God will judge the adulterous partner…

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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 (emphasis mine)

A vigorous discussion has started over my exposure of the lie that “bad marriages cause infidelity.”

I want to be clear on my position on these matters: It is not that I think faithful spouses are perfect and without sin in their marriages. I know I contributed sin to my first marriage and was not the easiest man to whom to be married.

However, I am not even in the slightest bit responsible for my former wife’s choice to lie, cheat, and sinfully abandon our marriage via an unbiblical divorce. 

I am responsible for the sin I contributed to the marriage relationship. But I am not responsible for those sins my (now) ex-wife contributed.

Does insisting my ex-wife is fully responsible for her sins make me overly focused on assigning blame?

No. I don’t think so. 

It is the Biblical truth.

We each will have to give an account for our actions to God (2 Corinthians 5:10). When God talks about adulterers in Hebrews 13:4, God is clear that the one engaging in extramarital sex is the one He will judge.

I do not see a long treatise about the climate or history of the marriage written there in Hebrews 13. The author of Hebrews did not seem to think the origins of adultery is all that complicated. It’s a poor choice made by the adulterous partner. So, the author of Hebrews addresses whoever might consider taking such a sinful action by warning them that they will be judged by God if they choose adultery.

Where people get into the weeds on infidelity is over the question of “Why did he/she choose to cheat?”

Was his wife withholding sex? Did he constantly belittle her? What was the underlying marital sins that led the husband or wife to choose to commit adultery? Welcome to the weeds.

My point from Scripture is that these questions are irrelevant. Even if you could identify a “why” connected with the faithful spouse, that why still does not excuse the adultery. There is no reason given in the entire Bible that allows a person to cheat on his or her spouse. Not one.

Further, that “why” did not force the adulterous spouse to commit adultery. He or she still had to make the choice against the full and consistent witness of the Bible that choosing adultery is sinful. And yes, that includes even if your spouse sinfully sucks at being a husband or wife. Choosing adultery is still wrong and fully a choice you will own before God.

A Christian marriage counselor or even a pastor might not hold an adulterer or adulteress fully responsible for choosing to defile the marriage bed. They might get lost in the weeds of the “why?” But I assure you God will not.

God will judge the adulterous spouse. That is what the Bible says.

As an evangelical minister, it would be irresponsible of me to teach otherwise. That is the spiritual truth whether one likes it or not.

22 thoughts on “God will judge the adulterous partner…”

  1. Great post!! I’m wondering DM when you get time could you write a post geared toward the AP and how they played a part in the affair too? I have really been struggling with this one lately. See I had concrete evidence that the OW in my situation was just like the temptress the bible talks about… Using her slick tongue and seductive ways. Now I put just as much and more blame on my ex but I still believe if she hadn’t seduced him that it never would have happened. And this girl was my neighbor and supposed to be my friend! And the day my ex admitted the affair, I called her and she acted just like the adulteress in the bible who wipes her mouth and says she’s done nothing wrong! This girl flat out told me that, she said “I have done nothing to you” that really hurt me that she acted like she didn’t even do anything wrong or hurt me!

    I have heard she has went on to destroy 2 more marriages since our situation? And I am starting to feel an obligation to try and stop her although I don’t know how? But I even feel like God is laying it on my heart to do something? She has moved out of the neighborhood and made new friends and sits in church every Sunday and posting Godly stuff all over her FB page (just like she always has) she has all them fooled just like she did me! But I have been thinking of sending her some scripture- the stuff I know she isn’t reading about adultery, sin, and temptresses. And if you were to write a post about whores – lol…. I could send that too. It probably won’t do any good but I will know I warned her of her fate if she doesn’t change her ways.

    Thank you for all you do!!

    1. I wouldn’t even bother. She’s sitting in church? Yep – they do! They are blinded and just keep on like all is well. I’m so sorry this happened to you. The woman who messed with my husband says she’s a Christian also..Ha! Right!!

    2. Even negative attention is still attention. I would simply ignore her. You have already confronted…now she is God’s problem. Best to unfriend her on FB as you do not need that aggravation of witnessing her hypocrisy.

  2. I have been reading a lot on your blog. Have you not noticed that everyone seems to be wrong but you? The Mayo clinic recommends looking at the problem holistically, and you think these are lies. Is the Mayo Clinic not reputable?

