Should Adultery End a Marriage?

Should Adultey End a Marriage?

from the archives

In the last month or so, my husband and I have heard about two marriages we know ending. I don’t know all of the circumstances and I don’t want to, either. I do know, however, that one marriage suffered from an adulterous relationship. The thought of my husband having any kind of affair makes me sick to my stomach. Absolutely sick. For married people, the idea of your spouse committing adultery is a nightmare and something we avoid even thinking about.

A sexual affair violates the covenant of marriage. It is sharing your most personal and intimate self with another, who is not your spouse. It breaks trust, forces people to choose sides, causes great emotional and physical stress, can lead to depression, and in many cases, divorce.

But is adultery an automatic reason to divorce? Can a marriage can survive an affair and, more than that, should it?

To be clear, I do not want to debate the topic of whether divorce is permissible or not. I know many Christians have varying beliefs on the subject of divorce. But, for the purposes of this post I am going to assume that, based on verses like “Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate,” we are least in agreement that divorce is not ideal.

Regardless of whether or not you think Christians should or can divorce, one thing is clear: God does not like divorce. And how could He? He designed marriage. He desired for a man and a woman to join as one in the act of marriage, both literally and figuratively speaking. I believe it breaks His heart when we divorce, in part, because marriage was designed, in part, to be the representation of Christ’s relationship with the church.

Of course, I can only share from my own personal feelings on the subject of adultery. If my husband came home tomorrow and told me had cheated on me with some unknown woman, that it had been a one night stand, and he did not love her, what would I do? One of two things–I would either scream like a crazy person, cuss like a sailor and hit him while filled with rage and tell him to get out; or I would crumble to the floor, a pile of brokenness and ask him to leave. Neither is great.

Here comes the hard question though, “Would I forgive him?” I can say right now, without having actually suffered through the heartache of adultery that, yes, I would forgive him. I would also make every effort to restore and reconcile my marriage.

Easy to say, I know, because it hasn’t happened. I know, I am answering based on a hypothetical question. I am referring to a one-night stand and not an ongoing long-term affair. No, I cannot image the actual pain, loss, and grief I would feel if my husband were, in fact, to have an affair. My life would be devastated. I would probably want to leave. The word “divorce”  would probably drift through my mind. My parents divorced, so maybe it would be easy for me to just walk away and never look back.

“…what God has joined together, let no man separate…”

And I would hopefully hear that verse drift through my mind, as well. People want to say that adultery is, without question, a reason to end a marriage. No marriage can survive an affair, they say… but that’s a lie. I know of marriages that have been resurrected after an affair and wholly restored. If the Lord of the universe who raised Himself from the dead cannot raise a marriage from the dead, then we are all doomed.

So, while I cannot pretend to know the emotional and spiritual torment that an affair would cause in my marriage, I do know that I do not automatically support divorce in light of an adulterous relationship. I have heard Dennis Prager discuss this topic and he has pointed to the fact that there are many things more damaging, long-term, in a marriage than a one-time affair might be. It is hard to imagine, yes, but reasonable.

Take, for instance, a couple or one spouse who publicly humiliates and berates the other, over the course of years. There is just as much, if not more, emotional and physiological damage done to that spouse over a lifetime of public humiliation, versus a one-time affair. People do not as often divorce over public humiliation or emotional abuse, but why not? Partly, I think because it is more often, a slow and gradual increase and so tramples one’s self-esteem over years.

An adulterous relationship, however, is usually a one-time sucker punch to the face. We do not see it coming. It is a surprise. It hurts. It knocks the wind out of us. The emotional blow to our self-esteem is so great and so rapid that people are ready to just walk away without a second thought. Our pride is instantly wounded and it is our pride that we are often yielding to when we divorce due to adultery, not always, but often.

Here is the other key to my thinking however: Divorce is never an option in my marriage. Divorce is not a backdoor or a side door. There is no door. Now, I know people may throw at me every possible horrific scenario as to when divorce might be okay, like physical abuse or sexual abuse. I am not going to entertain those hypothetical situations here, partly because, in this post I am talking specifically about adultery. Also, however, I don’t believe my own marriage is at risk of those types of abuses and so dwelling on them is neither helpful nor edifying.

When divorce is not an option in your marriage, it naturally takes away some of the fear and worry of something like adultery. I have said, I would be devastated if that were to happen in my marriage but, because I do not accept divorce as a so-called “solution,” I know that I would have to look to other things to bring about healing or reconciliation in my marriage, like Christ Himself, who promises us nothing less.

What are your feelings on this touchy subject? Do you think adultery is a “good reason” to divorce? Do you think divorce is not an option? Why?

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72 thoughts on “Should Adultery End a Marriage?”

  1. Nicole-

    I am totally with you on the thought that divorce is NEVER an option in my marriage. I think that there are many people who enter into marriage with the idea that if/when something goes wrong they have an escape plan in divorcing their spouse. Often times, I have heard of people having affairs just to ‘get out’ of their marriage. There is a WAY bigger problem going on in marriages than the one time or long time affair at that point.

    It makes me sick when we hear of friends or family who have decided to end their marriages for varying reasons, but to me it is not the circumstances or the excuses given as to why they are divorcing that really bothers me. The thing that hurts me the most is that many couples come to these decisions without seeking help. They seem unwilling to ‘want’ to fix the problems- they have given up.

    I think you are right too that it is easier to say that you would be able to forgive and work through your marital problems when you haven’t gone through something like that. At the same time I also believe that if you have it set in your mind already that you would be willing to work together through anything, you are more likely to do so.

    1. Jess, what a great and moving comment. You said it well.

      I am heartbroken to hear that people you know have actually sought out affairs in order to have a so-called excuse to divorce! That is so terrible. I agree with you too that people often don’t seek help. They insulate and isolate themselves. Their hearts are already hardened and their minds, already made up.

      I praise God for more couples like you and Lukas, who are committed to marriage and do not view divorce as an option!

  2. Great subject…so taboo also. We entered our marriage with the mindset that, divorce is not an option. But, I haven’t walked that line so I wonder sometimes for people like me who were raised in an overly-emotional home if it wouldn’t be an issue to just get up and go. I have watched those walk through adultry be it physical or just emotional. They’ve stayed together. They’ve followed the lords leading. They’re amazing today. I’d like to say, I’d fight and I’d be strong and my child would look up to me in that … but, I don’t know.

    1. Jenet, you bring up a great point. I was raised in an “emotionally-charged home.” There was lots of fighting and screaming and leaving. My parents also divorced and remarried. So when divorce is your historical family background, it is easy to justify it or resort to it.

      However, I am not only and just a product of my parents. I am also a new creation in Christ and have been given the opportunity to change my family legacy. That is the promise I am hanging onto.

      Thanks for adding the great comment!

      1. Thats interesting too to think about- my husband and I were raised in homes in which our parents adored each other, and still do. No matter how difficult things were for them we both saw them grow closer together through their struggles. I think that instilled in both of us that if we were going to get married it would be FOREVER.

        I wonder though if we had not had such great Christ-centered examples of marriage in our lives if we would think differently on the subject.

  3. Marriage is a HUGE incentive to “get happy” again :) By never entertaining divorce, when we have a fight, we can either be miserable and stew in our conflict or realize, “We’re stuck together forever, so we’d better fight through it and get happy again!” The conflict is never comfortable, but with each new resolution, there is something triumphant about that- something very powerful. Yes, I believe even with something as awful as adultery, God can use that to display his glory in a relationship and to just “get out” lets Satan win one more round…

    1. Sara, great point about knowing that you need to work through something or remain in misery, if marriage is not an option. Dennis Prager who I adore, and is not a Christian, says the opposite though.

      He argues that marriage shouldn’t be the only job in the world that you can’t get “Fired” from. Couples should know that they can get “fired” i.e. divorced if they don’t perform, so to speak. Sadly, many people agree with him.

      I like your reasoning though. We can choose to reconcile because being fired isn’t an option, not the other way around.

