Tag Archives: Jesus

Help! How do I deal with discovering a secret affair child? Part 1

affair child

We recently had someone write with a request (slightly changed for confidentiality):

Can you write about how we should deal with discovering a sibling born out of adultery? In this case the Loyal Spouse was not aware there was a child conceived of adultery, as the child was hidden and never revealed. The Disloyal Spouse introduced their parents and siblings to the hidden child, and they helped the Disloyal hide the child until the marriage was over. How do I deal with this discovery?

We’re going to answer this request from two points of view.  First–today–we’ll answer “How a Loyal Spouse, married several decades, would deal with discovering their Disloyal Spouse had a child that they didn’t know even existed from an affair in the past.” Tomorrow we’ll address “How a young adult would deal with discovering their parent had other children by other people.”

In the first instance, the Loyal Spouse and Disloyal Spouse were married for many years. Apparently at some point in the past, the Disloyal Spouse had an affair and created a child with the Affair Partner. The Loyal and Disloyal did not split up or divorce, and they continued with their marriage for many more years,  and they had a family together … children.  Whether the reconciliation was successful or a rug-sweep we don’t know; whether issues were addressed or avoided we don’t know.  But we do know that the Loyal Spouse did not divorce the Disloyal for many years, and we do know that the Loyal Spouse didn’t know there was an affair baby.  That child was not part of the Loyal Spouse’s life or part of their family unit.

Therefore, to the Loyal Spouse, discovering that there was a hidden affair child would be equivalent to discovering adultery that is going on right now.  The trauma of discovering infidelity is in the present because the discovery is in the present–even though the actual unfaithful activity was many years in the past.  From the Loyal Spouse’s point of view, this will be “as if it is happening now” because the shock is occurring now. This is what it feels like: “Finding Out: What It Feels Like to Hear that Your Spouse is Having an Affair

How would the Loyal Spouse deal with this?  Well our whole site is full of ways to cope with discovering your spouse had an affair!  You could start with this series: “How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 1 Forgiveness” (there are links to the other steps) and this series is all about the stages that occur as you deal with discovering adultery (again there are links to the other stages).  The Loyal Spouse is going to have to work through this traumatic experience.

But overall I think we would recommend that the Loyal Spouse ask themselves “What does the Bible say about dealing with trials?” and “What does the Bible say about dealing with difficult people?”  How did Jesus respond to people who challenged Him and tried to trap Him?  How did He respond to those who were rude or sinful? Was He harsh or dismissive or abrasive?  Nope–He showed patience, He rebuked when it was necessary, and sometimes He remained silent.  Copy Jesus when dealing with both the Disloyal and the Affair Partner.

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you

~Luke 6:27–31

It’s pretty clear in this verse how Jesus wants us to act, even toward those who are our enemy. That’s not to say that we are commanded to be a doormat and allow our enemies to keep hurting us, but we are told to be so profoundly changed by the Holy Spirit with us that we do the exact opposite of what comes naturally.  We are supposed to be so different that we are transformed.

Tomorrow, Part Two of this little series.  We’ll talk about how a young adult would deal with discovering their parent had other children by other people.

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Ask Affaircare: Should I Stay or Go? Can God Restore This Marriage?

AskAffaircare

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.

Back to Basics– Step 6 of 7 Steps To End An Affair -AND- Save Our Marriage Saturday

You’ve suspected for a while that something is not right between you and your spouse. Maybe they were spending lots of extra hours “at work” but there was no overtime on their paycheck. Maybe they completely changed their music, hairstyle, or clothing choices to something appropriate for someone decades younger. Maybe they were chatting or texting all the time and then deleted everything so you couldn’t see it.

