More Bad Advice

“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



12 thoughts on “More Bad Advice”

  1. Agreed DM. I can recall when my ex and I separated, I saw many Christian websites/blogs where the victims of adultery were encouraged to “stand” for their marriage and the cheating spouse. I found it unacceptable and unbelievable. Many people had been doing this for months, if not years. Once while praying, i imagined the Lord and I sitting on the curb, and the Lord told me, “hey, she cheated on me too!
    ” As time passes, I remove myself from the equation and think of the other victimized spouse, and I grow angry on her behalf. During an argument before separating, my ex stomped up to me and asked, “don’t you think our marriage was messed up before I started talking to ——-?”. I wished I’d answered “yeah, but what about HIS?”

    1. I was one of those “standers” Deacon B. What theses website/blogs are not saying, is that a lot of these women (and probably men too), become abuse victims after inviting their “wayward” spouses back into the marriage bed. Repentance is never required.

      1. I would say “repeat” abuse victims would be more appropriate. I just thank God that my anger and disgust has, does and will always rule out any microscopic snowballs chance in hell of my ex and I ever even being friends, let alone reconciling.

  2. For months after adultery discovery I tried to hang on to the marriage thinking that’s what God would want me to do. It was like being punched in the gut over and over with no real remorse. Blaming me and telling my oldest daughter he felt trapped in the marriage. He wanted me to divorce him so he wouldn’t look like the bad guy. Adulterers have an evil heart. It is probably rare to find one that is truly and Godly repentant. It is sad to see the one whom you are to have the closest earthly relationship with become like an enemy. You can’t stand for a marriage by yourself. It is no marriage.

    1. Jessica,

      The “trapped in the marriage” line is a common demonic line. I heard a version of that from my former wife. They CHOSE freely to enter marriage. It shows that they do not take their own agency seriously and are commited to shifting responsibility/blame. It is truly sad. Wickedness in the heart of humans is truly tragic and sickening!


  3. Mine said the marriage is already over that’s why he cheated.Funny he never told me and carried on sleeping with me.Evil hearts so true.If in their hearts they feel it is already over how can a pastor tell you to wait.Its like common sense was thrown out the window.They have already moved on even in their marriage.Its only faithful spouses that have trouble moving on because we meant every vow we said before God unlike cheaters.

    1. Grace, mine said the exact same thing. She advised me she no longer wanted to work on the marriage, little did I know she’d been involved in an emotional affair for three months prior. I found out about the affair a month after she said she no longer wanted to be married, she carried it on until it became physical. Then told me it had gone on for longer than I knew, she divorced me in her heart long ago, blah blah blah….get lost…

  4. I’m so sorry Deacon B.I remember twice while sitting in church my soon to be ex husband wanted to take off his wedding ring and give it to me right then and there.Apparently marriage was to hard.When asked if that was the appropriate time to do it he said he was joking.He even used to text his adultress in church.Wonder what God thinks of these people.Bone chilling how ruthless they can be.Not only did they cheat on us but God too but they will never see it that way.I pray that God truly sends us true love one day because the unfaithful and the devil robbed us.These people can’t do marriage but godly love does exist.

  5. Grace I think that’s the one thing I question about God’s chastisement, judgement, etc…as much as the bible talks against adultery, people continue to do it, continue to believe there are no consequences, and some affairs even turn into happy marriages. There are times I really wanna ask God…so uh…what’s up with this? Especially in the church…I mean I don’t expect my ex to be turned into a pillar of salt or struck with leprosy, or to drop dead (not that any of those would meet with my disapproval)…but you read all of these warnings….all of these consequences….yet people in droves commit adultery and go on their merry way…granted I don’t see or know all but…really?

    1. Deacon B, I know exactly how you feel. I hear your heart cry out for justice. Mine does too. My cheating stbx walked out with absolutely no warning and abandoned me and our special needs daughter. I lost everything. It has taken me 2 years to rebuild. I actually “stood” for the marriage for over a year. But I do know God sees everything. Vengeance is His. We will all stand before Him one day and give an account of what we’ve done. No one gets away with anything.

      1. SOSG, I’ll (cyber) touch and agree with you. While I admit I question how God administers justice, the Holy Spirit continues to minister to me in many ways, including this blog. While my carnal man questions what I do and don’t see; I’m reminded that I can’t question his grace, his mercy, his justice or his judgment. All of which I could be a recipient of at any given moment.

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