    You take adultery seriously….you take divorce seriously…Why not take marriage seriously? It is like taking fevers seriously, taking headaches seriously, but not taking health seriously. Treating a symptom does not treat a disease. And diseases can be overcome with proper treatment.

    You’re angry, belligerent, condescending, and clearly not over your own hurt. You don’t need to be counseling others, you need counseling.

    I went through the same thing you did, but I handled it completely differently.

    My wife had an online affair, and when it came to light she had an actual affair, with a different person. I was gone all of the time, worked all of the time. She was alone. She was also raped. I did not know this. She was raped in college, and on a hardwood floor. She never told me, but when I got hardwood floors put into our new home, against her strong objections, it triggered something. She lost it. She left, had an affair, and so on…. We separated for almost two years. We finally got back together. When the counselor told me we needed to look at all of the problems, I did not say it was lies, I listened. I changed my behavior. I know it was a bad decision on her part, but, you know, there are extenuating circumstances. There are issues. The calculus is not as easy as “She is wrong”.

    By saying so, you hurt people. You hurt marriage. I think your website is unhealthy.

    Women who are sexually abused are more likely to commit adultery. Did you know that? I think God will judge less severely than you will.

    You seem like a soldier who came back from Iraq, but can’t stop playing “Call of Duty”. I’ve met guys like this. You’re exacerbating the PTSD, not helping people recover. You also put this online. It is already archived. Your child will see what you are saying about their mother. Do you think this will help?

    People make mistakes. If you want to help, treat the dysfunction. Treat the hurt. And some people are terrible, but these people will always exist. Getting over it and moving on is the only way to deal with people like that.

    My wife made a mistake. We got better. We’ve been together for 21 years now. We still disagree, we still fight. But we’re together. I don’t blame counselors. I do not blame others. We made mistakes together, we fixed it together. You seem fixated on your qualifications, but they do not seem to be helping. I did not go to college or university for my undergrad, but I know a little about life.

    1. John,

      I hear anger and defensiveness in this last comment coming from you. It is okay if we disagree on how to approach these issues; however, I don’t think it is productive or edifying to start in on personal attacks (e.g “you need counseling.”)

      As far as the Mayo Clinic is concerned, I have high respect for it as an institution. In fact, I have worked there in the past with a Mayo Clinic ethicist.

      That said, I weigh the word of God heavier in these matters than the word coming from the Mayo Clinic. If there is a conflict–as there might be in this case–I choose the Bible over the Mayo Clinic’s teaching. This is my point in telling my readership clearly that I am coming at this from my professionally trained background–i.e. as an evangelical minister and chaplain. It ought not be be shocking that an evangelical minister chooses the Bible’s authority over a secular institution’s.

      Further, I do not see taking adultery seriously and marriage seriously as an either/or. In fact, I question anyone who says they take marriage seriously who does not take adultery seriously for adultery strikes at the foundation of the marriage, IMO.

      We have different opinions on what taking marriage seriously means. That is fine. It is okay to disagree. You think I am wrong. I think you are wrong.

      As far as this being a destructive blog, I vigorously disagree with you. It has helped untold numbers of faithful spouses and their supporters. And if harm to faithful spouses is your real concern, why have you yet to engage the commentator here on DM who challenged you that your comments/expressed perspective has been hurtful to her?

      God wants all humanity to come to repentance–cheaters included. But in order to have a right relationship with God, we have to take responsibility for our actions and choices. We cannot grow in godliness as long as we are blaming the other person for our own sins. This is true about all sin, by the way.

      -DM

      1. You have an entire blog dedicated to how terrible your ex- is. Nothing really more than that. She is so sinful, she was so horrible, she was so terrible. She is an abomination in the sight of God. And is it any shock that your marriage never recovered. It is not a foregone conclusion by any stretch of imagination, the marriage may not have recovered regardless, but it is impossible on your terms. You sacrificed your marriage on your insistence that everyone was terrible but you. They were all wrong because they did not reinforce your victim-hood, so you had to create your own place to do so.

        This is not a forum to help others, but to allow you to explain how terrible she is over, and over again. And to tell others that their anger, resentment, and victim-hood is all that matters.

