“Just let her know you are there waiting. Hold the space for the marriage.” – Pastor
God did not wait forever for Israel.
We see that in Jeremiah 3:8. God accepted Israel’s decisions to choose against the covenant by pursuing adulterous relationships. This is part of the reason I find the advice above unhelpful. It does not recognize a time may come when the faithful spouse must follow God’s example in Jeremiah 3:8 and stop holding the space for the marriage.
The other part I found troubling about this advice is how it does not take into account the agency of the adulterous spouse. They have chosen against the marriage covenant in the most dramatically sinful way possible. The adulterous spouse has chosen to give God and their spouse the “middle finger” so to speak. Now, we might wish this person did not mean to do this, but the pastor and faithful spouse ends up looking like fools when this behavior continues on the part of the adulterous spouse.
They gave you their decision when they committed adultery. When will you accept that some people choose in actuality against godliness and marriage fidelity?
Another issue this advice raises is how it feeds into cheater entitlement and lack of consequences for sin. To put this another way, it minimizes the severity of the sin and presumes that the adulterous spouse is still entitled to stay married after treating the covenant partners (faithful spouse and God) with utter contempt.
While waiting for a certain period of time to judge whether or not the adulterous spouse is truly repenting or the marriage has any hope for a resurrection is wise (but NOT required for faithful spouses), making the waiting period indefinite suggests the adulterous acts were not so bad. It obscures the reality that adultery or infidelity is so damaging that these sins are Biblically recognized as marriage ending sins (see Deut. 22:22, Jer 3:8, Mt. 5:32, etc.).
It is a mercy to an adulterous spouse if a faithful spouse chooses not to file for divorce when he or she discovers adulterous betrayal. A better form of advice in these situations is to be realistic for the faithful spouse:
“Your spouse has decided to defy God and your marriage covenant. The marriage is not even remotely salvageable as long as your spouse remains in such sinful defiance. You ought to be prepared to file for divorce, because it may be necessary to escape this sinfully destructive relationship. God takes adultery that seriously.” – Pastor