Reconciling Cheaters, Better Bring Your “A” Game!


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Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.

-Isaiah 50:1, KJV

A cheater is not owed a reconciled and restored marriage.

This needs to be repeated at each pastoral session until it is internalized by the cheater. He or she needs to understand that their marriage exists only by the good-graces of the faithful spouse choosing not to exercise his or her biblical permission to divorce them without shame (see Jeremiah 3:8, Matthew 19:9, etc).

The gift is not in the cheater showing up with the faithful spouse to couple’s counseling or joint pastoral sessions.

The gift is that the faithful spouse is willing to give the adulterous spouse a shot at rebuilding what he or she burnt to the ground by lying and cheating!

I will say that again:

The gift is that the faithful spouse is willing to give the adulterous spouse a shot at rebuilding what he or she burnt to the ground by lying and cheating!

My recommendation to cheaters is not to squander this precious gift from their respective faithful spouse. And a good way to do just that is to put in a half-hearted effort.

A little bit of effort is not good enough when the cheater truly realizes they are not owed the continuation of the marriage. A little bit of effort from the cheater ought not to be good enough for a Christian pastor or counselor either.

Excuses for why the cheater cannot bring their “A” game to the reconciling sessions are no good either:

The cheater claims Family of Origin (FOO) issues.Well, we all do. But not everyone chooses to cheat out of those issues. This is an excuse and not demonstrated effort at rebuilding what was unjustly destroyed–namely, the trust of the faithful spouse. In other words, the cheater isn’t really repentant, in my opinion, if he or she is pushing this excuse.

The cheater has addiction issues.Well, if the addiction issues are so serious that the cheater cannot seriously and honestly engage in what is needed by the faithful spouse to feel safe and cherished, again, then maybe the cheater is not marriage material. 

It is possible the addict is unable to do the necessary work to rebuild the marriage while still in the grasp of an addiction. A faithful Christian spouse is under no obligation to stick around through the process of the cheater dealing with his or her addiction. If the constant refrain is to blame the dishonesty from the cheater on the addiction, then it might be wiser for the faithful spouse to leave than stay and endure more emotionally hurtful behavior.

The cheater struggles with “shame storms.” Once again, this is an excuse not to do the work of rebuilding what the cheater destroyed. This would not fly in a court of law as a legitimate reason for the convicted not to pay back what the convicted stole from their victim–especially if they had the means as a cheater does. It shouldn’t fly in the pastor’s or Christian counselor’s office either. Such are not the words of a truly humble and repentant cheater.

Reconciling Cheaters, bring your “A” Game or don’t be surprised when you are left at the court all alone!


4 thoughts on “Reconciling Cheaters, Better Bring Your “A” Game!”

  1. One can not argue with Gods take on adultery… One who commits adultery lacks sence…In my limited personal knowledge of such folks none upgraded to a better partner. And it made no sence to outsiders either. Few things that stick out so much as no sense, lack of value of current partner, and no attachment for either current or AP partner, all are disposable.

  2. The other Proverb is something I have not witnessed myself so far, or may not understand it just yet. ” He who goes into his neighbors wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.” The ones I know seemed to go scot-free.

  3. This is my story….I am continually told that I didn’t give him the respect or admiration he deserved. I did everything and then some to the point of feeling imprisoned in my marriage. After a 3 year affair where I was the one asking him to reconcile, I filed for divorce. Now I am the one causing my pain and my kid’s problems because I choose divorce over the path of reconciling with a distrustful spouse who says I am and have always been the most important person in his life. Evidence of love and value does not equate to affairs, pornography, alcohol and debt. Scripture telling that divorce is an option helps as I am being told by the cheaper that God hates it and it is only a worldly issue. I want to move on to peace and clarity with my kids, that is all ask.

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