        You don’t respect the Mayo clinic. When I paraphrased them you said…

        “Today, I received a comment on my post Lie: Bad Marriages Cause Infidelity. It typifies the common “wisdom” that I have encountered from various Christian counselors, authors, and pastors when comes to marriages ravaged by adultery. I am not shocked that I got push back for unmasking this particularly destructive lie.”

        You did not just say you chose the Bible, you said that they (the Mayo Clinic) lied. And they do not oppose the Bible, I know plenty of pastors who would disagree with you, but they (the pastors) are likely terrible too. But the worst thing…the proof in the pudding…you’re no longer married. People who did not assume their counselors were liars, who listened to pastors you call terrible, who listened to the recommendations of medical professionals like the Mayo Clinic, they worked it out. They healed their marriages. They have their families intact.

        You have helped faithful spouses? How many marriages have you helped.

        To add insult to injury…you’re already permanently on the internet.

        https://web.archive.org/web/20150501000000*/http://divorceminister.com

        Your child will see all of the terrible things you say about your ex-, but I guess you don’t care…? I don’t know, but maybe hating her to more important than whether or not it poisons her relationship with her child. As long as you think you are pure and holy…

        1. John many of us here felt the same way you did at one time! On our first DDay we thought – oh gosh if our spouse could do something as horrible as cheat we must be doing something wrong so we stepped up our game and became the perfect spouse to prevent them from cheating again! Well guess what – they cheated again!!!! And this time we know it’s not our fault because we were doing everything we could to prevent it! And we are left wishing we would have left the first time! And there are many of us who have more than 2 DDays! So what is their excuse this time? It is lack of character that causes cheating not the faithful spouse!!

          You need to take your rhetoric somewhere else! There are plenty of blogs that will agree with you go spill your BS there! What you are here saying is very unhealthy and upsetting for me! DM has been God send for means you need to back off!!!!

          People use to think the world was flat!! They got proved wrong just as you will one day!

        2. Not sure why you feel the need to be on here? Your wife repented and was willing to work through her issues and yours. Many of us desperately wanted to have the happy ending you seem to have but were never given the chance. You telling me I played a part in my ex abandoning me is very hurtful. Sometimes there really is a victim and a perpetrator and it isn’t a joint mistake. Again, it’s clear you see things different, so why bother those of us who are working on healing alone without our spouse. It has taken me several years to realize that I didn’t deserve to be left, people like you set me back by saying I bear responsibility for my ex choosing to engage in an affair and leave.

          1. I hear you Andrea. I kept wondering if I was defective. If I had done something different, if I wouldn’t have had to deal with such intense pain. My ex is now remarried and has an open marriage. He cheated even in that because he couldn’t keep the open marriage contract. I learned that he still likes kinky rough sex, which was not disclosed until after I was stuck and committed. I also learned that he kicked his new wife out of the house to be with his girlfriend for awhile until things went awry with the girlfriend. (She broke her end of the poly contract). In other words, he still maintains the same hurtful patterns even without me around. I now know there is nothing I could have done and I did try through multiple affairs. It hurt so badly feeling like I was defective without having a changeable, concrete reason.

            John is fortunate because the therapists and his wife gave him concrete reasons why she cheated. So, now he can feel safe by being around more for his wife. Truthfully, what happened is he became safe when his wife wanted to get better and when she put in equal effort to reconcile. The rest of us weren’t so lucky to have spouses with that willingness. If he had lived through our pain of feeling defective despite our best efforts, he would not be saying the things he says.

    2. Your wife would be forgiven by God for her sin just as David was forgiven, because she repented. The problem is that some people don’t want to repent. DM did take responsibility for his part of the marriage problems. They went to counseling just as you did. I’m happy for you that you have a spouse who really did want to get better. Not everyone in your situation is that fortunate. It’s fine if you disagree with DM, but you don’t have to attack him.

    3. John, DM website is not for people who are trying to reconcile. It isn’t a marriage website at all. He isn’t trying to save marriages. He isn’t in your competition of who has saved the most marriages. He is providing comfort and healing for those of us who tried everything to save our marriages and our spouses still abandoned us. You act as though you are superior to David and the rest of us because your marriage survived. Your marriage surviving had less to do with your actions and more to do with your wifes, in my opinion. The majority of us here went the route of counseling and trying to figure out what the problems may have been. Our efforts were rejected and we were left by our spouses. Some people just suck and it doesn’t matter what you do. They will do what they want to do.

