Speaking to myself three years ago:
“I know you want your marriage to survive your spouse’s infidelity…
…but the fate of your marriage does not hinge on your decision(s).”
When my marriage unraveled and I discovered the Other Man, I wanted so badly for my (then) wife to repent of her unfaithfulness and stop the divorce proceedings.
But she did not…
That said, I look back on that painful time as a mercy from God. He hardened her heart to the point of allowing her to sin more fully against the husband of her youth. She divorced me.
What was slated as her supposed salvation–a divorce from me–turned out to be my own ticket to a new and better life without her.
I write this as a way to empathize with those who come here wishing their marriages not to end. This is a feeling and desire I held to the end of my first marriage as well. Thankfully, God did not grant me my wishes back then and stop the divorce.
So, I get it.
It is easy to get stuck.
-Stuck in trying to control the uncontrollable.
-Stuck in bargaining with God.
-Stuck in mind-numbing pain.
I have a few pieces of advice as one who lived in that place.
First, remember the things you do NOT control:
- Recognize that you do not control whether or not your spouse stays.
- Recognize that you do not control whether or not your spouse repents.
- Recognize that you do not control what people–including family–think or say about you in regards to this.
Remember the things you DO control:
- Recognize that you DO control whether or not you will tolerate unrepentant adultery and deception.
- Recognize that you DO control what you choose to believe about yourself and the truth on these matters.
- Recognize that you DO control whether or not you let others know that you were soul raped (and I hope that sharing results in you finding true support).
No good options exist after a marriage has been ravaged through one spouse’s infidelity. It is truly a “Buffet of Bad Options.” And the restoration of a marriage destroyed by infidelity is a miracle of God. It is not the norm.
My hope for any faithful spouse who wants his or her marriage to survive the infidelity is that he or she will not accept anything less than full repentance from the unfaithful partner and a true miracle of restoration from God. Anything less sets up a couple for a lifetime of pain and facilitates ungodliness not helping anyone’s soul. Plus, it is heartbreaking to hear the stories of faithful spouses who discover a second, third, or fourth adulterous relationship after the first.
It is best to face the cancer of infidelity.
Make sure it is killed through repentance or cut off by divorce.
Anything less is to welcome death and destruction in the future.