Whatever the reasons, you had a sneaking suspicion something wasn’t right…

If you suspect your spouse is having an affair or is being emotionally unfaithful, do not despair. An affair does not have to mean the end of your marriage. In fact, consider this:

  • Approximately 20% of affairs last less than two months
  • Approximately 50% of affairs last more than one month, but less than a year.
  • The remaining 30% last more than a year
  • Very few last more than four years
  • Around 3% result in marriage

There are Seven Steps You Can Take to End an Affair if you have reason to believe your spouse may be unfaithful.  There is no guarantee your marriage will recover, but these steps will give you the best opportunity to recover after the affair ends.

Step 1) Gather Evidence.

Step 2) Confront.

Step 3) Disclose.

Step 4) Expose.

Step 5) Carrot and Stick.

Step 6) Consequences.  This step is the final step of Matthew 18:15-17.  To review let’s look at those verses again, paying specific attention to the final phrases of verse 17:

15  If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

16  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

17  If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

In this step, we recommend that you write your disloyal spouse  a letter and explain that you love them, admit the things you did to contribute to the affair, and indicate what you’re doing to address your own issues and end the Love Extinguishers.   Then, continue with the letter and let your disloyal spouse know that unless they end ALL contact with the Affair Partner and never, EVER contact the Affair Partner again, that you (the loyal spouse) need to end all contact with them.

The idea behind this step is to obey the final parts of verse 17, namely to treat them as a pagan or tax collector.  Now you’ll notice that nowhere does Jesus ever tell us to treat pagans and tax collectors with disrespect or hatred or anger…nothing like that.  But over and over in the Old and New Testament we are told to choose whom we associate with carefully.  Psalm 1:1 says that a person is BLESSED when they don’t “walk around in sinful places, stand loitering with sinful people, or sit and hang out with sinners” (my paraphrase) And it’s not because we hate the people but rather, it’s because if we are constantly around someone who had stiffened their neck and hardened their heart and refuses to obey God.  They will tempt us and council us to be like them!  The whole point of the passage is that in a marriage there is unity–intimacy–and how can there be that kind of oneness between someone who loves and wants to obey God, and someone who willfully continues in disobedience?  You just have to not associate with them.

So you let the disloyal spouse experience a more realistic taste of what divorce could be like–namely that it will hurt them, it will be costly, and it will be HARD.  A typical disloyal spouse has this “fantasy” in their mind that they will move you (the loyal spouse) out, move their lover in, have all their needs flawlessly met by their lover but never have to put in any effort to keep the relationship going–that is, it will come naturally and easily–keep the house, keep the kids, get to keep their lover’s money AND your money (via alimony and child support), and basically life will be a breeze!  Of course, that’s not real life, and the goal here is to allow them to taste what real divorce might be like.  You also give them a chance to see what it would be like to have to depend upon the Affair Partner to meet all of their needs–and honestly this is usually what breaks the affair, because although the Affair Partner may have been in the right place and said the right things, they are often someone who is unemployed (thus they have days free to flirt with a married person) or who doesn’t have the moral character to be faithful.  Chances are, when they have to provide for ALL of the disloyal spouse’s emotional, financial, mental and spiritual needs (without you meeting half the needs)…the two in the affair will start arguing, and when the Affair Partner isn’t “happy” they respond by looking elsewhere!  They’ve already demonstrated that’s how they act!  Finally, you give your disloyal spouse time apart from you so that they can no longer blame you for the day’s events, or “how you made them feel,” or anything because you aren’t in their life anymore!  Thus, if it’s not you…maybe they’ll look at themselves (or at least blame their Affair Partner instead)!  Here are some Sample Consequences Letters.

