As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.
-Proverbs 26:11, NIV
Within the Christian community, so much pressure is placed upon faithful spouses to “reconcile” with their cheating partners.
Sometimes lip service is given to the importance that the cheater has actually changed and will not cheat again. However, the general rule in the Christian community at this time is to focus upon the faithful spouse’s efforts as opposed to examining the cheater’s quality of repentance.
Few are honest with faithful spouses.
Can a cheater change and truly repent? Yes.
But this is not a theoretical exercise. The question really is whether or not your cheater will do the hard work required to repent for any godly chance of marriage restoration to be possible.
It is possible for a cheater to change. But likely? I seriously doubt it.
Habits do not change over night. Sin habits are not erased in one confession and alleged commitment to “do better.” That is not how we work as humans.
Many cheaters have spend months and sometimes years living double lives full of deception and lies. The likelihood of a repeat event of cheating is vastly greater than the likelihood the cheater will suddenly kick their deception-high habit.
Failure to have such a sober assessment is a result, IMO, of the “reconcile at all costs” blindness so prevalent in Christian circles. This blindness is not serving faithful spouses. It is harming them!
It is one thing engaging in marriage restoration work with full awareness that the likelihood of the cheater not repeating his/her sins is slim. It is quite another doing so upon a false assessment that it is over because the cheater said so.
Cheaters are foolish creatures who have a tendency to return to their folly as the writer of Proverbs 26:11 aptly expresses. This is a hard but important truth.