  4. Good Post.

    For me it’s simple and it would depend on two things.

    1) The nature of the affair
    2) The heart of my spouse

    If the nature of the affair was a long term one filled with deception, I would have a hard time going forward with trust. If it was a one time mistake motivated by something we could address, I think we could work it out. But that all depends on point number 2…

    If my wife was not willing to admit total fault, address the real issue, and work it out in godliness with other “professionals” involved, I would hit the road.

    I believe that through Christ’s strength I have the capacity to forgive, but after seeing this scenario played out in the lives of people who are very close to me, I know that healing a marriage takes two parties, total honesty, and total submission to God.

    I think the reality of the healing/forgiving process is why God allows divorce only in the case of adultery. That is, it takes two for it to work and while one may be willing the adulterer must be as well. Otherwise, you’re free to go.

    1. I agree with your guidelines Ben. A long-term on going affair would be, I think, much more difficult to forgive and heal from. Likewise, if my spouse did not show any regret, conviction, repentance, or spirit of reconciliation I do not know what would happen to my marriage. I do think that I would give my husband a reasonable amount of time to show repentance. I would not say, “oh, it’s been two weeks. You’re not trying. I’m outta here.”

      Again, this is all hypothetical and so it hard to say exactly how I would or would not respond. Regardless though, I think those two things can and do make a difference in the future of a marriage following an affair. But again, neither of those would automatically cause me to abandon my marriage and I do think God’s miracles can extend beyond a 10 year long affair and a hardened heart. I know it is a long shot but I would try to hold out hope for that in my own marriage, as long as I could.

  5. I’ll give you another perspective. I was raised by a mom who didn’t believe in divorce either. Her first husband (my father) left us so there really wasn’t anything to do there. She swore she would make the next one last no matter what. Instead, I got to witness and and experience firsthand criminal levels of physical and emotional abuse. That marriage should not have lasted six days, much less six years. The day she came home from work and said “get your brother and get in the car, we’re leaving” was one of the happiest days of my childhood. God forgive me for this attitude (if forgiveness is even needed), but there is NO EXCUSE for abusing your loved ones, and there is NO EXCUSE, not even a “Christian” one for staying in that relationship. I will be plagued by nightmares by that man for the rest of my life, as the damage he caused both my mother and myself still lives on today.

    So… there’s a fun one to throw into the works.

  6. I can relate with so much of your post, and many of the comments!

    No adultery here, and honestly, I believe from the bottom of my heart that my husband is such a man of committed integrity that I don’t believe it would ever be an issue in our marriage! BUT… I don’t abuse that trust I have in him — I still need to work to make our marriage a place of trust and beauty, and not just rest in the assurance I feel. IOW, one still needs to constantly maintain the marriage.

    My hubby and I both come from broken homes, and we were determined that that would not be our story. I wept just about every day of the first two years of our marriage, though, because I felt that I had made a mistake, and I was now STUCK, forever. Lordy, that’s hard to say, as our 16th anniversary is on Friday, and things are so different now than they were at the start! But, that’s part of my point. Our culture does not encourage perseverance, or being honorable, or serving someone else. People — men and women — get into marriage thinking it’s what will make themselves happy, and when they find unhappiness instead, they’re too ready to give up and find something to blame, rather than working to get back to “happy.”

    I do know one couple who were nearly divorced due to adultery. After nearly 10 years of marriage, she even moved out and into the home of her lover, and the husband moved across the country. They were separated for almost a year. I was 100% certain it was over. However, God had other plans — the husband told me that he literally laid before God for nights on end, confessing everything that he could possibly think of, to confess — even though he was not the perpetrator! — and told God that he would do whatever he could to get his wife back, and he extended complete forgiveness to her. IOW, he recognized that he played a part in his wife’s dissatisfaction, and was willing to “man up” and take responsibility for that, before God. His heart was totally broken before God, and God, with miraculous power, stepped in, and has MORE THAN HEALED their relationship. They are back together, and recently had their first child, and are both seriously and publicly overflowing in their love for each other, and appreciation for their marriage. The wife, who had strayed far from God, isn’t exactly back in the palm of the Father, but she has majorly softened up… she recognizes that it was her husband — and God working through him — that has brought them back together.

    I am still in amazement over the whole thing. I had never seen anyone successfully weather not just an affair, but committed unfaithfulness, and pull through literally stronger and better in the end… Only God can do that, I’m sure of it!!!!!

    1. Karen, I agree with you that it is so necessary for couples to never take their spouse or marriage for granted. We really are susceptible to the enemy’s attacks at any given time. Protecting our marriage must come first. The couples that I have seen split up after only 3-5 yrs did so, in part, because they did not prioritize protection of their marriage.

      I too have known of marriages that have been miraculously healed and restored. One affair in fact, resulted in a child. The wife forgave the husband and the mistress and is now helping in raising the child. That is Jesus and nothing else!

  7. Oh man this is a hard one. I have not had to deal with the in my personal life- my parents are still married and I trust Deacon- but I have gone through this with one of my closest friends over the past year. I hate to admit that even on their wedding day I privately knew it wouldn’t last more than five years. And, call me Nostradamus, it ended on their four year anniversary when she discovered that he had been having a long-term affair. He had even put them in debt by spending tons of money on this other girl. When it all came out, others revealed their long-term suspicions, and they said that they didn’t think this was the first time. Many examples of his strange behavior when he was away from his wife were cited. My friend was devastated.
    She made the decision to divorce him and she feels that she did the right thing. I have supported her all the way. But I know that my anger and my intense dislike of her husband from very early on in their relationship fueled my attitude toward her decision to end their marriage. So I guess it’s safe to say that, emotions aside, I really don’t know what I think about divorce in this scenario. Somehow I can’t quite bring myself to think that she should have stayed. But I realize that my emotions toward the whole thing are still very strong, and in time I might come to think and feel differently.

    1. That is the worst, when you know two people shouldn’t be married but you are helpless to do anything about it besides speak truth.

      A former friend of mine was engaged to a guy who wasn’t a believer. I refused to be in her wedding. He accepted Christ just in time…as in right before the wedding. I still didn’t support the union but there was nothing I could do. Less than 5 years later they divorced. I was not happy about it but I was not surprised nor very sympathetic.

      It’s all so sad. We can help give our friends wisdom, counsel, and PRAY lots. And we can help keep them accountable to the vows they took. Regardless of our personal feelings, it still grieves God when people divorce.

  8. It was weired for me growing up. As I mentioned earlier, my father left my mom no choice. He bailed on us and sent the divorce papers from out of town. My mom chose not to fight it, but to go along for my sake. The idea was that at least my dad and I could still have a relationship, which we did until I turned 18 and he was no longer obligated to me (that was what was written in my 18th birthday card). The second marriage was a slow-motion waking nightmare. The only blessing that came from that is my brother, but even then, it is hard to see what good came from that.

    I think it’s very easy to adopt a black and white attitude toward divorce (and I’m not attacking anyone here, so no worries) when you’ve never truly faced the reason why. In my opinion, I think a lot of people throw away marriage over some real petty reasons, but then others will endure the worst infidelity and abuse only to become very broken human beings (it’s hard to recover from that, and I don’t think anyone ever really does).

    I know of a couple who faced this and worked it out. I know of another couple who faced this, tried to work it out, and ended up proceeding 3 more years in a horrible marriage that ended in a bitter divorce, friends being divided, and one party nearly killing himself several times over the next 2 years with alcohol and heroin over her infidelity. We’re all human beings, and betrayal in any form is something very difficult to overcome. Half the time, the other party is sorry, half the time, the other party feels justified.

    To end on a positive note, I do have the example of my grandparents. Next May (2011), they will celebrate their 60th anniversary. They’ll be the first to tell you that it was far from perfect, but they grew up and acted like adults and made it work.

    1. Joey, first off, thank you so much for sharing that portion of your story. I know that many people, myself included, have been harmed by our parents making poor choices and divorcing, remarrying and/or staying in unhealthy relationships.