For some practicalities, one of the common things a female disloyal will try to do,  if you have children, is wanting the loyal to do things “…for the children” when really it’s to meet one of her needs.  A perfect example of this would be the unfaithful wife who is living with her lover at the lover’s house, but she asks her loyal husband to mow the lawn “so the kids have a place to play.”  Then when the loyal husband says “No” or suggests that she get her lover to mow his own lawn, she might try guilt “I can’t believe you don’t want the kids to have a place to play! Who treats their children like that?”  This is why we suggest an intermediary in the Consequences Step–to act as a buffer between the disloyal and loyal spouse.  This can be a person who agrees to do it, a person you both knew as a friend, a parent, a pastor from church–pretty much anyone willing to do it–but the intermediary would be the person who would get the request from the disloyal to mow the lawn, and the intermediary would not pass that on  to the loyal, but rather just return it to the disloyal and ask them to take care of their own situations.  You can see how the intermediary would actually shield the loyal spouse from a LOT of hurt and pain!

Nonetheless, the loyal spouse will have to discipline themselves to not accept phone calls or read IM’s or emails that come from the disloyal spouse.  If the disloyal calls from an blocked number, or for whatever reason the call gets through on accident, the loyal can say something like, “Are you calling because you’re ready to end the affair? Oh, you’re not? Then please respect my wishes for no contact until you’re ready to do that. Goodbye” and hang up.  All email attempts, just forward to the intermediary. Keep the focus on ending the affair and recovering marriage. Don’t get caught up in arguing over secondary or trivial issues.

Again, in this stage there are occasionally disloyal spouses whose affair just die a natural death–the Affair Partner just gets sick of it and leaves them–or they begin to realize that a divorce would be VERY painful to them…and they think maybe that too much water has passed under the bridge. Periodically let your disloyal know that you would be willing to have them back and work on the marriage. but that at this point some substantial damage has been done. Invite them to return. If this is your case, consider yourself blessed and move to the phase of recovering your marriage.

If that is not how it works out for you, please bear in mind that the process of breaking up an affair with a hard-hearted spouse is not “guaranteed.”  Sinful human beings often just REFUSE to do the right thing; hurting human beings often are more afraid to look at themselves and admit they were wrong than they are to live with the mess they’ve made!   If that is the case, please post a comment or post a Prayer Request and we’ll pray for you.  Thank God, He didn’t just leave us at this point, but the Bible does tell us what do do for the next step.  And so we will post tomorrow with Step 6


This is post #6  in the CMBA 1/2 Marathon Blogging Challenge to post everyday for 13 days in October … AND is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

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Today is also Save Our Marriage Saturday.

We have a tradition here at Affaircare. We call it “Save Our Marriage Saturday”–and we’re sharing the love.  Link-love that is!  Every Saturday we hold a link-up party so you can share a post of your own and we can all help each other to save our marriages!

Please share your post on any and all things related to saving your marriage after an affair, reconciling after you committed adultery, recovering your marriage after finding out that your spouse cheated, or keeping your marriage affair-free!

1. Please link to your actual “Save Our Marriage Saturday” post, not just the address to your blog or site home page.

2. Please leave me a comment–I would love to visit your site, return the favor, and follow you!

3. Please share the love with your fellow bloggers–Read and leave a comment on at least the two blogs above yours.

4. Please help me spread the word. Let’s create a community of Christian believers who want to bring glory to God by teaching our brothers and sisters about how to have a godly marriage, how to avoid the typical traps that lead to infidelity, and how to be a living testimony of forgiveness and reconciliation if one spouse is unfaithful.

5. Link back to this community, either by using the button below or a text link. You can find the button code here for you to insert in your post:

HTML CODE:


I LINK TO THESE GODLY LINK-UPS:
Beholding Glory’s Blog Hop List, No Ordinary Blog Hop: Family-Parenting-Marriage , The Alabaster Jar-Marital Oneness Mondays, Revive Your Marriage MondaysTime-Warp Wife-Titus 2sdays, …to Love, Honor and Vacuum–Wifey Wednesdays, Unveiled WifeGrace Alone/Women Taking a Stand–Thankful Thursdays, and Beholding Glory–Faith Filled Fridays.

