The Arrogant, Long-Married Christian


Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.

-I Corinthians 8:1b-2, NKJV

Just because a Christian has been married for a long time does not mean said Christian is equipped to properly advise a faithful spouse dealing with a cheater.

An not uncommon problem faithful spouses encounter are Christians who have been married for decades thinking that qualifies them to pontificate on all things married. In particular, these long-married Christians believe their advice given to the faithful spouse is gold, and ergo, it ought to be followed at all costs.

In a word, these long-married Christians are arrogant!”

Unless you work regularly with the character disordered, have gone through a divorce with a cheater, and/or regularly work with people dealing with cheaters, one’s ability to actually provide good and wise advice for a faithful spouse is limited. It is hard to wisely assess the situation if one is unaware of the true depths of human depravity that faithful spouses encounter on a regular basis in dealing with cheaters.

Of course, some simply fall back on the “God hates divorce” mantra and fail to engage their brains beyond that oft misapplied and misunderstood text (see here).

While I agree with these Christians regarding how the Bible has useful advice for faithful spouses, the problem is in properly handling the text. Being married for decades and even being a Christian for decades does not necessarily qualify a  Christian to handle the text properly in regards to situations involving marital infidelity.

In fact, I would argue such a long-married Christian is at a disadvantage to another who has survived infidelity or supported a loved one through a divorce prompted by infidelity. Such a Christian has more related experience with which to empathize with a fellow brother or sister going through such an experience. That is an advantage as such empathy makes it less likely the later Christian will beat the faithful spouse over the head with marriage “knowledge.”

And I want to be clear: I think it is wonderful to see Christian marriages last a long time. I am grateful that both sets of my grandparents had long and fulfilling marriages. My problem is not with Christians who are long-married.

My issue is with the arrogant subset of long-married Christians who believe they have knowledge–which they think they must impart–when they do not in the matter of an infidelity-ravaged marriage.


2 thoughts on “The Arrogant, Long-Married Christian”

  1. I think one of the reasons people feel that way in a long marriage is Because……..They NEVER think it could happen to them. You think you know your spouse at this point. You feel secure.

    It doesn’t matter. If you could have know my husband before this, you would be like no way this could happen to them. Strong Christian Family man. Well, they go through crap too! They can be totally stupid!

    Some of the stupid comments I’ve heard from other Christians: I’ve heard of more and more marriages that this is happening to after the kids grow up!
    Well, that one is just crap because honestly we were at a great place in our marriage without the stresses of little kids and much more financial stability. No arguing. Getting along great. Along comes some woman. Whatever!

    Another favorite is the Respect Issue. A counselor asked my husband if he felt like I had respect for him. Are you frigging kidding me. I was the one helping in every area I could and encouraging him. He told the counselor that I did respect him.

    I love the one where they think you are not praying enough. Or giving enough sex or submitting. That is bull you know what!! They were the ones to make the decision to do the stupid thing and throw you under the bus!

    People will never get it. They are to afraid it can happen to them because honestly under certain circumstances, it can! Thanks for letting me rant!

    1. Totally hear you. James Dobson has a book called “Love Must Be Tough” As a psychologist, he’s dealt with marriages ravaged by infidelity. He tells a story of a woman who followed the advice that God wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her marriage if she just submitted to her husband. Well, she submitted to her husband – he wanted a threesome and she submitted to sleeping with her husband and his mistress.

      Another book I like is Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. My church actually had a class on Boundaries being biblical. Some Christian leaders and ministers have great sense.

      Unfortunately, we usually run into ill informed advice first. In my case, I ran into all the reconciliation sites on the internet. I tried having more sex. Now I have high risk hpv. It’s dormant now, but I’ve come to the realization that I could have picked up something worse by giving a cheater more sex. Sometimes, we need to have reasonable boundaries. If we give up appeasing an unrepentant sinner, we have more time to bring light to a dark world.

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