      My mom remarried a man who was, for many years violent and emotionally abusive. Today however, he is a changed man and not because of God (I wish) just because he has grown up and mellowed out.

      I agree that divorce is not always a black and white issue. I know that God has more to say on a case by case basis than we allow Him to speak. I just so desire for my own story of marriage to have a different ending…one of wholeness and health, where my kids grow up knowing that mom and dad are not “at risk” for divorce.

      That is the difference that Christ affords me. He says that through Him, it can be different. For folks like you and I who have seen the uglier side, I pray that we be the ones to celebrate 60 years someday because that is such a powerful testimony of God’s grace and goodness.

  9. Divorce is a banned word in our household. Mainly because it’s not seen as an option but also because it must be one of the most unsettling words a child could ever hear. It’s not something that should be flung around lightly because of the damage the mere mention of it can cause.

    That being said, my sister divorced her first husband because of consistent mental and physical abuse and sexual abuse of my nephew and niece. And I totally supported her in that and still do. The Word inside the Word is love.

    This is a very powerful blog – a young woman in ministry coming to terms with her husband’s infidelity. http://www.gritandglory.com/category/divorce/

    1. Andrew, you are so right about even the use of the word “divorce.” Even if their parents never split up, children growing up in an atmosphere of doubt and questioning the strength of their parents union, suffer greatly.

      I do know Grit and Glory. I actually know Alece and she is wonderful–so warm, so loving, and so genuine. Her blog is on my blogroll,in fact. Her story is so powerful, I agree. Heartwrenching, inspiring, and moving. Thanks for sharing.

    2. I grew up in a household where the word “Divorce” was constantly thrown around, and used as an attack to get the other parent to either back off or end a fight. Throughout middle and high school I would beg my parents to get a divorce, after one of them leaving for days on end and coming back as they wished- sometimes dragging us kids along. In my opinion, even speaking about Divorce as a feasible option, including threatening divorce to one another, can be just as damaging to children as when the parents actually split up.

  10. Interesting, but what came to mind when I read your post was actually not a physical affair but a mental affair – like using pornography. When men (and women as well) use pornography inside of marriage, I believe it’s the same thing as having an affair. The sad part is that most men do view pornography EVEN and most definitely Christian men. Pornography inside a marriage can be just as devastating as an actual affair and ruin the relationship just as much. Sadly, it’s something that’s rarely talked about and kept so completely hidden, that it’s never addressed and dealt with – just like a physical affair that one “gets away with” and chooses to never confess. And the guilt a person can feel eats away at them and ends up manifesting itself in other ways still destroying and damaging the marriage.

    I don’t take for granted that just because we have our foundation in Christ that pornography can’t penetrate itself into our marriage. It can more easily than a physical affair. And I can say from experience that if it does, it will be dealt with, squashed, healed, and our marriage restored. Because like many have also said, divorce is not an option in our household, no matter how much the devil may tempt.

    1. Abbi, you bring up such a great point and one that I hope to write an entire and separate post about as well. I agree that pornography can, in many ways, be just as destructive as a physical affair. I certainly consider it adulterous in nature. One thing that saddens me so greatly, is the number of Christian women who have walked away from their marriages thinking that their husbands are “sick” or “disgusting” for being addicted to pornography. Part of the problem is, as you stated, the issue is avoided by most churches. Likewise, women often lack full and healthy understanding of the male sexual mind. I won’t go too much into that because that is some of what I’d like to write another post on but, you get the idea.

      Pornography is a plague in the church and to say otherwise would be naive. You are so wise in recognizing that your marriage, and really no marriage for that matter, is invincible against pornography. In our marriages though, what the devil meant for evil, may the Lord mean for good.

      Thanks Abbi for adding this to the discussion. It is so good!

  11. Having never gone through an affair in my marriage, I say now that I would fight for my marriage even after an affair, and that I would forgive, and try to heal and move forward. Infidelity is not one of my “deal breakers” (which would be physical abuse, which like you- I don’t feel like my marriage is at risk of).

    I am passionate about marriage, and I believe that God is a redemptive God, and He can heal the hardest of situations.

    Saying all that- I can’t really say that I am completely against divorce (because of the vast amount of varying situations), just that I am completely FOR fighting for it.

    Also- I think Abbi makes a great point about pornography. I wish there was more support and conversation about that.

    1. Carrington, I love what you said “I can’t really say that I am completely against divorce (because of the vast amount of varying situations), just that I am completely FOR fighting for it.”

      You may still feel the need to look at divorce on a case by case basis but you are not pro-divorce, simply pro-marriage and pro-fighting for your marriage. I love that!

  12. Well I am dealing with this first hand. Married for 8 yrs together for 12. Never would I ever have thought it would have happened to us. That is why I had no idea he was having an affair with a co-worker for 2 yr!! He brought her into my home while I was at work and my kids in bed.He has been to her house and out on dates. My children have been around her and her children a few times! In fact thats how part of the truth came out…my daughter! The details are sickening! She has come to my house wanting an explanation of why he is choosing to be with me and not her. He has applied for civil stalking orders cuz she wouldnt leave him alone at work or via texts, phone, etc! I wanted to rebuild my marriage because I loved him still. This was not him. Of course he is to blame for me and she is to her husband but I believe she instigated it more-so. She has degraded me as a person, mom, etc. and called me names! Really who is the crazy one? We tried and it was great for a few months. Then he started acting out in depression again(he had a breakdown for a year from the guilt before I knew…during the acts…I thought it was work and was being treated for bipolar). He started worrying about the hatred against them two and of course it was stressfull at home. He flip-flopped back and forth 5 times in one week about us working out. He said he cant get over what he has done and its not fair for us. He chose a divorce which I feel at times I will be better off. Although I am confused…I want to love him but I feel he is not over her…they had plans for a life and children!!! The details I will not discuss but you could imagine. She had stopped me outside my house and asked me for directions cuz she wanted to see me up close!! She had fed things in his head and messed him up to be against me! I am so hurt right now and I think he wants to be with her if he has not already started talking again. I just know they will never work. Once the thrill and lust wears off he will not be able to handle her 4 kids and our 2 at times on a daily basis. As you can imagine I dont want my children around her. Esp since when she was stalking him I was afraid she would try to persuade the kids he and I agreed to tell them never to go with her etc. who knew what she was capable of in the dissappointment he chose me and to them all they knew was daddy’s nice friend with a sweet voice and kids! I am so lost I have had my life crumble beneath me. Little did I know I could be in the middle of a soap-opera. I dont know where to go from here. I feel he has chosen her and does not even want to talk about us. Of course he will not admit it if he has but I feel he would keep trying if she wasnt in the way. Not to mention we are seeing 3 therapists…one for each and one for marriage. Sometimes it back fires cuz things one says to say or do is opposite the others opinion! Any suggestions would be helpful…Thanks

  13. Personal Ingredients:
    – 2 individuals who said they love one another, and made a covenant before God (Though only 1 did. I was not a Christian, and so couldn’t know what real love was. Until you understand the charity of God, how can you mirror that in your own life)
    – 7 years of tortuous marriage
    – resentment
    – deceit
    – betrayal
    – hatred
    – adultery
    – un-repentant spirits
    Sounds like the perfect recipe for an abysmal marriage ending in divorce, doesn’t it? Then, God entered in, (I say He entered in, but He had been there all along.) and things got harder. Seriously, every day was like dying for both my wife and I, and in some ways, we both were dying.

    The outcome, a better marriage than either of us could ever imagine, made stronger by the trials we have gone through together. My wife actually looked at me the other night and said, “God has given us one of the greatest gifts we never could have imagined,…one hell of a marriage.” And when used to describe our family, those weren’t just words.

    I’m not writing this to be dogmatic, nor to say, “this is the way it should always happen.” (If I was going to say anything it would be, “don’t try this at home.”) I’m writing to give others who may be in similar situations hope.