Back to Basics–Step 2 of 7 Steps To End An Affair

You’ve suspected for a while that something is not right between you and your spouse. Maybe they were spending lots of extra hours “at work” but there was no overtime on their paycheck. Maybe they completely changed their music, hairstyle, or clothing choices to something appropriate for someone decades younger. Maybe they were chatting or texting all the time and then deleted everything so you couldn’t see it.

Whatever the reasons, you had a sneaking suspicion something wasn’t right…

If you suspect your spouse is having an affair or is being emotionally unfaithful, do not despair. An affair does not have to mean the end of your marriage. In fact, consider this:

  • Approximately 20% of affairs last less than two months
  • Approximately 50% of affairs last more than one month, but less than a year.
  • The remaining 30% last more than a year
  • Very few last more than four years
  • Around 3% result in marriage

There are Seven Steps You Can Take to End an Affair if you have reason to believe your spouse may be unfaithful.  There is no guarantee your marriage will recover, but these steps will give you the best opportunity to recover after the affair ends.

Step 1) Gather Evidence.

Step 2) Confront.   In Matthew 18: 15-17, Jesus tells us specifically how to deal with a brother or sister who sins.  What closer brother or sister do you have than your own spouse? So let’s look to God’s Word for the steps we are to take.  We’re starting at verse 15:

15  If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

16  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

17  If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

So in these verses, we are told exactly the way to handle a disloyal spouse.  First, according to I Cor. 13 love does believe the best, but that’s why we do step 1 and gather evidence with an open mind.   We give our spouse the benefit of the doubt, we check sources, we don’t listen to gossip–but if evidence is found that is more than one witness…Matthew 18:15-17 tells us what to do.

Once the loyal spouse has some convincing evidence that it’s not just “in their mind” and there really is an emotional or physical affair,  what does the verse say the next step is?  The verse says to go to the disloyal spouse directly and “point out their fault”  just between the two of you.  Tell them to their face that you know about the affair and have evidence in a safe place that proves it’s real irrefutably. [Don’t tell them where it is or what it is necessarily, just make the statement that you know about it.]  Then state right out loud that in order for the marriage to work there can not be infidelity and ask them point blank to to the right thing and end the affair.

Ending the affair means that they can never, EVER contact the other person ever again, and they agree to be accountable for their time by sharing passwords to their accounts (Facebook, all email accounts, cell phones…etc.). On the occasion there is a disloyal spouse who will fall apart upon being discovered and who has been looking for a way to get out of it but didn’t know how.  Like the verse in Matthew says: “If they listen to you, you have won them over.”  If this is your case, consider yourself blessed.

If that is not how it works out for you, please bear in mind that for many disloyal spouses, no amount of proof is going to get them to confess, much less end their affair.  If that is the case, please post a comment or post a Prayer Request and we’ll pray for you.  Thank God, He didn’t just leave us at this point, but the verses continue with the next step.  And so will our post tomorrow with Step 3.


This is post #2 in the CMBA 1/2 Marathon Blogging Challenge to post everyday for 13 days in October … AND is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

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And on Tuesdays I also join this Godly Link-up:

Happiness Month! Day 23: Peace

Today is Day 22 of Happiness Month and it will be continuing all month long. This all started at the Secret Society of Happy People and if you want to pop over there and become an Amused Member, you can get a Free 31 Types of Happiness poster. As you can tell by my daily #HappinessHappens tweets and Facebook posts, I’ve been a member for a long, long time!

Today, to add happiness to your life:  Peace!  Life is a constant stream of drama and stress threatening to play havok with your happiness, so to be happier, remember to take time to be peaceful.

