Struggling with Infidelity
By: Carrie Lowrance
“Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship? I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows made between you and your wife when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit, you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.” - Malachi 2:14-15
We live in a world plagued with betrayal and divorce. Studies show that half of marriages end in divorce and couples who cohabitate before marriage have a higher chance of breaking up after marriage.
One of the top reasons for divorce is infidelity. People don’t take their marriages seriously, which shouldn’t be surprising. Our culture glorifies sex in all its forms - pornography, affairs, hookups, and everything in between. It’s no wonder that people struggle with unfaithfulness, because our society has made it normal and acceptable. You can find it exploited in movies, books, and especially on reality television.
Unfaithfulness can happen in both secular and heartbreakingly Christian marriages. Our society promotes that “love” and “sex” and “romance” are the most important things in a relationship and a marriage. Therefore, most people get married because this is what “the world” says are the right qualifications in a partner.
Sadly, any marriage can break because of infidelity, but this is especially devastating in a Christian marriage. So, how can we understand what a Christian marriage truly is and how can we relate better to our partners to build a stronger marriage?
Contrary to secular belief, marriage is not just about romance and sex. These are part of a good marriage, but they should not be the top priorities. A true Christian marriage is about helping your partner develop into the glorified person they will be in heaven. It is about serving each other and being spiritual friends. A marriage is a vertical promise to God and a horizontal promise to each other to be faithful. We are to help each other become the best person that God created us to be.
Our verses in Malachi state that we are to be faithful to our spouses. However, in difficult situations involving mental, physical or emotional abuse and infidelity, he would not want us to stay in such a situation. The best thing to do in these situations is to get out and pray for the person, their issues, and their infidelity.
As for our partners, there are a few important elements that we need to understand each other and our roles in a Christian marriage.
1. Men usually (not always) want respect more than anything else.
2. Women usually (not always) want love more than anything else.
3. Husbands need to understand that they are to love their wives as Christ loved the church.
4. Wives are to submit to their husbands because they are the head of the household.
5. Husbands need to see their wives as equals and value them.
6. Women need commitment.
7. Men most often build relationships by doing nothing, meaning they build relationships through experiences compared to words.
8. Women most often build relationships through talking and sharing.
If you find yourself struggling with unfaithfulness - either you are thinking about being unfaithful or you have been - here are some steps to take.
1. Be honest with your spouse.
2. If need be, allow for some time away from each other to process and think about the situation.
3. Pray, repent, and ask the Lord for his guidance. Not all infidelity has to end in divorce.
4. Find an experienced Christian counselor that either you or you and your spouse can to talk to.
5. If you have children, stay civil with your spouse around them and continue to spend time with them.
6. Each spouse should find their own Christian support group to attend.
7. Do not vent online or talk to others (friends and family) about your situation.
8. If either spouse feels comfortable, they should speak to their pastor in strict confidence about the situation in separate sessions.
Carrie Lowrance is a writer and author. Her work has been featured on Huffington Post, The Penny Hoarder, Crosswalk, and Same Journey. She is also the author of two children's books, Don't Eat Your Boogers (You'll Turn Green) and Brock's Bad Temper (And The Time Machine). You can find out more about Carrie and her writing at www.carrielowrance.com.
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Originally published Friday, 03 November 2023.