    Should adultery end a marriage? No. I am thankful to God that it didn’t end mine. It is very difficult to fathom, but it though the pain of adultery starts with the loss of intimacy, or the hurt at thinking that intimacy was shared with someone else, for most, that can be overcome. What kills the whole thing, in my experience, is pride. “WHAT, he/she cheated on me!”

    Humility in realizing we really don’t “deserve,” anything. A slave is not greater than his master, and God’s marriage is full of adultery. Look at most churches today,…read the book of Hosea.

    Then, in your own marriage, be sure to play the part of Hosea,…not Gomer.

  14. Protection. Math 5:32 says “saving for the cause of fornication”, understanding “saving” means “except”. This tells us there is an exception. That exception is our protection. If there is no consequence for sin then one person in the marriage is not protected. I Cor 7 talks about marriage, from giving due benevolence, to sex not being a requirement of marriage(I Cor 7:37, 38). The writer teaches it by permission and not of commandment. The Bible does not contradict, it is balanced. It gives protection b/c of that balance. Adultery should not always end in divorce. However, God doesn’t leave someone in a ditch, feeling abandoned/hurt/used, no choice in the matter and stuck b/c of someone else’s sin…

    1. Stacey, while I know many Christians believe Matthew 5:32 offers and escape clause in the case of adultery, I happen to disagree. There are opposing theological viewpoints on this verse. Historians, for instance, state that according to Jewish law at the time, you could issue someone a divorce for fornication if they had sex before marriage (ie you found out they weren’t a virgin after being married). The best example of this is Mary and Joseph. When Joseph discovered that MAry was with child (before the angel visited him, as well) scripture says he was going to give her a certificate of divorce. How could her divorce her though when they were not yet married? Because engagement in Jewish culture at the time signified a real betrothal and promise. It was stronger than a casual word of mouth agreement.

      All that to say, some theologians suggest that when Jesus says “saving for the cause of fornication” he is referring to any sexual act that took place before marriage.

      In your last sentence you say “God doesn’t leave someone in a ditch, feeling abandoned/hurt/used, no choice in the matter and stuck b/c of someone else’s sin…” While I partially agree, God doesn’t leave us stuck, He doesn’t necessarily offer us an out because of someone else’s sin. People will sin against one another in marriage. It is inevitable. I think the word “stuck” is difficult for me to swallow because we are never “stuck” when we are in God’s will.

      More than that, husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her. How much do we sin against Christ? How much has the church disappointed Him or failed to exalt Him? Yet He still loves, pursues, still chases after us. His love is the perfect model for marriage. My prayer is more and more marriages would realize this and persevere will God’s power and grace.

  15. After sending my last comment, I was feeling the last statement came out wrong and wished I could’ve changed it…one of those times when you don’t reread something before clicking ‘submit’…lol. I agree with what you stated, I know how many times I have sinned against Christ, etc….more times then I realize. I also know of the Mary and Joseph application. I think it would be good for me to look and study the subject out a little more…thats how we learn, right??? I do have a couple of friends who married believers and found themselves in facing adultery in their relationship. They both ended in divorce, b/c the offending partner wasn’t able to stop the offence. IF a husband is loving his wife as Christ loved the church (Christ came to minister to others and not be ministered unto himself) then you won’t have this. One of my friends’ husbands wanted to continue being married but not “married” and to keep his girlfriend. He thought there wasn’t anything she could do b/c she didn’t believe in divorce and that she HAD to obey him. He was very surprised when she seperated from him. The other friend was told to continue in her wifely duties to get him to change his mind, to get him to come back. She was not protected. Until a different pastor told her to protect herself from diseases, emotional issues and her children from him. While I know many people can look beyond and forgive their spouse, which ultimately we should always forgive, there are consequences to our actions. My comment on being “stuck” was a physical application. Many women who are not treated in a Christ-like way often feel stuck. It does not have anything to do with their spiritual relationship with their savior or their faith. Its the inability to have a ‘voice’ in a relationship. I often think of Kathy Bates holding her axe when her husband got mad at her when I think of a scorned woman…lol. (Disclaimer:I don’t think thats good way to resolve issues AT ALL!) But there are those out there that have prayed and done as they should and still feel stuck. BTW: I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog! keep it up, its been an encouragement! Be easy on me when u respond, lol, I’m not that great at getting my point across but I love talking/hearing about every side of an issue!

  16. Divorce is a nasty word. However, of our almost 3 years of marriage have been marked by a lot of trouble. Emotional abuse (and one case of physical) from my wife. We are struggling to work through personal issues, and honestly at this point there are days where I want to walk away but I am committed to giving my best to make it work. I don’t always succeed, but I do try.

    However, in this light if I found out my wife had cheated (either one night stand, or full-out adultry) I would have great difficulty staying. I know for certain separation would happen. I think it would depend a lot on HER actions/reactions after the fact. If she took the blame square on, no excuses, no covering up, no lies… then maybe.

    If she tried to cover up or shift blame or justify it, no. At that point I don’t think I would find any reason to continue. I’ve been through enough already. I don’t think I would be able to handle that.

    1. I think you bring up an important point, which is the heart of the adulterer. If the person who did the cheating shows little or no signs of repentance, well then it would be extremely difficult to reconcile. Not impossible, but very difficult.

      Again though, i know of far too many testimonies where the cheater was not sorry initially, but over time God worked on their heart to the point where they wanted to reconcile and win their spouse back. What a tragedy it would be, if those cheated on did not wait in anticipation of the Lord and gave up all too quickly.

      I am sorry to hear and my heart is burdened to know that your young marriage is suffering through so many struggles and pain. I will be praying for you and your marriage.

  17. I was just thinking about what I’d do if I found out my future husband cheated on me. I’d cry alot. Probably be silent. My heart would feel so…broken-and I bet that word wouldn’t do justice.

    BUT.

    I’d forgive him. Because I’d love. Always. The way I think about it is that God loves me unconditionally. I’ve cheated on Him many times with my sins but He’s always there waiting. Why can’t I do the same for a man who’s my husband? Who I’m supposed to love like God loves me. It would take a lot of Jesus’ healing to work through it, but I’d forgive my husband.

    Fact.

    1. Indy,
      Wow, what a heart to honor God you have. Right there, in your willingness to forgive your husband if this horrible thing were ever to happen, is you also glorifying God. Just as your comparison shows–God forgives us. Who are we to not do the same?

  18. I think divorce makes God sad, yes. I think you must do everything to save your marriage, yes. I wouldn’t divorce after a one-time affair.

    But when the other person isn’t willing to change then what more is there to do? I do not believe in suffering for the sake of not divorcing. That would make God cruel, which He isn’t.

    1. Micaela,
      Yes, and I responded to another commenter, a repentant heart is so vitally important to achieve reconciliation after an affair. I’m not sure how a marriage can be restored without it.

  19. Personally, I was willing to work through anything. There was no divorce in my mind. My wife at around 4 years had a one night stand with someone she knew from college. I wanted so bad to just be finished, but that was not how I viewed marriage. The resulting following 10 years were not good. The power in the marriage was severely tilted her way, because there was no accountability for this violation of the vows. It was treated like a simple act of thoughtlessness by her, while I was torn apart inside. I honestly view this different for men and women. Women and men might cheat for different reasons. I don’t agree with common thinking on this. There are two types of cheaters. The thrill seekers who lack the conviction to honor their vows, and the broken who are hurting and vulnerable and the cheating happens through that. Now I don’t like the blame game where the other partner gets blamed for the cheating. This has to stop. The person who cheats is solely responsible for the actions they took. There may be all sorts of problems with the marriage, and those are shared by both parties, but the individual actions of each partner are their own. They are not shared, unless they are agreed upon. Men and women most certainly have different responses to their own cheating. Men don’t seem to replace or discard their wife when they cheat. At least not with the one night stand. I have seen many men who have cheated, and repaired the damage and had a normal sex life and marriage once it has been dealt with. I have not seen a woman return to the marriage bed with her husband in the same way. It seems that she has replaced him, or devalued him to a point of lower standing to her. She has a hard time looking up to or admiring him any longer. The only marriage I have seen succeed after a wife cheating is one where he kicked her out, forced separation, filed for divorce, and then entered into counseling with her. He had the divorce all but finalized while working on the marriage. She knew he was serious. She knew that she needed to show that she deserved a chance to be his wife again. The reconciled, and the divorce was not completed. They have lived well since then. The psychology is different. I am pretty sure that if I had done the same thing, my wife would have walked away. This was before we had our own kids, though we had the boys we adopted in our home as foster kids.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that your marriage was the victim of an affair. I’m sorrier to hear that your wife does not seem interested in reconciling.

