Question: My husband was unfaithful. What should I do?
Oh sweet one, I am so very sorry. Your heart is broken and your marriage is broken…that is so much to take in, so here are some very gentle thoughts for your very fragile heart.
Do not rush into any decisions. Do not commit to anything right now. Do not say in the heat of the moment that you’re leaving and your marriage is over; but also, do not make grand gestures to dig in your heels no matter what. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: never get a haircut while pregnant. In other words, when you’re hormonal or in a crisis or grieving, you are not in your normal and right state of mind, and therefore, humungous decisions should, if at all possible, be set aside for a time. There will come a time when you absolutely need to decide if you’re going to try to save your marriage or if you’re going to walk away from your marriage, but today is not that day.
In the case of adultery, you are allowed to divorce your husband. But let me be clear: you are allowed to; that doesn’t mean you have to. You have God’s free and clear on this one; but you also have every right to choose to stay.
Is your husband repentant, truly repentant, as in you can tell his remorse is real and not just to garner favor with you to keep you from kicking him out? Or, did he just get caught and he’s more upset about that part? Where your husband stands in all of this is a huge factor.
All marriages take work, but marriages where the vows have been broken were usually precarious to begin with. My point is: whether you leave or stay, you more than likely have two difficult roads to choose between. There is much to think about. Do you have children? How old are they? How have they been affected by your marriage up to this point? How would a divorce affect them? How is your financial situation? Will you be able to live on your own? Would you have to move? Do you have outside support? Neither path will be easy; both will take your full commitment and a lot of extra strength.
Every marriage takes two people, but every person has free will and it just takes one person to sin and break the vow. Now is not the time to dwell on your part…that time can come after some healing has taken place; but for now, know this: you didn’t force your husband’s hand. Even if you two hadn’t had sex in years, he was still responsible to keep his vow to you. I actually heard of someone saying to a woman whose husband had been unfaithful, “What did you expect…” How shaming and inappropriate and just plain wrong were those words! Yes, you had a part to play in your marriage, but unless you set him up on a date, this was not your fault. Bottomline.
Give yourself time. Lots and lots of time. Trust has been broken. And in case you were wondering or are being told otherwise, your husband is the one who must rebuild the trust. You do not need to make yourself muster up feelings of trust that you do not have; this part one hundred percent rests on him. You are allowed to determine the timeline and what you need in order for trust to be rebuilt. Meaning, if part of the initial consequence was that he move out, he shouldn’t be pressuring you six weeks in to come back. When you’re ready, you invite him back. Also, if what you need from him is that each night you look at his phone, then if his heart is in the right place of trying to win you back and rebuild trust with you, he had better be willingly showing you his phone every night. And not with the caveat that you have to do it as well, because you didn’t break the trust.
There is so much more to this…I could go on and on. So I will end with two things.
First, we are all sinners. And Jesus already died for what your husband did. You will eventually need to get to the point of forgiving him (which doesn’t also mean you must reconcile). But for now, just work on treating him with the kindness and respect you would show a stranger or a neighbor. Do not place huge expectations on yourself. Be very, very gentle with yourself during this time.
And secondly, cling to Jesus. Beg him to reveal himself to you. Let this time propel you into his arms. You’re in the fire; you might as well benefit from an added measure of tenderness from God. Ask him to walk you through this and to stay extra close. He promises to.
Awesome information and so true. Thank you for posting this, it reaffirms the stance I’ve taken in my own marriage where trust has been broken on so many levels. It isn’t an ideal life I have right now, but I am growing closer and closer to God and depending upon Him for all things, while remaining in the home with my unrepentant husband. Treating him as I would a stranger being kind and polite at least makes the atmosphere bearable for our two teens and staying close to Jesus helps me remain calm and at peace. We have a wonderful Savior who meets our every need when we walk close with Him.
This is awesome information! My marriage didn’t survive infidelity. 6 affairs, and I was asked to apologize to his lovers after I confronted them. (I wasn’t very nice) He wanted me to apologize and tell them he wanted to maintain their friendship – yes, it was that bad.
