Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
-Hebrews 13:4, NIV
The “solution” of making friends with the Other Man/Other Woman after discovering infidelity is a “solution” only a very self-deceived and/or depraved individual could conceive. It is absolutely ludicrous for anyone with a modicum of commonsense.
Let’s unpack this with an analogy or word-picture:
Bob has a drinking problem. He gets caught and is in trouble. This makes him face his problem. When asked how he will solve his alcoholism, Bob suggests keeping a bottle of his favorite whiskey in his kitchen. Only then, he suggests will his recovery be full and everything fine by keeping that bottle in the kitchen. Do not worry. Bob promises never to drink from his favorite whiskey.
His therapists all agree that this is a wonderful “solution” and start attacking Bob’s wife, Sue, for her stance against Bob’s “solution.” Don’t you see Bob is trying? Sue, can’t you forgive and forget?
The relationship with the Other Man/Woman is the “drug” of choice for cheaters. They have already taken a “hit” or two (or more) whether emotionally or sexually.
In what universe does it makes sense to keep such a destructive “drug” around by choice?!
Now, the cheater (and a therapist/social worker/pastor) might call the faithful spouse “controlling” for denying the cheater this relationship–i.e the relationship with the Other Man/Woman.
Aren’t even cheaters allowed to have friends?!
Let’s go back to the “recovering” alcoholic analogy:
By taking a stand against keeping a bottle of Bob’s favorite whiskey in the kitchen, Sue is not saying she refuses to allow Bob to drink anything. Of course, Bob can drink water, juice, milk, or any other non-alcoholic beverage of choice.
Furthermore, Sue may not even be prohibiting all alcohol for her husband. She is objecting to a particular type of alcohol, Bob’s favorite whiskey, which happens to be the exact same drink that brought great sorrow into her (and Bob’s) life already. It makes sense that Sue would not want that bottle of whiskey in their kitchen.
Reductio Ad Absurdum is a fallacy of reasoning where one exaggerates the opponent’s position to the point of making it look absurd in order to reject legitimate issues the opponent had raised. This is what is happening in both the case of Sue refussing Bob’s “solution” and faithful spouses’ refusing to a cheater “solution” involving an ongoing relationship–by choice–with the OM/OW.
Sue is objecting to one sort of drink–i.e. Bob’s favorite whiskey. She is not denying Bob all liquid libations. Similarly, a faithful spouse is objecting an ongoing relationship with one individual. They are not telling the unfaithful spouse to swear off all future relationships with other human beings.
Further, the reasoning behind the objections are well-founded. Sue and faithful spouses have already been burned by this particular “drink” or individual. To insist on keeping either in their lives–especially intimately so as in one’s own home–is to demonstrate a high level of callous disregard to the pain the offending spouse caused the other.
All of this is an empathy fail on the part of the cheater (and anyone else who supports his/her “solution.”)
It is possible that Bob keeps his promise and never touches the bottle again. However, by keeping the whiskey in the kitchen, Bob has failed to truly repent–in my opinion–since he has disregarded the feelings and wishes of his wife, Sue, who he hurt through his alcoholism. He is continuing on the same selfish and self-centered path that led him into trouble in the first place.
Another point such a “solution” reveals is how little the cheating spouse values their vows of fidelity and-by extension–the marriage.
They fail to grasp how their actions have already had consequences. These painful experiences do not just “go away” because you are not pretending to be “friends” now. That sort of “pretend” game is just another lie designed to help a cheater minimize their sins and the pain he has caused his wife.
A marriage relationship ought to take precedence over all other human relationships. All.
See Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:5-6.
A godly husband or wife does not need to be told which relationship needs to go if faced with a choice between their marriage and an illicit relationship with a third person. The illicit relationship must go! That is what it means–in part–to honor marriage.
You do not honor a marriage by making it subordinate to a sinful relationship.
“Well, if we all become friends afterwards, then we will be all okay.” -Cheater
“No. ‘Okay’ is not where that sort of advice is headed.” – Faithful Spouse