      I think you raise an interesting point about the reasons men and women cheat. I’ve written separate posts on why men cheat and why women cheat. What I find most interesting in your comment is pointing out that it seems more women have a resistance to reconciling after an affair.

      I think this is telling because sex for women is not the same as sex for a man. Men are much more able to compartmentalize sex, making an affair a one-time occurrence. Women on the other hand, respond to sex with much more emotion, making it much more difficult for women to separate themselves from the act of sex that took place outside of marriage.

      Praying that God is able to bring about true reconciliation and restoration to your marriage. Thank you for sharing here.

  20. Like Nicole says… she hasn’t been there. Neither have I.

    The two marriages closest to me which ended ended for different – but the same – reasons.

    In one there was adultery (a long standing affair), in the other there was violence and anger. In both the offending partner left. Was not interested in a reconciliation. Was far away from God. Did not want to work it out. Just wanted out.

    Both remaining partners would have (did) work hard to keep their marriages but in the face of an absent spouse simply couldn’t. Both are still strong Christians, active in the church, growing in faith with their children.

    Although adultery won’t always spell the end I don’t think much can be done when one partner leaves and is totally unwilling to return.

  21. I am 14 so kind of a different perspective here.
    I have always loved the idea of being faithful not only to God but to man. It reminds me of the way Christ is faithful to the Church.

    I was physically abused by my step mom when I was five and it went on for a year. It was severe and when I finally spoke up, they divorced and she was sent to jail, but God in His sovereignty and wisdom and extremely annoying mercy, (that’s what it seemed to me), He told us to set her free. Apparently He had plans for her. Surprisingly I didn’t care.

    Anyway, to the point, when I look back, I sometimes wonder if divorce was the correct answer. She had given birth to my sister. She was kind of part of the family. Should they have divorced, even though she was unfaithful and abusing me?
    No.

    I don’t think so anyway. I am glad they did and I sometimes think they made the right choice, but then I realized, God knew what I was going through and He cared.
    He had a plan.

    I am… well I was the abused but I feel comfortable saying this.
    I don’t think it was God’s plan for them to divorce. I also think that with divorce comes consequences, such as my sister was still an infant and I was in trauma and my dad was alone….

    But (here’s the good part!) God also has a plan.
    My dad met an amazing woman who happened to be a strong Christian and also a doctor. Why did I mention the doctor part?
    My sister became diabetic at the age of four, my father wouldn’t have known how to handle it, but God in His vast wisdom let my father marry a doctor.

    All I am saying is that no, God doesn’t like divorce, but yes He has a plan to give you strength to handle the affair.

    God bless you Nicole!!!

    1. Rebecca,
      You are a very wise 14 year old. I can tell that God uses you and speaks to you. I’m sorry to hear about divorce no matter what the story. I’m sorry that your father and step mom divorced, but my heart also grieves knowing that you were abused.

      Your ability to see God moving in your life and to see His goodness in the midst of pain and unfortunate circumstances is a gift. I hope you never lose that ability.

      Thank you for commenting Rebecca and sharing your story here. I was blessed that you did so. P.S. I think it’s safe to say that you are the youngest (but one of the wisest) commentors in Modern Reject history!

  22. As a man and a husband, I appreciate the perspective of a woman on this subject. Wiley and I are nipping at the heels of our 15th anniversary and, like you, seem to have been confronted with a rash of friends splitting up.

    With regard to the one-nighter vs. ongoing affair debate, I’d like to throw out another caveat. Just as there is a very real difference between a single incident and an ongoing tryst, should we not look more closely at the motivation, or circumstances leading up to, the one-night stand? Would a spouse be as likely to grant her husband a mulligan if the affair came on the heels of a big argument or if it was committed with a friend of the wife versus it being the result of a slow denigration of communication within the marriage?

    In other words, was there a clear pattern of problems within the marriage that led to the offensive act of betrayal, or was it just a freakish “temporary insanity” isolated event (I guess we could also debate if there is such a thing!).

  23. I believe God can heal anyone of anything. So divorce isn’t the one and only option in the face of adultery. If both people are willing to do it God’s way, they can heal. Its painful and might take a very long time but God is able to do what man can’t.

  24. I think marriages can survive adultery, at least the first time it happens. The issue is whether the adulterous spouse is willing to cut off the affair or not. My experience witnessing the effects of adultery on couples is that the adulterous partner has decided to go onto greener pastures and leave the other spouse behind. That happened to both my grandmas, our kids’ godparents and an uncle. In that case, no amount of forgiveness will restore the marriage. However, our church interviewed one couple that had been on the brink of divorce because the adulterous husband wanted to end the marriage when God intervened and changed his heart. The wife forgave him and the two are still married and God was glorified through it.

    What about the case when the affair is emotional, but not physical? Two couples I know have stayed together in spite of a husband’s addiction to pornography. The husbands sought help and overcame their addiction. The wives stood by them and prayed them through it. With a third couple, the wife decided to divorce her husband because he confessed to her his addiction. Even though she was a Christian, she decided that forgiveness was not an option, even though her husband was repentent and was taking steps to address the issue.

    1. Like others ave commented too, I agree that repentance is the key to reconciliation. As to your question about an emotional affair. I think it’s a great question. I consider pornography a form of addiction. It is very much inviting other people into your bedroom, so to speak. I will say quite firmly, and I’m sure others will disagree with me, but the wife whose husband is trying to gain freedom from porn, but she decides to leave is sinning. If he is repentant and she walks out, I believe, God will hold her accountable for that decision.

      Porn, and I’ve been wanting to write about this recently, is not an excuse to bail. Satan uses it specifically to attack and kill marriages–and then we let him. it is heartbreaking, to say the least.

  25. I think adultery is a grounds for divorce, but I don’t think it has to result in divorce. Having not been in that position, I can’t say for certain how I would handle my husband being unfaithful. However, I do feel that I’ve been a difficult person to live with, and if he cheated on me, I would have to take that into consideration. If he cheated on me and was repentant, I’m fairly certain I would take him back.

  26. Nicole,

    I wholeheartedly agree with what you say obout the nonexistence of a door out of the marriage. Have I ever have the thought of divorce cross my mind? Uhm.. yes. I’m confirmed by numerous other women that we tend to fantasize about a life outside the marriage. A very dangerous road, and certainly not as innocent as most women think it is.
    I, having been married for over 20 years, have been in an intense emotional affair for about 2 years. Just before it started, I had given up praying for my husband. He and i lived a shallow married life, God and his family were not on his list of priorities and i was just tired of it. My hurt and frustration level had reached the max and i gave in to my feelings for another man. It was a lonely, depressing and sad 2 years. I kept my promise of never leaving the father of my children, but yet i was absent in the marriage. I closed of my heart for God, His Word and fellowship with other believers and Satan was partying.
    In the end, my longing for my heavenly Father was so strong, i had to return. I knew i had to give up this other man just because i realized only Jesus could fulfill my needs. (thanks to 3 loving and honest christian women in my life who helped me see Him in a new way) He became my Lover. I believe i’ve been greatly rewarded because of this choice. Only a few days after my decision, God touched my husband in an incredible way. He transformed him.
    The greatest miracle is, is that he became my very best friend. It will be a year this month, since our new beginning. We thank God every single day for the restoration of our marriage. My infidelity could have easily destroyed our marriage. My husband had reason to not trust me anymore, i had reason to not trust him. However, i have hope for every single marriage to be restored for those people that choose God over all people, even their kids and spouses. He will make it work, because He then CAN make it work. He just needs to become our main priority and focus.. A choice anyone can make.