The word “peace” is a noun, and it means:

  • Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility

Over the last 22 days we’ve been going over ways to increase the happiness in your life every day … and then applying that day’s topic to marriage and to marriages struggling with an affair specifically.  Today’s topic–Peace–is a huge one.  How often have you come home and been immediately met at the door with a spouse that’s wants to fight?  How often has the tranquility of your home been disturbed by loud disagreements?  Have you made your home something that your spouse would consider a haven from the outside pressures of work and “the world”?  Or is your home filled with discord, lack of harmony, and more stress?  If your home has NOT been a peaceful haven–what can you do today to start to make it the one place where your spouse can come and get relief, destress, and feel safe?  Philippians 4:6-7 tells us the way to peace: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  

The stress of infidelity on a marriage is ENORMOUS.  Just on a personal level it can bring people to the brink of what they can bear and stay sane!  The strain on the family is just as great,  disturbing every routine.  But your spouse’s choice to be unfaithful does not have to disrupt the peace. There are six things you can do to bring the peace back, even while your spouse is having an affair:

  • Pray–Philippians 4:6-7
  • Serve Christ–Romans 14:17-19
  • Love–2 Corinthians 13:11
  • Obey–Psalm 119:65
  • Trust–Isaiah 12:2
  • Have Faith–Romans 5:1

Over the next days, we’ll be going over all 31 ways to Add Happiness Every Day. You know too often I hear young people say “He doesn’t make me happy” or “I wish she would make me happy” but you know what? Happiness is not something that someone else “makes” you feel. You make choices in your life that can affect your happiness….and ultimately you CHOOSE whether to be happy every day or not. You can also choose to do things that would add happiness to your life every single today.

Bible Verses to Save Your Marriage After an Affair

Romans 6:23   “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 10:4  “Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 10:9-10  “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

If you really want to save your marriage after infidelity, the thing that will help the most is being a Christian.  Our nature is to be sinful people, and the “wages” of that sin–the consequence–is eternal separation from God.  We are spiritually dead.  If you want, you can envision drowned people in a huge sea.  The ocean is the sin that we are in, and since we are drowned, we are dead and powerless to help ourselves.  Thankfully, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to fulfill the Law and take the punishment of our sin in our place.  The price has been paid!  Those whom He has chosen, He picks them up from the death of drowning in sin, and He breathes life into them so they are able to believe and profess with their mouth that they have been saved from death!  So start here … with these verses. 

  

Matthew 19:26  “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

It may seem hopeless, and it may feel futile and discouraging, to hold on to a marriage after infidelity, but there is hope.  God can change a person from the inside out.

Mark 10:6-9   “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

These verses give us some background that marriage was something ordained by God.  They also tell us a lot of facts about what God thinks about marriage.  They say we are to leave the authority of our father and mother’s home.  They say we are supposed to have a physical relationship.  They say husbands and wives are united … we are ONE.  And it says right there that man does not have the authority to tear marriage apart–only God has that authority.  So let’s keep in mind what God thinks about marriage.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5  “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control”.

These verses show us that moral sexuality is pleasing to God.  Please note, however, that our sexuality is not self-centered–to get what we need–but rather SPOUSE-centered.  We are told our bodies belong to each other -AND- that we should not go without sex because we help each other with sexual self-control.  Have you been withholding sex to control your spouse?

1 Corinthians 10:13  “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

This is a promise.  God IS faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But note that it doesn’t say it will be easy or that you won’t be hurt.  It says that others have been tempted by the same stuff that is tempting you, and that God will give you a way to deal with it.

Galatians 6:9   “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Everyone gets tired…gets discouraged…feels dejected.  Do not give up.  Keep planting the seeds of doing good, even sometimes in the face of evil.  Do the right thing.

Ephesians 4:15  “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”

This verse has to do with honesty and openness.  I’m sure you would LOVE it if your spouse or “soon-to-be-ex” was honest with you and openly let you into their life and heart.  But how honest are YOU with your spouse?  Do you “speak the truth” to them?  What about when you think they’ll get mad?  Do you lie to avoid their anger?  Speak the truth, lovingly.

Ephesians 4:32  “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

If you had gotten from God what you deserve, you would be spiritually dead.  If your spouse got from you what they deserve for their affair, they might be on the curb with divorce papers.  But God forgave you and gave you a way to be saved–can you forgive your spouse and give them a way to rebuild (if they are truly repentant)?

