He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church….
–Ephesians 5:28b-29, NIV
PRO TIP: If another dude’s feelings are more important to your wife than yours, then that is a clear signal that your wife is cheating emotionally with this dude minimally.
I call it emotionally cheating because the emotional well-being of our spouse ought to take priority over all other human relationships. Anyone usurping that place is usurping the rightful primacy of the spouse. To not to attend to the emotional concerns of the other spouse is to harm oneself as the married couple is one (e.g. Ephesians 5:31).
This works in reverse as well. If another woman’s feelings are more important to a husband than his wife’s, then he is too emotionally–and inappropriately–entangled with this other woman. The wife’s feelings ought to take precedence over that of another woman. That is sort of the point of the whole “forsaking all others” part in the marriage vow.
Applying this to the Other Woman/Other Man scenario, I have little sympathy for cheaters worrying about hurting this third party. This third party must be expelled with finality for the marriage to have any hope for godly reconciliation. The cheating–both physical and emotional–has to end, or there is no real repentance.
Worrying over the feelings of this third party is another instance of cheating–IMO. It is a demonstration that the affair partner is still more important than the emotional well-being of the faithful spouse. That energy is better spent empathizing over the spouse who the cheater wounded grievously through their infidelity and deceit.
The repentant cheater gets this. She is more concerned about the hurt she caused and continues to salt by keeping this relationship open than ending it with the party she involved in raping her husband’s soul.