Does through ‘better or worse’ include infidelity?

“If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.”

-Leviticus 20:10, NLT

Does staying married through ‘better or worse’ include through infidelity?

Short answer: No.

Here’s the longer, biblical reasons I say that…

I quote Leviticus 20:10 not to suggest that we need to bring back the death penalty for adultery.

My point is that God clearly did not see keeping a marriage together as more important than addressing the sin of adultery.

Holiness, righteousness, and justice trumped keeping a marriage “intact” following adultery per Old Testament commands.

Christian culture–especially evangelical subculture–fails to grasp this very clear priority:

God did not prioritize “intact” families over obedience to Him in the matter of marital fidelity.

Adultery certainly qualifies within the “worse” category. Yet, God puts it even further out than that. God treats adultery as a covenant ending sin.

God commanded the Jewish people to end any marriage covenant where adultery had occurred via the death penalty for the adulterous partners.

Divorce is a modern mercy in comparison. Yet such a mercy does not change the fact that God did not instruct the Jewish people to stay married in spite of adultery.

That “worse” was apparently to be dealt with in other ways.


16 thoughts on “Does through ‘better or worse’ include infidelity?”

  1. Death penalty for adultery sounds good to me. My ex killed me emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually with the help of my ex-pastor, the boys group that let him stay as a leader and the pastors wife who supported her husbands decision to let my ex stay as a leader of a boys group. I can no longer go to the church that I brought my family to. My ex is still involved, but has ramped up his Christian “works” to make himself to be THE BEST CHRISTIAN IN THE WORLD!!! All the while he has his non-believing whore on the side. My ex-pastor during counseling kept taking the cheaters side. He denied it when I brought it up, but again and again he was on the cheaters side. For a few years before I caught my ex cheating, I wanted to tell our pastor what was going on. And my ex would get defensive and say, “Sure! Tell Pastor all about my past!!!” A total narc move. I thought our pastor could help us. NO! He tried to “understand” why ex did what he did. Did Martha not give you enough sex? YES. Did Martha nag you all the time? NO! I was the opposite of a nag. What was wrong with Martha that you cheated? And I’m from Chump Lady and I feel free to swear even though I’ve never been a swearer my entire life! So I write to you and keep it clean, Divorce Minister, as I respect you and your blog. My ex killed me and I can see why God would want adulterers killed.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that your church did not stand by you. People like our exes can be such smooth talkers and they can be good at impression management and looking good. Just know there are many other people who see through their crap. It is good you left that church and I hope you will find a great church to be a part of.

      1. Thank you, Andrea. Yes, they are smooth talkers and charmers. My ex-pastor is the same way. It makes me wonder if his marriage is really what they portray it to be. I hope for his wife’s sake that it’s a good marriage. I really do. My ex-pastor lied to me three times and said the “I never said that” two times!! My sister was there when he said something that he later denied. I was honest with my kids who still go to that church. I told them the three lies he told me and told them I’m not going to a church where the pastor is lying to me. I’m not going to a church where a cheater and pathological liar is looked up to as a great guy and leader. That place is toxic. I just need to find a different church, but in all honesty, I haven’t tried very hard. I will try this Sunday for sure. No more slacking.

  2. Hi Martha,
    I am so sorry what you have been through…it is sexual, mental, physical and emotional abuse. I am Jewish, and often look to the scriptures for advice about the adultery my husband committed. (now X). If I had a magic wand, and someone offered me the choice to have him subject to the laws of Moses, I would be tempted as well. The damage has been too catastrophic.

    I love Divorce Minister’s phrase: Divorce is a modern mercy. When you survey everything that was lost, a few days in court and some paperwork is indeed a mockery of the damage done. There are very few places to go for true support. Many rabbis are sympathetic, but want you to move on quickly. No one truly wants to stand with you in the years it takes to process what has happened.

    It is interesting you would go on Chump Lady’s site. When I read her post yesterday, when she was comparing a gay man’s one night stand’s to the horror show of being brutalized and degraded in your marriage. It was nauseating. She has taken her PC mentality, anti Trump mental illness too far. I don’t wish gays any harm…at all. But analyzing a gay man’s one night stand from a gay bar to someone’s marriage vows being broken is an obscenity. Martha, if you are indeed a true Christian, you may want to rethink your allegiance to a site that makes such a mockery of the holy marriage vows. I was sickened by it. I also do no need someone who has been married three times lecturing me on politics. She should not use her column as a bully pulpit for her views.

