Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts….
-Hosea 2:2, KJV
Have you ever noticed how quick Christians are to lay the burden of marriage restoration upon the adultery victim?
Now, they might give a nod towards needing the cheater do “their part.” But my experience is that emphasis is upon the faithful spouse somehow saving what the other spouse has destroyed by their willful sins.
It is ludicrous!
Even the idea promoted here at Divorce Minister that the cheater needs to do the heavy lifting in restoring a marriage destroyed by said spouse’s sins is treated as a radical idea. It shouldn’t be. We call such heavy lifting by another name theologically:
This sort of insanity spouted by far too many pastors and Christian leaders is often packaged with God-language. They point to how God died for us while we were still sinning–which is true–as justification for making it a mandate for adultery victims to pursue those who raped their souls. Such teaching is spiritual abuse, in my opinion.
It is a twisting of Scripture to enable sinners to continue sinning with no reference to the need for repentance–or even a cessation of the active sinning. Such teaches victims that God is uninterested in justice or even ending the abuse. I do not think either is even remotely true. Even God requires us to repent in order to be saved (e.g. Acts 2: 38)!
The onus for pursuit after infidelity needs to be placed on the cheater. They are the ones who divided the relationship by allowing a third party to enter it. So, they are the ones that need to close the distance they thereby created by their sinful choices. That is repentance. Repentance is what God expects of a sinner who is seeking His will.
And to be clear:
A faithful spouse is not the one who needs to repent in this situation as demonstrated by pursuing the other spouse!
If it is too much to expect a cheater to pursue the faithful spouse, then you have your answer about whether the cheater is repentant–he or she is not! Other plans regarding the marriage ought to be encouraged and made…divorce plans, IMO.
And if one isn’t shy pushing a faithful spouse to share “their part” and take action to “win back” the cheater, then I fail to see why it is so problematic for Christian leaders to apply such lines of questioning and expectations where it is properly placed–i.e. the cheater.
I am tired of pastors and Christian leaders putting the pressure on faithful spouses to “fix” infidelity-ravaged marriages while these same individuals are cowards as far as it comes to confronting the perpetrators of the actual infidelity!