How to Deal with Infidelity Biblically

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How to Deal with Infidelity Biblically

Table of Contents

Unfortunately, far too many Christian couples find themselves forced to figure out how to deal with infidelity Biblically. We have entered into the covenant of marriage fully intending to cling to our spouse “till death do us part,” but now find we’re having to answer questions we never dreamed would have to be asked.

Most of the time, the betrayed spouse desperately wants to see the marriage healed and restored, but finds she is only half of the equation. Very often, we also really want to honor God in our response, but find so much conflicting information as to what is expected of us that we get helplessly confused and begin to feel there is no hope.

How can we honor God in a situation that is SO dishonoring to Him? It seems impossible.

At the same time, the betraying spouse is often wrestling through much more than just the sin of adultery. The problems that led to this infidelity go back far, and reach deep! He often wants desperately to find his way back to God, but feels he’s fallen too far. Rebellion has taken such a strong hold, he feels he’ll never be free of it.

Precious friends, if I have just described your situation, I want you to know, there IS hope! The Bible has answers. We have stood where you stand, and we have found freedom, healing, and restoration. You can too.

Broken Covenant

Step one in learning how to deal with infidelity Biblically is to understand what marriage is in the first place and how adultery impacts that bond. Marriage is a covenant instituted and designed by God from the beginning of time. Covenants bind two parties together as they promise themselves to the parameters of the agreement.

Hebrews 6:16-18 – Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without question that oath is binding. God also bound Himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that He would never change His mind. So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.

The covenant of marriage is an oath made before God, and He is the one who set its parameters in the garden. He designed it to be a “coming together” of two people who enter into a sacred and solemn agreement bound by their physical union.

Genesis 2:24 – This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

Sex within marriage is a sacred act which seals the covenant and unites husband and wife in a way that is unmatched in any other relationship. They become part of each other. One flesh. It is beautiful, and precious, and a gift from God. But just as God has told us what seals the covenant of marriage, He has also clearly defined what breaks it.

Malachi 2:13-16 – Here is another thing you do. You cover the Lord’s alter with tears, weeping and groaning because He pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows [covenant (ESV)].

Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cuelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”

Infidelity breaks the covenant of marriage in the eyes of God. It’s done. Divorce is assumed because the binding agreement that was made has been severed as the physical union that sealed it is given to another. And in the Bible, God says He hates it!

Of course, this doesn’t mean the covenant can’t be restored or remade… but there is no getting around the fact that the original covenant is broken.

In the book of Jeremiah, we get a startling picture of how God responded to Israel when she repeatedly and unrepentantly broke her covenant with Him. Long story short, He divorced her.

Now we know that God will not and cannot break a covenant (see the verse above from Hebrews). So if He divorced Israel, acknowledging the end of the covenant relationship He had with her, we can conclude that it was not God, but Israel, who broke the covenant, even though God is the one who divorced Israel.

So Is Divorce How to Deal with Infidelity Biblically?

So if God divorced Israel, does that mean we must divorce our unfaithful spouse when seeking how to deal with infidelity Biblically?

No, I don’t believe divorce is our only Biblical option in the face of adultery. And let me add, it is NOT the choice I made in our marriage. I hope you hear me when I say, we don’t want any marriage to end in divorce, and I don’t believe it’s what God wants either. The Bible makes it pretty clear that He puts great value on marriage.

If reconciliation is possible, it is always the better option, and we’ll get more into what that looks like in a bit.

But I think it’s important that both spouses recognize how very strong the Bible stands on the importance of fidelity in marriage, and how final unfaithfulness is to the breaking of the covenant. To divorce an unfaithful spouse is not to break the covenant, but to publicly acknowledge that the covenant has already been broken.

There has been a whole lot of bad teaching on this issue within the church, teaching that seems to be based more on tradition than what the Bible says. (Kinda reminds me of the Pharisees.) Before we can know how to deal with infidelity Biblically, we have to examine Scripture for ourselves and discover what it actually teaches. Don’t take my word for it. Open it up, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to truth.

Divorce in the Bible

The fact is, divorce is the understood response to infidelity in the Bible. (Look at the verses above from Malachi 2.) It is assumed that divorce will follow unfaithfulness.

To choose to reconcile is an act of grace (undeserved favor). Every time.

When Joseph, who the Bible describes as a just man, discovered Mary was pregnant, He had in mind to divorce her quietly. Unless the angel Gabriel had intervened, Joseph would have continued to believe Mary had been unfaithful to him, and his “just” response was divorce.

Even Jesus, when teaching on divorce, acknowledged and affirmed the assumed response of divorce to marital unfaithfulness.

Matthew 19:8 – Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery – unless his wife has been unfaithful.

Matthew 5:31 – You have heard the law that says, “A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce. But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

To Divorce or Not to Divorce?

So how are we to know if we should seek out divorce, or choose reconciliation? How do we know how to deal with infidelity Biblically in our own, individual situations?

I believe the answer has everything to do with repentance. Look at what God said to Israel after He divorced her:

Jeremiah 3:12-13 – Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the Lord says:
“O Israel, my faithless people, come home to me again, for I am merciful.
I will not be angry with you forever. Only acknowledge your guilt.
Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God and committed adultery against Him by worshiping idols under every green tree.
Confess that you refused to listen to my voice. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

God was willing to reconcile Himself to Israel if she would only repent and turn back to Him. If we want to know how to deal with infidelity Biblically, I believe we’ll do the same.

Yes, to reconcile after infidelity is an act of grace, but our God lavishes grace upon us every day, and as His people, we are called to live gracious lives.

If there is true, genuine, and complete repentance on the part of the betrayer, God can restore what has been broken. A new covenant can be made. If, however, there is no repentance, then I believe 1 Corinthians 5 tells us what we must do.

Willingness to Forgive

The sad truth is, though, there will be times when there is genuine repentance on the part of the betrayer, but the marriage will still end in divorce. Sometimes the betrayed spouse is not willing to do the hard work of recovery. This is unfortunate and I don’t personally believe it is an example of how to deal with infidelity Biblically.

As followers of God, we are called to live our lives in obedience to the principles of Scripture, and one thing Scripture teaches is that we are called to forgive others in the same way God has forgiven us.

Ephesians 4:31-32 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

When we repent, God forgives us, and our broken relationship with Him is restored. When we do not repent, He does not forgive us, and the relationship remains eternally severed. Plain and simple. If we are going to forgive as Christ has forgiven us, this is our model.

Luke 24: 46-47 – And He (Jesus) said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of His name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’

Acts 3:19 -20 – Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.

Acts 2:38 – Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Luke 13:3 & 5 – …And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God… I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish too.

Romans 2:5 – But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s judgement will be revealed.

2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

His forgiveness has been made available to all, and His part in forgiveness is done. He doesn’t need to do anything else for forgiveness to happen. But unless we repent, His forgiveness is not applied to us. I believe the same is asked of us.

We are expected to do the work of forgiveness for anyone who has offended us. In other words, there should be no malice or bitterness in our hearts, so that if they were to repent, forgiveness could be applied immediately and completely. However, if repentance never happens, then forgiveness is never applied, and the relationship remains fractured. Just as the unrepentant sinner will forever be separated from God.

Let me reiterate, just to be perfectly clear. It is never okay for us to harbor bitterness and malice in our hearts. NEVER. Repentance or no repentance, we are called to do the work of forgiveness in every single situation. (Matthew 18:21-35) We are called to release the situation to God and allow His justice to handle it. However, the restoration of the relationship – reconciliation – or the application of forgiveness is reserved for those who repent.

Of course, we’re not God, and while His forgiveness is perfect and complete, we are going to have to continually surrender our will to Him and plead with Him to help us as we work toward the ability to forgive. We can’t do it on our own, friends, but with the help of the Holy Spirit we can forgive.

How Can I Know if there is True Repentance?

Of course, we can’t see the heart of another, so how can we ever really know if there is repentance or not? How are we supposed to figure out how to deal with infidelity Biblically if we can’t ever know for sure if we’re still being lied to or manipulated?

These are hard questions to answer, but the Bible gives us some pretty great advice on the matter. The first thing we need to understand is that while we can’t see anyone else’s heart, God can. He not only knows what is going on in our spouse’s heart right now, but He knows what was going on in there yesterday, and what will be going on in there tomorrow. We can trust Him to lead us into all truth.

God promises that if we need wisdom on any matter, we need only ask, and He will help us. (James 1:5-8) The Bible also teaches us that we’re not supposed to depend on our own understanding of any situation, but to trust in the Lord with all our heart, acknowledge Him in everything we do, and wait for Him to show us which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Finally, we find in Scripture that there is something called fruit of the Spirit. These are measurable by-products of a Holy-Spirit filled life. The fruit of the Spirit includes things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, and stands in sharp contrast to the fruit of the flesh. (Galatians 5)

A person who has humbled himself before God in repentance will live a life which bears out the fruit of the Spirit. It cannot be faked, not consistently or for any significant length of time anyhow. If we see within the life of our spouse the consistent fruit of the flesh, it is unlikely that repentance has taken place. If, however, we see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control becoming a bigger and bigger part of his life, we can trust that this is a result of the active work of the Holy Spirit, and it only happens in a repentant heart.

Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Luke 3:8

*I write A LOT more about this concept in part of “Our Story” where I examine Galatians 5 and the Fruit of the Spirit.

A Few Signs of a Repentant Heart in the Area of Infidelity

Adultery is first and foremost a rebellion against God. If you are the betrayer, and you want to know how to deal with infidelity Biblically, you must fall on your face before Him before you do anything else. With a broken and contrite heart, you must confess your sins to Him, and in humility ask Him to help you turn from them.

As you heal, here are some things that will become a part of your life:

  • Repentance takes full responsibility for sin without blaming anyone or anything else.
  • A repentant heart won’t minimize, justify, or manipulate away past wrongs, let alone new mistakes.
  • One who has repented will have empathy towards the people who have been hurt by his sin and sorrow over the pain caused.
  • A repentant heart does not pretend to be the victim of his own sin. He will not try and turn conversations around to make himself out to be the one who was hurt.
  • One who has truly repented is willing to do whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes in order to earn back the trust that was lost as a result of his sin. He does not believe he is owed anything, but sees every opportunity toward reconciliation as an act of grace that he does not deserve.

How to Deal with Infidelity Biblically with a Separation

Here’s the thing, figuring all of this out is going to take time. That’s okay. I know you feel like you have to figure out how you’re going to deal with this situation right now, but that is just the enemy trying to rush you into acting on your feelings instead of waiting on God.

If there is true repentance, it is going to take time for the fruit of that repentance to become obvious. You both need time to work through this mess with God and allow Him to guide your next steps.

Did you know there is an example in the Bible about the reconciliation of a marriage after infidelity? It can be found in the book of Hosea, and I think it’s a great place to look when seeking guidance on how to deal with infidelity Biblically!

God instructed Hosea to bring his unfaithful wife, Gomer, back into his house, but before the marriage would be restored, they were to spend a time (many days) in total abstinence. (There’s some pretty cool stuff in there about God and His relationship with Israel too! Check out the whole chapter of Hosea 3, or better yet, the whole book of Hosea! )

Hosea 3:1-3 – Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover… So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine. Then I said to her, “You must live in my house for many days and stop your prostitution. During this time, you will not have sexual relations with anyone, not even with me.”

This is why we strongly recommend a time of separation after infidelity. It offers both of you a little space to figure out next steps from a place of safety. Use the time to fall on your face before God and plead with Him for help. Ask Him to show you the way forward. I promise you, my friend, He will!

*You can read more about a time of separation and how to handle it Biblically in this post.
*Or you can read about our separation here.

Deal with Infidelity Biblically by Digging Into Scripture

I know this has been long, and there’s a lot here. Figuring out how to deal with infidelity Biblically is a terrible thing to have to face. It’s confusing. But I hope you’ve found a starting place here.

The truth is, the best way to deal with any situation Biblically is simply to dig into Scripture and ask God to show you what to do. If you are a believer, then you have the Holy Spirit of the living God inside of you friend! You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you what He is asking you to do. You have the infallible Word of God at your fingertips and it is living and active!

The Bible has the power to divide out what is true and what is not. It can show us what path to take. It can teach us and rebuke us and train us in righteousness.

Never underestimate the power of the Word of God combined with the Holy Spirit of God in your life. It is all we need! Dig in, and find your answers!

Cherith Peters

Cherith Peters

I am a wife, mother, and passionate follower of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. After the realities of my husband's sexual addiction and infidelities finally came to a head, I began blogging about our journey to healing. God has worked many miracles in our life and marriage since then, and grown a ministry committed to helping others find the healing in Christ that changed our story forever!

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198 Responses

  1. Resding this I enjoyed, was enthusiastic, and felt this fulfilled by the Word of God like never before. Thank you!!

    1. Thank you for this article. I am the betrayer and my wife and I are in the midst of recovery. It has been a long road with many rough spots, but as the dust clears, our marriage is getting stronger by the day. The hard work has been worth it and I will cherish my wife’s (and God’s) forgiveness and grace until the day I die. God is truly capable of restoration when there is complete repentance.

      1. Hi Cherith: I am the betrayer and my husband has known about my affair 7 years ago for 1.5 years. I am in complete repentance and am fighting for my marriage everyday. My husband was an angry man before finding out and now is doubly angry everyday and I have made myself the target for all that anger. I am so very sorry, but cannot live with this much hostility. How do others cope?

        1. Hi Melanie, I am sorry but I am not a marriage counselor. I simply run a ministry that walks alongside women who have been betrayed by infidelity. I don’t have the answers you’re looking for. Please find a Christian counselor who is committed to the Word of God or a trustworthy Pastor to help you navigate this. Study the Scriptures, asking God to give you wisdom for your situation. He will.

      2. I am the betrayer and I hope and pray with more yearning than I thought I could know that my wife will choose to walk the path of restoration with me. I could not be more ashamed of my sin nor more pained by the pain I’ve caused her. I pray that she will see my repentance is real and my heart for her is both broken and yet more on fire for her than ever—and I am pleading with God to help her have the grace to not only forgive me but to begin to trust me again and to choose reconciliation and faithfulness with me!

        Jeremy and Crazy Hair 4Ever!

    1. Hi Preston, brother if you are not being faithful to your wife and you are a pastor, you need to do a lot more than just start being faithful. You need to confess your sin before your church and step down from this position until you have had time to deal with this very serious sin!

      1. It is so incredibly refreshing to hear you speak from biblical perspective in love. Too many times I’ve encountered at church nobody speaking God’s truth but more concerned about everyone’s feelings. Thank you so much for your faithfulness.

