Betrayal Ripple Effect


Experiencing the adulterous betrayal of one’s spouse is bad enough. It is soul rape, after all. That pain alone is excruciating. A sucker punch to the gut that lingers for days, weeks, months…. It feels like your spouse disemboweled you and turned your world upside down with one awful adulterous revelation (let alone all that might follow).

The betrayal does not end there.

Like dropping a rock in a still pond, adultery sends ripples of betrayal through the whole community.

Now, the faithful spouse has to sort through friends and family in deciding who is safe or trustworthy. The negative side of this experience is what I am calling the “Betrayal Ripple Effect.” And it hurts.

You find out your mutual Christian “friends” of years or even decades are entertaining your cheating (ex) spouse as if nothing ever happened. Maybe they had him or her over for dinner? Perhaps they even welcomed the adultery partner, too? They may even defend this action with words suggesting there’s always two sides to a story or they want to stay friends with both parties regardless. Time to move on and not be “bitter.” Needless to say, I do not consider such behavior the sort of thing a true friend would do.

A true friend cares when their friend is wounded by another.

The pain of a friend matters to them.

They are far from nonchalant about the matter.

And if it is another friend who has caused this pain, they are quick to pressure that friend to make amends. They don’t turn a calloused blind eye to the wounded friend and pretend nothing ever happened.

That’s just cold.

Maybe I am just old school on this number.

But I am in good company in this. King David was old school as well. He declares his allegiance to God by writing:

Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?

-Psalm 139:21, NIV

If our passions of righteous anger over a friend who was injured wrongly is not roused, then I suggest we never really loved this friend. Our heart connection is too shallow. King David understood this. He understood that his passions needed to be aligned with the passions of God including God’s righteous anger.

Do not forget: King David was called a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).

So, I encourage outside friends to grasp this.

It feels like a betrayal when the known adultery is treated as nothing and the relationship with the adulterous spouse is not altered accordingly because it is a betrayal. You are entertaining a liar who likely will continue to slander the faithful spouse. And you are supporting someone in their adulterous sin treating them as if they are in good standing with God and His people as opposed to exhorting him/her to repentance as Scripture teaches (see I Cor 5: 9-12). Not altering the relationship tells the faithful spouse that you do not care that the adulterous spouse raped his/her soul and have little regard to God’s mind on the matter.

“No big deal. (Yawn.) Please pass the potatoes.”

Also, what floors me in these scenarios is how these “friends” are okay with continuing a relationship with someone who has obviously been lying to them as well. In fact, the adulterous spouse may have used them to abuse or manipulate the faithful spouse. Does that not bother them? Are they really okay having been made party to adultery?

I suppose it is less bothersome if they have bought the lie that the faithful spouse deserved such treatment (see shared responsibility lie). But that is far from a Christian stance. If God did not let Adam or Eve get away with blaming each other and the Serpent (i.e. the Devil), I doubt God will accept such lame excuses years later. We are each fully responsible for our choices to sin.

That said, I understand it is hard to negotiate these waters after adultery discovery. But think how you would feel if your friend turned a blind eye to the perpetrator who violated you in such an intimate and humiliating way:

Would you trust or feel safe around such a friend? How would that feel to learn about the vacation they took with the perpetrator replete with photos? Wouldn’t you minimally question that friend’s level of empathy or compassion towards you? After being betrayed through deceit and adultery, wouldn’t you question if this friend was party to the lies as well?

The same works for faithful spouses.

When my friend hurts, I hurt. If they are assaulted, it is an assault on my own heart.

But perhaps, I am a dying breed of friend.

I know, though, I am not alone. And I hope for my sisters and brothers who have been betrayed our number increases. We need more of the kind who share God’s heart on these matters and are willing to stand up to evil instead of enabling it. The ripple effect needs to be ended with finality. It needs to break upon the rock of loyalty and righteousness.

May the number of men and women who are willing to stand up to unrighteousness increase. And may more be moved with the sort of deep passion that moved King David so many years ago.


8 thoughts on “Betrayal Ripple Effect”

  1. This just makes me so mad.
    The ” I want to be friends with both of you”
    “God calls us to forgive”,
    “we should not have to choose”(not that I have ever asked anyone to do so)
    “it is all in Gods hands he will be the judge, I am just being a friend” oh and my all time favourite from those who just abandoned me when I needed them most ” We may not have been there to physically help you BUT you should understand we prayed for you every day” as I explained to my eldest daughter yesterday, prayer is great but it cannot hold your hand.

    I personally I am astonished by how God and faith is used to excuse poor behaviour and justify further abuse.

    The church I attended with my XH was quick to belittle anything that did not align with their theology from the pulpit in order to rally support. But hid my husbands sexual sin and heald me to account for not remaining silent. To this day it is considered by some that my reaction to his sin was equal to the sexual sin itself and justifies is ongoing poor behaviour. By this action they created an even more dysfunctional character in my XH that has now latched on to woman who by faith is accepting of all of the self serving justification. Again God is being used to justify what anyone with half a brain would run from.

    DM, why is it that Christians are willing to sacrifice common sense, for something that they know is potentially damaging as long as they can put a spiritual spin to it.

