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What to Do with Your Cheating Husband

Dr. Audrey Davidheiser

AimForBreakthrough.com
Updated Mar 07, 2024
What to Do with Your Cheating Husband

This is why you need to hear, for yourself, what the Almighty decrees about your situation... Take His word over your family’s or even your husband’s behavior.

Disclaimer: This isn't therapy, and Dr. Audrey's advice is for the general audience, meaning it may not always work for everyone. 

Currently separated from my husband. I have intentions on remaining faithful and trying to work on our marriage. He has picked back up on bad habits, drinking, smoking weed, taking mushrooms, porn and sleeping around and staying in houses with other women. I’m hurt because I prayed and sought The Lord before getting married. . . Since knowing that he has been with other women, I'm ready to throw in towel, but it hurts because I love him and just want him to love me back. I've isolated myself and no one to really talk to this about. My family who are not saved always tell me I have problems and should not have married. His parents are believers but don't encourage him to do what's right in the sight of God. I'm very broken, can't sleep without having bad dreams that me and my husband are done. I for sure thought God called us to be together. What should I do? We have 2 very young children together as well who ask about their father daily. – AH

Dear AH,

I’m sorry about your husband. 

I’m doubly sorry because neither your family nor his has supplied the help you need. This lack of support makes your agony even harder to bear.

Given all you’ve shared, I have three recommendations.

1. Find a Church 

Nobody can survive stressful times by fighting solo. This is particularly true when young children are in the picture, like in your situation. That’s why finding a Bible-believing church needs to be one of your top priorities. Seek a spiritual house where you can feel safe enough to join.

See the word "enough" in the last sentence? I’m borrowing this principle from a famed British psychoanalyst, D. W. Winnicott. He coined the term of being a “good enough” mother. She doesn’t perfectly attune to her baby’s needs but is doing a good enough job, leaving the baby with only small amounts of frustration.

This concept is helpful because, as I’m sure you know, you can search through all denominations and still, you won’t find a perfect church. Maybe the music is too contemporary or the distance makes it daunting to go regularly. But if that place preaches the Bible and the people there love the Lord then tolerate small frustrations and get planted there.

Why?

Because our faith in God—in His goodness, love, and power to see us through—needs regular boosters, but especially during hard times. Faith comes by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17). If ever there’s a time for you not to forsake the assembling of ourselves (Hebrews 10:25), it’s now, when you’re facing a trial. So, bulk up on sermons and the Word of God.

Research also shows churchgoers tend to fare better in physical and mental health. Improved mental health might have something to do with the opportunity churchgoing creates in socializing with like-minded individuals. After all, a friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17); so, when you’re parched for love, hang around friends.

Isn’t it interesting this Proverb doesn’t say a spouse loves at all times? It’s sad when our own spouse treats us as though we’re as valuable as a used tissue. But a true friend wouldn’t mind babysitting for you or listening to your distress.

2. Trust God's Grace

Should you stay married when your spouse hasn’t respected your vows?

If you believe God joined the two of you in marriage, you should fight for your relationship. “Let no one split apart what God has joined together” (Mark 10:9, NLT).

But staying married is hard when your husband is gallivanting around. For one thing, unless he’s thoroughly repentant, it’s unwise to trust him with your heart.

This is why you need to hear, for yourself, what the Almighty decrees about your situation. His view is what matters. Take His word over your family’s or even your husband’s behavior.

Especially because you can always rely on God’s grace to do His ways. 

For instance, if He instructs you to stay the course, He will also grant you the grace and supernatural love for your husband as you bear this unpleasant situation. (“Love bears all things,” Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:7.) 

If you feel God is leading you this way, ask for specific prayer points to pray for your husband to come to his senses. Pray for you too, so you can “stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13) as you continue to navigate through the hardship.

One last word on this thread.

If God called you to remain separated (at least for now), you could trust Him to deal with your man during the break. But brace yourself. Things could grow gloomier in the meantime. Whatever happens, though, you can trust Him to keep working on your husband.

Discerning what God says is best done when you shut out the world. Even with young kids to care for, there are things you can do to plan a private retreat. Read the first bullet point in this article for helpful tips.

3. IFS Therapy 

Seeking God’s heart on the matter might be crucial, but teasing out His voice from our own can be complicated. Many have made the mistake and attributed to God what actually arose from their own souls. 

I include myself in that number.

This is why I also recommend Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy. This unique therapy modality recognizes the many inner voices we hear as coming from different parts of our souls. Practicing IFS helps us distinguish these voices from the Almighty’s.

But let me back up and explain. We’re made up of spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). And just as our body consists of many parts, the same goes for our soul.

To determine whether you’ve heard from parts of your soul, here is a quick test. Have you noticed these inner reactions following your husband’s misbehavior? 

How could he do this?

What should I do? File for divorce? 

I thought God wanted us to be together. Shouldn’t we stick it out? But how, when my husband doesn’t give a flipping care?

What should I tell the kids when they ask about their dad again?

If you resonate with any of the above, that’s because you’ve heard some of your parts expressing themselves. 

Validate them. Say something like: “I hear you. Thanks for sharing your opinion candidly with me. I don’t have all the answers, but God will help us get through this storm.” 

Listening to our parts calms them down. 

This is what it means to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). The stillness of your soul makes hearing God’s voice easier to do.

So, after spending time listening to your parts and their concerns about your husband’s hurtful behavior, invite God into the conversation. Listen to the Lord. The One who is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) will say something soothing to you, while also steering you to the right path.

It’s easier for someone who’s trained in the model to guide you with IFS. That’s why I recommend investing in your own emotional welfare by hiring an IFS therapist. Head to the IFS Institute website to find an IFS therapist near you.

But if you don’t feel comfortable with IFS, that’s fine. Find a competent therapist who is clinically skilled and won’t undermine your worldview. (Some therapists, on hearing about your husband’s indiscretions, might quickly advise you to leave him—without hearing the other parts of you that might want to stay.) 

If you want a therapist who shares your faith, check out Focus on the Family for a list of Christian therapists.

May God’s will be done in your life—as well as your husband’s—as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Engin Akyurt

dr. audrey davidheiser bio photoAudrey Davidheiser, PhD is a California licensed psychologist, certified Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist, and IFSI-approved clinical consultant. After founding and directing a counseling center for the Los Angeles Dream Center, she now devotes her practice to survivors of trauma—including spiritual abuse. If you need her advice, visit her on www.aimforbreakthrough.com and Instagram @DrAudreyD.