          1. I loved reading every bit of this peace and I assure you I will be a better counsellor and a better husband.
            thank you for taking time to apply the bible in such a deep manner. Be blessed

          2. I have just found this now after dealing with figururing out in 2020 my husband had been unfaithful. The part where you said figuring out all of this is going to take time. Perfect words. I never left I choose to show mercy and to forgive the however is that in that time I have discovered that he has not repented as your points declare Repentance takes full responsibility for sin without blaming anyone or anything else.
            A repentant heart won’t minimize, justify, or manipulate away past wrongs, let alone new mistakes.
            One who has repented will have empathy towards the people who have been hurt by his sin and sorrow over the pain caused.
            A repentant heart does not pretend to be the victim of his own sin. He will not try and turn conversations around to make himself out to be the one who was hurt.
            He in fact has chose to dig his heels in and not only did he chose to manipulate me but everyone around us into making me look like the bad one as he knows what he did could cost him. I believe he even had me hacked. He can not even be asked where he was that day and he will yell and throw things and cuss at me and say I am attacking him and abusing him. He has turned it into a situation where he has become outraged with me some how for exposing the sin. Abusing me into submission. He has also chose to abandon the marriage while living in it. I in fact because of this behaviour concluded that with some men I think the adultery is part of their abusive thinking and characteristics. The worse part is I was not even under the impression it was more than a one time deal and I do not think he is even doing it any longer. I was willing to forgive right from the begining as when I sought the Lord He spoke to my heart that since my husband can not change what he has done and or heal me of the pain he caused me or restore me from it and only Christ can. I have ended up having to say to him that if the abuse doesn’t stop and he continues to go in the wrong direction I am going to have to leave. I am seeking the Lord at this point and asking Him how I can leave and where I can go and for Him to provide for me. I never wanted to leave but some times the other party is so set on being the victim of them sinning against you, you have to consider it.

          3. Hellen, I am sorry to hear what you are going through. I am praying for you right now. I’m asking God to give you wisdom and healing. And I am asking Him to break the heart of your husband to bring about true repentance. Again, I am so sorry you are facing this.

      2. Thanks so much, for this Article have blessed me so much, especially as am handling an issue of such in my small local Assembly presently.

          1. I like how you said it takes time, we don’t have to decide right now! I caught my husband, of 30 years, with another woman in June. I didn’t see them having sex but I saw them walk into his hotel room together. It completely broke, shattered my heart and hurt so bad. He had been working out of town for about 2 months and only home on Saturday and Sundays.. I found out it was more than that one time and he had been messaging her and apparently started a relationship with her… I will admit it had gotten to where I wasn’t showing him much love or respect when he came home on the weekends but that does not excuse what he did! He has taken full responsibility for it, has told me he was sorry, he never meant to hurt me and he loves me and only wants me and wants to work things out. he was working out of town and staying at hotel where she apparently lived. He decided he would stay at another hotel in a different town and cut off all contact with her. Its just so hard for me to trust him! I am so suspicious now and we are trying to work things out but there are so many times I think about them together and cry and hide what I am feeling from him cause i don’t want him to know i’m thinking about it again! He says he understands it will take time for me to trust him again and it will.. i just don’t know how I’m suupposed to forget and get over this! Sometimes I wonder if this is what God wants me to do! Does he want us to try to work it out or was it meant for me to find out and leave him??? How do I know what I truly need to do?? I do love him but i can’t forget… and it makes it so hard for me and I hate being this suspicous, insecure, jealous person!

          2. Hi Joyce, I am so sorry for what you have gone through. May God be your Comfort and Healer! I want to address the idea that forgiveness means forgetting the sin. I believe this to be a misinterpretation of Scripture due to the limitations of language and translation. When the Bible says in places like Isaiah 43:25 that God blots out our transgressions and does not remember our sins, I do not believe that means that He literally forgets our sin. He is perfect and His knowledge is complete, which means it holds all things. This includes our sin. Rather, I understand it to mean that He does not call it to account. He doesn’t bring it up. He separates it from us as far as the east is from the west. The way I see it, forgiveness does not mean forgetting the sin that was committed against us, but rather making the choice to consider it’s debt paid. Jesus paid the debt our sin required, so when we repent, that payment is applied to our sin and will never be brought up again as something held against us. Does that make sense?
            That’s why I believe repentance to be such an important part of the forgiveness process. You can’t have one without the other. So we should not offer it until we know that repentance is present. And that is simply going to take time. As you stated. I wish we could see each other’s hearts like God can and just know right away whether someone is being genuine or not. But we can’t and the Bible says we will know them by their fruit. Fruit does not grow overnight. It takes a long time!
            Let me offer some encouragement about trust. You don’t need to trust him yet. He has to earn it back. And that is going to take a long long time. But in my experience, when a person is ACTUALLY trustworthy it becomes VERY easy to trust them. The evidence is everywhere and you don’t really have to talk yourself into believing it or hope for the best. It is just obvious. To everyone. I spent a lot of years looking for reasons to trust my husband. Grasping at straws that might allow me to believe he had changed. Looking away from the mountains of evidence that said he had not. But when he actually did change it was completely different. I found myself trying to talk myself OUT of how easy it was to believe his change was genuine. I found myself trying to find evidence that he hadn’t changed rather than trying to find evidence that he had because the mountain was suddenly on the side of change! It was almost impossible to deny. Wait for that kind of assurance and then trust God completely to handle the fallout if he decides to go back to the sin. I promise you, the God who holds us is faithful and trustworthy!

        1. Amen! Found out a month ago (after several months of suspicion) that me wife has been spending several hours a day with my pastor in secret in a park. He admitted to being with her for 3-4 weeks…but all above board. Lies and deception. Of course, I confronted them and they denied wrongdoing. It was “counseling” a park…in his car…with tinted windows…in the last parking spot…white no one around…while her car was parked and left hidden behind a holiday inn…while she was supposed to be at work (she is a teacher).. Although I have evidence of them being together (pics, video, etc…), I don’t have evidence of a physical or sexual sex act. Who does, right? In the least, emotional infidelity, but I will go to my grave believing on May 11 it was physical. When your wife comes home crying and can’t look at you in the eye or talk to or kiss you. Since then…emotional distance, no affection, avoiding me, anger, defensiveness, refusal to go to counseling, plethora of other obvious signs. What to do? Praying for God to bring her to repentance, brokenness…needing His guidance.

      3. Thank you so much for this article it is helping me so so much right now, I recently committed adultery toward my wife. I’m willing to do whatever it takes and however long it takes to show my wife that I love her again I owe her the world.

  2. Good day
    I have been searching for an article to help guide me.
    I so often think about divorce, and when I do, I become emotional, that is not what I would like my marriage to become. The constant suspicion and helpless feelings overwhelms me on a daily basis and I have no feelings of freedom inside of me.
    In your article you referred to fruits of the flesh, and that stayed with me. It somehow told me to have patience with myself.
    Thank you for publishing this article, it was something I needed for the day.

      1. I really needed this, I’m suffering from my husband’s infidelity and kids from his sexual addiction it’s been rough but Gods word is breathtaking

  3. Thanks for the help I am the betrayer of my marriage and not fully committed to reconcile my marriage with the help OF MY LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST!

  4. Abstinence and separation are two completely different concepts. This is very misleading to insinuate that God approves this practice and the very example you provide shows a woman purchased back from prostitution and told to abstain from sexual activity. The time away from the house was filled with prostitution not prayer and grace was given through allowing her back in the home with one condition of abstinence. No such acceptance of any separation has taken place!

  5. Praise God for this site! It has been truly a God sent to me, I want to do what’s right God’s way and this information as helped and will continue to help me as I go through such a life changing struggle. Amen to the writers

    1. What is your understanding about remarriage after infidelity? I have studied and struggle with what the Bible says. Mainly because I of what I want it to say. I cannot separate myself and my desires to rightly divide the word of God.

      1. Hi Lydia. To be honest this is a really tough issue for me to come down hard on one side or the other. I mostly tell people they need to study the Word and ask the Holy Spirit to lead them to truth for themselves if they find themselves in a situation in which they need an answer here. I am thankful that my husband chose repentance and our marriage has been reconciled and restored. If that had not been the case, and we would have had to divorce, I can’t imagine myself being comfortable getting remarried with what I currently see in Scripture. But I also don’t see enough there to condemn anyone who has studied the issue and come down on the side that remarriage is acceptable (when there has been infidelity) after divorce. To me it is an issue of conscience. If God has not given you peace on the issue, then I would not violate that uneasy conscience and do it anyway. On the other hand, if you find that as you study what the Bible says, you do have a clear conscience before God and feel freedom to remarry, then go for it, and may God bless your new union! I know that is not very helpful, and I am sorry about that. But that is where I stand.

  6. This is helpful. But the painful part for any man is to imagine His wife beneath some man having sex with or without protection but what ever drives her into it doesn’t cross your mind. Did I marry a prostitute? Then the Bible tells you to forgive! Christ!, what is there to forgive when you can not even forget it!!? To me Divorce is less of a solution than some heck of hell like prolonged pain in all aspects of health for the cheater; pain in physical health, pain in mental health, pain in economical,, spiritual,, psychological, social, financial and physiological *HEALTH*.

    1. There is no doubt the images that fill the mind of the partner who has been betrayed feel almost unbearable. But, with a lot of focus on God we can learn in time to turn our thoughts toward things that glorify God and away from things that destroy us. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but if there is repentance I believe it is what we Christians are called to. No one said anything about forgetting though. We can’t forget, and I don’t think we’re called to. Forgiveness is choosing not to hold it against the person – not forgetting.

      1. Job 11
        14 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.

        15 For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:


        Does this sound like a promise that God can cause us to “forget” the affair? I know that He won’t give us amnesia, but I’m hoping in Him that He can cause this memory to be just like any other, without emotional attachment. The most difficult part is dealing with the instant pain I feel whenever I think about her affair. God has already taken so much of that pain, but I hope to one day never feel that pain again.

        1. Hi Bandook. No, I’m sorry, but I do not think this is a promise that you can claim about your situation or that God causes us to forget our pain. I am sorry, I know how intense the pain of betrayal is. I know how the waves of emotion sweep over you at the most inopportune times. Grief is a process, and God will use this pain for your good in the long run if you allow Him to, but I do not believe He will take it away completely on this side of eternity. He isn’t in the business of lobotomizing our brains, but He absolutely IS in the business of making beauty from ashes. It takes time though, and the process is so painful. I am sorry you are facing this and I am praying right now for God’s Devine comfort to overwhelm you as you move forward on the path to healing. Much love!

      2. God also hates adultery so much he does allow divorce under that circumstance. Even though you forgive, the forgetting is so hard and is almost like a black cloud following you around. I stayed over 20 years since his infidelity because I thought it was the Christian thing to do, I wish I would have left.

        1. Ruth, I am sorry you have had to deal with this. I will say a prayer for you now. I do still believe that if there is genuine repentance, reconciliation is the best option. But I agree with you 100% that divorce is a Biblical option when there has been adultery. I hope you can find peace in God’s deep love for you friend!

  7. Thank you for this. It has really given me some good advice and direction on how to proceed. God bless you.

  8. This helped. Thank you so much for using your situation to help others. I especially liked how to look to see if the betrayer has a began true repentance. I was ready for divorce, but last Sunday the preacher’s sermon really hit home. I’m going to fight for my marriage…I know the true enemy is the devil and not my husband and God has the power to restore all things. Thank you again!

  9. My ex husband committed unrepentant and repeated adultery. I forgave him again and again and went back to him 4 times before he finally left me for another women. He feels no guilt or remorse. He isn’t sorry. He claims to be a Christian but treats me with nothing but cruelty and contempt. I finally divorced him because he no longer wanted the marriage to continue. I pray for the grace to forgive him as Christ has forgiven me but I have so much hurt towards him. I truly wanted our marriage to work. I was willing to reconcile but he threw me away like garbage. I do hope God holds him to account for what he has done though I certainly don’t want him to go to hell. It’s so hard because I never wanted to be divorced. I wanted and still want a marriage that brings glory and honor to God and points others to our Savior, just not with him.

    1. I’m so sorry for what you have gone through. I would encourage you to find comfort in what the Bible tells us about how Jesus will become a husband to His church. If you are a believer, then you can find joy in knowing you do have a fiancé who cherishes you so much that He sacrificed His life to save you. You will spend eternity with this husband bringing more glory to God than we can even imagine! How exciting is that?!

  10. Thank you for this article. My wife is an unrepentant serial cheater. I generally know now when she is seeing someone else because her contempt for me will boil over into every aspect of our relationship. She can’t hide it. I don’t have an exact count of how many other men she’s been with. One was too many.

    I accepted the blame for the first one I discovered, because that’s what she expected. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered our life together was basically a cover and safe place to act out trauma from her childhood. I believe she married me as someone she could manipulate and punish as needed because of that trauma. She was raised by wolves.

    A secular diagnosis would likely say she has Borderline Personality Disorder, but I think it’s just sin still operating in an unregenerate heart. I know I should pray diligently for her, but discovering that over thirty years of marriage has been a fraud has taken a huge toll. I now doubt every prior account she gave me of interactions with other men. I now find I assume the worst happened.

    We’re still together, but there’s no reconciliation. Why reconcile with someone she doesn’t even love, even though she says “I love yous” every day.

    1. I am sorry. This is heartbreaking. I believe you have every Biblical reason to end the marriage. I would probably advise a time of separation first, simply to offer one last chance at repentance, but I do believe divorce in situations like this honors God. I really do. May God comfort and restore your broken heart with His love and faithfulness!

      1. I have a very similar story to the above Gentleman you responded to here. My husband of 30 years even though given many opportunities to reconcile ultimately chose yet another woman. He has stated to me over and over again that he does not want the divorce. I love my husband and do not want the divorce either.
        He would work on our marriage until he felt he has done enough then would fall right back into his sin patterns. My husbands serial adultery is not his only abuse. He abused me physically, mentally, emotionally, financially just to name a few.
        We have been separated for over two years now and am in the process of a divorce. I extend reconciliation to him even still but he clearly does not have a genuine repentant heart.
        Since we have been apart he seems more favorable to the divorce and has become involved and living with another affair partner.

        I know God hate’s divorce. My desire is to please and honor my Lord. With all that being said I was wanting to know if you could further explain what you mean by “ I do believe divorce in situations like this honors God. I really do.”. I would like to know how my divorce could be God honoring. Thank you

        1. Hi Mary, thank you for your question, and I am sorry to hear of your very painful situation.

          What I mean by “honors God” is that it acknowledges and honors His boundaries for marriage. When Israel was repeatedly and unrepentantly unfaithful to God, breaking their covenant with Him over and over again Jeremiah tells us that He divorced unfaithful Israel.

          Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe that the infidelity and sin that brought this marriage to the place where divorce is the best way forward for you (obviously repentance and reconciliation would still be the best possible way forward for the unfaithful partner, but that is not within your control) was honoring to God. It definitely was not.

          But you cannot choose repentance for someone else. You CAN honor God’s picture of marriage. And unrepentant unfaithfulness is just not part of that picture. It is abhorrent to Him. It breaks the covenant. It ends the marriage. Divorce simply acknowledges in legal terms what has already happened. The marriage covenant was broken.

          It could be renewed. That would be even better. That would be even more God honoring. But only if there was first true and complete repentance.

          Hope that helps.

    2. This is me. A week since discovering the affair. He gleefully texts her in front of me as punishment. He too would be diagnosed Borderline. He gaslights me. His contempt for me bubbles over. He too makes it known that this would never have happened if I behaved better. I am stuck until I find stability and can fend for myself and my child. I pray it is soon. Until then, I drink from this bitter cup.

