What if pastors had to pay a faithful spouse $10,000 or more if they were wrong about the cheating being over?!
In my opinion, faithful spouses who stay in marriages for subsequent infidelity discoveries are loosing more than just $10,000. They are loosing precious time, emotional well-being, and physical well-being (e.g. risk of contracting life-altering STDs from the cheater).
A Christian counselor and pastor are biased towards keeping the marriage intact.
Let’s be honest:
Would a pastor rather be known for A) Rescuing faithful spouses via divorce from cheaters or B) Being a miracle-worker who “saved” x-number of marriages?
I do not know of any pastor who openly preaches or shares about how they regularly help faithful spouses exit marriages from God-defying cheaters. Not one. (Present company excluded, of course.)
But I have heard pastors and Christian counselors preach or share openly about the marriages they “saved.”
Such a contrast in sharing reinforces–in my mind–the erroneous teaching that divorce is worse than the sins surrounding adultery.
I pose the opening thought experiment question because I bet more pastors would hesitate more before pressuring a faithful spouse to take a cheater back. They would think twice before accepting a cheater’s profession of change at face value.
Further, such a guarantee would help counteract the inherit bias towards the “Pastor as Marriage Savior Complex” that is all too common. If they are wrong, they pay. So, false reconciliation efforts would cost them and not just the poor duped faithful spouse.
This proposal will probably not happen. Too much money would be lost, likely. But it is a good test to consider for those pastors wanting to do right by faithful spouses:
Would I encourage reconciliation with the cheating partner if I had to give $10K if she or he cheated again?
If the answer is “No,” then I would encourage you to act accordingly:
Do not counsel reconciliation!
To counsel reconciliation would be to put the faithful spouse knowing back at risk of further spiritual and emotional harm. And a good, loving shepherd would never knowingly do that to his beloved sheep.