No Honor Among Thieves

To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.

 -Psalm 18:25-26, NIV


During the last ditch effort to save my first marriage, my (now ex) wife was constantly talking about how I needed to rebuild her trust and how I had destroyed trust. This was coming out of her mouth while she was cheating with another man unbeknownst to me or the marriage counselor that awful summer. From other stories I have read and heard, this phenomenon of distrustful treatment of faithful spouses by adulterous spouses is not uncommon.

It reminds me of an old saying, which inspired the title of this post:

There’s no honor among thieves.

I think adulterous spouse have trust issues because they know from their own betrayals and lies that people are capable of such dishonorable behavior. Thus, they assume distrust. At least, this is one possible explanation* for such odd behavior–odd from the faithful spouse’s perspective.

And I think this works in the opposite direction:

Honest people assume honorable actions among themselves. I felt like a clubbed seal the day I realized beyond a shadow of a doubt that my ex wife had lied to me with a straight face when I had confronted her and then spent months trying to convince me I was maliciously slandering her (whcn she knew full well I spoke the truth about her adultery). Such dishonorable, wicked behavior was beyond my understanding.

While I am wiser about the ways of the world, this still is a shocking revelation. People are capable of such wickedness and dishonorable actions. It was a costly lesson, and I dearly hope pastors plus other faithful spouses who read this blog do not have to pay the cost to gain such wisdom. People exist who are both willing and able to lie to their spouse and show absolutely no signs of remorse while doing so.

Do not be surprised if your spouse is questioning your fidelity for no good reason that he or she is possibly up to no good in another place.

Be shrewd just as our God is shrewd (see Ps 18:26 above).

Because we live in a world full of impure and unfaithful sinners.



*Another reason an adulterous spouse may treat the faithful spouse with distrust is that they are trying to dig up “dirt” to justify their wicked ways. Think of it as moral or spiritual blackmail. They feel compelled to look because they know they have some pretty damning sins on their souls. So, they hope they can find similar dirt on their spouse so that they can deflect attention if they get found out. They hope they can make their faithful spouse look bad so that they look better. This tactic is especially important in Christian circles. It is a staple in continuing “The Shared Responsibility Lie” and deflecting from taking personal responsibility for repenting.


5 thoughts on “No Honor Among Thieves”

  1. All this is depressingly familiar. I trusted my husband for over 35 years, but he would often question the paternity of our children. This upset me greatly, and heck I am still faithful 2 years after he moved in with someone else. But he ‘confessed’ just before he went, to having been going for other women right back to the early years of our marriage, not full adultery, but as close as the other women would let him. I think he kept doubting my fidelity either to throw me off the scent, or because he was projecting on me or because he thought that because he could not imagine being faithful, hr couldn’t imagine I could be, or maybe just as you said to deflect attention, and to make him look better, or just to deflect attention. In fact shortly before he went he tried to get me to confess to having done things, the only things I could think of were having kissed a colleague at a work Christmas party many years ago, and hugged a gay friend, again at Christmas years later. Both times in public and both times that was it, and socially acceptable. I think he retrospectively justified what he did over the years because of that. He had emotional affairs too which caused me much grief and which he always denied. But no one would allow anything more, and those who did stopped short of actual adultery. Apparently.I’m still finding out more. He intended more had they let him, he said how relieved he was I turned down his offer of having a vasectomy, because he had in his sights someone younger with whom he envisaged having children, this after saying that he did not feel his job was secure enough for us to have more which saddened me but I accepted.
    Reading your experiences helps me realise that this sort of behaviour does happen. the psalm is reassuring, I hope that I will not be deceived again but I remind myself that he deceived many others, but not God

  2. So true, my ex h did not have the guts to tell me to my face, but he went to my mother and said “well, she flirts with so and so.” How freaking childish! I was pregnant when his affair started, I promise you there was no flirting by me, only by the ex and his co-worker. Which my mother clearly saw, but I did not notice at the time because as my mother says I was in “pregnancy haze”. He was definitely projecting and trying to make himself look better – but to the devious you show yourself shrewd

    Another great post, DM.

  3. I wish I’d discovered projection sooner Moxie, might have opened my eyes. I wished I’d believed the children who said of one particular friend when she rang ‘it’s your girlfriend Dad’. I was still believing him though and I wasn;;’t even pregnant.
    What an absolute cheek to say that to your mother! Trying to prepare her I guess for his infidelities by starting painting you as the one who was doing wrong.Getting ready to justify his infidelities by claiming you did it first. My husband did his best to paint me as crazy to his parents, he really did, but I think the final time I saw his mother he showed himself in his true colours, by his sudden outburst of totally unreasonable behaviour which was obvious to her that it was actually him not me, and when he went his mother did keep in touch with me, and continued to remember me on my birthday and Christmas

  4. Nell…yeah, amazing. Just as DM’s post titled Some prefer darkness. What is done in the dark will always come out in the light.
    My ex’s mom was so ashamed of her son, she actually told me that she raised him better than he behaved. But Satan will find a foothold where ever he can, ex’s dad cheated on his mom with a co-worker also. Attacking the family through multiple generations.I continually pray over my son that it ends with his dad. I want the rock eating to stop with this generation…lol.

  5. They do certainly let Satan in, I do believe that. Your poor ex mother in law, am sure she did all she could. Wouldn’t you have thought that having seen what it did to her that he would want to spare his wife that. My father in law never as far as I know had affairs, so my husband can’t claim that he is continuing in the family tradition, my son is not married but I do hope when he does find someone he treats her well.

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