionally.  Carder addressed these issues tangentially, but he could have done so more than he did: how can one avoid the risks that Carder highlights, without unfairly preventing women from advancing professionally due to a lack of networking opportunities, or opportunities to interact with men professionally?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  My review is honest.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.