    This is why: People who have been cheated on are vulnerable. After DM, there are very few sites that are “safe places”. If you disagree with her, she blocks you. She has a captive audience who are desperate for hope. Subjecting them to her political bullying is not only hamfisted, it is unethical. I find the people on her site to be in real need. I hope they can find this site. If being snarky and intellectual worked, Martha, people would not be on CL’s site for years. They have not healed. This is a spiritual crisis. Not an intellectual one. Only G-d can fix this hurt. Why did G-d let this happen? This has tripped me up so many nights. We have no answers, not now.

    The best practice I have found is to put this entire horror show in God’s hands. This is so easy to say. But, when those thoughts of revenge well up, just say, God will take care of this. Slowly, slowly…the panic of their betrayal will lift. But you must pray about it everyday! When I slip up, the murderous rage comes back. And, I feel a crazed panic. I not sure what the panic is about….it is a wild need to somehow fix it all. I am nowhere near forgiving. *It may never happen. *

    The best I can do is to say this: “G-d, will you handle this for me? I am too weak. I am not going to make it.”

    Once the hatred lifts, we can begin to focus on making a new life without being abused. Never forget, Martha, if the Bible called for death for adultery, consider how grave it is. No wonder we are devastated.


    1. Cheney, Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me. I completely understand where you are coming from with Chump Lady. I read yesterdays post, but didn’t agree with it. A part of The Divorce Letter my ex read to me, was that he said I was “judgmental”, because I judged him on his relationships with his so-called “healthy female friends.” I don’t agree with the gay lifestyle. I think it’s wrong. So I’m judgmental. So I kept my mouth shut. I kept my mouth shut the day after Trump was elected, because that days blog post was all about him being elected. It got really nasty and I just stopped reading. She’s entitled to her opinion and it’s her blog that she pays for; she’s free to write whatever she wants to write. I don’t agree with everything I read by her and Chump Nation. However…..Chump Lady and Chump Nation have been a great help to me in my healing. I totally found her by accident via Facebook. My ex blamed his cheating on me not “trusting him 100%.” A big part of me believed that lie. Chump Lady and Chump Nation responded to my letter. I’ve learned so much from everyone there. I no longer felt alone and crazy. I started studying about narcissistic personality disorder in order to learn what happened to me. I found Divorce Minister there and Chump Lady directs Christians to his blog — I think she just did that a few weeks ago if I’m remembering correctly. Like I said, I was never a swearer. And Chump Lady didn’t even start the swearing in me. My ex did. One day I awoke from the fog and my depression turned into rage. Rage and swearing and more; totally out of character for me. My behavior surprised him as it surprised me. And this is why I totally get why G-d in the Torah said adulterers should be put to death. Do I want my ex dead? Yes and no. I’m just being honest. I would like him to feel the pain and horror that I’ve felt, even for just one day.

  3. Also Martha, remember….churches and temples are filled with Humans. Humans that sin. The ex pastor sounds like a lunatic. He had his own sick agenda for protecting and even promoting your X and his partner in sin.

    This might help you. When I was a little girl, I was raised both Methodist and Jewish. My parents were divorced. I was instructed by my mother to drop off some wall paper and carpet samples at the Parsonage. I was not expected when I showed up.

    The Minster had his wife against the back wall of the house, and was literally beating her up. As in beating and slapping her in the head. I was only 16 and was not sure what to do so I blew the horn. He stopped and she ran inside the house. I told my Mother who believed me. Long story short; the Minster was not only a Domestic Violence Abuser, but was having random affairs in his “counseling” sessions and had liquor in a Coke bottle while he preached.

    This is not to be gossipy. It is to show you that Religious Institutions are filled flawed people. Drop it, leave it, Let it go. Let them have their fake church.

    Go find another one! Be brutally honest about what your X did and make no excuses for his behavior or the church. Radical honesty is liberating. It will be part of your recovery plan.

      1. That is part of growing up…both as a person and spiritually. I was recently invited to a good friend’s church. I am not sure why, but this church was very focused on the Rapture, and the delight they took in the torment that the people left behind would be suffering in……all the agony of Revelations.

