At the window of my house
I looked down through the lattice.
I saw among the simple,
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who had no sense.
-Proverbs 7:6-7, NIV
Such are the words that describe the Other Man (OM) who is pulled into committing adultery with a brazen adulteress in this chapter in Proverbs. He is obviously wrong in doing this; however, the Scripture suggests the real problem is with the adulteress who is portrayed as a predator in this passage (e.g. vv 26).
This is how I choose to view adultery partners as well:
They lack sense.
At first, I was furious with the boy who chose to commit adultery with my former wife. It was tempting in the moment of discovery to go to his apartment and teach him a lesson with my superior strength. However, I realized it wasn’t worth it, and he wasn’t the real problem.
The real problem was a wife who chose to violate her vows. If it wasn’t this dude, it would have been another one. He just happened to be the foolish simpleton who fell prey to my former wife’s designs.
While the adultery partner still is sinning and would receive the same stiff penalty for committing adultery as the married partner in the Old Testament (see Deut. 22:22), I have more hope for the OM/OW than the adulterous spouse. They fit with the Proverbs above talking about someone who is foolish and whose poor choices lead to death. The adulterous spouse knows he/she is married and still makes choices to commit adultery. This is not so much foolishness as brazen and flagrant disregard for the marriage vows. It smacks of pride and arrogance while the other smacks of foolishness and stupidity.
In the end, I hold the vow-breaker as having a greater responsibility than the one who helped them in breaking said vow. That’s what I see as true from this Scripture in Proverbs. After all, the only person who can ensure the marriage vow is kept is the one who made it. And that means that the one who breaks it is ultimately 100% responsible for breaking it.
The OM/OW did not make them commit adultery.
The married partner chose to do it.
OM/OW sinned with the adulterous partner.
However, the real problem is with the married partner as they would likely find another OM/OW if it wasn’t them.