The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God. Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!
It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!
Our email question today comes from a newlywed wife, who writes:
I got married just a few months ago. A few days after marriage my husband decided he didn’t want to be married and started drinking heavily. About a week later he said he was sorry and really loved me. He suspiciously always has to leave and always has a story why he has to leave. There were many signs that he was cheating. I asked God to please reveal to me what I need to know. I found his missing wedding band in his glove compartment. I suspected he was seeing his ex girlfriend. I texted her, telling her he got married along with a picture and then confronted him. His first response was he loved her and tried to love me. Well she has dumped him and now he wants us to work it out. He has been lying and cheating on me since before our marriage. I am being a good, Godly Christian wife, but I don’t trust him or believe him. I don’t know how to! I’m praying, but the mistrust of him cheating before and after marriage is devastating. I feel like he’s staying with me because she dumped him. Please pray for me. I hurt so much!!!!
Dear Newlywed Wife,
We are DEFINITELY praying for you! I can not imagine the pain of a husband who was unfaithful before the marriage and into “the honeymoon” period! People usually think of the honeymoon as a time when love is new and strong! I bet this has been a very painful, trying time for you.
Let’s start by saying that if your new husband has been unfaithful, then in Matthew 5: 31-32 says “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.” When a disloyal spouse is martially unfaithful, it is within the moral rights of the loyal spouse to choose to divorce, but it is not REQUIRED. If you were to choose to divorce and annul the marriage right now, it would be something you could choose to do with a clear conscience, because the covenant of the marriage was destroyed by the disloyal spouse’s actions–not by your decision to legally match what their actions DID.
But it is very important to note that it is not required for you to divorce, and here at Affaircare we support you if your choice is to attempt to reconcile. We believe that marriage is commitment and that love is an ACTION not a feeling. So if you put your commitment to your marriage ahead of temporary feelings right now, or even ahead of feeling of affection, then honestly, we’d see that as heroic and honorable.
If that is your choice–at least for now–it is utterly reasonable for you to not trust him or believe him. Well…actually that’s not accurate. You trust him … TO BE DISHONEST! It’s a common misunderstanding to say ‘I don’t trust you’ when in real life, you don’t have issues trusting at all. You trust him to lie to you. You trust him to be unbelievable. See what we mean? There is trust–the part that’s been broken is the HONESTY part, not the trusting.
And it’s reasonable to not believe him and not trust his honesty. His words and actions have not matched. He has demonstrated a willingness and ability to lie to you. He has ACTED dishonestly and spoken dishonestly, so right now, you have complete faith in his ability to hide things from you, betray you, and hurt you in order to make himself feel better!
If he wants to stay married, and you are willing to give him the time, we would suggest that the two of you start from ground zero. The very first thing he’d have to do is spend some time where his words and his actions MATCH proving to you that he is willing and able to be honest to you! Frankly that is going to take some time, because for months now he has proven the opposite. Let’s assume it would be equal–he needs to be HONEST with you for the same amount of time that he was DISHONEST with you, and then maybe you’d start to trust his honesty.
The second thing the two of you would need to do is to rebuild from scratch. Right now, any foundation that was built has been destroyed. Any affection that was built, before his betrayal and before you discovered it, has been completely wiped out! So we would strongly encourage both of you to start over. Do the quizzes and questionnaires on our site to learn about each other and get to know your Love Languages, Personality Types, Love Kindlers, and Love Extinguishers. Read up about What To Do After an Affair and follow those steps together.
If he is willing to spend a year or so showing you he can be honest, and if he is willing to spend a goodly amount of time like that rebuilding and showing consistent, loving behavior–acting like a married man and thinking of you and your needs–then we could see hope for this marriage. We see no reason for you to rush right off and file for divorce, nor do we see a mandate to live together or live apart during this timeframe. If you do feel more comfortable separating, it is conceivable you may want to file Legal Separation to protect yourself legally.
Thanks for writing to us and let us know how you’re doing!
Cindy and David.