How should I handle an affair?
Hi, I have a very important meeting in a few days at my Pastor’s office. I have been married for 15 years. On our 7th year of marriage, my husband had an affair. I didn’t find out until the following year. He confessed to the affair after the confrontation. I felt a big part of me died and indeed it did.I stayed with him, believing in my heart it was the Christian and right thing to do, the pressures of other people to forgive, and for the sake of our children, but in these last 7 years of our marriage, rather than improving it became weaker and weaker. I felt I was being punished, like I was at fault. I still hurt today with what happened 7 years ago, the affair, the lies the deceit.Recently I discovered he was entertaining on-line pornography, another disappointment for me. We are both Christians and my desire to have this Christian home I only dreamed of was shattered a long time ago. I honestly do not wish to continue in this marriage with him. We have been separated since December. I have been meeting and counseling with Pastor and his wife, I know I have to make a decision and I also know that I am free to go. I know the Lord is with me and He will guide me in all I do. I no longer desire to share my life with him. Please advise.
Answer: No matter what happens or what decision you make – you need to work on forgiving. If he doesn’t change or your marriage is not healed – you need to be healed. And through forgiveness and Christ you will find ultimate healing.
My question is: what does Christ want you to do? Ultimately, you will only find satisfaction in doing His will in your life. I can’t tell you whether to stay in your marriage or to divorce. Scripture is very strong on keeping the marriage bond together but, grants divorce in some situations like adultery.
What needs to happen if you continue in your marriage? How do you need to change? What do you need your husband to change? If he stopped the pornography and asked you for forgiveness, would you consider staying and working on the marriage? How about asking him to do that and starting over again in counseling together? Or is your heart hardened against him? If so, then, start with yourself. And let the Lord soften you first, so, that you can hear God’s voice and read God’s Word with an open heart for His guidance in your life.
Would God want you to stay in this marriage another 6 months or a year while you both make a concerted effort to change? Then, you could say you gave it one more try. It’s like forgiving 70 times 70. Forgiveness is endless. Forgiveness gives the person another chance. Forgiveness helps you to start over because we’re all human and we all need forgiveness.
You are planning to get a divorce. That decision is between you and God and He will provide you with peace to proceed with the divorce. The important issue is to forgive your spouse no matter what happens.
Forgiveness will help you start over whether you stay in the marriage or not. Why not meet with your pastor and with your husband. In front of the pastor – ask your husband to confess these sins and you can then offer him forgiveness. You should then consider asking your husband to forgive you for any way you have hurt him.
This will give you a fresh start. This will help you heal whether your marriage heals or not. Christ forgives us completely past, present and future. You can in Christ’s power forgive and be freed from the prison of bitterness.
Read about Rebuilding Trust in Your Spouse
God bless you!
I would encourage you to consider ordering the book: What’s Good About Anger? to help you work through any on-going anger and resentment.
©copyright 2014 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC