When adultery or infidelity takes place, lies are seeded into the hearts of the faithful spouses. Or they are attempted to be seeded. These are nasty things. They attack the worth and well-being of the victim of this heinous sin. The lies attempt to steal even more from the faithful spouse whose soul has just been raped.
Personally, I think the faithful spouse’s gender identity is particularly in the cross hairs. The enemy would like nothing better than to devalue the faithful spouse getting him/her to believe this treachery is about their masculinity or femininity. And if it was not bad enough to have the adulterous spouse seeding and supporting such lies, many Christian “counselors” help reinforce these lies with well-meaning but destructive advice.
Here are a few situations, accompanying advice, reinforced lies, and the actual pastoral truth. Feel free to use these in fighting your own spiritual battle of the soul:
1) Situation: Your wife cheated on you and left you.
Advice: Perhaps you need to date her more?
Reinforced Lie: This is a romance problem. She was unfaithful due to some manly deficiency in you.
Truth: It’s not a romance problem. It is a sin problem. The deficiency is in her character and her choosing to reject God by sinning in this way (see Proverbs 30:20 & I Peter 3:1-2).
2) Situation: Your husband cheated on you with a woman ten or twenty years his junior.
Advice: Buy some sexy lingerie and initiate sex more.
Reinforced Lie: This is an infrequency of sex problem. He was unfaithful due to some deficiency in your meeting his sexual “needs.” You’re too frigid as a woman. A man has “needs.”
Truth: This is not an infrequency of sex problem. It is a sin issue. His. He was unfaithful due to his own character flaws in choosing to serve himself instead of his wife to whom he vowed faithfulness until death (see Hebrews 13:4 & Ephesians 5:25).
3. Situation: Wife or husband abandons the family choosing to pursue other lover(s).
Advice: Keep waiting for him/her to return. Offer to date them. Do whatever you can to make yourself look attractive to them so that they come back.
Reinforced Lie: The abandoned spouse is obligated to wait, woo, and bear the cost for the sin of a spouse who has clearly chosen against the marriage. They are less of a man or woman if it ends in a divorce. They could not keep their man or win back their woman.
Truth: We are each accountable for our own choices and actions (see II Corinthians 5:10). God gives us free will to choose both good or evil. We are not responsible for another’s poor, sinful choices. This says nothing about the character or worthiness of the abandoned spouse as a man or woman. However, it speaks volumes about the character of the abandoning spouse in how he/she finds it acceptable to break solemn vows, lie, and treacherously violate their closest relationship–i.e. their spouse–through infidelity.