      1. I’m sorry you find yourself here. I do believe God will provide for you a way out, whether it be in bringing about repentance or providing the resources for you to get out. I would encourage you to lean hard into Him and keep your eyes open for His leading. Sometimes the steps He asks us to take are SO scary. But if He is really asking us to take them, we can be confident He has provided and will carry us through. That doesn’t mean it won’t be hard, but it will be possible, and ultimately for our good. Seek Him friend. He is the answer!

      2. I am living in the same nightmare with you. I have a husband and 3 children and he most definitely is a sex addicted, narcissistic, gaslighting, hurtful, yet sometimes my best friend. Unfortunately, I do not see genuine repentance in his heart – I see repetition instead. Do you know the definition of insanity?

        Anyways, he has made it so I have lost everything that was once mine and not ours so now I have to basically depend upon him until I can afford a new home for three children. I mean if he wants to leave so bad, there is the door. I do not see why I have to uproot three small children’s worlds and flip them upside down all because of his poor choices.

        1. Brittani, I’m sorry you are dealing with that. It’s a real shame. You certainly don’t have to do anything, but you can. You CAN take steps to get you and your children to safety. You CAN take steps to live a life of purpose for God. But you don’t have to. You don’t have to do anything. He IS the one who is ruining the marriage. It should be on him to fix it, but he’s probably not going to. You get to choose what you do with that reality. 100% up to you.

        2. I could have written this 😭 Just found out hours ago and all I can think of is my precious girls and how on earth I would provide for them by myself. They’re so little, and I’m not working. I feel utterly trapped and devastated at the monotony of pain, then forgiveness, then re-offence. He appears truly sorry, but it doesn’t seem to last. I think he’s more sorry about being caught.

    3. Hope Springs, my heart breaks for you from someone in a similar situation. My wife is a childhood sexual abuse survivor, who has as I found out, been unfaithful in multiple ways our entire 36 year marriage. It has rendered me disqualified for leadership after decades of service. It has taken me years of prayer, fasting, confession and counseling with church elders, but I will be divorcing her and after restoration, resuming to preach and teach. Allowing an unconfessing, unrepentant, resistant to wise counseling adulterous wife to remain in your life, is like willingly drinking from Satan’s cup. Stop it brother! Expell the immoral amongst you. I bid you peace.

  11. Thank you for the article. My wife is a serial adulterer. I find it difficult to pray for her as her actions over the years have taken a heavy toll. Contempt has been the strongest emotion she has ever felt for me. I don’t believe she actually loves me or really understands what love is. We’ve been married over 35 years, but hanging on for even one more year feels almost impossible.

    1. Hi Peter, it doesn’t sound like there is any form of repentance on her part, so I am not sure why there would be any reason to hang on to the marriage. It sounds to me like it is already over, she is continually breaking the covenant. I believe you have complete Biblical freedom to walk away, and in fact that this would be the God-honoring thing to do in that situation. I am very sorry you have had to go through this. I pray that God will comfort you, heal you, and allow you to be satisfied with His deep and abiding love for you and His everlasting faithfulness to you.

  12. Thank you for this information it was nice to get some truth.
    I’m living in a Discipleship home separated from my wife. She just recently stopped having contact with me and is deceived that she doesn’t need communication with me. Is that Healthy? When getting prayed over by a couple I felt the Lord tug on my heart and say that he is going to do a miracle in my marriage the last thing my wife texted me was that see loves me and misses me but it will take something supernatural for us to work. I am in repentance and living my life completely surrendered to God’s will. I believe the Lord will keep his promise. It’s just really hard on me.

    1. Hi Anthony, I don’t know what a discipleship home is, so I can’t really speak to that. As far as communication, this wouldn’t be healthy indefinitely, but it can be helpful for a time under very specific circumstances. Not knowing much or anything about your story, it’s hard to say, but based on what you’ve said, I’m assuming you were unfaithful and are now repentant and working toward restoration. I would encourage you not to focus so much on how “hard on me” this is, but instead on how hard it has likely been for your wife to go through betrayal. Things worth doing are rarely easy, and certainly things done for the glory of God are almost always going to be hard on us! We are sinners and God is in the business of refining us into the image of His Son. He is cutting away the sin that holds us captive to instead make us slaves to righteousness. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to be hard. But it is very worth it in the end! I encourage you to take this time away from your wife to just deep dive into the Word of God and spend as much time as you possibly can alone with the Lord God Almighty. Give Him full access to your whole self and let Him do his work – no matter how painful!

  13. While these articles are very helpful my situation is a little different. My husband and I have worked together for the same company for 40 plus years and have our 40 year anniversary in November. He had a lengthy affair with a co worker that we both work with. He never really repented just tells me I need to get over it or go see your counselor. He recently promoted her to work directly under him so the communication is now constant where after the affair a few years ago he didn’t have to communicate with her as often but when he did and still does it is in private so that I can’t hear the conversations. I recently found out that he talks to her about me. (Probably always did). I am having a very hard time with it all. I have been constantly reading scripture listening to worship music to try and keep a positive frame of mind but some day’s are so hard. My self worth is in the dirt! We have 3 beautiful adult children and 4 amazing grandchildren. I also am a caregiver for my 85 year old mother. How do you throw 40+ years away? I am so torn on what to do. Please keep us in your prayers that God will lead us in the right direction.

    1. Hi Donna, I am sorry to hear you have had to deal with this. I am sure there is a lot more to the story, but from what you’ve told me, this would not be an acceptable situation if I was in your shoes. I would need to set up a boundary here and be very firm in it. As I say in the article, if there is no repentance, then it doesn’t seem that the marriage should go on as if nothing is wrong. It wouldn’t be you throwing away 40+ years of marriage away. It would be him. Plain and simple.

  14. My wife slept with another man a week ago and admitted it 2 days later. She has had a very dark year and this was the culmination of what she has gone through. I would have never believed in a million years that this was possible. We have been married for 11 years and have 2 children. The pain I feel, the things I replay in my head are killing me. I forgave her and we have brought God back into our relationship and we are praying and communicating and consulting with God and Christian friends. I ask for prayer for us and for our marriage. This pain is unbearable and has left me so broken. I love her so deeply and there isn’t any other choice for me but to make it work and to hopefully build something better than what we had before, with God’s help. Prayers please!

    1. Phillip I know exactly how you feel. I’m currently going thru the same thing right now. I praying for both of you right now that God will give you strength. Proverbs 3:5-6

  15. This article has helped me tremendously. I just found out my husband had another affair, this is his 2nd one in 3 years. After the first one, he begged me to stay and we went to marriage counseling. He was supposed to start individual therapy and never did. Things got better and then we started drinking again. My mom passed in November of 2021 from Covid and the alcoholism got worse for both of us, but especially him, since he cheated on me twice within the last 4 months with the same women. Someone we both knew and had inside our home multiple times. He is remorseful, has called a few Christian men to help guide him through this, has been reading his Bible and praying more, started individual therapy and is considering medication for ADHD and possibly bipolar as well (which he was just diagnosed with) . We have 3 young children together and my heart breaks for them if I do end up filing for divorce, though I know none of this is my fault. I’m so torn and I’m praying for guidance on whether I should give him another chance or just end it. Part of me is tired of fighting for our marriage and being hurt. Another part of me doesn’t want the devil to win!

    1. I’m so sorry Christine. I know exactly how you feel. I would recommend a Therapeutic Separation. It will give you time to observe his healing from safety to discover whether this is true repentance or just another attempt to placate you. People can fake repentance for a little while, but not for an extended period of time. The humility and gentleness and willingness to accept uncomfortable consequences fades quickly with false repentance!

  16. Thank you for this article, it has helped me recently. In March I found out my husband had an physical affair with a co worker (and a few other woman affairs through texting and letters) in 2021. I echo what others have commented of self worth feeling lower than dirt, the constant looking over my shoulder of what he is up to, and the constant images I have to continually work through. It’s hard to now deal with a situation that I didn’t ask for; I can handle dealing with things when it’s my own mess up. I’m working on making sure I am being the wife that Christ is calling me to be and not what the world says I should be to him.
    Since finding out and confronting him, I feel I have seen true repentance in him and we have been in a better place now than we have ever been the first 10 years of our marriage (this July was our 10 year anniversary). But I have struggled with what I call an “inner human voice” saying how can I truly know he is changed…and your article came to me and helped. We have many times these last couple months then right when we’re in a really good place of moving forward and being close to God, that something comes out of the blue and feels like it tries to derail us. I feel like it’s the work of the enemy trying to ruin the process we have made, but I don’t want anything swept under the rug with using the enemy as a blanket excuse. In your advice, how do I know the difference between the enemy’s attack and something new I need to take into account that is truth?

    1. Hi Marie, I am sorry to hear what you have had to go through. I can’t really give you anything super concrete about how to tell the difference. You should be able to talk through these things with your husband when they come up and he should demonstrate humility, patience, a desire to help you work through the doubts and find truth, and a willingness to accept the consequences of his sin – no matter how uncomfortable. If this isn’t the attitude you see, I would be more inclined to dig deeper into the hunches. Hope that helps. Feel free to email with further questions for a quicker response.

  17. How do you deal with the person your spouse cheated with? I want her out of our lives, our children’s lives and for him to completely cut off any contact. The last 8 months she became friends 1st with my children, my husband coaches her. She is part of a group our family is also a part of. He feels that if she stops completely, people will begin to ask questions, and we don’t want our children to know. I want to talk to her, my husband feels I maybe to mean to her….after she hurt us soooo much!?!? God has been working on my attitude toward how I want to confront her.
    Also, with forgiveness….is it possible to forgive, but still have questions, still feel hurt? I struggle with triggering moments that send me spiralling into anxiety and despair. Even after we have reconciled, and have become closer than we have in 25 yrs of marriage.

    1. I can’t tell you what to do Shelley, but I can tell you that if it were me, I would be setting up VERY strict boundaries around contact with an affair partner. In fact, I DID do that. My husband quit his job because it was the only way to not have contact with the APs. However, she isn’t the one you can ask to make sacrifices. Your husband is. If someone needs to leave a group, it’s not her, it’s him.

      And in answer to your forgiveness question, YES! Absolutely it is possible to start working on forgiving, but still have to work through the process of healing from the pain of the betrayal. Honestly, it would not be healthy if you didn’t have these issues. You are going to struggle with this for many years. It’s just the reality of betrayal. It cuts deep. If you’re not being given adequate time to process and heal, then true repentance hasn’t happened. A truly repentant person is humble and patient and willing to face the consequences of the sin. No matter how difficult or uncomfortable.

  18. Why you immediately since the beginning of the article start assuming that the part that cheated is the man and not the woman? Why you could not be neutral since the beginning as something that is a sin that can affect both genders? The first cheater was Eve, that cheated her husband and went behind his back to do things that were not allowed. That is why God put woman desire in charge of her husband. This sounds more like feminist biased advice than biblical wisdom. Most of the women I had cheated, while I was totally faithful, and the statistics show that the ratio is 50/50, with the women side increasing into cheating and going into hypergamia more everyday. When you start any article like this, is very difficult to even continue reading when your mind have been biased against the men since the beginning.

    1. Hi Joe, I am very aware that women cheat too. If you read about our ministry, we are clear on that. It’s simply that our experience is on the other side of that coin, and since women and men are very different, we do not feel equipped to help couples who are experiencing the other side of this. We believe God is fully able to lead those couples to the resources that will help them. It’s just not with us. That’s because we’re not the answer, God is! He is simply using us to help those we can. I’m sorry it came across to you as it did. It certainly is not in our hearts that way.

      1. Hi Cherith, first let me say that I appreciate your ministry, and this resource is spot on! Your response to Joe was…. More than a little tone deaf. The facts unfortunately are that while sermons, ministry programs budgets, and Christian resources groan under the weight of their focus on men’s sexual sin, the church is silent and there is a wasteland on these behaviors from women. Joe sent out a cry of frustration at this reality which also manifests its existence in the tone and voice of your article. Many men including myself, received your helpful and well divided word, in the spirit in which you gave it, but commiserate with the Joes who are grasping for any help they can find, as the church turns her head away in fear of offending the majority of the heads in the pews.

        1. Hello friend,
          I am sorry you feel that way about my response, and it certainly isn’t my intent to be tone deaf… but the fact remains that I have not been called to a ministry that targets men who have been cheated on. Those ministries exist. This isn’t one of them. God has called me to minister to women who have been cheated on. I can only respond to the call I have been given. Each of us is accountable to God to do the work He has called us to. Nothing more. Nothing less.

          I do not pretend the need for ministries targeted at betrayed men doesn’t exist, neither do I avoid dealing with that issue out of fear of offending women. That’s absurd. I happen to know that much of what I write offends many women greatly and they do not hesitate to tell me about it. I write what God lays on my heart to write, with a deep desire to rightly divide the Word and be faithful and obedient to my Savior above all else.

          I do avoid dealing with women who cheat for two reasons: 1- I don’t believe God has asked me to. (that’s the biggest one) 2 – I don’t understand that issue. I am not a man, so I don’t understand what a betrayed man needs and because I believe the genders are very different I do believe what a man needs in this situation is going to be quite different than what a woman needs. I am also not a cheating wife, so I don’t understand the issues that lead women to that particular sin. It simply isn’t where God has called me.

          I do wish more believers would answer the call of God and fulfill the purposes He has designed for them to fill. There are SO MANY gaps within the church and this has everything to do with the fact that we as a whole are not faithful and obedient and living on mission. This breaks my heart. But all I can do is my very best to be obedient myself, to raise up my children to be obedient to their calls, and to use my voice and influence to encourage others to obey their call. And I can pray to the God who is ultimately in control and who I trust with all my heart to accomplish His purposes with or without our cooperation.

  19. My ex-wife was a serial adulteress, she has never repented. It started during the engagement, but she kept it a secret. Then she slept with another man within the first two years of our marriage. The church told me the exact thing that God hates divorce. So I stayed. For another 16 years. Eventually, she left and remarried. She told me it was my fault that she cheated, which is absolute nonsense. I regret I stayed.
    Because of her I will never trust a woman again and I will die alone, after having lived a lonely life.

    1. Hi Claude, I am sorry to hear what you went through, but I am even more sorry to hear that you have allowed the actions of one person to define all of life for you. The best thing that came out of the betrayal I experienced is that I learned to find my everything in the reality of who GOD is, not in who people are. He is unchanging. He is faithful. He is good. He is loving. He is righteous. He is Holy. He is GOD! We can live life completely satisfied with nothing more than Him to bring that satisfaction. Of course, if we are being satisfied in Him, he will lead us into relationship with other believers, as that is part of His plan for His children and we will find a great deal of joy there too. But it will be secondary to what we find in Him. I pray you will open your heart to Him and find your identity there!