We’ve been living apart for two years and divorced for one, and there are still days that I struggle with my choice to leave. Why, you ask? Well, choices have consequences, not only for my marriage but for everyone related to me and my family. Sometimes it’s hard to bear those consequences well. But with GOD and GOD alone I am beginning to heal.
For anyone considering ending their marriage, just know that God will give you release from the relationship. I remained separated for 7 months before I filed for divorce…in all that time saw no evidence of true repentance. To this day, there is still no evidence. I must accept that it had nothing to do with me. He is addicted to pornography and is truly not in his right mind. I leave this in God’s capable hands and trust Him to protect me and my two sons. He is faithful and had been very tender with us through it all!
I am thankful for this place to come and share with others.
You have a lot of good info here. There is one thing I don’t agree with and that the question you presented as weather the person has enough money to leave. For myself and would imagine most women would ask themselves if they had enough money to leave, I did. I then started perusing ways to save and earn so that I could make it. The Lord kept telling me to go. I agreed but was trying to save. I learned a hard lesson but I know it saved my life. The Lord had to bring situation to a crunch so I would step out and just trust Him! I felt like Peter when he stepped out of the boat. If I waited to have all together I either wouldn’t be here today or never learned to trust Jesus. 🙂
I am the wayward spouse. I’m the one who was drawn by sweet words from another and made a tragic choice. I have paid with my life. I have also repented. Not man’s sorrow which is only sad about being found out, but Godly sorrow where my very soul mourned how much I hurt everyone and grieved the heart of God. I made a conscious choice. I chose it alone. I have owned it, worked to rebuild the relationship, sought and followed Godly counsel, apologized on my knees with full sincerity, asked forgiveness, and I have gone and sinned no more. I hurt everyone, but sinned against God and God alone. (Psalm 51). Not because of anything I have done, but because of Calvary alone, I can say I am square with the house (with God). It is grace and mercy….undeserved, unmerited.
Yet there is a backstory. I didn’t wake up one day and decide to destroy my life because I was bored and needed some excitement. It was a slow fade. It was preceded by ten years of horrific verbal and emotional abuse by my husband…..rage,cursing, vile name-calling, fear, walking on eggshells, covering up to others, staying for the children, dealing with a porn-husband, you name it. Does that justify my actions? Flat out NO. Yet in ALL CHRISTIAN counseling not one counselor would address the fact that I lived in fear for a decade. My husband got his “free pass” because apparently my sin trumped his. I wasn’t blaming my husband for my choice….I only wanted the gravity of his sin to be taken as seriously as the gravity of mine. His raging anger that left his wife and children in daily fear was as grievous to the heart of God as my infidelity. The main difference was that I was broken over my sin and he was not.
I didn’t write this for sympathy nor to be blasted. I wrote this to say that hands-down my sin was grounds for divorce, but his was not one ounce less. Unfortunately, he never owned anything. He with great joy, firmly and squarely placed all blame for marital failure on me. Not one counselor would hear my cry for both issues to be addressed. I did as Jesus commanded….I went and sinned no more. My husband continues his reign of terror. It’s been four years since my hideous choice. He has now moved us across the country away from all we knew and away from all support I would have, and he now wants a divorce. He has grounds….but I have release from God. My husband wants to pummel me with my choice while he continues to walk in unreoentant sin. I can not change him, and God has given me, the adulteress, a release because my sin is no more and is removed from me as far as the way from the west. Consequences remain, but it’s under the blood of Christ.
I would love for once to see a church preach on angry men as much as I’ve heard on infidelity. One is no lesser or no greater than the other. They both break vows and break the heart of God. Unfortunately, all I learned was that was that my sin trumped all and that my pain and abuse were inconsequential and unworthy to be addressed.
Thank you for sharing your story. I am proud of your courage and your efforts to humbly own what you did.
And I am so very sorry for the pain in your marriage that preceded your choice, along with the lack of help you received along the way.
No sympathy; no blasting; just grace. Keep leaning into Jesus for your healing.