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 question today comes two Loyal Spouses who essentially ask the same question. Stay or Go wrote:
My man is cheating on me. I have caught him more than once but he continues to do it. Do I stay or do I go now?
and Can God Restore This Marriage wrote:
…so my husband has had several affairs over our 18-year relationship. I found out about them all at once we started going to counseling with our pastor and his wife. during that time he began cheating again. I just found out and while my pastor believes that god can restore this marriage I wonder if we have messed this up so bad. at first I was feeling like I cannot deal with this at all so I will just pretend to not know and move on. It’s been a few days and now I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust him again!
First, we have to say that when we answered “Ask Affaircare” last week, it was just a wee bit long. This week we will endeavor to keep it shorter!
Dear Stay or Go and Can God Restore This,
We aren’t going to tell you what to do–you two are both adults and personally responsible for your choices. If you choose to stay, do so because you have made a decision to stand firm and then stand firm. If you choose to go, do so because the natural consequence of adultery is breaking the marriage covenant. Thus, if the adulterer BROKE it, they would have to be the one to REPAIR IT by coming to themselves and truly repenting. If they don’t, then divorcing is just one of the natural consequences of the choice that they made to break the marriage covenant.
In the end, the decision is yours and you will reap both the benefits and pay the costs of whatever you choose. EVERY choice–every decision–has both a benefit and a cost, and usually people make their choices because ‘the perceived benefit’ is more valuable than ‘the perceived cost.’ Now we all know that people are sinful and that the qualities that sinful people value are not the qualities that bring glory and honor to God! Thus, a selfish person may “value” the ego-boosting flattery of opposite sex attention over the godly commitment to the spouse of their youth.
So since we are not going to tell you what to decide, how about if we look at what the Bible tells us and help you to figure out how to make your own decision?
1. What are you committed to? Many people place a commitment to their own happiness ahead of their commitment to their spouse. Many people put their commitment to ease ahead of the covenant they made before God to put the effort into loving their spouse!
So one way you can decide whether to Stay or Go…is to consider “What are YOU committed to?” Honoring your promise? -OR- Your own happiness?
2. What did Jesus say about Divorce? Well…let’s look! Matthew 19:8-9: “Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
So straight from Jesus’ mouth, He says you CAN divorce for sexual immorality–that is to say, you are ‘allowed’–but notice that He doesn’t say you MUST. It’s not a commandment. So if you don’t want to divorce after your spouse is unfaithful, God doesn’t require it of us, but He does allow divorce for that one exception: sexual immorality.
3. Obviously God CAN restore–He has the ability to do anything. He is God! He can choose to suspend the law of gravity or choose to make the sun stand still if He wills! So the question is not “CAN God restore this marriage?” but rather “Will He? Is it His will?” One of the best suggestions we can give you to decide what IS and IS NOT God’s will is to read the Bible. The more you read the Bible, the more you have the opportunity to get to know God’s mind. The more you know God mind, the easier it is to determine if something is God’s will or not!
4. What about forgiveness? Many times people think that “forgiveness” means “forgetting” or “approving” — and nothing could be further from the truth. We are never, ever told to approve of known sin, nor to just forget about it as if it never happened. What ARE we told about forgiveness then? Well let’s look at Luke 17:3-4 “So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
But what if they don’t “come to themselves” or repent (meaning, act and think 180 differently and stop their sin)? Do we have to forgive then? It doesn’t say we MUST–but it also doesn’t say we can’t! So we are allowed to forgive even if they don’t ask!
So we are still not going to tell you what to decide. Instead we pray that this look at what the Bible tells us has helped you to figure out how to make your own decision. We would also like to invite you to come back on Friday to listen to the podcast–either on the Affaircare YouTube channel, on iTunes or Stitcher, or here on the blog–because we’ll be going into even more detail on how to decide if you should stay…or you should go.