  20. I feel my situation is somewhat unique and I don’t know what to do. My husband was arrested for having taken a picture of someone naked without their knowledge. He also had fake social media accounts where we was messaging women and even got pictures from one. He was brought in for an interview on the matter a month before he was arrested. During that month I gave him multiple changes to come clean and he lied every time. When he was arrested he still lied when he called me from jail. He didn’t admit it until he came home and knew I didn’t believe his lies. He said he was guilty and that he needed help mentally because he had a problem. He also admitted to lying to me about other situations through out our marriage such as having a tinder less than a year into it. Here is where I’m struggling… he has admitted guilt and said he is sorry. He has said it had nothing to do with me and that he is messed up and needs help. He has said he would do anything to have our family back. BUT, he never admitted anything until he was already caught. I don’t know what to do here. I have a hard time believing he truly repented because he didn’t when I gave him chances, only when he got caught. But he also does seem sorry now. I’m very confused.

    1. Hi Victoria. I am sorry for what you are having to deal with. You are right to be skeptical, but it is also possible that this repentance is real. My husband’s repentance only came as a result of getting caught and yet it was real and he has been changed into a completely different person. The question is not whether the repentance CAN be real when it only came after being caught, but whether it IS real. IF it is real, there will be a lot more than words to back it up. A LOT MORE. He SAID he would do anything to get the family back, but is he actually doing anything and everything he can to rebuild trust? He SAID he was sorry, but is he actually demonstrating the behavior of a repentant person? Is there the fruit of the Spirit in his life – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Has he changed his patterns of behavior? Has he put up guardrails to safeguard against falling right back into the same patterns? Is he seeking help? Is he humble about what happened and the consequences that have followed? These are all things that demonstrate true repentance. It is about much more than words. Repentance changes people, and there will be evidence of that change everywhere.

  21. Thank you for this article
    I’ve been unfaithful to my wife and I’ve hurt her so much. When we first got married we both went to church and god had rescued me from depression and addiction and changed my life. I was a good husband and Christian everything was going great then we stopped going to church, and I began to down spiral towards a life full of sin again. We started going to clubs drinking here and there and I began to start smoking again fell back into addiction of pornography. I completely left god behind and forgot all about him and what he had rescued me from then I cheated on my wife by going to a gentleman’s club and I felt terrible I told her about it right away and she forgave me and things began to get better than a year passed and I fell into the same trap of temptation and ended up going again to another gentlemens club in that moment I felt god speaking to me saying don’t do this but I ignored the gut feeling and still went. The next day I confessed not only going again but I also confessed to her my addiction to pornography and another situation when we first started dating where I was unfaithful to her and had sex with another girl when we were in high school this completely broke her, I then fell into deep depression and even contemplated suicide but I knew that was a coward thing to do I couldn’t eat for days and lost over 10 pounds in a week, I ended up in the hospital emergency room because I lost weight so drastically that my sugar levels dropped severally low , I completely hated myself for doing the things I’ve done. How could I do this to my wife a person that loved me unconditionally that loved me for me, I couldn’t stand myself for putting her through all of this for hurting her this much. I started going back to church and have given my life back to God and I’m sober now I told myself that I’ll never go back to being that person ever again I’d rather die than go back to my old ways. God is working in my life again, my only desire is to praise him and share his word.
    I’m currently separated from my wife she wanted space to heal and I packed my belongings to give her space and I’m currently living back with parents I see her occasionally just to pick up our dog here and there I don’t know if I deserve another opportunity I don’t believe I do.
    I love her but i know I’ve hurt her deep my prayer is that God gives her strength and protects her during these times I honestly just want her to be happy and if that means me being out of the picture I understand as hard as it is to understand. I’m also going to counseling and it’s helped me a lot I’ve realized how deceitful the devil is and how he’s out to destroy us however he can. I had everything I ever wanted and needed with my wife and threw it all away. Please pray for my wife and for god to give her strength

    1. Hi Daniel, I’m so sorry to hear what you’ve been through. I praise God that you have had your eyes opened though and that it sounds like there is true repentance on your part. Yes, of course I will pray for your wife. I know the terrible pain she is experiencing all too well. And I will pray for you too. I am praying right now.

    2. Hey Daniel! I was acting out in other inappropriate sexual behavior, but I can relate to how you feel in regards to the pain and grief you have caused your wife. I struggled with sexual issues since I was young and carried on into my marriage. My wife asked me to leave and she needed space so I wanted to respect that. I left without any plan of the present or future so I don’t know what it looks like for me. She wanted md to leave it has been about 3 weeks since we have spoken and she doesn’t want to talk to me. I dont blame her, its all my fault. Any guys reading my post, it is REAL and when we dont love our wives as God’s word says there is a price to pay. They are God’s daughters. Knowing that I’m the one who caused the betrayal, lies,deception, destruction in our marriage has taken its toll every day. Living a life of denial and some sort of a compulsive sex addiction, i was caught a couple times watching soft porn. Because she never threatened tobtake action life would just carry on. I was deep dark hole, feeling like I was in bondage. She told me many times that i need to get counseling always tried to encourage me but because I was living in such deep guilt and shame I could not take the step to reach out. I isolated myself a lot of times and being secretive. I am devastated and beside myself with all that I have done and how could this be me. I grew up in a Christian home and desired to serve God as a boy. As a married man and going down the path i did i hate myself and find it hard for my wife or anyone else to forgive me. I don’t deserve forgiveness from her or acceptance and I have wrestled with being in her life. I have put her through too much. I have done so much time with God and giving my life and marriage over to Him. I have sought a Christian sex therapist to get help but the weight of my actions is unbearable. I have days I feel like ending it all but like you, I can’t. I’m staying with my parents and looking for a job. I’m married 25 years with 5 children and I have failed my marriage and family. Broken her heart and didn’t protect her and love as I should have. Praying and trusting for God’s direction. There is hope in God. Thank you Cherith for your Ministry. I came across it as I have been searching for others who have struggled with issues (the betrayer) and those dealing dealing with the hurt, the loss (the betrayed). God continue to bless you in the ministry He has called you to do.

  22. So my situation is different, I just found out my husband slept with another women during his brothers bachelor party. He says he was very drunk and didn’t know what he was doing. That in itself is hard to believe. He kept it from me for 2 years and he barely told me 2 days ago. He also told me he has been addicted to porn and I had no idea. I feel like I’m in a house with a total complete stranger. We have two kids together and I just cannot believe this is happening. I’ve always been faithful and it’s so hard ? he says he felt lewd to repent at a church service he went to. I feel led to see and wait for if it is a true repentance. It’s so unfortunate that this is so common it breaks my heart

    1. Hi J,
      It is indeed very unfortunate how common this issue is. Heartbreaking is exactly the right word. I am sorry you have to face it. It sounds like you are handling it with wisdom, though. Lean hard into God and allow Him to carry you through this nightmare. I am praying for you right now. God bless you.

  23. If you have repentant and are truly sorry and have turned from cheating completely do you still need to confess it to your spouse to be forgiven by God?

    1. The Bible says that if we confess our sins to Him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.(1 John 1:9) However, I believe that if the repentance is true, part of His cleansing us from all unrighteousness will be a genuine desire to own up to the consequences of the sin and be honest with anyone who has been affected by it. So if you are not willing to confess to your spouse, I do not believe you are actually repentant. You might be sorry, but that is not the same thing.

  24. Cherith,
    Thank you so much for sharing your honest journey of redemption in your marriage. And thank you for this post specifically. My husband confessed to infidelity one week ago today and I have been begging the Lord to feel his presence. I know he is with us and will walk the long road ahead. On top of this, I’m also going through perimenopause and our oldest child (13) was recently diagnosed with Juvenile Onset Epilepsy, so our little family just feels shattered right now. The Lord has used your words above to start the process of healing for me. I’m ready to forgive my husband and move forward with learning how to trust him again someday. My husband is truly on his face in repentance, and for that I’m grateful. I pray the Lord has favor upon us as we seek Him in finding oneness again. Thank you again, for your words.

  25. Hi. I need godly guidance. I’m not sure what to think. I feel lost, confused, alone and betrayed. Deep down inside I want to leave and be alone but I have children. I can’t forget and it’s like I keep replaying it in my head and it won’t go away. I’ve cried out to the Lord but this is unbearable. I have no peace and I paranoid.
    Please reply and help me. I feel so alone because I can’t say anything to anyone because I don’t want to shame him.

    1. Hi Yvonne,
      Reaching out for help is not shaming him. If his actions are shameful, then they might bring shame to him. But that isn’t on you. Don’t go airing your dirty laundry to everyone you talk to… or even to a lot of people. But do find a trusted pastor, a strong Biblically grounded and trustworthy friend, and maybe a Christian counselor to bring into your confidence and seek out help. Staying in a marriage that is not God-honoring (as in one that is abusive or unfaithful) for your children is not wisdom. It is either wise to stay, or it is wise to leave and children have almost nothing to do with which is true. I am saying a prayer for you now. May God lead you into truth and give you wisdom as you make these difficult decisions.

    1. Hi!
      My wife is having an affair for almost 2 years now only thru messenger with her ex boyfriend when she was 16 years old.They are both in love with each other.I know the situation since she admitted it when i found out..there was no remorse in her.they are still on their affair currently.its an odd situation,since we still live together in the same roof..i guess i already accepted things after emotional ups and this considered adultery since they havent seen each other and no sexual intimacy yet?

      1. Hi Rain, I’m sorry you guys are going through this. I don’t know if it would be considered an affair, but it is certainly unfaithfulness. And I’m not sure the distinction really matters. Either way, it boils down to the fact that unless there is repentance, she is not committed to or faithful to the marriage. I will pray right now that God will get ahold of her heart and change her mind. That she will repent and that both of you will choose to move forward with Christ at the center of your marriage.

  26. My wife and I were separated for the last 6 months after difficulty in the marriage. During this time we went to counseling and worked really hard to restore our commitment and re-center our marriage on Christ. She finally decided to come back and I went to move her back home. As we were leaving to return home she confessed that she had an ongoing affair, still loved the other man, and couldn’t leave with me. I was obviously devastated, but was willing to forgive her. The lines of communication are still open, and she says she still loves me, but is unwilling to leave her current situation and give it another chance. How do I convince her that I’m not that man she left, that she is truly forgiven, and that God’s will is that we recommit to the marriage? I know God is faithful and can heal these wounds. How can I approach this, and rebuke Satan’s lies that her current relationship is worth throwing away what God ordained?

    1. Hi Evan, I’m sorry you’re facing this. I’ll be honest, I don’t think you can convince her of those things. Only God can. My advice is to release her to God and ask Him to do whatever it takes to get ahold of her heart and bring her to repentance.

  27. This is a wonderful article and I thank you for taking the time to write and publish it. It’s a difficult valley to walk through but I’m here to testify that if and ONLY IF the betrayer is repentant the marriage not only will be saved but it can (as in our case) one described as it should be. We were married before even understanding what the covenant of marriage truly meant according to God (unsaved souls 25 yrs ago) . I was saved 8 yrs ago, prayed for my husband in an unyolked marriage and then the infidelity But God has now blessed us so abundantly with salvation of him, taking away shame of lord he believed, forgiveness, you name it! Can’t believe I’m saying this but Gods plan was better and I have to praise Him for what He had to do to get my husbands attention and even the heartache I endured. Reconciliation tenfold is possible.

    1. Amen! I know exactly how you feel. It’s not that I wanted to go through what we went through, but I wouldn’t trade avoiding the heartache for the work God did through it. Worth it! So happy to hear you too have experienced God’s goodness through such difficult circumstances.

  28. Hi Cherith, I’d love to get your perspective on my situation. I have been dating my girlfriend for 4 months (we are both Christians) and recently found out she cheated on me (had sex) with someone else 3 months ago when we were just starting our relationship. She confessed this to me recently and is clearly repentant (she blocked and ended all communication with the other guy not long after their 3 week long affair). If infidelity has occurred during dating, what should be the Christian’s response? The same as during marriage? Obviously, I’m not bound by a marriage covenant at this point but I feel the principles of forgiving like Christ does are still relevant. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Joe. No, I don’t think the response should be the same as if you were married. Yes, we are still called to forgive any brother or sister in Christ who repents of a sin as Christ forgives us. But we are not called to pursue a relationship that would lead to marriage with every person we forgive. Marriage is a pretty special relationship that we only share with one person. And sex is such a sacred thing that God created to be enjoyed within the bonds of marriage. ONLY. She has demonstrated that she has no regard for this standard. And frankly if the two of you are having sex, you are demonstrating the same. I think wisdom runs from a relationship like that. Seek out a woman who will honor God with her body. And you honor God with yours.

      1. Thanks, Cherith, for your response. To be clear, we have not had sex, as we agreed before hand that since we are both Christians, we should wait. My girlfriend has had a very traumatic past, and recently rededicated her life to the Lord. She described this episode as a “relapse” to the lifestyle she had previously been accustomed, and shortly afterwards, repented of it and, for the past 3 months, has honored her commitment of abstinence to me and to the Lord. That is what is making this decision very difficult. i do appreciate your time.

        1. Hi Joe, well that IS different. I appreciate your gentle and forgiving heart. I do believe it is an honor to our God. I think my best advice for you, if you really want to go forward with this relationship, is to give it lots and lots of time. She needs time to grow in her relationship and commitment to God, and you need time to see that this is seed that has fallen on good soil. Only time will reveal that. But if what you’re saying is true, and she really has repented, and you both continue to grow in relationship with God and each other, then I do believe this could one day turn into a beautiful God-honoring marriage. I pray God gives you wisdom.

          1. Thanks, Cherith, that is very wise advice. I will do just that and appreciate your encouragement and prayers! Joe

  29. I have been married for 5 years. It was amazing other than 3.5 years into the marriage she went out one night got drunk and cheated. She was very remorseful and we worked through. But since then she doesn’t attend church with and about 2 months ago she started drinking very heavily. She always drank too much IMO but not it’s bad. The more i talked to her or would get mad the worse it got. To the point she was on her phone at midnight texting and so forth. The arguments continue then about a month ago i found out ah what’s been having a fair for a couple weeks. I filed for divorce as she continued to have the affair and not care about my feelings or anything. The wildness and drinking has gotten even worse. My question is even though this is the second time . She way worse this time as she having an affair with someone 6 years younger that has no job and we are well off. If she repents and ask me to pause the divorce before it’s official in a couple weeks . Should i honor it or should i run as fast as i can?

    1. Hi Wes, I am sorry you are going through this. I am sure it is very painful. I can’t tell you what to do, only God can. I do believe that if there is true repentance we will never regret reconciliation in the long run… but true repentance is really rare. Like almost never happens. However, like I said in the post, I do believe that adultery offers Biblical grounds for divorce (repentance or no) and you are free to pursue divorce if that is what you want. The truth is, though, she has not repented so far, so it isn’t really a question that needs answering. It would be a bridge to cross IF and when you come to it. Sounds like chances are pretty good you won’t. Again, I am sorry you have had to deal with this though. May God give you healing and peace.

      1. My husband has always cheated on me and I am more and more devastated each time but do truly love him and want to make things work. We are currently living separately and he is repenting and really seems like he’s willing to change this time. How long is it fair to refrain from sex? I am simply not interested in intimacy right now while we are building things up again.

