When “good” is not an option

Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.

-Hosea 2:2b, NIV

What drives me nuts about how some pastors speak of divorce is how they assume a “good” option is left on the table for a faithful spouse.

Sadly, following infidelity this just isn’t the case!

The faithful spouse may have wanted a good marriage. But that was taken off the table when the cheater violated their marriage vows.

Condemning divorce and citing all the negative consequences of divorce practically teaches faithful spouses that God has a bigger problem with divorce than He does with adultery. 

That is a lie (see post here).

The reality is that faithful spouses are presented with a “Buffet of Bad Options” following the discovery that their partner cheated.

This is not a simple matter between choosing between what God considers good and bad. A consequence of marital infidelity is that the cheater took the good option off the table–namely, a marriage free of infidelity.

Even with true repentance, that option is never placed back upon the table. It will always be true that one spouse defied God’s plan for marriage by choosing to cheat.

Divorce is a mercy. 

Divorce is not good. The good option is to have a marriage not ravaged by infidelity. And possibly, a second–yet not close one, IMO–is a marriage restored after the cheater truly fully owns repents of his adulterous, deceptive sins.

Many of us never were offered the second option.

So, we had to decide between divorce or tolerating unrepentant adultery.

That’s real life. Life in a world were people live in willful sin. I wish more pastors understood this reality and extended empathy to faithful spouses stuck in that awful reality.

Speaking as if divorce is a bad option without acknowledging this reality–namely, no good options remain for the faithful spouse–is cruel and unmerciful.

In other words, it’s ungodly.

6 thoughts on “When “good” is not an option”

  1. Dear DM,
    Please pray for me. My husband initiated a mediation session that happened today, and we’ll be “settled,” soon, but I am still very UN-settled. Our assets are depleted, I am exhausted, and I am so scared. He cheated, but he gets to prosper financially. I am so angry and never wanted my marriage to end, but how could I ever be with someone who sinned, exposed me to STD’s and gossip, abused me, and is not at all sorry about it? I want to believe things will get better, but I’m impatient for the “when” and am desperate. I’m blessed with wonderful friends and in mostly good health. However, I need full-time work and a miracle…I am angry with him, but I am still incredulous and pity someone so devoid of compassion or morals.

    1. Wanda,
      May God grant you favor, wisdom, and strength in this season. Amen.

      Also, it sounds like hiring your own lawyer might better serve you interests (if you haven’t done so already). Mediation just strikes me as putting you at a disadvantage with someone who has demonstrated he is untrustworthy to the highest degree.

      -DM

  2. Wanda,
    Please have all your ducks in a row with or without a lawyer. This is not the time to worry about his salvation. It’s time to protect yourself from more of his deceit and abuse.
    My X came to mediation with professional looking documents that misrepresented our financial situation, as well as the cause of the “breakdown” of the marriage. I wish that I had been more prepared for this.
    Please have your documentation and financial statements organized & available. Remember- he has proven himself untrustworthy.
    The only reason that I could legally get any alimony is because I insisted that his adultery not be removed as the cause of divorce …a fact that MY lawyer said did not even need to be mentioned.

  3. Thank you for your responses. I did have a lawyer who worked with me. My husband was angry I hired my own representative because he wanted a 50/50, “amicable” split. My husband left me when I was vulnerable financially and emotionally, lied about infidelity, and assassinated my character. He accused ME of being abusive when he had subjected me to narcissistic abuse.
    I have depression, autoimmune disorders, and a broken leg. However, I also have supportive, kind, trustworthy people in my life. I have my part-time work with my students and am blessed to help them grow. I cannot walk right now, but spiritually, I feel I walk closer to God, and I have others to help me on my journey. I will not believe the lies and jaded statements of the world that I “made” this happen or deserved it.
    Unfortunately, no one really “wins” at divorce. In my state, it’s usually a 50/50 split, but I got more like 60/40 due to my husband’s greed and desire to not have more of his lies brought to light.
    I pray for a good, stable job with benefits and quick healing for my leg. I wish no one ever had to go through this.

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