        This is not something I would ever take happiness in, or believe, but especially would not delight in. I am not sure it has ever crossed my radar, as I am too busy worried about my own behavior and not letting the sun go down on a wrong.

        In my hot headed twenties, I am certain I would have started a meaningless debate with my friend over her church and their beliefs (that she loves) gloating over people in despair. I would have ruined a friendship.

        In my 40s, I just smiled, got up during the Benediction and never said a word. I thanked her later for the invite and meant it. I will never go back, but I will never say a bad word about her or the church.

        I wish I had learned the wisdom of just “getting away” many years ago. No commentary, no debates, just walking away. It is simple….but profound.

    1. I totally agree with you, Cheney. It was hard to accept that my ex-pastor is a liar. I know he’s a human being, but I didn’t expect him to lie to me. It’s what my ex did to me for about 25 years. So many lies. So many times saying, “I didn’t say that!” or “That never happened!” He made me question my memory and my sanity at times. To see a pastor do this — just so sad and disgusting. My sister said to me, “Martha, it’s time for you to leave that church. It’s toxic.” It was very hard to tell my kids that I wasn’t going to go there anymore. But then I felt strong and mighty for standing up for myself and what was good and healthy for me!

  4. I say Martha, sometimes you need to hear the same thing from different ways. So continue to allow BOTH divorceminister and chumplady help you to heal. Actually, if it weren’t for finding chumplady first I wouldn’t have know about divorceminister. I believe they both show compassion and no nonsense applications to the evil of betrayal. Divorceminister and chumplady are both intelligent, empathetic, and logical in the ways they are able to relate, just depends on your needs at the time. Lucky for me I need both divorceminister and chumplady and am grateful that I have both to lean on!

    1. I hope Divorce Minister’s site gets more and more traffic, and it is wonderful that another site brought you here. However, two important points:
      This site is about leaning on God and Jesus Christ to bear adultery….eternal truths and wisdom that will never change. Not about leaning on people’s musings about adultery. That is leaning on the wisdom of people….who are all flawed.

      Chump Lady is empathetic- until she is not. If you disagree with her politics or challenge her, she will not allow it.Then, she blocks you. Period. You have just not experienced it. I hope you do not.

      People who have been betrayed in a marriage or relationship do not need to worry about tip toeing around someone’s political beliefs or quirks when they are drowning in a sea of sadness.

      The fact that you felt the need to come another site, and “defend” her shows the cult of personality she cultivates. We have all learned that people are fallible and “the flesh is weak”. Have no other idols before me.

      Proverbs 3: 5
      Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

      I take “own” to mean human understanding.

      Martha has posted for some time on CL. I used to read her posts. I found when I moved away from CL, the snark, the cursing, the reliving the trauma over and over (AND OVER) – I started to get better. You might try it, too. A friend directed me to her site yesterday because of the comparison between a gay one stand and being duped in your marriage.

      A rabbi I met in Israel put it this way. If you were beaten and robbed, would you retell the story everyday? Would you go to a website or town hall meeting, everyday….just to relive what happened to you? Go over the details, make gallows humor about it, get angry again for the day. You could…but would you start to get better? Probably not. You would remain trapped in that story, in the past.

      And just like the excellent article DM posted today about all blessings he received BECAUSE of his Divorce, not in spite of it, perhaps it is keeping you from new blessings in your life. He gained a wife, a munchkin!, in laws and a wonderful job. This gives me great hope. I hope it does for you and Martha, too.

      Food for thought. 🙂

      I hope you continue to move forward in your journey to joy.

      1. Cheney, I’m sorry you got blocked on Chump Lady. I’m guessing it came the day after Trump got elected. Like I said up above in one of my other comments, I just stayed out of that days posts. I couldn’t believe how CN who is so loving and supportive of each over infidelity were being so mean to each other. I read some of the comments and just moved on. I didn’t post, because I’ve learned not to talk politics or religion with people. People have their minds made up in what they believe. If someone wants to have honest discussion with me, with thoughts of learning, I’m all in. If someone wants to fight me and wants to convince me that was they believe is ‘right’ — I’m out.