        1. Hi Amanda, I am sorry you are facing this. I simply cannot answer your question though. There isn’t an answer that applies in every situation. Every story is different. Every situation requires unique handling. That is why God HAS to be the one leading you into these decisions. Not your feelings, not a counselor, not another person who has gone through it… only God knows every detail both in the past, present, and future that is relevant to these decisions. Allow Him to lead you. Ask Him your specific questions in prayer, (and be very persistent but patient in these prayers until He gives an answer. It isn’t always right away. Sometimes He wants us to wait on Him and His timing. It is always good but rarely what we wanted or expected.) and then look for the answers in your daily Bible reading, in sermons you listen to, in the worship you offer to Him, even in the still small voice that comes every now and then as you meditate on Him and His Word. He WILL show you the way, and He WILL provide everything you need to obey. So be bold and courageous in your obedience!

  30. Thank you for the encouraging biblical guidance. In “our” case, husband asked to move a female friend from high school to rescue her from her sister’s emotional abuse. I asked him about his friendship with her….had they dated in high school, great friends and they coupled together. He said no. I trusted him and as a mandated reporter, said she could come. He promised she will be looking for a place and would be out of our house in three-four weeks, which turned into three months and then he bought her an old motor home and moved her out of our house into it, saying since our house did not work out. Another 3 months. She told him she hated me, of course to plant seeds within him and gain her confidence as she said he is the only one she can trust. (Maniac depressant medications). Additionally, I mentioned a few weeks ago to my husband he is causing issues with both her, and his wife as I know she loves him. I asked if he knew that before he asked if she could come. He said he highly suspected it and told her he was married. They carried on private text and phone calls three months before she arrived. I asked why he did not mention that when he asked if she could come and he said, he didn’t realize how bad it was going to get. I mentioned this was wrong of him to withhold his suspicions she was in love with him when I asked him questions about their friendship. His omission of this vital information would have kept me from agreeing she could come. It has been traumatic since for me, his wife. They talk every day and since I still work full time, I feel certain goes to see her to “check on her” and whenever she acts desperate. He does not see her as manipulative. Early on and followed for a few months, I warned my husband at first gently and then a bit more firmly as I saw them flirting back and forth. I lost weight, could not sleep, anxious and felt alone. I asked him how intense their friendship was now that he sees her often and they talk nearly every day. I asked specifically if he offered her frontal hugs, hug her tightly, hold her hand,and I already knew he takes her out to eat and highly suspect with some evidence that he has paid for many of her expenses. I also asked if he was romantically inclined. He said YES to all. He justifies it that he doesn’t need the hugs but he offers it when he thinks she needs and says she is emotionally messed up and she needs him. (she plays the victim convincingly). I asked him about these as my spirit was telling me something was off. I know he loves me and he says, of course I do…I come home to you. I no longer trust him, and have not yet asked if they have kissed, but it is likely. I am working very hard at being a Godly wife, regardless. He has been holding me more and has told me he loves me and will never abandon me. TRULY he has abandoned me by his NOW BEST FRIEND. I told him it was a marital affair according to our vows to God, and I will pray over and for him and will ask that the Holy Spirit will convince him of this marital affair. He is in denial as he thinks God called him to be the Good Samaritan to help meet her needs. SO……what specific boundaries do I need to set. He has said I tried to get rid of him at different times…..been rocky marriage as he chose to not have healthy conflict resolution but withdrew emotionally. I never wanted to get rid of him but felt we needed to separate and seek out Godly counsel, with all intent to reunite, totally under God’s design. He blames me for just about everything wrong in our marriage. I have read several Christian books on boundaries but he can redirect so quickly and blame me. So far, no boundaries have been discussed. I am thinking we need a mentor (If he would even go, which he said he doesn’t believe any counselor has worked and they believed me about him, that he had no chance.) Therefore, specific boundaries as he refuses to break this deep emotional and now physical contact (not intercourse) with her. Thank you for your ministry. Sorry so long

    1. I am sorry to hear what you are having to deal with. This relationship is very obviously inappropriate to anyone who values a God-honoring marriage. I do not tell people what to do or what boundaries they need to put into place. It’s not a question I can answer as I don’t know nearly enough about your situation. Not to mention it’s just not my place. It is something you need to figure out with God’s help. But I think you probably know already what boundaries you need to put into place. I suspect you just don’t want to actually go through with what you already know needs to be done because it is going to be really tough! But, even if you really don’t know, God knows and will be faithful to show you. Seek Him and His Word for these answers. I am praying for you right now.

  31. Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to read and re-read it. My wife of 10 years had to leave myself and my 8 year old Son who has autism due to ongoing alcoholism and recent infidelity. We’re in a very sad place and I’m now having to be Mommy and Daddy to my little boy. My wife has sought detox and is living with friends. My Son misses his Mommy and wants to know when she’s coming home.
    I’m just praying and asking him to help me and guide me through this.

  32. Thank you for your words. Please pray for my situation. Husband of 22 years admitted to infedility, we have 4 children together (19-13 yrs old) He said he had been talking to someone who fulfill his emotional being for several years of our marriage and had other two encounters with women. He doesn’t seem repentant and wants to continue talking with this women. My kids are angry and hurt. I forgave him and I’m willing to give this to God. It’s so hard finding peace as he still lives here, don’t have the heart to kick him out, I am trying to be gracious since this just happen two weeks ago.
    Pls pray for us, my kids and for strength. I have been fully dependent on him to care for our home etc. I pray God uses this to get him back to a relationship with God. He is saved and I know he has been struggling with that. Not sure if all the guilt or the desire to continue sinning is keeping him from repenting. I am broken and hurt. Pls pray for us. Ultimately I want God to be glorified in this.

  33. It’s been a year now since I filed for a divorce. I acted promptly when I found out of the affair. The extreme pain and shock. Our second child was still an infant, not even 6months of age. After filing, I became very remorseful for my prompt reaction to betrayal. Many more lies came to surface to add upon the infidelity. I asked to save our marriage. He denied the desire to do so and has continued life with his mistress. Stating he has repented and God has forgave him. Of course I know differently. I remain a complete mess! I’ve attempted therapy. I’ve spoke with the pastor. I’ve begged God to intervene and save my marriage. At this point I’ve come to terms with accepting that my marriage has failed. And this might not be Gods will for me. As he has been so strayed from God right now. But I have no peace in my heart, or my eyes. The tears still flow, my heart still aches with an immense amount of pain. This past year I’ve had to witness our two daughters (5 years, and 1 1/2year old) go without a man in our home, or times without a father figure. To watch your children hurt from the betrayal is such a deep pain. I often think of Marry, as they hung Jesus on the cross and she could not save him. I write this to say our divorce is not final and deep down inside despite my husbands actions I beg God to change his heart. And if this be the will of God that I receive some sort of comfort or peace from within. As I walk through the valley of death I should fear no evil. For God is with me. I know God is near the broken hearted.

  34. I ama Christian therapist. A client just left my office after telling me her huband, that has repeatedly committed adultery, told her he does not see how the adultery is a betayal to her. I counseled her using the same idea as the article states. As in he should not betrying to gaslight and manipulate her into thinking he is the victim. This is what he is doing a lot of with her, My client believes she is being sinful by planning to leave him or check his phone. I do not tell anyone to stay or leave anyone, yet point out healthy and unhealthy behavior patterns. The client does with the information learned what they will.
    First off, I told her thesame thing I just read is that he broke the covenant, not her by second guessing the relationship especially when it appears he is not asking for true forgiveness since he has made it clear he doesn’t understand the offense. What say you?

    1. I also don’t tell people what to do, but simply try my best to point them toward Scripture and truth and offer principles I have learned as well as my own personal experience to help them make wise choices. That being said, since you aren’t the client, I will tell you that I believe if this story is actually exactly what you have said, then she should seek divorce. Again, I would not tell her that. But it is my opinion. I understand that it is an opinion though, and that is why I would encourage her to seek God for herself, and I would try my best to help her understand the Biblical principles that apply to her situation as best I could.

  35. My boyfriend had an affair with me (I’m the other woman) . I feel like things have been progressively worse since it’s happened and this was over 10 years ago. I always felt like she was waiting for him to come back and i feel like he maybe would’ve if we didn’t start having kids together. It actually took me to have my own kids to realize the mess we’ve created and the pain we’ve caused. I have deep regret especially since the ex wife is now homeless and on drugs. Sometimes i think it’s because she gave up knowing he wasn’t coming back after all. She was a good mother, a loving mother (they have 2 kids together) and she dealt with infidelity with him for years before he met me. I used to use that excuse to make myself feel better about the situation. The fact that he was unfaithful before and if it wasn’t with me it would be with someone else anyways. I almost felt like i was doing her a favor by getting rid of him for her. I now know that was terribly wrong and i feel like i’m living in Hell and i also think our children are being affected from by our bad karma. I recently joined a church with my young kids because i just want forgiveness and to heal all of us. I dont know what to do. I’m so sorry.

    1. Hello friend, the beauty of what Jesus did on the cross is that the forgiveness it brings is freely available to every single sinner. It really doesn’t matter whether the sin we need forgiven is big or small. All sin separates us from God and every single person sins. Jesus died for all of it. Indeed, what you have done is terrible. But friend, so is what I have done. Jesus forgave me and gave me new life in Him. He will do the same for you if you will repent and turn to Him. I pray you will.
      Here is an article I wrote on my other blog that spells out how to give your life to Him:

  36. Cherith, thank you for this article. It is indeed much needed and applicable to my marriage. I’ve strayed from God and I’ve betrayed my wife. My heart is broken for her as I know I’ve inflicted so much pain that I cannot forgive myself. How can I expect forgiveness? I can see the pain in her eyes and I feel so shameful that I wish myself to be erased from existence. My biggest fear right now is that renewal cannot come, and that my past mistakes have completely tarnished our marriage and memories. I know that I must work on myself and repent. But the shame and guilt has rendered every fibre of my being to feel decimated and undeserving of grace. I am crawling back up as I know I must fight for my marriage, and to again earn the trust and love of my wife. Please pray for me but more importantly, pray for full healing for my wife. Thank you for sharing your journey and providing this forum. For it helped me to feel a little less alone and powerless right now.

    1. Hi Alex, I will indeed pray for both of you right this minute.
      You are right in feeling that your actions have completely tarnished the marriage and memories. The point of forgiveness is not that the sin is undone, it cannot be. It is also not that it is forgotten. That also is not possible. But what forgiveness does is it chooses not to hold you to the debt. When Jesus died in our place, he paid the debt our sin charged to restore our access to God. In response, God no longer holds that debt against us. It is paid. The same is true in our relationships. When we forgive, we choose not to hold the debt against the debtor. When they genuinely repent, we accept the sacrifice of Jesus as payment for their sin and access in the relationship is restored. Hope that helps.
      May God bless your marriage as you both seek Him in your recovery!

  37. Thank you for the article. We always turn to God when we encounter a problem. Going to church every Sunday and being part of the Christian group are our go to.
    I am fortunate to marry a man ( 20 years older – age is just a number to us) who worship me to a T. I wanted children, I received my wishes even when he was in his late 50. God bless

  38. Thank you so much for this. I am having such a difficult time in my marriage and hearing the way to best move forward biblically is so refreshing. Hallelujah!

  39. Thank you so much for this article, which confirms what our Heavenly Father through his Holy Spirit and the faith in his Son Yahushua our messiah, has lead me to this path of being patient and forgiving, due to the fact that I’m currently living this betrayal once again in my marriage of now 20 yrs to my husband. We have had several cheating situations on his behalf and me being the trusting wife, obedient to the Creator and his command to reconcile and forgive, has been my life since I first found out about the first affair. Now, it has gone so far as to the affair partner becoming pregnant with his child and him telling me when she is due in a month. I don’t know how to navigate this situation I’m trusting in my Heavenly Father who sees all, beyond our understanding and I hear my husband telling me that he will never leave me and our 4 kids. He says he feels horrible for the actions he has done, but he still continues to talk to the affair partner because of the child they are having soon. This is destroying me completely. I understand, that the child has no fault in the actions of adults and the committed sin, but I don’t know how much more I can take or if I’m being played. We both believe in the same faith and I know that we must forgive those that wrong us, but I’m lost. I don’t know how to keep this inside and suppress my emotional agony from my children. I cry daily and in prayer. I love my husband and understand that temptation is hard, but how do I heal and not be a mess without breaking down and sobbing continually. This is so painful, because we have 2 children with special needs and it takes a toll on me and dealing with this repetitive behavior has me confused. I don’t want divorce and neither does he, so he says, but his actions don’t reflect that…please help me…I’m wanting to speak to someone who can guide me through this in a biblical way that understands reconciliation in marriage and how to cope with the grieving process.

  40. I am very confused and hurt. I was very ill and I found out that during that time my husband was looking at dating sites, women, etc. He cooked for me and took care of me, somewhat. I need a biopsy and am still ill. We have been intimate but he is still on the dating sites. We are older and married for 30 years. I am a Godly Christian woman and he has professed to be a Godly man. We are both church goers. Should I tell the Pastor and his friends to help him?

    1. Hello Mrs. M. I am sorry you have found yourself in this difficult situation. I can not tell you what to do, but I do not think it would be wise to tell others about this issue before you have confronted him on it. Perhaps you have, but your comment does not make it sound like you have addressed the issue with him. That should be step one. If, after that, he is not repentant or things don’t change, then yes. I think it would be wise to seek the help of your pastor. This follows the steps laid out for us in Matthew 18 about how to confront a fellow believer about an offense.

  41. Your article is the first resource I have actually found that helped me instead of hurt me more after my pastor husband’s confession of viewing pornography for years without me knowing. Thank you so much for writing this. It’s been three months since the confession. I thought we had a beautiful Christian marriage, best friends, I was crazy in love with him, no signs once so ever, we had 5 children and 16 years of marriage thus far. We met as teens in youth group.. we were high school sweethearts, virgins when we were married and both had such strong convictions on purity and protecting that with all our might. I thought marital conflict crept in recently due to the stresses of being in full time ministry. He says my unconditional love and faithfulness to him when he was angry and arguing with me actually played the largest role in confessing to me.
    I’m devastated that this seemingly has wrecked my feelings of love and respect toward him and I feel I’ve suffered a tremendous loss- almost like a death of someone I loved. I have been in total denial- thinking this can’t be true. He couldn’t have hated me that much. My self esteem is wrecked and everywhere I go i am constantly comparing my body to other women wishing I was the only one for him like he always told me I was. I’ve cycled through all the waves of betrayal grief. I’ve experienced every. single. one. Yet, I haven’t left him and I haven’t withheld from him and I’ve poured grace and love out for him. Yet the waves of sadness and triggers of emotions hit me upon waking every morning and last all throughout the day. The questions pop into my mind in rapid fire. He seems repentant but I still struggle with knowing for sure because he was a pastor during the 8 year struggle and we always had full disclosure and access to each others online activity.. but twitter was the access.. inconspicuous, easy to hide. He told me he grieved and asked forgiveness to the Lord after each fall into it.. but the one thing he as too scared to do was tell me and ruin our marriage. Yet, the secret was precisely the thing that kept him entangled by Satan and the longevity kills me more than if it was just a one time slip up.
    Please pray that I will see hope. Right now, it’s so hard for me as I have strived for a righteous life and I loved him and felt so secure in our love and life of ministry together and I feel that now that this is a part of our story.. I hate our story now.
    How did you overcome fear and doubt, see the real repentance and extend compassion and grace for something so hateful and unloving and unfaithful? How is there such a thing as “more beautiful” after something like this. Does it simply mean that the purity, romance and total sexual fulfillment and intimacy is gone and you just have to be just roommates and parents together without feeling mutual “Eros” love? I’m trying. Help. I wish I didn’t have to walk this road.