    Thank you for talking about this rough topic, divorce has become too accepted. The only reason i share my story is because I want people to know there’s hope. i know of the good things God has done for me. Undeserved, unmerited favor. And it’s available for anyone out there that’s struggling in their marriage.

  27. Oops, didn’t mean for that to be a replay to Esther’s comment… Re-commenting:
    I wrote you a question a couple months ago (maybe one month ago, I don’t know). Anyway, I think this posting addresses the question in an interesting way. Nicole, you are so blessed to have the perspective you have. You allude to the fact that your view of divorce might be biased by the fact that you have never been in an adultery situation in your relationship. Like I have, you have seen what divorce is from the perspective of the child of divorced parents. You hate divorce like I do. However I can say something that I think a lot of people in this situation can maybe relate to. For others reading this, my wife has been (and still is) having an affair (both physical and emotional) for the past 3 months. I’ll be 27 next week and we have been married almost 5 years. I went through every single negative feeling you could ever imagine while I have been trying to get through this. The only reason I am still functioning and my wife is still married to me, has been because I have prayed long and hard about how I need to get through this. There are a couple of interesting things that God has taught me, as I struggle with this. First of all, I had to wrap my mind around the fact that this chaos in my wife’s head right now, is not my wife. She is a beautiful sweet soul that would never want to hurt me. She has always been a good girl, a rule follower, and we married “at a young age”. This contributed to this situation where she is now realizing a third of her life has passed by her and she is not feeling entirely fulfilled with what she is doing in life. This and my insensitivity to her emotional needs has flipped a switch that made her want to “see what all she has been missing” on the other side of the fence. Now, I am obsessed with helping people, and I want nothing more than to make my wife feel like the most wonderful, beautiful, talented, amazing person on the planet, but it took me too long to realize that my wife needed help. I have learned that my desperation, communication, cooperation, and any sort of accountability in our relationship are no longer even in the picture. By this, I mean that she will see every attempt I can make to “fix” this situation as an offense. The best way to love someone who cannot handle being loved, is to stay calm, remove as much stress and judgment from them as you can, and silently be there for them. My wife is still spending every night away from home and stopping by a couple times a day to change clothes and stuff. I’m not going to say that this hasn’t been the worst 3 months of my entire life, but controlling the negative feelings I encounter and trying to see my wife as God sees her has helped me become a happier, more spiritual, compassionate person even in the midst of this turmoil. She doesn’t deserve to feel any more guilty for what she is doing than any other sinner. Now this is controversial, but I truly believe that her decision to go outside of our marriage was one that cannot be judged by another human as “black and white” wrong–Partially because I was not loving her the way she needed to be loved and partially because she needed to learn that the life she had is truly the life she wants. In 50 years I will look back and realize I would much rather have this awful wakeup call. It’s far better to have this opportunity to look within myself and see how I can be a better husband, a better Christian, a better person, than it would be to have her continue a complacent half-hearted relationship in our complacent half-hearted life. I don’t know if she will ever come back to me. What I do know, is that if she does, it will not be because of the pressure from her family or friends, or because I forced her, or because she felt guilty. If she does come back, it will be her own heart leading her and I will 100% forgive, forget, rejoice, and greet her with the open arms of the father of the Prodigal Son.

  28. All I can say is- marriage CAN survive after adultery. Absolutely. Is it always possible? If both parties are committed to saving it I believe God will work. But people are individuals that have free will.

  29. Hmm this is a messy one, honestly if adultery was committed against me or I was DUMB enough to do that I wouldn’t be physically attracted to that person anymore ( i.e they would make me wanna puke)and wouldn’t expect them to take ME back. I think people are getting a bit weak these days and need to just fess up. Now I am by no means saying that God cannot restore a broken relationship but really once you have crossed that line you can’t take it back. The other person will always somewhere in there mind hate you, that’s smart, NOT! I have heard so many dumb reasons for adultery that I am not even going to go there.

    Divorce will not fix the pain people , maybe makes it a little worse. One thing I think divorces MAY be considered for is, if someone is getting abused in some way. I don’t understand how some Christians think its ok to batter someone or sexually abuse them. I am sure those fools would be the first to cry murder if that happened to them. However back on point, I think the problem here is acceptance of DUMB behaviour. Yes a sin is a sin but this one is a BIG fat one , no really the bible talks about this a lot. It is possible to be forgiven totally but then again why even go there.

    I know of a man from who comes from my parents’ hometown and he had a cheek to cheat, a big fat one. He said so many dumb excuses, guess what he had to lose everything, he was practically shunned and it was all very public, SHAME ! Its much better now for him, but you could see that he had to get charred badly before he got a sniff of attention. Sorry man or woman that is a vast majority of cases how it should be. If you’re ready to shame yourself from a wholly avoidable sin (check the bible) expect to feel the burn

  30. I disagree with you Nicole for one simple reason. The Bible says that divorce is permissible under the circumstance of adultery. When a person cheats on their spouse it does not affect only the other person but it affects their children. What a person is in essence saying when they cheat on their spouse is this: they are not loyal to either them or the family. And its simple, no one wants to know or feel as if they are not worth their spouse or their parents loyalty. And another thing, I think is so easy to talk and hypothesize when you are not in a situation or you have never experienced the complexities of certain situation.

    As a woman, and as a daughter, when God created my heart he knew that it would be vulnerable and fragile. And yes, while marriages can be worked on, it can usually be resolved mostly IF both partners are believers. If on the contrary, the cheating spouse is not a believer or born again, then we have a bigger issue at hand. While marriages can be worked on, it is often a long and difficult process to forgive and trust again. I know myself and I know that trusting and forgiving people are two things that don’t come easily and it is even worse when my trust has been violated by someone I value or cherish because I expect betrayal the least from them, and when they do, its a big blow to my pride. Things will certainly never be the same again in a marriage once a spouse commits adultery for the couple and for their children (if they are aware or involved). So go out there and ACTUALLY talk to people who have experienced or have been affected by adultery in marriages and families and perhaps you can gain greater perspective. I am for the idea of divorce under the circumstance of adultery and this is something I intend to make clear to my future spouse some day. I will divorce him if he ever cheats on me and defiles our marriage bed. There is nothing un-biblical about it.

  31. and another thing, forgiving someone does not mean that I have to stay in a marriage that is filled with adultery. It simply means that I release that person’s wrongs against me but I do not have to continue with that person from where we left off.

  32. I think one of our “responsibilities” as Christians is to FORGIVE.
    my husband cheated on me! and yes! I was devastated, I cried and cried….
    The person that is supposed to protect me, care for me… made a fool of myself, how can I ever trust him again? How could he’d done such vile thing…But when we realize why we are in this world, why we go through trials and heartaches and Why Jesus died for us…we come to understand that it really isnt about YOU or ME.
    How many times have we not CHEATED on Christ with worldly things???
    Its time we REALIZE that “the world does not revolve around us”…it sounds harsh. BUT its true.

    I chose to forgive my husband because Christ first forgave me. We should not pretend to be martyrs…Paul, Stephen….they were true martyrs, they sacrifice themselves for Christ.

    Being cheated on is devastating,heartbreaking and the world says..UNFORGIVABLE…
    A true Christian SHOULD have a different PERSPECTIVE on the matter….WHAT WILL JESUS DO???
    If i were to commit a SIN and repented wouldn’t GOD FORGIVE ME?
    YES!! and that’s a promise.

    FORGIVING it’s part of the JOB.

    **sometimes i think that God doesn’t provide us with a magical wand to “FORGET” what we have forgiven, so that we always remember just HOW merciful HE is!!!!**

    1. Wow Nata, that’s really powerful. I see the truth in what you are saying, you are better than me very brave : ) I guess it brings the book of Hosea to mind

  33. ….we are still together, and in about 8 months we’ll be celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary and our daughter will be 5 years old. Im not saying it’s easy, but it’s definitely not impossible with GOD!!!