        And I need to stick up for Spiritwoman. You said she came from another site to “defend” CL. Spiritwoman is probably a person just like so many people at Chump Lady that just reads, but doesn’t post. She posted here today maybe for the first time? I don’t know. I don’t believe I’m part of a cult at all. Even Divorce Minister posts quite often. Is he a part of a cult? I have great respect for him, because I’m sure he reads through all the swearing and crude remarks, which I’ve been a part of (I’m going to work on this, Dear Father in Heaven!). I have no idea how Divorce Minister got on such a blog. I’m sure having a cheater in his life brought him there like it did us all.

        And yes, Cheney. I 100% agree with you that reliving the past is not good. The daily bringing up what happened in the past is hurtful for us and our healing. However, I do believe there is healing for us and for others by sharing our stories. I have felt so alone for so long. I had no idea that others had stories so similar to mine. You have no idea having my letter to CL being answered and CN responding in the comments had an impact on me. And my story had so many “light bulb moments” for other chumps. To hear other chumps to have similar stories as me. And the Canadian Chump who told me that strip clubs in Canada with lap dances was 100% touching of the strippers, “bj’s and the whole enchilada”, even though my ex said with his arms stretched out in his usual defensive mode said, “no touching.” He lied with that too. And people from where I live have thanked me for telling that story and for finding out about what their ex was up to in Canada. For people like me who have trusted the Cheaters words for years, it’s a little blessing to find out some truth and realize your gut instinct wasn’t lying to you from the beginning. I have no desire to stay stuck there. I want to learn from what happened to me so I don’t make the same mistakes again. And more importantly, I want to help others!

    2. Spiritwoman, I agree with you. I need both. I’m thankful to God for Chump Lady and Chump Nation. I’m thankful for Divorce Minister. I’m thankful for the website and book Psychopath Free. I’m thankful for all the Youtubers that have helped and taught me about NPD. I’m thankful for the author and counselor, Shannon Thomas. I’m thankful for my three counselors and one psychiatrist in the past two plus years. I don’t believe it was an accident I found Chump Lady. I feel God directed me there. Just like he woke me up from a sound sleep at midnight with a horrible feeling in my gut that something was wrong the night I caught my ex out with a whore. I have said this time and time again, “God woke me up!” I’ve said it on Chump Lady. I’ve told my family and friends. I’ve told people who I think don’t really believe in God. God has been involved in my life forever, but I never realized He, the Holy Spirit, was my gut reaction, my intuition, that small voice inside of me telling me that something wasn’t right. In my FOO, I learned not to trust that voice. And with friends and boyfriends, that voice just got shoved down. And my ex just added to me not trusting that voice, because he was lying and gaslighting me. Chump Lady and Chump Nation have taught me to trust that voice, which I believe is the Holy Spirit.

      1. Thankyou Martha, I have also been blessed by all the support and understanding I’ve received from family, friends, online help, and complete strangers some who know my story some who don’t. Never the less, all have taught or affected my internal spirit, perhaps given me a glimmer of hope, maybe accepted that I indeed am not perfect and curse a string when I’ve been attacked. Of course, before the explosion of my life I hadn’t even known this side of myself, the one that did defend me, and I’m humbled by her strength, her kick… attitude because she won’t let me get run over anymore. I didn’t think I would survive, at times I’m not sure I wanted to. Sharing our stories, yours mine, others helped pull me through the darkness. Anonymous though we may be to each other, we are completely authentic in our empathy and desire to grow and become better people. So I don’t feel badly rehashing my story, or listening to someone who needs to tell theirs. I simply see it as a time of reflection, a expression of emotions and feelings, and a chance to heal while hoping it makes a difference to someone else. This is the source of both DivorceMinister and Chumplady, and many others who try to guide us. Just as not eveyone with a disease must use the same medicine, some might work for others and sometimes you made need more than one prescription.

        1. Amen, spiritwoman. I read this years ago before D-day — there is healing in each others wounds. I used to read a ton of Christian authors, so I’m guessing it was from there.

          There is something about sharing your story and someone else connecting to it, saying that’s what happened to me. You feel less alone in the world and that brings a bit of healing. I take great comfort with Chump Lady and Divorce Minister. They both get me and I get them.

          Do I want to stay at their blogs forever? No. But their ministry is their blogs even though they are both so different from each other, but still in alignment over infidelity.

Comments are closed.