Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. – Ephesians 5:11, ESV
Part of the mission at Divorce Minister is to follow this Biblical command. I aim to expose deeds of darkness, especially as it comes to adultery and any associated spiritual abuse. This is important work as light brings clarity and potential for healing.
Ignorance allows wickedness to breed in the darkness of human minds and hearts. The simple need instructions (see Proverbs), the wicked need rebuking, and the wounded need healing. The light of the knowledge of God’s perspective on our deeds is much needed in these dark times full of adulterous deeds.
What I am about to write is probably not news to a faithful spouse as he or she has likely lived it. It may be news to other Christians who have never experienced such things from the other side.
After adultery has taken place and been exposed, the faithful spouse is often hit with a reworked narrative of the marriage. This is why I am highly suspicious of studies asking cheaters about the state of their marriage prior to cheating. Cheaters have a vested interest in painting a dismal picture of the relationship.
Back to the dynamic of a retroactive marriage history: This dynamic of justifying or excusing the adulterous relationship(s) is noted by the renown secular infidelity researcher, Dr. Shiley P. Glass, Ph.D. in her book on infidelity entitled, Not “Just Friends,”
If they feel justified to have an affair because they fell in love with another person, then they claim that they never really love their spouse. After their indulgence, when they are no longer simply talking to themselves (but actually justifying their behavior to others), they tend to cast blame. They create an explanation in which their own victimization absolves their transgressions: ‘My wife was frigid’; “My husband didn’t talk to me”; “I was crazy from the all the stress at my job.” Some people offer excuses, such as “I was drunk” or “I was seduced.” ….Those who offer excuses are not blithely saying that they didn’t do anything wrong; they are explaining to minimize their wrongdoing by giving a reason for their actions. “Justifiers” act self-righteous in efforts to validate the appropriateness of their behaviors; “excusers” are more willing to accept blame for their actions (251).
Do you notice the two tactics utilized by an adulterous spouse to avoid taking full responsibility for committing adultery?
1) Blame-shift to the faithful spouse.
2) Minimize what they did.
God holds the sinner 100% responsible for his or her sin (e.g. 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Peter 1:16-17). A wise counselor will see through these two tactics and call out the adulterous spouse for his or her own spiritual good.
This is why I write so many articles adamantly against any blame-shifting upon the faithful spouse. To accept this move, one is joining with the forces of darkness causing damage to the faithful spouse and further entrenching lies in the heart of the adulterous spouse. No one is helped. Many are harmed.
In addition, this is why I write with such strong language about the trauma of adultery. It is needed as an antidote to Satan’s successful minimizing campaign concerning adultery. I do not write to condemn the sinner. What I write is a matter of condemning the sin and exposing the dark deeds to the light. I am of the camp that telling the sinner what he or she did was “not so bad” does not help them spiritually. It certainly does not help the faithful spouse who has been devastated by the adulterous spouse’s selfish sin.
Retroactive marriage history is painful for the faithful spouse, and I speak from experience. It feels very invalidating and adds the damaging, shaming messages in the whole torrid affair for a faithful spouse. If someone wants to be a healing and godly voice in such times, I would encourage them not to succumb to the siren calls of either the “justifier” or the “excuser” as Dr. Glass labels them. Watch out for the twin schemes of blame-shifting and minimizing. No spiritual good comes of either.