“Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.'”
-Matthew 7:22-23, KJV (quotation marks added)
No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
-I John 3:6, NIV
The only way to be saved is through knowing Jesus. And the only ones who actually know Jesus are those who refuse to keep on sinning.
This seems to set the priorities pretty clear in situations where adultery has occurred:
Has the adulterous party stopped cheating? Has she/he stopped lying and divulged the stolen secrets to his/her spouse?
What about restitution as evidenced of true repentance? Has he/she payed back money, time, and empathetic attention to the violated spouse?
Divorce is painful. It is costly. And no one who goes into a marriage has that as his or her life goal. However, sometimes divorce is the best choice out of bad options.
I am concerned that Christian leaders are more concerned about keeping marriages together than making sure the adulterous spouse is no longer sinning but repenting. That serves no one. And it goes a long way to painting a false picture of spiritual safety for the cheater.
It does not serve the faithful partner as the faithful spouse remains in a destructive situation dealing with gaping, unaddressed wounds (with salt periodically tossed upon said wounds).
It does not serve the family or the church as it is modeling toleration of ongoing sin as opposed to godly repentance from such serious sin.
It does not even serve the adulterous spouse as his/her salvation is in serious jeopardy as an unrepentant sinner.
Divorce is a statement. It is an acknowledgement that the relationship is dead.
God concedes that truth and action as a legitimate move for any of His followers faced with an adulterous betrayal (e.g. Jeremiah 3:8, Mt 19:9, etc.) or an abandonment by an unbeliever (e.g. I Cor. 7:15). It is a very vivid reminder to all that adultery has consequences, and God accepts divorce as one of those.
It is better to declare something as dead, which is, than to promote false spiritual security for the sinner who is not eternally safe in the least!