    1. Oh friend, I am so sorry for what you are dealing with. I totally understand! There really is hope, but you are going to have to give yourself some time and grace to go through the grieving process. It is a much longer and more treacherous road than most of us think going into it.

      I do think that if he is truly repentant he needs to do more than just confess to you. As the leader of your church I really believe this should be confessed, at least to the elders or board or whatever leadership your church has, and maybe even to the whole church (1 Timothy 5:20). There needs to be some sort of public dealing with it according to Scripture. I do not think this command should be neglected.

      To answer your question about how I overcame fear and doubt, the answer is simply Jesus. I learned to look to Him for all of my security. I learned to trust Him to show me what I needed to see. I dove deep into the intimacy He offers and found the most wonderful relationship I have ever known there. And out of that relationship, I have been able to find what I need to heal in my relationship with my husband. There IS certainly an aspect of the relationship with my husband that has been irreparably lost. The innocence and exclusivity of our bond is gone forever. But that does not mean that it can’t still be wonderful. It can still be intimate and fulfilling and romantic, and even pure. Because God can make it new. But it takes a lot of work and willingness to forgive and be vulnerable again, which will take time. And trust has to be earned again, which also takes a great deal of time.

      If you would like further more personal help, please feal free to email me.

  42. I struggled with a porn and gambling addiction prior to my marriage. My wife knew I watched porn and would view it with me at the onset of our relationship. My gambling cause a lot of mistrust. I received help and stopped gambling and attempted to make all monetary restitutions. My wife left her phone by mistake and I found sexual texts from a guy. I confronted her and she placed her hand on the Bible and swore it wasn’t physical. I believed her but years later this same guy says they never stopped interacting with one another and had sex several times. My wife confirmed the relationship, but denies it’s a big deal. She is unrepentant and I’m not sure how many people she’s been with. I don’t trust her at all! We are presently going through the divorce process. On a positive note, I have given my life back to Christ and it’s almost a year since I got into porn.

    1. I’m sorry for the painful situation you find yourself in, but thankful to hear you have found Christ in the process and are surrendering your life to Him now. May He bless your obedience going forward!

  43. Hi. I have dealer with repeated infidelity with my husband. I chose to forgive every time, and it was a lot of times, but I do not believe he was ever godly sorry or truly repented. I started feeling so unsafe and not trusting of my husband. He would get mad at me everytime I would tell him my insecurities, and then he would say no matter what I do you’re never gonna trust me. The arguments were a lot. I have been so hurt by him, about a month ago he just up and left me and his daughter with no warning. He left us two notes in the closet on the top shelf (strange place to leave notes) He said he couldn’t take all the arguing anymore and that he’s sorry I can’t feel safe with him, and that he couldn’t live up to my standards. I was totally bewildered and left to feel like it’s my fault.

    1. I’m sorry. How painful. If your husband is not a believer, I think that 1 Corinthians 7 would suggest that if he wants to leave you should let him leave. But if you have done nothing to break the marriage covenant, then it is certainly not on you. He is the one who has given up on the marriage.

  44. Cherith: Keep up your “Godly Good Work”. You are on the right path in counciling those who lost their marriage. So much better than most professionals attempting to do the same. I have been a Spousal lost facilitator for a large parish for over 30 years. 70+ percent of the spouses that darkened our doors lost their mate via adultery. What most professionals fail to recognize, or otherwise admit to, is the fact that once a marriage encounters adultery, it is dead and gone. A new re-marriage is possible, but only if the individuals take extensive steps alone, to heal the harm each has experienced, and then jointly recommit once healed. God taught us that millenniums ago, and just in the past decade or so, new scientific discoveries of the body have revealed that he was right.

  45. I am needed a way to break this to my husband. I have committed the sin during my deployment. I am so scared but I know it needs to be done.

    1. There’s no good way. Just do it. The longer you wait the harder it gets and the more betrayal you pile on to the betrayal that already happened. Because keeping a secret from your spouse is also a betrayal.

  46. I have a strange situation. In 1993 I had a limerence thing with a female coworker. I told my wife right away thinking prayer will help. 4 years later, she got fired and gone. I never acted on it btw. It was tough. An emotional affair. Flash forward to 1997, and my wife was thinking I cheated on her but I didn’t, at least physically. In 1997 my wife got laid off so had to attend a job search class. There, she met a fellow. Within 3 days he was frenching her and began bedding her a few days after that, unbeknownst to me. I knew something was wrong. Tons of clues. She even had me share a rented rototiller with him. Clean it after he was done. Spend days and evenings there. I got fed up and I took her for a drive to head to a lawyer. When she learned where we were going, and I wasn’t going to be the end choice, not the only choice, she promised nothing happened at all and she wasn’t going to lose her family.
    Flash forward to 2021. I asked her again for the truth. She swore to God and His throne nothing happened. Good enough. She wouldn’t dare do that.
    But apparently she would because in 2022, the Lord forced her to confess. Unfortunately it was so long ago she remembers very little. So I am stuck in the discovery stage with no way to discover anything. I am staying with her and living out the proverb that says he who covers a transgression seeks love. Its been 15 months and it only marginally better. But better not worse. Many triggers for anger though.

    1. Hi Rodger, I am sorry you are dealing with this. How heartbreaking. Lies are their own betrayals, so lies about infidelity are betrayals on top of betrayal. They are often the most difficult part to get over and the most damaging to the relationship long term. Trust is very difficult to rebuild once it has been so completely shattered. And the triggers are so very difficult. Here is an article I wrote about dealing with triggers, although what I write is directed at women who have been betrayed, and I imagine men are VERY different in every way, so I don’t know how relevant or helpful it will be to you. But hey, maybe at least the parts that point to Scripture will give you a starting point to find your own help through what God so graciously offers us through His Word. I genuinely hope it helps at least a little.

  47. My husband had an affair and left me for the other women. They have been living together for almost a year but we are not legally divorced yet. Both of these people claims to be Christians and while my husband said he is sorry for what he is doing to me he is happy with his decision and does not want to reconcile. Months ago I was on my way to forgiving him, letting go, and trying to move on with my life and then he came back in the middle of the night when I was sleeping and sick and spent the whole night telling me how the other woman was so much better than me and I was never really a good partner. Even though I stayed with my husband when he had nothing and lost jobs due to his alcohol and drug abuse. Now he is sober and making good money he believes that I’m not worthy of him and he needs someone better than me. I want to get back to where I was a few months ago but after that night all I can think about is how much I want to hurt the both of them. They destroyed me intentionally. He treats this woman better than he ever treated me. I want justice from God against these people who took everything from me. I feel abandoned by both him and God. There is so much more destruction my husband did to me that I have not put in this comment. What can I do to get this pain to stop so I can function and take care of myself and my kids.

    1. Hi T, I am so sorry to hear what you have been through. I understand why you feel the way you do, but let me offer another perspective for your consideration.

      It does not sound like your husband was good to you, even before he was unfaithful. And maybe (I’m just guessing here) there were some poor choices that led to your marriage in the first place? But even if there wasn’t, it had turned into a bad situation. Perhaps, what you see as God not having your back is the exact opposite. Perhaps after years of pursuing your husband and desiring that he become an honorable man of God, the Lord had finally had enough of your husband’s mistreatment of His precious and deeply loved daughter and so He released your husband to his sinfulness and allowed him to enter into a situation which would remove him from the marriage without there being any fault on you. This would release you from a very bad situation and give you the freedom to pursue God with your whole life, not having the responsibilities that come with being a wife. (See 1 Corinthians 7)

      I would encourage you to at least consider this perspective. Try to lean deep into your relationship with God and look to Him to fill you with all the things that we tend to look for from people. Let Him show you what true faithfulness looks like, for He is the only one who is truly faithful. Let Him love you as no person ever can or will, for He is the only one that can love perfectly, unconditionally, and completely. Let Him define goodness for you, for He is the only one who is truly good. Let Him teach you about joy and peace, for true and lasting joy comes only from Him and the peace that passes all understanding is found only in His presence. Release the broken human relationship that has ruined you because it was too selfish to consider you above itself and find healing in the arms of the Savior who gave up His life to save you from sin and offer you life and relationship with Him forever. I truly hope you can do this, because in doing so you will find the only life worth living!

  48. Hi, I am in a similar situation, but with the exception that I was the unfaithful one. It happened last year while I was working in another country (it was a one night event, and although the whole act was not done, things still happened and it is still cheating, after a night of heavy drinking), and even though she felt it in her spirit, I still lied about it for almost a year, and this is on top of other lies that I have told (and was found out on) prior in oir marriage.

    Ultimately, the Lord worked in my heart and I confessed the cheating about a month ago. I truly am repentant, and I know I have shattered her as a person, and she is the most loving, gentle, kindhearted person I know, as well as a very devout Christian.

    I know that it is still very early days, and I have a long way to go to show my repentance as well as to earn back the trust.

    I have put steps in place to show my accountability going forward, amd I take full ownership of everything I have done to her.

    Yes, we didn’t have a perfect marriage, and I should not have cheated, and there were contributing factors that led to the cheating, but I accept that the choice was mine, and that choice is now causing deep hurt, both for her and our two beautiful daughters, and I am so deeply sorry for the hurt and destruction I have caused.

    I desperately want to save my marriage, and I know.and believe that God can restore it, but right now she is in the anger phase, and consistently asks for a divorce, but I am trying so hard to save our marriage, and can only do it with God’s help.

    Please, I am asking for prayer as I do really want to save my marriage and put God where he was supposed to be from the very start (that is also on me, as I drifted to and from God, so for her this is just another cycle)

    We are both seeing our pastor individually, as well as seeing counselors separately, and as stated I Have put steps in place to show accountability, but right now all she sees is the covenant broken.

    Please, I am asking for prayer and guidance, and I mean Godly guidance. I want to save my marriage!!!!

    1. Hi Nick, Praise God that you have chosen repentance! My best advice would be for you to offer your wife some distance while you do the work of rebuilding trust. My husband and I did this through a time of structured separation. He lived with his parents for a set period of time and we each spent that time pursing our relationship with God individually and working towards our personal healing and then as the separation time moved forward, taking steps to rebuild the relationship. I think it would go a long way for you to take your hands off and let her see that you are not trying to force your own agenda, but allowing God to orchestrate His agenda. And I will certainly pray, right now, for God to do a mighty work in both you and your wife, as well as in your marriage and in your family. I know that He is able!

  49. I love God and have always strived to be someone he would be proud of. In that sense I have forgiven my husband infidelities many times (more than 6). When is enough enough? How will I know God will have mercy on me if I decide to move on and divorce?

    1. Why do you think God wants you to stay in a marriage like this? What are you seeing in His Word that causes you to think that He does not view the broken covenant as reason for you to pursue divorce?

  50. My name is Juan, I am 2 weeks away from divorce, spent 2 years trying to repair my marriage but my wife continued to cheat with a long distant person which she went to see recently for a second time after we separated, and 2 weeks away and I am still asking God am I making the right choice, I still want to be there for my wife but at the same time I am tired, I know this has to happen, if I thought I could repair my marriage I would, but hon many times do I trip over the same rock

    1. Hi Juan, as the article you are responding to spells out, I do not think it is wise to stay in a marriage when unrepentant adultery is present. Unless your wife has a complete change of heart, I do believe you are doing the right thing by publicly acknowledging the covenant has been broken in the form of separation and divorce. But if your uneasiness with the situation is coming from God, then perhaps He has something unforeseen in store. He certainly did for me. Ask Him to either give you peace about the ending of the marriage, or to show you what He wants you to do instead. Perhaps He just wants you to be willing to wait while He does His work. I don’t know. I am not God. But I don’t want to advise anyone to ignore a tugging on their heart from the Holy Spirit. But then I also don’t want someone to allow shame and guilt from the enemy to keep them from experiencing the peace God offers when we are acting righteously according to His direction either. The only way for you to know which one your situation falls into is for God to give you that wisdom. And I know from experience that He will when you seek Him with all your heart. Praying for you now. May God give you wisdom.

  51. I came across this site when I was searching for prayers and scriptures to help me in a divorce that I went through over 20 years ago. I was the betrayer. I went through a tremendous amount of loss and breakdown which resulted in adultery. I take full responsibility and fault for everything. I ended up marrying someone I knew was wrong but one takes desperate measures when scared and alone. This eventually resulted in a divorce in 2021. I have always loved my first husband and tried to reconcile years ago. I moved back to my home state of CT. I have been here since 2022. My two daughters and my husband (I cannot call him ex) live not too far. I have a son in NJ. As of right now I have been cooking meals for my husband since he has had health issues. This is a big step since he said at one time he didn’t want my help. So I am praying and believing for reconciliation. We were such a close family and when I look back at the person I was I don’t even recognize that woman. I know God has forgiven me but I battle with forgiving myself. I NEVER thought this would ever happen in our life. But it has and I need to just keep moving forward and believe Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans for good and not for disaster. To give you a future and a hope. If you have any material that can help please let me know. Thanks,Bonnie

    1. Hi Bonnie, Praise God he has brought you to repentance. I think my best advice would simply be a gentle encouragement for you to daily examine your heart and be sure that whatever efforts you are making are in obedience to God and not out of some sort of selfish motivation to get back something that you finally realize was much more precious than you had previously understood. The fact is, it may be lost. It may not. We don’t know what spectacular plan God has for you, only that whatever it is, it IS spectacular. But it will be realized by pursuing HIM, not by pursing your ex-husband. Again, that doesn’t mean that God isn’t the one leading you to do exactly what you are doing. I cannot see your heart and I am not the judge. I am simply a fellow believer who feels compelled to offer a gentle warning. Pursue your Savior. Let HIM do the work that needs doing. Let HIM write your story. You will never be disappointed in the ending when the Author of Life holds your pen. Just as the verse you quoted says, HE knows the plans He has for you and they are plans full of purpose and hope, so be careful you are not trying to fill in the details for Him. Step out of the way and let Him work!

  52. I have a question I’m having a hard time finding an answer to. I was unfaithful to my wife with a couple different women starting around 2018 for a yr and then off then another one first half of 2022. Long story short, this past summer I confessed all of it, and simultaneously believe I was led to Christ (grew up in the church but never really experienced true change in my life). My life is radically different and I praise God for that. My wife has even told me that she’s seen the changes and that they’re substantial, which is encouraging. However, for her she said she’s too far gone and we’re definitely getting a divorce. We have kids and I’v been the sole breadwinner. I’ve proposed a certain amount of money and she doesn’t think it’s enough, etc… now folks are starting to spiritualize it and there’s a perspective that even if she chooses the divorce, I should continue to support her financially, not just as the mother of our kids, but more or less like she’s still my wife. To be clear, I’m not looking for an “out” here… I’m just confused on what my responsibility is to her when I want to stay married and she doesnt, but it’s because of my actions. Some godly people are telling me that if she divorces me then my obligation ends aside from court appointed alimony and being kind/respectful… others tell me that I’m bound to provide for her in full until she remarries… I’M SO CONFUSED! Have you counseled anyone who’s dealt with this?