Philippians 4:13   “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Oh this is probably one of the most misused verses in the Bible.  It DOES NOT mean that you can do whatever you want and God with give you the strength to do it.  It means that the things that please Him are not always easy…in fact it’s hard to resist our nature and live like a Christian!  But not only does God call us to obey, He also gives us the strength to do the things He asks.

Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

Believe the best of your spouse, and actively encourage them to do the right thing, obey God, and stop doing what they know is wrong.

Hebrews 13:4  “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

Just so you’re not believing those crazy justifications like “We were called together so we could serve in the Youth Group Ministry”–here’s a verse that says right out that God is not pleased with adultery.  So you’re not nuts.  God does not tell people to break their covenant and be unfaithful in order to serve Him–just the opposite really. 

James 1:19   “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

Did you notice something interesting?  It doesn’t say “No matter what, don’t ever, Ever, EVER become angry.”  It can be righteous to be angry, and anger handled correctly is not sinful.  But the big message here, of course, is to listen a lot more than you speak, and when you listen don’t just be plotting your response.

2 Peter 3:9  “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

The moment you sinned, God could have demanded the price from you immediately–He had the right.  But He was patient with your unfaithfulness to Him…and now you can model His behavior by being patient and giving your spouse every opportunity to do the right thing.

1 John 4:7-8  “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Please do not be confused: Love is not the same as being a doormat.  Love does not mean “walk all over me.”  It means making the choice to act lovingly toward someone even with they are not acting too lovely, and it means doing what is in their best interests.  

Think of a parent who loves their child.  Does a loving parent just let their child steal a candybar in broad daylight from the grocery store?  OR does a loving parent see the theft and then let their child experience the repercussions of their action (taking the candy back, paying for it, being embarrassed) so that the child learns that stealing has painful ramifications?  If they let the child steal and just cover up the theft, the child will never learn the lesson!  

Same with adultery.  Being loving does not mean “pay no consequences”–it means that you will do what is loving and allow your adult spouse to live through the painful consequences to learn their lesson, but you don’t add vengeance and  spite.  Be loving–love them enough to do what is best for them.

Crossing the Line…

Lots of times people ask questions like this: “Is having a friend of the opposite sex wrong?” or “What about chatting and texting all hours of the day and night? It’s just chitchat—is that okay?” “Is sexting really an affair?  It’s just flirting, it’s not physical and it’s just words!” or “How about cybersex.  I mean it’s not like we had REAL sex!  Is that crossing the line?”  

Have you heard those kinds of questions?  It’s as if the people asking the question want to go RIGHT UP TO THE LINE of doing the wrong thing, but not cross the line.  Many of these questions come up precisely BECAUSE we have an incorrect view of what fidelity and sex even ARE!  If you think of sex as “doing things to myself (or using someone else) physically which result in an amazing physical sensation and relaxing release” … well it does do those things but that’s like the tiny tip of the iceberg of what sex is meant to be!  Likewise, as we’ve already discussed in the blog “Fidelity is not asking ‘How Far Can I Go?’ ” faithfulness (fidelity) is “devotion to a person or duties: allegiance , constancy , fealty , loyalty…the state of loyalty and devotion to obligations, duties, and observances that are owed to a certain person (namely your spouse).”  In our marriages, we are supposed to reflect Christ‘s marriage to His Bride, the Church.  This is why husbands have federal headship over their wives–to reflect God‘s headship over Christ and Christ’s headship over His bride, the Church!  Further, when a wife is submissive to her husband, she is directly demonstrating a living example of how Christ was submissive to God and how we (the Church) are in submission to Christ! 

