Question (from Facebook community): “My husband is currently unfaithful; however, he is still living with my kids and me. He won’t leave until the divorce is final. How do I behave?” 

I can’t even imagine living in this kind of situation. It sounds like torture to me, so my heart goes out to the one who asked the question. (And even sadder, I know of more than one person who is going through this.) I’m going to pass along two pieces of advice given to me during a particularly stressful portion of my separation, and I hope they can apply here, and to other situations like it. 

First, I would try to minimize the influence this person has on you. Begin living now as if you are separated/divorced. Engage as little as you have to. Do fun things with your children. Ask God to help you not take on any harsh words that are said to you. Ask him to give you a portion from Scripture that you can memorize and say to yourself, over and over if you have to, while interacting. Something simple like, “I’m precious and honored in your sight” or “Jesus loves me”.  

One thing that I realized I was doing was getting myself more worked up than I needed to be. I would email a list of questions that I thought I needed answers to (things like, “when are you going to fill-in-the-blank?” or “can I buy such-and-such for the house?”). When I wouldn’t get timely responses – or any responses, I would get so angry. I then started answering my own questions and learning to let the rest go. For instance, “Who cares when he is going to do fill-in-the-blank? I’ll take care of it myself,” or “Yes, we need such-and-such for the house, so I’m going to just buy it myself.” This made a huge difference in my daily frustration level. 

Author Jan Silvious says in Foolproofing Your Life, “You are no longer willing to allow your fool {difficult person}…to define you. You have faced the fact that you cannot define or alter your difficult person.”  And, I might add, he does not define you.  This should be your aim during this especially taxing season.
And secondly, treat your soon-to-be-ex-spouse with the kindness you would show a stranger.  Silvious has this to say, “You are…polite, kind, and share only the information that needs to be given in order to conduct the business you have. When you detach from your fool {difficult person}, he becomes this kind of “stranger” to you. You do not open yourself up for intimate conversation about either of you, but you do speak with civility and kindness.” 

I needed to change how I was looking at my relationship with my spouse during our separation.  There came a point where things shifted from trying to reconcile to we are on the path to ending our marriage. If you are in the middle of the divorce process and your spouse is actively unfaithful, you are on this ending path (unless God does something amazing, which he can). But because of the path you are on, it is time to begin the emotional and literal process of untangling yourself from your spouse. He no longer needs access to your thoughts and feelings. But as people who love God, we owe everyone simple respect. We need to remain kind through it all. 

Thirdly, I would also recommend, pray for him. Okay, I know I keep saying this and someone probably wants to smack me. I get it. But really, it’s the right thing to do. Nothing I’ve ever experienced can change a heart – someone else’s and my own – like praying for the person in my life who is hurting me. If all you can muster, through tears or clenched teeth, is “bless him”, start there. 

You will need to keep your eyes even more firmly fixed on Jesus during this time.  Remember that he isn’t going anywhere.  He’s holding you.  He is in the room when the two of you are awkwardly going toe-to-toe, when you’re being put down yet again, when he flippantly talks about his mistress. He sees it all.  He will bring justice and set all things right.  And he loves you. Even when you don’t feel love coming from any other place…he loves you.

If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.


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