Clarification: My Goal Is NOT To Shame Faithful Spouses Who Stay

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Yesterday, I had an interesting exchange with another pastor who raised a concern. He was wondering if my blogging is shaming for faithful spouses who choose to stay and restore their marriage with a cheater. I am writing today to address that concern. To be crystal clear:

My goal is NOT to shame faithful spouses who choose to stay after discovering infidelity.

I emphasize–in multiple places–on this blog that it is a choice for the faithful spouse to make either way without shame. 

Choosing to stay is a valid choice.

God welcomed us-an adulterous people–back into His arms if we chose to repent and humbly accept His free gift of forgiveness (see I John 1:9 and I John 3:6).

That “if” is an important one.

This blog is subtitled: “Taking Adultery Seriously” for a good reason.

Taking an adulterous spouse back without true repentance does not make a faithful spouse “bad”–i.e. no shame there–but it may make one foolish.

This is coming from someone who wished I had had a wise pastor warn me more directly on these matters. So, I say this as a friend and a pastor:

It is foolish to reconcile/restore a marriage with a cheater who has not own his/her sin and repented fully of it.

I will not sugarcoat it. Cheaters cheat. Liars lie. You are dealing with all of this when dealing with a spouse who has been unfaithful. That needs to be your baseline assumption about their character until proven otherwise because they have already demonstrated by their actions that is how they will act.

So, the BIG question that needs to be answered is what has changed significantly to make the faithful spouse believe such demonstrated poor character has changed. And do others–professionally trained to examine such things–see this change as well.

This pastor and this blog will not tolerate rug-sweeping. I take adultery seriously. I will not call marriage reconciliation based on a lie–i.e. the adulterous sinner has repented when he/she has not–good.

It is not good!

It is just a setup for further heartache and soul rapes. I hear far too many stories of repeat performances by unfaithful spouses. These stories are usually preceded by stories of how the faithful spouse was unbiblically pressured, perhaps even shamed, into taking the unfaithful spouse back after the first time.

This is one pastor who refuses to do that to one more faithful spouse.

Plenty of books and websites exist out there for faithful spouses to find and use that will pat them on the back for not divorcing a cheater. Most of them are willing to overlook or shortchange the whole true repentance step for the cheater. I will not.

Faithful spouses are free to reconcile without shame.

But I exhort each faithful spouse who chooses to do so to be wise. Verify that the adulterous spouse has truly changed and repented. Because if you reconcile/restore the marriage without such change, you are being foolish and spiritually helping nobody.


3 thoughts on “Clarification: My Goal Is NOT To Shame Faithful Spouses Who Stay”

  1. You’re doing a wonderful job! I never get the feeling you’re trying to shame people who pursue reconciliation. I think it’s clear that you’re like me — you wish the ex had wanted reconciliation so that you could have at least had a chance to work it out. But you can’t force someone to want to make it right. Thank you for all your encouraging articles. It means a lot to me.

  2. I learned the hard way that unless the cheater comes to you and really is repentant and humble that it is futile to try to reconcile. My EX was full of guile and sin and wanted me to simply overlook his OW and affair. In reality he was still neck deep in the affair and then stated that “God was guiding him and Schmoopie, testing their “wuv” for each other.” Yuck! Invoking God in an illicit affair! Disgusting! I went through with my divorce although it broke my heart!

  3. I truly love what you have said : I myself have been married for 23 years and I have been faithful to my wife until year 15 I woke up in the middle of the night half asleep found my wife’s phone and there were pictures of another man. I questioned her about it and she said we will talk about it when she comes home..that evening she never came but until 5 months later..she had abandoned the marriage leaving me with our 4 kids at the time devastated as we had just moved to the area in the process we lost everything new apartment all our things were thrown out every baby picture that we ever had gon. Went homeless I believe God for a miracle she came back but did not want counseling said if I wanted to I can go ahead..this back and forth of her not reading her word to strengthen herself and relationship with the Lord I knew it was going to weaken her again..So in yr. 22 the Holy Spirit alerted me in prayer that she was going to do it again and like clock work she did it again ..1 month before our 22nd anniversary day which was in Oct 2016 left in September 2015 daughter found her on facebook changed name and all has been gone a year now kids are devastated all over again traumatized at a older age now which is 20 19 17 15..she has moved to 2 different states has only text a few times out of the month to the kids missed her only daughters high school graduation daughter is gone on to college.never calls to hear the kids voice…and tells the kids to tell me that she wants a divorce and does not want to talk about it…she has up and just abandoned the kids marriage family everything..and the 15 year old is devastated because he has went on her page and you have all these men saying sexually suggested comments and comments in general…Its been a year I feel drained but don’t knows whether to keep waiting…I keep reading Hosea as a read also in Isaiah chapters 29-31 about rebellion and adultery is not only sin but its pride and rebellion its a very selfish act…I think a lot of people go on the idea that God in his Sovereignty can turn the hearts of the adulterous much like the prodigal son when he went and JOINED himself to another place but through God allowing circumstances to happen ..the ministry of grace and reconciliation was given to the one that committed the sin..

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