“You Need To Forgive Your Adulterous Spouse.”



“You sound angry. I really think you need to forgive your spouse for cheating on you. Forgive and forget. After all, Jesus did that for you.”

-Christian “Friend” to Faithful Spouse

The most hurtful pieces of advice usually have a hint of truth as does this one. We do need to forgive our spouses or ex-spouses for cheating on us at some point (e.g. Mt.6:14-15). However, forgetting it is not forgiveness.

Can you imagine this “friend” telling another friend who was raped this same thing?

“You sound upset. I really think you need to forgive your rapist. Forgive and forget. After all, Jesus did that for you.”

Most of us would recognize such an approach is cruel and far from helpful. Personally, I would consider such an approach the sort of approach a real, insensitive jerk would take. As such, I do not consider it godly.

Plus, I doubt someone who has been traumatized through experiencing rape will ever forget that experience–even if they wanted to do so. So, it is unhelpful to insist on something they cannot do–nor should they as I believe God made our brains to remember such things to help us survive.

The same goes for approaching adultery survivors this way.

As a reminder:

An adultery survivor has had his or her soul raped. That is the spiritual truth of the matter.

And trust me on this.

It is not a forgettable sort of experience.

The moment of confession is forever etched in my memory in Technicolor vividness–right down to the beige tile laminate flooring I paced crunching errant pieces of kitty litter while hearing my (now) ex-wife confirm what I already knew in my gut but had hoped was otherwise.

I forgave (and forgive) my ex-wife–i.e. it is a process.

No longer do I feel the need to punish her myself. She is God’s mess to handle.

But I will never forget what she did to me.

And that is okay. It is part of my life experience. My history is my history. Forgiveness does not entail a rewriting of our personal history.

It just means we will not seek personal vengeance on the wrongdoer anymore.

We cannot do anything about the truth of our past.

It is our past.

And it always will be a part of our story.

It is a fool who forgets his past. After all, we can only learn from something we remember.

9 thoughts on ““You Need To Forgive Your Adulterous Spouse.””

  1. Brilliant!! Stunning!! Excellent!! ……and then some!

    {{{{Me standing on roof-top waving pom-poms!}}}}

    Love you, DM!!! Love you……..

    (((Hugs!!))) (Hope Fiesty doesn’t mind…..)

  2. Thank you for flushing that out. I was going to ask you to elaborate on that next but I think God told me to hold off since he had already put that in your heart. (Third point from your past post).

  3. I work on this “puzzle” of forgiveness daily, but like DM, it is forever etched in my mind. I figure now that he is basically terminal with cancer it will hopefully give him time to reflect on how he hurt other people and maybe reflect on his own soul and where it will spend eternity due to his selfish flesh! But I doubt it cause cheaters cannot blame themselves for anything! I figure it’s up to God to handle now. I just think he’s pathetic! It’s all so sad!

  4. This topic of forgiveness is by far the hardest thing to deal with. Being a Christian all my life and family telling me over and over that I need to forgive XH and OW, has really been difficult. My divorce has been finalized 5 days, my X won’t pay proper child support which I’m fighting in court, I’m now raising a special needs child alone, I worry everyday about being in poverty. Still have to deal with the fallout of abandonment, rejection, being cheated on, betrayed, physically sick. Knowing the whole time that XH does not care one bit what happens to me or our daughter. I’ve never known evil like this. Trust me, forgiveness is tough sometimes. And to be reminded that i have to do it, every time I get angry, seems cruel to me. Salt to the wound.

    1. Forgiveness is not the proper response when someone is twisting a knife in your back. First you must get away from the knife wielder, then seek safety for healing and make sure they cannot hurt you again. Stay mad so you can defend your rights and those of your child. When the dust settles you can think about starting the process of forgiveness. Do let anyone try to rush you.

  5. My husband physically assaulted me. I’m in hiding from him and have little money to survive on. I work two days and spend 5 days struggling with my mental health and receive disability. So I can’t even get divorced as I don’t feel strong enough to face him financially or psychologically. I am so hurt and lonely, I’m considering committing adultery by dating and seeing other men. I spend all of my time alone suffering. There is no joy or happiness in my life. All I do is think about where and how my marriage which I thought would be forever went wrong.

    1. Ronnie,

      Make sure you have professional help to protect and support you. If you are in the USA, here’s a good place to start: http://www.thehotline.org/

      I highly discourage dating at this point! You are vulnerable and could put yourself in an even more dangerous situation. Please find support by reaching out to either that hotline or people you already know/trust.


      PS Here’s Focus on the Family’s helpline info as well: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/emotional-health/counseling-services-and-referrals

      1. I live in the UK. I’ve had all the help available. I went to domestic abuse/domestic violence counselling for almost a year. It’s been over 18 months since the assault and I left and went to a women’s shelter. I’ve been in a women’s support group for almost a year too.

        My family and friends were unable to provide emotional support so I struggle alone. They just gave me bits of money here and there. Not even enough to cover 4 weeks rent.

        I wonder if dating other men would stop me thinking about my husband and provide some intimacy which I miss. I can’t remember the last time I had a hug from anyone.

        I’m going to be 35 next year and I’m devastated that I may never have children according to the majority statistics.

        I honestly wish the Lord would take my life because I struggle to survive and I don’t live. Goals, dreams, plans, hope, life all gone in one night.

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