    1. Hi Jim, I am not a marriage counselor, and I certainly don’t speak for God on issues He has not plainly laid out in Scripture. So I can’t tell you what He wants you to do in his sort of a specific situation. What I can tell you is that if your heart is truly repentant, and if you are as changed and surrendered to Him as you claim, you don’t need another Christian to answer these questions for you. You need only to seek God Himself and He will give you the answers you need. He may be opening doors to some magnificent redemptive work, but you’ll never know if you don’t walk through those doors and receive what He has prepared. And the only way to know what He’s asking of you is to listen to HIM and Him alone. That’s not to say He won’t use His people to speak into your situation and offer wisdom and insight, because He definitely does that. But primarily, His direction is going to come from His Word. So make a habit of spending time every single day listening to Him. Open your Bible, ask Him for wisdom, and then listen as you read for the answers you seek. I recommend starting with a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan. Take that whole year to listen. Listen to every single word He has given you. From Genesis to Revelation. And then obey without reservation when you know He has given you an answer! You will never regret obedience and you will be BLOWN AWAY by how He will work as you do!

  53. Hi Cherith,
    Thanks for sharing this biblical truth. It is refreshing to see this being taught and I pray for marriages to be restored and healed through what you’ve shared.

    I find myself in a very difficult situation myself. My wife and I have been separated for 3 and a half years. I left our home due to issues we were having only to find out she was having an affair. A beautiful baby girl came as a result of that. She has not repented to me directly since then but I had seen her start going to church. During this time she mentioned to me that she loves me and wants to work on things. That gave me hope but have recently caught her with another man once again…I’ve held on for 3 and a half years patiently loving her through her mistakes because the Lord does that with us on a daily basis. But I’m at a difficult point and feel like divorce is inevitable…it’s difficult and painful. Any encouragement, prayers, and / or guidance is appreciated. Thank you and God bless.

    1. Hi Antonio, I am so sorry! How very painful. I have been where you are (minus the precious child born out of the sinful circumstances). I think you are right to step away and at the very least wait for repentance to become overwhelmingly evident before pursuing reconciliation, however, I am not God and you have to seek Him, not me, to give you these kinds of answers. As far as encouragement, well there I can give you plenty! There is SO much hope.

      There is hope for the marriage if your wife is willing to repent. My husband was unfaithful for many years, after the initial discovery he seemed repentant, but after another year I found he was involved in another affair. I felt like there was absolutely no chance he would ever change. But he did. Here we are, seven years later and I am as confident as I can be that he has been completely faithful for those seven years. He is a changed man. Everyone in our life sees it. God has restored much of what was broken (though I doubt things will ever be exactly what they could have been without the unfaithfulness) and He has given us beauty for the ashes, allowing us to experience wonderful blessings that wouldn’t have happened without the terrible parts. We have a wonderful, fulfilling, best friend and life partner, intimate relationship – despite the pain that still exists here and there. God has blessed us beyond measure. I am confident He can and will do the same for any other couple who is willing to surrender themselves completely to Him. Unfortunately, that takes two soft hearts, and we are only able to respond to Him with our own hearts. So until your wife is willing to turn to God, all you can do is pray for her and take the opportunities God gives to speak truth.

      But there is so much more hope than that. There is hope for YOU, no matter what she does. God has a purpose and a plan for you, with or without her cooperation. Who knows how he will remake this pain into something splendid that will cause you to look at the situation and despite all the terribleness see that God has turned it to good. The possibilities are endless, and only God knows what He has in store for you. But as one who has experienced His goodness in such a situation, I am COMPLETELY CONFIDENT that He will do it. Take this time of isolation and loneliness and terrible brokenness to lean hard into the hands of your Creator and be mended and restored and enveloped in a love no human can give, a perfect love. Find joy and peace and hope in His presence. And go beyond and find comfort among His people. I pray right now that in a few years time, you will be able to look back on this time, as I do on my time in the depths of that pain, as a blessing you would not trade for anything because of how closely it knit you to the heart of your Savior!

  54. This is a great article. My husband and I have been through a lot concerning infidelity. It was discovered and confessed in our 10th year of marriage that he had been unfaithful many times in out of our marriage. I tried to forgive him and work through the process mostly on my own for 2 years and than he up and left me with 5 kids. When he left God started a work of healing and forgiveness in me that was supernatural. He came back to me after 4 and a half months not really repented. But our relationship seemed restored for a little over 8 years We had another child together. I love him, but God was revealing to me and him that doors of sin needed to be closed in our lives and he would not walk through healing the things that were being revealed. He started pulling away and leaving more for work. Than I saw a dinner bill on our bank statement for $108 I asked him why did it cost so much for him to eat out alone. He got very defense and told me I never trusted him fully. Which was not true. I just started seeing patterns reimerge more and more and him distancing himself from me and pulling away. So maybe we never did the work to fully restore our relationship correctly, but than he decided a few days after that conversation to tell me he never loved me. It was always just pretend for him. So now I have no trust left. I feel like I tried to do what God wanted me to do, imperfectly of course. I made mistakes. I still love him and pray for him and God has helped me walk through more forgiveness, but I am not entirly sure what God wants me to do anymore. I still believe in marriage restoration and God’s plan for my life, but maybe it is not for me anymore. I am so confused. I try to get perspective but God tells me to learn to enjoy him in the process and leave the outcome to him. So I wait.

    1. Hi Angela, I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through. It sounds like God is working though, at least in your own life and heart. I believe that He will make something wonderful for you out of all this awfulness in His time as you continue to trust Him through it. I hope that doesn’t sound trite, it is not intended to belittle the horror of what you are going through, but simply to express my deep faith in the God who is sovereign through it all. I see what He did in my own story, taking the pain and turning it into the catalyst for the greatest work He has done in my heart since salvation. And I genuinely believe He can and will do it again with and for all of His children. I am saying a prayer for you now. May God be near!

  55. I was married 25 years when I found out my husband had cheated on me. He finally told me when he was very sick, in the hospital, loosing wait very fast, pneumonia and a lung fungus. The doctor told us he tested positive for HIV. I got tested and also was positive. He swore he never cheated on me. Finally after he was home and getting worse, he told me he had sex with someone from a bar, swears it only happened once but I will never know. I forgave him because his alcoholism played a very big part, the devil was at work. He ended up with full blown AIDS and died 2 weeks later. He asked me many times for forgiveness and I did forgive him and I told him he had to ask God for forgiveness. He said he did ask for God to forgive him. I will never have all the answers to my questions because he ended up with severe dementia and was unable to communicate. I’m trying very hard to move past all the unknowns and deal with my grief. I know God is with me in this journey of survival. I am on medication and am now undetectable and cannot transmit the virus. I miss my husband with all my heart and love him so much. Forgiveness and my faith in God is what has carried me.

    1. Wow, what a painful story, friend! I am saying a prayer for you now. May God continue to heal you both emotionally and physically, and may He give you such great purpose for His Kingdom in the years to come! I pray He fills you to overflowing with His peace and joy and love. God bless you friend.

  56. In January my wife told me she didn’t want to be with me any longer. Neither of us were walking with God. We had fought a lot over past hurts. I was very angry at her. I felt like someone had came between us but couldn’t figure out who. Fast forward. They’re was someone else. She says he was just a friend but she kept him s secret for two years. She ended up living with him and still is. Now she comes home nearly every day and spend the afternoon with the girls and I but sleeps at his place. They’re were a bunch of red flags during the time leading up and I had to have hard evidence to get any truth and it was very short spoken with little about what happened. About a month ago she told me she had been praying and regretted a lot of her decisions. We’ve been trying ever since but I’m having real issues with her living with him and she says she is afraid to move back in and doesn’t want the fighting to start again. I have given my life to God. I needed to repent for a lot and am seeing myself recovering for my sin nature. Today I asked about her situation again and she got mad and started slinging the past at me again. I guess I’m confused right now about how to handle this. Thank you for all the articles they are straight forward and biblical and I really appreciate you. God bless

    1. Hi James, I am sorry you are in this situation, but I am happy to hear that through it you have found Jesus and surrendered to Him. What a wonderful thing it is when our gracious and merciful God brings good things out of horrible sinful situations. I can’t tell you what you should do, but I can tell you it’s not okay for her to be living with another man. And certainly, if she is claiming to want to work on restoring the relationship, this is 100 percent unacceptable! I don’t think it means she has to move back in with you right away she just can’t be living with another man. Ever. Even if she does move back in with you, it might be good to have some time of in house separation while you work out some boundaries and set up some plans for how to move forward in reconciliation. This time should be dedicated to fasting and prayer and have an agreed upon time and agreed upon parameters according to 1 Corinthians 7:5.

      Thank-you for your encouragement. I am saying a prayer for you and your wife right now. May God be glorified and His will be done!

  57. The Malachi verse is poorly translated. It says to not deal treacherously with one’s wife. This can mean a host of things- not just adultery. Today, we see many men who are v cruel to their wives: physical and emotional abuse. But the Church rarely steps in.

    Let’s translate this scripture correctly! There is SOOO much discrimination and minimizing against women in the Church!!

    1. I am not saying I disagree with you friend, but when you say that the verse is poorly translated, you really need to back it up. We don’t get to just decide something. If you have sources or proof, wonderful. Please share! If you do not, please seek out the truth (Maybe start with a Hebrew English Bible translation) and be careful about throwing around accusations like this based on what you think. People who have spent their lives learning and studying the ancient languages of the Bible have dedicated a great deal of time and effort to giving us such easy access to Scripture in our own language.

  58. I cheated on my husband and he found out. I love my husband and I am trying to make things work but he is insisting on breaking things with me. I am truly repentant and remorseful. I do not want to get divorced because I believe my marriage can still work but my husband is insisting on letting go. I know I have hurt him and broken his trust but I am ready to do anything to make it work again. I am shattered and devastated. Please pray for my marriage to work

    1. I will pray now for your marriage. The one thing I would caution you in is using the word love too loosely. I believe you have affection for your husband, and maybe you are learning to love him now, but you certainly have not loved him in the past. Love means something. Love is not selfish and is more concerned with what is good for the other person than what feels good or brings temporary satisfaction. Love would never ever be unfaithful. If you are truly ready to do anything for the marriage, perhaps try releasing it to God. Let go. If what your husband needs is a little space to heal and learn to trust again, give it to him. Surrender your future into God’s hands and follow Him where He leads. I am praying now that it will be to healing and restoration and great purpose and that through all of it He will be greatly glorified.

  59. Thank you for this article. Would you please pray for me that God would give me the confidence and clarity and wisdom tondo what He wants. The abuse, neglect, and infidelity of my husband since we got married has utterly destroyed much of my life and my health. God has used the last three years to show me how I have treated God in many ways the waybmy husband has treated me consistently throughout my marriage, yet God is holy and deserves our absolute best. It has helped me see how I have broken God’s heart in different ways in my life. It has helped me to see Him calling me to deeper repentance in my life and a truer walk with Him. However, while I continue to forgive my husband the abuse never stops. The infidelity has, I think. However he struggles with lying and a number of other issues and when he gets angry, the statements he makes make it very clear that at least on some level in his heart he still blames me for the times he has physically and verbally abused me, he seems to have repented for the infidelity and sexual violation, but often my body feels so reviled by his touch and I often have panic attacks when he speaks to me in a certain tone or bends down towards my face to kiss me. It has been 3 years nearly every week of this. We have seen marriage counselors, individual counselors, and pastors. I know biblically I have a right to leave, but I love him and have tried to forgive him each time. I also see how God has taught me things through this. At this point, I don’t know if I will ever be able to recover to a point where I feel safe again with him, with him touching me intimately, to be able to reust after so many years of fake repentance through lies that were exposed. I know I am technically allowed to end my marriage but I don’t want God to be displeased with me and understand that much of this is a result of my infidelity to God before my marriage. Would you please pray for me and that God would make it clear. God has given me two dreams that seem very different than others. I believe they relate to my marriage and have been praying for an interpretation. I just feel sad, a bit hopeless about my future and want to be free from the abuse and lies. My husband isn’t trustworthy or dependable so separation isn’t a safe option. I just dont know what I should do, in God’s eyes. Thank you for your time and your prayers.

    1. Hi Nicole, I am so sorry for what you have gone through. Yes. I will pray now that God will give you wisdom about next steps. Remember that it is not just that you have been given the freedom to leave this marriage, but that your husband’s infidelity and abuse makes a mockery of what God designed marriage to be. Marriage is supposed to represent the relationship between Christ and His church to the world. So ask God to show you whether your desire to stay is really about following Him, or if it is something else in your heart that you have not yet recognized.

      After my husband’s infidelity came to light, I had to face the fact that I had made an idol out of my marriage. I clung to it with more zeal than I clung to God. When I finally released that and told God I was willing to do whatever He asked of me, even if it meant the marriage would not survive, something changed. The floodgates opened and God began to do miracle after miracle in my life. In my case, He did save my marriage, but only after my heart shifted from chasing that marriage with my everything to chasing my God with my everything. The change may have looked subtle to the outside world, but in my heart it was like the difference between night and day.

      Please feel free to reach out to me via email if you would like to discuss more of this privately.

  60. I found out 3 months ago that my husband had been having an affair. He left my son and I for the other woman and I initially tried to working things out but ultimately ended up removing myself physically from the situation. I packed my son and myself up and left to my parents house. I still speak with my husband but he says he wants out of the marriage and that he has divorced me a long time ago (even though legally we are still married and he hasn’t filed Fl divorce). I’m deeply confused about the matter because I believe God will restore our family I just don’t know how. I’m trying to remain strong and peaceful but it’s just so difficult. I know in the end God works all things for His good – I just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel right now. Pray for my husbands salvation, for my son and mines healing. I know Gods timing is perfect.

    1. Hi Vw, I am sorry for what you are going through. It sounds like your husband has some very messed up thinking and I am sure it is very difficult and confusing to try and work through all this with him. I don’t believe we’re promised the restoration of our marriage in these situations. God gives us the freedom to choose sin, and it sounds like your husband has no interest in following God’s design for marriage. I do definitely believe God can work a miracle, and I will pray with you now that He will do exactly that. But if your husband does not repent, I would recommend following the advice in 1 Corinthians 7 and let him go. Move on and seek healing for yourself and your son through Christ. Allow Him to fill all those places in you that have been left empty and damaged by this terrible situation. He can make you whole with or without your husband. I will genuinely pray it is with your husband. God bless you friend.

  61. God forgive me, I have sinned. Only you can save our marriage. Please heal us, protect our children and help my wife to heal. I have chosen her, she is my soul mate.

  62. First of all thank you for this article it actually helped me. My question would be, if you have shown forgiveness and a willingness to work it out but the other person has other transgressions after the initial affair, at what point do you say I forgive you but I can’t have you in my life?