    1. Thankful,

      It really isn’t a new phenomenon sadly. Jesus confronted the Pharisees over things that ought to have been commonsense. In particular, he called out the hypocrites who were using God’s name to shirk their responsibility to honor their mothers and fathers with their finances in their parents’ old age (see Mark 7:10-13). People are really the same as they were in Jesus’ day.

      And it is especially sad when Christians dress up wickedness or sin-enabling in God’s name. That IS angering. Why not just say what really is going on–i.e. I don’t want to be uncomfortable and rather not change my way of relating to this adulterous person as that is inconvenient–than use God’s name to justify such laziness and lack of true concern even for the adulterous spouse? It does not take much empathetic imagination to grasp why hanging out with the adulterous spouse as if nothing happened is problematic and hurtful to the faithful spouse.


  2. It’s hard to read your blog, because you seem to be very bitter still, about everything to do with your marriage and it’s ending.
    My husband is training to be a minister and we had been married for 9 years and in September 2014 I started to have an affair for just under 5 months (3 whilst living with my husband, 2 whilst separated), with our mutual best friend. I take full responsibility for the sin, and the fact that my decision and choice was wrong. It should not have happened in a million years. The devil had a field day but the choice was mine. I also became pregnant. (I am now 26 weeks)
    I first told my husband 3 weeks after it started but was so consumed by it that it continued.
    Then, just over 10 weeks ago, God moved hugely in my life. I felt conviction of the Holy Spirit like you wouldn’t believe. I realised the devil’s lies had convinced me that I didn’t love my husband when in fact that was so far from the truth. I had still been doing his washing, tidying the house etc, buying him bits and Bobs that he needed – all signs of still caring for and loving someone. I couldn’t ever fully abandon him. I cut off all contact with the other person and placed myself under the discipline and spiritual authority of the church leadership under a repentance process.
    My husband, who had originally said that he would fight for our marriage and that he would never give up on me, had given up 8 weeks after I left him. Genuine repentance meant nothing to him. He had made his decision to divorce me before I repented. He has filed for divorce and only spoken to me twice about anything to do with ‘us’ – once to tell me he was divorcing me, and once to tell me he had filed the papers.
    We have three children who are 8,3 and 1 and they are stuck in the middle knowing that mummy is truly sorry (they know I did wrong and that God has forgiven me for it – I don’t think there is anything wrong with them knowing that adults make mistakes too!) The main thing is that daddy told them he would have mummy back if she didn’t see the other person, and they can’t understand why that hasn’t meant our family can be together again because they know I’m not seeing or contacting him.
    I love my husband so incredibly much, in a new way. God has taught me so much the past couple of months and I am a new person, a new creation and have been cleansed and redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
    Is divorce really the first option? Reconciliation was not even tried I completely understand his hurt, anger and betrayal but am worried that he has rushed into a decision about a divorce when he is (in his own words), ‘close to the edge’ our family will be torn apart as a consequence of my sin, yet I do not feel God telling me to give up on our marriage. We are one.
    If he has read your blog, and I’m sure he must have, he is following your seemingly embittered advice about spouses who are unrepentant and applied it to myself. The church leadership have no reason to doubt the sincerity of my repentance because it is genuine – the fruits are evident. There is nothing still hidden in my life – I do not want to devil to have any kind of foothold!
    I just wonder if you have ever considered the other side… Is divorce with no attempt at reconciliation the right thing to do? Are marriages really decimated by one person? Is one spouse always perfect and the other horrendous? I have no doubt that your ex wife hurt and betrayed you deeply, but had you really never ever hurt her? (I’m really not condoning what she did I am more questioning you!)

    Forgiveness bears fruit, just as repentance does. I wonder if you have been able to forgive your ex wife, because setting up a blog called divorce minister implies that you feel that is your identity. Actually, we are all sinners and God loves each and every one of us. He has forgiven your sins all the ones which are past and the ones in the future (and mine) ! He loves you so much and does not want your identity to be found in your divorce but in the life he has planned for you….
    Every blessing…

    1. Seriously you almost had me convinced that you were one of those genuinely remorseful types, till I read ………

      I just wonder if you have ever considered the other side… Is divorce with no attempt at reconciliation the right thing to do? Are marriages really decimated by one person? Is one spouse always perfect and the other horrendous? I have no doubt that your ex wife hurt and betrayed you deeply, but had you really never ever hurt her? (I’m really not condoning what she did I am more questioning you!)

      You cannot reconcile with those who behave with contempt towards their partner. It takes 2 genuinely transparent God fearing people to see reconciliation happen. Your husband has the right to choose divorce, you chose to cheat.
      Yes it can only take one to decimate a marriage, You Did! Then you continued in your sin with little concern for your husbands feelings but now expect him to consider yours now you have had a change of heart. And that you have stated that your children know and can verify your newfound integrity considering their age is disgraceful. I pray your husband has the insight and the support to apply for custody.

      No, No one is perfect but as a cheated spouse I love how cheaters dramatise the extremes of human nature “Is one spouse always perfect and the other horrendous?” as a way of deflecting their poor character and reality in an attempt to gain sympathy.

      Your ripple effects are yet to hit the shore, and I suspect you are so blinded by the glare of your self righteous nature you cannot see it coming.

  3. Another great post. I know I struggled so much with “friends” who either supported the affair or turned a blind eye. The indifference or even outright distain with which they treated my distress was downright added insult to injury.

    Forgive them father, for they know not what they do.

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