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
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.
2 hours ago