    1. So, if infidelity is continuing, then there is no repentance. Repentance means turning away from sin and going in the opposite direction. And as my article stated, I do not believe that forgiveness should be applied to the relationship until there is actual genuine repentance.

  63. Cherith I need your thoughts.
    I am married 15 years to a recently diagnosed autistic man. He lacks emotion, and has never connected with me. We are in a Christian community where we don’t really know each other prior to marriage.
    We have two children. However my emotional, and scientific needs are unmet. I am deprived of attention, affection and crave it from another.
    I have, to my shame, met someone and done the unthinkable. Once.
    The guilt and remorse that followed was awful and I cried to The Lord for forgiveness and a clean heart.
    I haven’t told my husband as I fear the consequences, I could be excommunicated from my church, separated from my children and loved ones.
    I have never loved my husband but married him as he was a good guy. Now I have betrayed him.
    I feel awful but the depravity is also heavy and the temptation to stray is strong.
    I need to confess for true forgiveness but I am so fearful.
    Can you help me?

    1. Hi Amy, no. I can’t really help you. You are the only one who can choose obedience here. I can’t do it for you. You already know what you need to do. You have to face up to your sin and accept the consequences. We don’t get to avoid the fallout of our sin just because we’re sorry. Stop making excuses about why you sinned. It was sin. Plain and simple. And you chose it because you are a sinner. Plain and simple. It wasn’t justified because you don’t feel loved. I mean, you even admit that you don’t love him either. Love is a choice, not a feeling and when we marry we MUST choose to love that person for the rest of our lives if we desire to obey God. Love means putting the other person above ourselves. It means seeking their best before we seek our best. It does NOT mean warm fuzzy affectionate feelings. Although those do tend to follow obedience to God in this matter. Do what you need to do friend. Confess. Repent. Face the consequences with humility and grace. Then go and sin no more.

  64. I stumbled across this page because I’m trying to find answers after a 2+ year battle with my husband. That is how long I’ve been married. This has been an issue immediately follow our vows. Truthfully it started while we were dating…he had cheated on me then too. But I over looked it…mostly because at the time I didn’t know how in-depth it all was. After being married for 6 months I found out that he has a sexual addiction. Pornography, sex with men & women. Meeting strangers in hotel rooms, parking lots etc. this behavior was happening 3-5 a WEEK. Meanwhile he’s acting perfectly happy at home. Manipulating me with praise and kind words. Constantly reassuring me that I’m his best friend, he’s faithful and that he would never step outside our relationship again. All lies…
    We separated for about 6 months after I found all of this out. We were not believers in Christ when we married. I am now and have been for over a year! He is still not. He goes to church when I ask and he uses that time to nap. But I’ve always given him credit for his effort because I know he goes because he loves me…and I pray that someday something reaches him.
    Since September small things have happened that make me withdraw what little trust that has been rebuilt. Starting with a random phone call from a women that said “tell your man he needs to leave me alone”… I thought that was strange and my husband dismissed it so what else was I suppose to do…I did too and put it in the back of my head. Then over the past few months following that call he’s made poor choices with women. Not sexual choices (that I know of) but he has befriended certain inappropriate women or helped them and didn’t tell me about it. Things that a man rebuilding trust with his wife shouldn’t be doing. This Friday night I finally snapped. We were at an event and a woman we both barely know walked up to us and began a conversation. She directed all of her attention to him and none to me. Meanwhile I stood there awkwardly while my husband and this girl made small talk and flirted right in front of me. I literally could have walked away and neither of them would have noticed. Even though that seems small it was very hurtful…and shows me that my husband can NOT make decisions regarding how to be a respectful husband.
    Over the past 2 years I have given him forgiveness. I have not been bitter. I have not thrown anything in his face. I have stood by him through counseling. I have prayed and stayed faithful but I feel like I have reached a point of wanting to give up. I need peace. I can’t even enjoy being intimate with my own husband because I fear catching something from him. I have not withheld from him in order to satisfy him but I do not enjoy it.
    I have seen the level of his selfishness, his dishonesty and how good he is at manipulation…and that’s hard to unsee. It’s hard to believe he is a changed man. I want to support the work he has put into our marriage…the counseling & therapy, the love and praise but most of the time (in my head) I eye roll and think I’ve heard all this before. I want to see proof of change…so when I see small bad choices…in my face… I can’t help but wonder what he does when I’m not there.
    He says he believes in God. But doesn’t read or study. A couple weeks ago he was head speaker at an AA meeting and said everyone needs to believe in the “man upstairs”. “Whether you call him sky daddy or you call him doorknob, it doesn’t matter just get on your knees and pray”. I was so disappointed when he said that. It showed me nothing I say is getting into his heart…and made me feel like him going to church to please me is just another form of manipulation. I hate to assume that but.
    Anyway I saw you had answered others and was hoping for some guidance. Do we separate… do we divorce? Do I keep trying? I just don’t know. All I know is right now I’m exhausted. I can no longer give him unwavering love and support while he keeps disappointing me. When do I get to walk away and know that I’m not disappointing God?!

    1. Hello friend,
      I am sorry for what you have gone through. I really can’t tell you what to do. But I can tell you that I really don’t see anything in Scripture that suggests we are supposed to stay in a marriage with unrepentant unfaithfulness… which it sounds like you are in. Again, I can’t know. Especially from just this little bit of information you’ve given me. But jumping through the hoops you ask him to jump through is not repentance. Repentance changes a heart and causes a person to run in the opposite direction of their sin. It comes with humility, gentleness toward those hurt by the sin, and genuine sadness over the offence. (These are, of course, just a few signs of genuine repentance. There are many more.)
      The best I can do to answer your question though is this: When do you get to walk away and know that you’re not disappointing God? When He tells you it’s time and gives you the peace that comes from seeking and following HIM alone. There really is quite a bit of Scripture that can help you here. Ask God to lead you to answers and then dig into Scripture, seeking what it has to say on marriage, divorce, and adultery. I believe as you search through those things God will give you clarity on your situation and lead you to a decision that will honor Him in your specific and unique story. Do not underestimate the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will guide you to truth. Go find it. I am praying for you now.

  65. I am the betrayer. My husband and I always said we never believe in divorce, no matter what. I started to fall in “love” with his friend two years ago. Later i realized it was lust. My husband was always distracted with games and I felt like I didn’t have his attention. I know that is no excuse for my actions of entertaining another man. I never committed sexual acts with this man. But we kissed twice. “If a man look at a woman with lust, he has committed adultery.” I feel so much regret and guilt. It eats me alive every day. I told my husband that I stated to fall in love with him but not about the kiss. My husband said to me, “ if you ever slept with another man and it was a one time thing and you regret it, don’t tell me. I think you should live with the burden, not me.”
    Anyways, i think about it everyday. I hate that I caught feelings for another man but I’m thankful I never had sex with the man. I confessed to my husband that I fell in love with this other man and he forgave me. I still feel shame about the kiss. I don’t know if i should tell my husband or not, because of “you should live with the burden not me” over a kiss.
    I have repented and asked the Lord for forgiveness. I can’t even look at the other man without feeling grossed out.

    1. Hi Kenners, I can’t tell you what to do here. I think honesty is important to repentance, but I also believe it’s important to honor the wishes of the betrayed. So, you’ll have to wrestle through that with God and allow Him to show you what He wants from you here. But if you have truly repented and you are following God with your whole heart now, I am confident He will give you clarity about how to move forward and I would encourage you to look to Jesus’s own words to the woman caught in adultery in John 8. “Go and sin no more.” In other words, this is behind you. If you have repented then you are forgiven. Go forward with your life and don’t ever do it again. Put up the boundaries you need to put up to stay as far away from another situation like this as possible. God bless.

  66. It’s early in the morning and I’m so thankful I found this article because I needed to read this. Thank you Cherith for being a blessing and sharing your thoughts and experiences, as well as what the Bible says on this issue. I have been married for less than a year and about 3 months into my marriage I unexpectedly found evidence that my husband was sexually betraying me with strangers online. I confronted him about this and he confessed that he started doing it a couple months before our wedding and had continued to do so after our wedding (until I found out). That week I found out was the hardest week of my life… but it was also the week I first handedly felt God’s peace that surpasses all understanding that I (and my husband!) have never felt before. That whole week my husband and I experienced being in awe at how quickly God works and restores. I can truly say that my husband and I never felt so at peace and hopeful when we surrendered this all to God. Throughout that week we had counseling, attended our church Bible study, prayer meeting, and Sunday services and all the messages that were preached were spot on on what God wanted us to hear and know with what we were specifically going through. This experience, as horrible as it was, definitely opened up our eyes, hearts, and minds that we needed to put Christ back as first in our lives and in our marriage. I truly believe my husband has repented and I can see the fruit of his repentance. While I did forgive my husband I do admit it is still so hard and painful to forget. I could just be lying in bed or at work and those images of my husband’s betrayal randomly pop up in my head. Cherith, when I have these sad feelings and those images replay in my head, is it ok to let my husband know? I do pray and ask God to comfort me and give me strength to get through it but it’s definitely still hard. Sometimes I want to keep these feelings and thoughts to myself because I’m afraid that the more I bring it up to my husband the more bad it may do for him, especiy when he’s doing so well in his walk with repentance from his sin. A couple months ago my husband’s betrayal randomly popped up in my head and I was hurting. I let my husband know right then and there what I was thinking and feeling and he was very attentive in listening to what I was saying and feeling, gave me comfort and prayed for me/us, but should I be bringing it up these feelings to him every single time?

    1. Hello friend, I am sorry for what you have been through, but praise God for the work He is doing in spite of it. He is SO good!

      To answer your question, no. I don’t think you “should” be telling your husband every time you struggle with this. But I also don’t think you “shouldn’t” tell your husband. It is just one of those things that has a lot of nuance. I believe Biblical forgiveness means not holding a wrong against a person ever again. But that doesn’t mean we won’t share how it has affected us, or use what we learned in the situation to look for signs that new sins are being committed. It can be hard to find the line that separates those things, but it is there.

      I am encouraged that when you have shared the pain with your husband his response was gentle, kind, comforting, and humble. Even more, I am encouraged that he took you to God. These are signs of genuine repentance and that is wonderful. I pray this heart attitude continues. Because it is possible to “fake” repentance for a little while, but it is not possible to keep up a facade for long.

      So back to your issue of when to share and when not to share the pain with your husband. Here is my advice. I think more than you need to be regularly sharing these things with him, you need to be learning how to use the tools God has given us to overcome issues like this. So, MOST of the time, I encourage you to just go to God with these issues and lean hard into His comfort and healing. It will be a lot of work, but it is work worth doing to learn how to capture your destructive thoughts and emotions and turn them toward Jesus and the things that will build you up and make you whole rather than tearing you down and breaking you. However, when they happen in a situation in which your husband is there and can see that something is wrong, feel free to share the pain in a way that is just honest about what is happening in you and not in a way that holds something against him for which he has been forgiven. I hope that makes sense.

      I am saying a prayer for both of you right now. May God bless you, your marriage, and your healing!

  67. Cherith,
    What a beautiful ministry! Such love in a desert. I am dealing with my wife’s infidelity. This would be the third time. I believe I forgave the first two but could not trust nor forget. Where I am conflicted is the reactions and behaviors (mine) weren’t healthy and the struggle so difficult. Facing this third time in our 18 years together is hardest yet. I do want to forgive and the sadness that I feel for what she seems trapped in is great. Clearly there is no repentance with her in fact she speaks of resolve to the eternal consequences and speaks so poorly of herself it is self deprecating. The past two affairs have been clearly for sex in a depraved manner. I can see that she is hurting inside. At present she is trapped and must choose. We have two children 12 & 13. I am not entertaining separation or divorce. I am the stay home parent, homeschooling both kids. I see conviction coming on hard and I am doing all I can to remain empathetic. Obviously I can’t see this as a an option forever; but I’m trusting that God will give me a door to walk through whether that’s together or on my own. The issue may be addiction as the kind of “relations” she wants is far from loving and beautiful. Yet she wants more of what can only be described as raunchy sex. Something I can’t bring myself to do. I understand that abstinence for a time to reconcile our relationship is healthy. Again I am waiting on God and trusting in Him for the wisdom (James 1:5) I have asked and though remaining still in this situation seems like torture, I know His wisdom is clear.

    1. Oh Michael, I am SO SORRY for what you are going through! I am praying for you now brother, that God will give you SO MUCH wisdom and strength and courage and healing as you go forward with Him as your guide. May He bless you greatly my friend!

  68. Thank you for this article. I was a wife who was cheated on repeatedly by a man who was also dishonest, manipulative, and abusive in a variety of other ways, apart from the physical adultery. When it first came to light, I went deep with the Lord to access and apply grace and mercy, fully believing in the power of redemption and the ability of God to turn beauty to ashes. For a time, it seemed my husband was repentant, but several years later, the pattern repeated itself and he left for good after 20+ years of marriage. As a result of extensive therapy and trauma-work, I understand now that his problems went so much deeper than cheating. I have gotten to know numerous women in similar situations, all of them beautiful, faithful, accomplished Christian women. The common thread in these men is deep narcissism, addictive behaviors (usually pornography and/or substances), manipulation, and a host of other behaviors that are not at all in keeping with the covenant of marriage. Ten years ago, I would have agreed with everything you wrote. However, I now disagree that a betrayed spouse is wrong not to attempt reconciliation. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, the trauma attached to infidelity is simply too much to overcome. Beyond that, men of the sort I describe are frequently “repentant,” not wanting their marriages to end, but not able or willing to truly get to the the root of their behaviors. Thus, the infidelity and accompanying behaviors repeat themselves. I think we need to tell betrayed spouses that, if at all possible, openness to God’s redemptive work in a marriage is a beautiful thing. BUT, it is not required. The scriptures do not command the restoration of a marriage broken by adultery, even if the betrayer seems repentant, and a betrayed spouse who cannot, for whatever reason, move past the hurt and broken trust is not wrong to end the marriage. Marriage is deeply intimate. We may forgive a thief who broke into our home, but we would never trust him with our house key. Divorce after a long marriage is devastating on a level I cannot begin to describe, but I’ve come to realize that sometimes grace and mercy are not enough. Not all things broken in this life can be restored this side of heaven. This is especially true when the reasons for the infidelity have little to do with the relationship itself but with underlying issues in the betraying spouse. Thus, I would encourage a possible reconsideration of your statement that a betrayed spouse’s unwillingness to reconcile is unbiblical. The shame of betrayal is already so deep, we do not want to add shame to those who choose not to work toward restoration. I know of just one person whose spouse truly did in the deep work necessary to rebuild a healthy, whole marriage. The rest put up a good front for a while, but the marriages ultimately ended. It’s okay for a betrayed spouse to choose not to walk this painful path if he/she chooses not to.

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At Broken Vows, Restored Hearts, we believe that when two people surrender to God there is no marital brokenness He can’t redeem. Our God is a chain breaker and a heart healer. We only need to believe, repent, and obey! So let’s turn to Him and be healed.

“Oh Lord, if You heal me, I will be truly healed; if You save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for You alone.”
Jeremiah 17:14

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