Taken in that context, where our marriages reflect Christ and His Church–did Christ come as the Son of God, with all the authority and glory of God in the flesh, and say “Hey everybody!  I’m GOD!  Serve me!”??  Or did He demonstrate a servant heart, even to the point of laying down his life in obedience, saying “I am indeed God but I’m going to act in a way that obeys God and is for your best interest, not self-centeredly focused on my own”??  If our marriages are a mirror of Christ, then how can our sex life be “doing things to myself (or using someone else) physically which result in an amazing physical sensation and relaxing release”?  Our sex lives, as a gift of God to intimately KNOW our spouse, would have to reflect that attitude of “…I’m going to act in your best interest instead of my own…”!  Right? Our sexuality is reserved for one person with whom we are in a lifelong covenant marriage, to get to KNOW each other intimately on every level: physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.  Likewise our faithfulness to our spouse also would reflect that attitude of “…I’m going to act in a way that focuses on showing you the loyalty that is owed to you by my promise–not on what I can get away with!”  So now let’s look at those questions again, from that point of view!  

“Is having a friend of the opposite sex wrong?”  Well let’s use those two standards: Sexuality is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage, and it is a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own.”  How far can you go?  You tell me.  When we marry someone we stand before God and our families as witnesses and promise to give 100% of our affection and loyalty to that one person ONLY (forsaking all others…until death parts us).  So how far can you go before you are giving some percent of your affection to that opposite sex friend?  Or some part of you gives some loyalty to the friend and the remainder of the loyalty to your spouse?  Does this reflect an attitude of “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own” -OR- does it put your own selfish desires ahead of your spouse?  Then I guess you have your answer don’t you?  

See how easy it is to answer these questions when you get the right point of view!
“What about chatting and texting all hours of the day and night? It’s just chitchat—is that okay?”   Again, let’s use those two standards: Sexuality is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage, and it is a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own.”  Well again you tell me: how does chatting and texting with another person of ANY gender indicate that you’ve reserved intimate knowledge of yourself for the one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage?  How does chatting and texting with another person demonstrate acting in your spouse’s best interests and pleasures?  I don’t see how it does!  I see a self-centered focus on what makes YOU feel good or feel happy or whatever!  
There is even more to consider too.  Two of my favorite verses are I Corinthians 10:23-24 and Philippians 4:8 .  In I Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul is talking to the Church about our freedom–how we are free to eat or drink anything that God has created–but he is very clear in telling the Corinthians that not all things are BENEFICIAL and not all things are CONSTRUCTIVE.  We can use that as a pattern to determine if things “cross the line” too!  How does it benefit YOUR SPOUSE for you to chat and text with another person of any gender all hours of the day and night?  Does that kind of behavior benefit the Church–the body of Christ?  How about is it constructive?  Does chatting and texting with another person build your marriage and make it a living testimony of God’s faithfulness to us?  Is it constructive to the Body of Christ or is it another example of hypocrisy to unbelievers?  And in Philippians, the apostle Paul is nice enough to list for us the KINDS of things we should be thinking about: “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…”  COOL!!  Is chatting and texting with someone all hours of the day and night true (as in “true hearted”)?  How about noble?  Is it right?  What about pure–is it pure?  Lovely?  Behavior to-be-admired?  Is texting with another person acting in a way that is excellent and worthy of praise?  
Seems like the answer is pretty clear to me!  
“Is sexting really an affair?  It’s just flirting, it’s not physical and it’s just words!”  I’ll let you do this one on your own.  But remember our criteria:
1. Intimacy (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually) is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage.  Does sexting reserve intimate knowledge of you on all those levels for only your spouse?
2.  Does it demonstrate a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own”?  How would sexting be acting in your spouse’s best interests?  Isn’t the sexting focused on YOU and YOUR pleasure?  
3. Is it BENEFICIAL?  Is it CONSTRUCTIVE?   Does the sexting benefit your spouse or your marriage?  Does it benefit the Church?  Is sexting constructive to your marriage or family?  Is it constructive to the Church?  Does sexting help lead the unsaved to salvation?
4. Is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy?   I think you get the drift by now, don’t you?  
“How about cybersex.  I mean it’s not like we had REAL sex!  Is that crossing the line?”   You know, I’m just going to remind you of our four criteria:  
1. Intimacy (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually) is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage.
2.  Does it demonstrate a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own”?   
3. Is it BENEFICIAL?  Is it CONSTRUCTIVE?  (I Cor. 10:23-24)
4. Is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy? (Phil. 4:8)  
Gentle reader, I challenge you today to change your perspective.  Rather than asking “Where is the line, so I can come RIGHT UP TO THE LINE but not cross it” I challenge you to look at your marriage, your sexuality, and what you do with others in a wholly new way: “Where is the line, so I can stay as far away from it as possible!!”  

WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME!?

I read a post today over at the Institute for Nouthetic Counseling blog, entitled “Why?”  (the author is Dr. Jay Adams) that inspired me to write this post.  This is one question we hear SO OFTEN at AffairCare!  “Why!!!!???”

“Why did my spouse have an affair?”

“Why don’t they love me anymore?”

“Why did this happen to me?”

“Why did God let this happen?”

Usually when people ask this question, like Dr. Adams says…they aren’t really looking for an answer but instead they feel sad or depressed, want to complain, and for the most part want to blame someone or something else for what’s going on in their lives.  But believe it or not, there really are ANSWERS to these questions, especially if you are a believing Christian!

“Why did my spouse have an affair?”–Spouses have affairs for one simple reason: by nature we are sinful (Romans 3:23).  That is to say, until we are regenerated by God’s salvation, in our natural state, we are slaves to sin and death.  So  it is our nature to do sinful things, sinful things feel natural or comfortable, and sinful things are easy and “feel good”.  Sometimes even when a person is saved, they will succumb and slip back into the old sinful habits because obeying God can feel uncomfortable or be difficult.  So your spouse had an affair because they are human.

“Why don’t they love me anymore?”–This is actually a two-pronged answer. If you’ve looked at our Basic Concepts, you’ll understand that on one hand it has to do with a gradual increase of Love Extinguishers putting out the flame of love, and a gradual decrease of Love Kindlers that make the flame of love blaze!  But that’s really only one part of it.  The other part is that they have made a decision.  Contrary to the way it’s portraited in our culture, Love is not a feeling that swoops over you and is uncontrollable. Love is a CHOICE to act in a loving way and expend time, energy and thought for that person (I Cor. 13:4-8).  Thus, they have CHOSEN to put their time, energy and thoughts into that Other Person..and if they put that same amount of time, energy and thought into you (and upholding their vow)…Love could be rebuilt.

“Why did this happen to me?”–Again, a two-pronged answer.  If you are not a Christian, saved by grace, then it happened because human beings are naturally sinful and sinning hurts us (Eph 2:1).  Oh yeah, we think “It feels good,” and that momentary rush of Affair Adrenalin may temporarily feel good!  But in the long run…sinning hurts us.  It harms children, destroys families, devastates grandparents and aunts and uncles…ruins finances…breeds unhappiness and sorrow!!  On the other hand, if you are a Christian, saved by grace, then it happened for one reason: God promised you He would continue to do His good work in you until you were completed (Phil 1:6).  Apparently in God’s providence He has decided you needed this problem in order to grow more intimate with Him and become more like Him.  It is an opportunity to become the man or woman God intends for you to be.

“Why did God let this happen?”–I’ll quote Dr. Adams here (he says it perfectly):  “What happened …  was an act of God’s providence. You know He’s actively at work in this world.  And what He does for His children is always for their good (Romans 8:28).  Even though we don’t know what He’s up to (by ordaining this painful situation), nevertheless, we can be sure of several things since you are a Christian:  God is in the problem–God is up to something in the problem–God is up to something good.  GOD IS INVOLVED IN WHAT IS HAPPENING, BRINGING ABOUT GOOD IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, IN HIS TIME!!”

Luke 2 – The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.