    God is just awesome and amazeeeeeing!!!

  34. Thank you for this. I have a friend right now who is dealing with the aftermath of an affair. She has chosen to stay and work as hard as she possibly can to reconcile their marriage. She said sometimes she feels like she has the word FOOL written across her forehead, but you know what? If she’s a fool for staying, then we serve the greatest Fool of all. The One who loved a people who didn’t love Him back. Who died for a people that rejected Him. I am seriously in awe of my friend’s commitment. Her faith and trust in God’s power to restore ANYTHING, truly ANYTHING has been such a challenge to me.

    1. COurtney,
      Thank you for sharing about your friend. Praying for her marriage to be fully restored for I have no doubt that is what God desires. She is blessed to have you as a friend–believing and stepping into faith on her behalf. May the Lord pour out His hope onto you, as well.

  35. I am divorced. My ex left for another girl when my daughter was less than a year old. It hurt. But I told him that for our child I am willing to reconcile and asked our pastor if he can do marriage counseling.

    I waited up to a year and a half for him to return. When I found out that their child was due is when I gave up the idea that he would eventually come back.

    I don’t think adultery should end a marriage. But the Bible says that we can divorce if the spouse chooses not to return.

    It’s awesome that you see marriage as having no exit door! I hope in my next marriage (Lord willing that I’ll get married-praying about it) that Biblical principles will float through my mind as well. Thank you!

  36. I have much of the same feelings. I’m dealing with this first hand myself. My wife cheated on me twice. The first time I was naive and didn’t realize the implications at stake. The second time just sent me reeling. It’s not a sucker punch to the face, its like a drop kick to the groin then a kick to the stomach when you’re in that fetal position having just been kicked and then spit on. It’s absolutely the worst experience of my life and I can’t imagine there being a worse feeling. To be compared to another. To feel worthless. To feel betrayed. To feel abadoned. It’s easily the worst experience in life. I can only relate it to maybe how Jesus felt when Judas betrayed him. However, through all that, I knew I wanted my wife. I love her. I love our family. Divorce has never been an option. We’re working through it and I’m proud of her and her ‘repentance’ process through the ordeal. However, what’s been the hardest wasn’t even the affair. It was the longings she had for someone else, her desires to divorce me for that utter derelict of a human being. It was her coldness towards me, her lack of sex and affection, her emotional and physical distance from me.

    Someone compared pornography to an affair. I can’t even begin to disagree with that sentiment. The two have lust as a common denominator and the comparison ends about there. When Jesus said he who longs after a woman and lusts is saying more specifically that he how is actively pursuing a married woman as a married man or any form of adulteress relationship is committing adultery in his heart. Looking at porn? That’s carnal mindedness, it’s vulgarity, there is an element of lust, but it’s not the active kind. It’s not the plotting, it’s not the deceiving another human being to get in bed with them, it’s so different that it infuriates me when I hear the comparison. Pornography is evil and it can destroy healthy relationships. But it’s nowhere near as damaging as infidelity is. There is a reasons God placed adultery second only behind murder as the gravest of sins. Murder kills an individual, adultery kills a relationship. However, through God’s grace, and I’m living proof, marriages can be resurrected in mortality.

    Those that feel infidelity won’t or can’t happen to them are the most susceptible. Infidelity can strike to anyone in any marriage. My wife is one of the last people on the planet that I thought was capable of such a heinous act. However, I know her heart, and she is striving towards revival of our relationship, for me that means the sexual aspect of our relationship needs to be better than it ever has and that seems to be the last thing to come, we’re still working on it.

    I hope noone else has to experience this, but the selfishness of mortals will always triumph. Thankfully repentance is possible.

  37. I read your blog and all the comments. I am currently going through a difficult time, as my husband (married 27 years) confessed to me that 1 year ago while on a business trip to Manila he was approached by a prostitute asking if he was by himself and wanted some afternoon “company”, whereby, he replied yes. They used protection and he committed adultery on me.I am still in shock and disbleif! We saw our priest and did some marriage counselling. I am thinking of divorce b/c I never vowed to marry an adulterer!! Thanks for letting me share my story.

  38. Mostly I agree with you.

    I’d say, first, as a way to weasel out of
    the problem temporarily, blame the
    adultery on ‘misunderstanding’ of what the
    marriage meant.

    Actually such a misunderstanding is easy
    because commonly couples do not carefully
    discuss just what the marriage means;
    commonly each spouse is in the marriage
    for some hidden, selfish agenda; and it’s
    too easy for the man to marry her because
    she is pretty and good in bed and he wants
    her to cook and clean, and she marries him
    because he is not mean to her, has money,
    and likes to have sex with him.

    Each spouse is being superficial and
    foolish about their one most important
    thing, their life.

    Try to pass the adultery off as something
    a college guy did on a ‘hook up’ with a
    drunk coed who believed that she would
    never get married, saw nothing wrong with
    sex, wanted a lot of sex, and didn’t want
    the responsibilities or efforts of the
    emotional or practical ‘entanglements’ of
    a ‘serious relationship’.

    Heck, when I was in college, a girl
    noticed that we were in some of the same
    classes and introduced herself to me. We
    ate some lunches together, and I took her
    to a movie. In the car after the movie
    she said “We can pretend we are in love,
    can’t we?”. I thought: Since so far we
    have neither hugged nor kissed and had not
    shown any significant affection or
    intimacy, “Was she pregnant from someone
    else and about to blame it on me?”. I
    kept seeing her wondering if there was
    some potential there, but there was never
    anything like affection, romance,
    intimacy, or love, so I dropped her.

    Once I was working in a college and
    handling questions about statistics when a
    new professor came by with some survey
    data and said “Can you help me process
    this data? I’m looking for sex.”. No, I
    was married, and she was ugly!

    In college, I was sitting on some outdoor
    bleachers eating lunch, and a coed sat
    just above me, spread her legs apart as if
    I were to give her a pelvic exam, and
    looked like she was waiting for me to take
    her for a coke, a short conversation, and
    then to bed. It was a nice college, so
    she wasn’t risking me being mean to her,
    but she wanted a ‘hook up’. I never had
    any idea what her name was.

    There has been more.

    So, some coed just tells herself that sex
    is not wrong, that she likes sex, that she
    can’t get married but doesn’t want to deny
    herself sex; so she goes to a bar, gets
    drunk, waits for a guy to take her back to
    his dorm room, has sex, sleeps off her
    drunk, and next week does the same thing
    with a different guy.

    Heck she can have sex with several members
    of the Lacrosse team and then write an
    article comparing them!

    She can also like being a ‘mistress’ of a
    married man because she is more sure that
    he will not want a ‘serious’ relationship.
    She is eager to avoid the pressure, threat
    of criticism, and stress of
    responsibility.

    So, the offended wife can have her husband
    checked for STD and a paternity suit and
    start over:

    I would suggest that then the man and
    woman each outline the reasons for
    marriage, the marriage vows and the
    reasons for them, and the harm of
    violating the vows. In particular, be
    clear on just what sexual intercourse in
    their marriage ‘means’. For that college
    kid with the drunk coed, it likely didn’t
    really ‘mean’ anything — he was just
    after some friction and maybe the pride of
    a ‘score’. Then, the man and woman
    together and possibly with counseling,
    should discuss their outlines and come to
    some common understanding for the future.

    One likely problem is that one or both of
    the spouses just will NOT honestly discuss
    the issues. Indeed, for a couple to be
    able to discuss openly, frankly, and
    honestly an issue even a small fraction of
    so serious is rare. Actually, one of the
    items on a ‘secret scorecard’ of marriage
    quality is, does each spouse communicate
    their thoughts, feelings, wished, desires,
    hopes, fears, frustrations, successes,
    failures, plans, etc. with their spouse?
    The answer usually is no. A couple can
    stay married and go for the last 30 years
    with one or the other spouses cutting off
    essentially any meaningful communications.

