“Moria… You fear to go into those mines. The dwarves delved too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum… shadow and flame.”
-Saruman (3:59 in clip above)
As Americans, we often take an overly individualistic perspective on adultery.We fail to see that this sin impacts the community and generations (e.g. Exodus 34:7, Deuteronomy 22:22, etc.).
That is not to say that the community or parents/grandparents are responsible for the cheater’s sinful choices and actions. The cheater alone bears responsibility for choosing and acting in defiance to God’s clear prohibition regarding adultery (e.g. Ezekiel 18:20).
However, Scripture is clear that sin does impact generations (e.g. Exodus 34:7, Romans 5:12, etc). Certainly, something as evil as adultery does as well.
I say this to point to the spiritual reality many of faithful spouses have experienced:
An ancient evil was awakened when we discovered the infidelity in the cheating spouse. It was merely the tip of the iceberg in a family system containing many dark secrets they preferred to keep buried and hidden forever.
There’s a saying, “The apple does not fall far from the tree” to describe this spiritual truth about how children often repeat the deeds of their parents–both good and ill. I am convinced this is true of infidelity as well.
It is another reason why rebuilding a marriage following infidelity discovery is so difficult and such a miracle if it happens. The faithful spouse is contending not only with the issues of the cheater but also the issues of the dysfunctional family system that trained and made him or her.
That is the herculean task in front of a faithful spouse and his/her cheater if they decide to rebuild (assuming repentance on the part of the cheater, of course). It is an impossible task if the cheater is unwilling to put his/her house in order, so to speak. That may include confronting family in love and/or ending family relationships with individuals given over to wickedness.
Jesus teaches us to count the cost (e.g. Luke 14:28).
The wise faithful spouse counts the cost of the marriage rebuild first even if given a really repentant cheater. Is this something I am willing to endure and is this something my unfaithful spouse is willing to handle? It is costly. And a faithful spouse dealing with even a repentant cheater is not told he or she must pay the cost to rebuild (e.g. Mt. 5:32, Mt. 19:9, etc).