      I think you cling to the idea of shared responsibility because it gives you a sense of control that you can prevent your wife from cheating. Maybe that is true for you in your particular situation. It wasn’t true for me. I did all my spouse and counselor asked of me and my husband still left because he wanted his affair partner more than he wanted to honor God, his kids and me.

      I think you completely miss the point of DM website. It is for those of us who were not as lucky as you.

    4. John I have read all of your responses and what I find troubling with your view is that you shift some of the blame to those who have been victimized. Do you blame your wife for being raped on a hardwood floor? Do you think she was some how responsible for what happened to her? Do you see how sick that kind of thinking is? Victims of adultery have been traumatized in many cases to the same extent as those who have been traumatized by rape. Many seek counseling not just for marital recovery, but also for the trauma that the betrayal has caused them. What would you think of a therapist counseling a rape victim telling them they bore some responsibility for their assault. It’s unthinkable that any legitimate therapist would do that this but this is what you are advocating be done with victims of adultery. And when a person who has been victimized by adultery is struggling to forgive and is in pain because of it, your advice is for them to be “Getting over it and move on”. Maybe it should be so simple, but for many it is not. Perhaps rape victims should be getting over it and moving on. Perhaps soldiers suffering with PTSD should get over it and move on. Heartless!

      Blame-shifting is a big part of what cheaters do to justify their actions. It’s a big part of what the marriage recovery industry uses to justify the actions of the cheater. Even churches engage in this activity when helping couples with marriage recovery. But it is not biblical and that is what DM is pointing out.

      I don’t think I need to defend DM as he is capable of defending himself. But this view of yours angers me and I find it really disturbing.

  3. Another point: Talking responsibility is not the same thing as hating.

    I remember hearing that pedophiles often have a history of having been abused themselves as children. That history still does not make them less responsible for choosing to abuse minors themselves. And it doesn’t make people haters for holding those pedophiles fully responsible for choosing to sexually assault minors.

    It is the same idea here. I hold adulterous spouses fully responsible for choosing to violate God’s law–i.e. committing adultery. That doesn’t make me a hater. It simply means I dare to hold that we are responsible for our own choices.

  4. Your wife never loved you or she wouldn’t have cheated on you in the first place! I bet you everything I have you wife has cheated on you more than once or she will cheat again

  5. Since John has now demonstrated his inability to engage in civil discourse on this blog, I have decided to ban his comments going forward. Personal attacks are not acceptable here. To persist on personal attacks of the creator and moderator of a website is just dumb behavior as I have the power to shut that down and will do so.

    1. Good call. With all his personal and strawman attacks, it would have been impossible to have any sort of rational discussion. And since he is not a folllower of Christ, I’m not sure what his motive of posting here was in the first place. But even if he was capable of a rational discussion, you can’t argue someone into the kingdom.

      1. Yeah, he continued on after I made this statement. So, now the blog treats his comments as SPAM. That’s what happens when someone will not approach the blog moderator with civility.

  6. John’s attitude is very much the same as most of the Christian church today… the primary focus is on ”saving” the earthly, temporary contract of marriage. Spiritual success is largely measured by whether the marriage stays intact or not. “Saving marriages” is seen as the ultimate, most lofty goal and achievement. John has reconciled with his unfaithful but repentant wife, so he has a lot invested in this viewpoint.

    In the Bible however, the primary focus is not on saving marriages, but rather on (1) declaring the glory of the Lord (2) calling all people to repentance and salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and (3) ministering to hurting people in His name.

    Divorce Minister, your blog does all of these things. You unapologetically declare the Lord. You call out adulterers and admonish them, warning them of the judgement to come if they do not repent. A very difficult calling, but like the righteous prophets of old, their messages were not well received either.

    And lastly but importantly, you provide truly empathetic kindness, comfort and wisdom to others who have deep wounds from the adulteries of their unfaithful spouses. You also minister to folks like me who don’t have an unfaithful partner, but have cruelty, abuse and unfaithfulness in my family of origin. May God bless your efforts as you serve Him.

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