    A little more generally, such
    communications is a form of ‘intimacy’
    (between the ears, not between the legs),
    and such intimacy is often difficult to
    obtain and maintain (more difficult than
    between the legs).

    It used to be that with women intimacy
    between the ears was fairly easy but
    between the legs quite challenging; now
    the situation is reversed.

    Some spouses just think that sex is
    something that they like to do and never
    want to turn down, inside the marriage or
    not. To them the idea of “joining this
    man and this woman in the bonds of holy
    matrimony” with sexual intercourse as a
    physical symbol of that joining they just
    don’t accept.

    It’s possible for a woman to get married,
    have her new husband drive her from the
    church to her parents’ home, ask her
    husband to wait in the car as she changes
    from her wedding gown to her going away
    dress, go inside, take off her wedding
    dress, have her former boyfriend come out
    of hiding and quickly squirt his sperm
    into her vagina, put on her pretty, lacy,
    dainty, ‘pure’ white going away dress, and
    run back to her husband in their car.

    Then it’s possible for that woman’s
    younger sister on the eve of her wedding
    to come to her older sister, ask
    permission to borrow her husband, and ask
    the husband to put his sperm into her
    vagina there that evening before her
    wedding. All in a family that looked
    intensely Christian, went to church two or
    more times a week for decades, etc.

    It’s just that each woman in that family
    thought that marriage was a bad thing, had
    other interests, got married only for a
    source of financial support as she pursued
    her real interests, regarded sex as
    something that felt good but was no more
    meaningful than a handshake, regarded
    motherhood as a total waste of their life,
    in public put on an act as a sweet, old
    fashioned, very ethical Christian girl,
    liked sex and had lots of sex with her
    husband, absolutely refused to ‘bond’ with
    her husband in any meaningful sense,
    didn’t communicate with him, care about
    him, respect him, or respond to him, and
    was always looking for a better
    opportunity and really always intending a
    divorce. The marriage vows and ceremony
    were no more than a costume comedy on
    stage where the husband was the fool.

    Of course, in that family, Darwin is
    winning: The women are weak, sick, or
    dead limbs in the tree.

    So, how can there be such women? Sure:
    In the past there were a lot of strong
    norms and economic forces, and women got
    married with/without love. Now the norms
    are relaxed, and some men are easy to fool
    and some women eager to fool them.

    One of the most difficult things for a
    husband and wife is to lie next to each
    other in bed, hug each other, kiss
    affectionately, really tell each other
    what’s been going on between their ears;
    one of the easiest is to lie in bed and
    have sexual intercourse as just mutual
    friction.

    Such is the way of the world.

    But the offended wife can take a little
    comfort in a basic fact of asymmetry in
    biology: If the wife commits adultery,
    then her husband can be stuck rearing the
    child of another man, but if the husband
    commits adultery then the wife is not
    stuck rearing the child of another woman.
    So, it’s a crude and ugly true statement
    that adultery by the husband is less
    serious than adultery by the wife.

    But the real problem, of course, in any
    adultery is that the couple loses the
    meaning of their physical joining via
    sexual intercourse as a symbol of the
    joining of their lives. Big loss.
    Bummer.

  39. I’m so glad I found this post the comments have helped me tremendously. I just found out that my husband had a child by another woman while we are married. The first thought was I’m getting a divorce immediately but God placed people in my life to make me understand that marriage is for better or worse, and this is worse. I’ve been married for five years, and 2 1/2 years ago I was dealing with some serious depression issues so I called and told my husband that I did not want to be married, we separated for six months to a year and God told me that all that I was looking for was with the husband that I have now, so I called him and we reconciled. I asked if he was with someone else during the separation and he said yes, I also asked if there was a chance of the women being pregnant, and he said he didn’t think so. Well last Saturday I found out that there is a child involved who is about 11/2 years old. I was very angry because I felt he was hiding this from me and someone told me instead of him. The fact that it took 11/2 years to tell me, makes me distrust him but he says he did not know how to tell me. I’m seeking God council and waiting for God’s guidance. I don’t believe in divorce but the situation is a hard pill to swallow. I’m exhasting all option before divorce comes back to mind. I’m so glad I found this blog. God speaks and sends his message through different avenues and I believe this is one of those places.

  40. Well, today is the 8th of march and Jim asked me if we could be back together this morning. Of course I said yes. Thanks to you priestess Munak, thanks to the spirits, thank you God. I cannot thank you enough priestess for bringing him back into my life. I didn’t think it was never gonna be possible possible after all i did to him, I had lost my hope and most of any little faith that I had to begin with, but thanks to you, I have my love and my life back. Thank you. God bless you many many times over for all the help you give to people, you have a beautiful gift to humanity, priestess email is priestessmunak@ gmail. com. contact her on relationship or life issues

  41. Unfortunately, I have just recently gone through this. I had a lot of emotions. I was angry, disappointed, scared…it was chaos in my mind. My husband told me everything and told me how much he regretted it immediately and even left and came to the realization of how wrong it was when she touched his wedding band. I have chosen to forgive him. It’s still a work in progress but I’m not letting it be a dirty little secret. It happened, we own it, he owns the mistake and I own the decision of remaining married. It was meaningless. The biggest issue I’ve been dealing with is the fact that he gave something to someone else that was meant for only me. That’s my biggest hurdle. He is an amazing father and a very loving husband. We are praying about this and being complete open books to one another. I don’t believe in divorce. This is part of the “worse” we vowed to go through. I love him deeply and know our marriage is worth having.

  42. So here goes, I am going to summarize this 3 year long situation as short as I can. Just found out my wife of 7 years,10 years together total, was having an “emotional affair” with another married man from work. They both swear they only shared a single goodnight kiss and nothing else during the past 3 months that this seemingly innocent relationship of texts and phone calls to vent happened. They both admit it felt wrong. Fast forward a bit and the affair has been exposed to everyone who should have know including the mans wife. We are starting the repair process. The exact details of all that transpired over the last 3 years is not really relevant to my initial question but I felt I would tell the basics.

    The bottom line is that I’m turning a new leaf. One in which she doesn’t think I can do. I have turned to God and my church for prayer and guidance but there are a few lingering issues I’m not sure how to handle.

    1. How do I deal with my sexual desires that are already starting to slowly creep back in. Desires for her. I want to give her space to deal with this however she needs too and also show her I’ve changed for good. Sexual pressure from me is/was one of the top 3 issues that prob drove her away to begin with so I don’t want to push it but I am a man and need this release soon. I have always struggled with porn addiction but as part of my reform I am dropping that also. Is general masturbation thinking of her perhaps during showers the healthiest, Christian approach during the time it takes her to come back to me? We used to make love 2-3 times a week so going cold turkey from that might be too much to bear assuming you believe that sexual fulfillment is a essential need for a man.

    Any thoughts? Should I abstain from it or partake?

    1. Alex you are taking the position of the only one who is wrong. You are allowing her cheating to strip you of all authority in your life and your relationship. Her unhappiness is now your life’s rudder. You need to change how you are handling this immediately or you are looking at a “surprise divorce” after she decides cheating isn’t exciting enough to stay with you. Its likely your best bet at this point is to ask for a divorce, but if you are unwilling to do that, then stop letting her play the victim, and withholding sex.

      1. No I’m def not the only one who is wrong. But there are a lot of proper steps that need to be taken if reconciliation is going to be possible. I want it to work, I was a huge part of creating the toxic environment in which she felt trapped and hopeless. The thought of destroying our life, 2 children, new house of only 3 months, and every other memory we’ve shared because of yet another selfish decision to not forgive or understand is the farthest thing from my mind. I just need advice about how to satisfy my sexual desires during this time of repair. I suppose the logical thing would be to take a little hiatus. Just like it says in the bible. But once we agreed that the hiatus was over, things would need to Improve or else as you said, it wouldn’t be a good sign.

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