When A Spouse is Unfaithful

If you're suffering from the unfaithfulness of a spouse, I came across a helpful booklet written by Daily Bread's Tim Jackson entitled "When A Spouse is Unfaithful" that could bring perspective and guidance to you. Here are some of the questions given biblical and practical answers in that booklet: What is an affair? How do unfaithful spouses explain their affairs? What fuels an affair? Can there be restoration if the affair is still going on? What if the unfaithful spouse becomes uncooperative? Does the Bible require the injured spouse to take back the unfaithful partner? Can a marriage survive an affair? How does the heart recover from the wounds inflicted by an unfaithful spouse?

Sample Insights from the booklet:

"Can there be restoration if the affair is still going on? Absolutely not! It's absurd to think that any genuine progress could be made in healing the wounds in a marriage if the weapon that inflicted the wound is still in the assailant's hand. Restoring the exclusiveness of marriage demands a severing of all connection and communication with the affair partner. Divided loyalty is no loyalty at all." (p. 19)

"What if the unfaithful spouse becomes uncooperative? The faithful spouse should continue in personal and spiritual growth, but may need to take appropriate steps to separate from the spouse who is still emotionally dangerous. The commitment to love the unfaithful spouse is always required, even if that means loving him or her as an enemy (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27, 35)." (p. 21)

"Every affair is a running away from God." (p. 13)

"No matter what the rationale, in the end many unfaithful spouses are seduced into believing the myth of the 'greener grass.' Proverbs 6:32, 33 reminds us that the person who commits adultery lacks judgment, destroys himself, and faces an avalanche of shame. Shifting the blame is the usual tactic for dealing with shame. But regardless of what has gone on in the relationship prior to the affair, no spouse is responsible for the unfaithful partner's lack of judgment and choice to be unfaithful." (p.7)

"Although Jesus taught that divorce in the case of sexual adultery is permissible (Matthew 19:9), the decision to divorce or to reconcile is given exclusively to the wounded spouse. The unfaithful spouse, by reason of his or her unfaithfulness, has breached the marriage covenant and has forfeited all rights to the decision to divorce or reconcile." (p. 21)

"If an offending spouse refuses to give up the illicit lover or becomes belligerent ... the most loving response to such ongoing cruelty and hardheartedness may be to divorce. This prevents the unfaithful spouse from continuing his or her active defiance of the marriage covenant and limits the opportunity for abuse." (p. 21-22)

Read this GUIDE from RBC in full for the answers to these questions and more on dealing with an unfaithful spouse.


"The blame for marital disintegration is seldom the fault of the husband or wife alone. It takes two to tang[o], as they say, and there is always some measure of shared blame for a divorce. However, when one marriage partner makes up his mind to behave irresponsibly, to become involved extramaritally, or to run from his family commitments and obligations, he usually seeks to justify his behavior by magnifying the failures of his spouse. "You didn't meet my needs, so I had to satisfy them somewhere else" is the familiar accusation. By increasing the guilt of his partner in this way, he reduces his own culpability...You must resist the temptation to take all the blame. I'm not recommending that you sit around hating the memory of your wife. Bitterness and resentment are emotional cancers that rot us from within. However, I would encourage you to examine the facts carefully. Ask yourself these questions: Despite my many mistakes and failures in my marriage, did I value my family and try to preserve it? Did my wife decide to destroy it and then seek justification for her actions? Was I given a fair chance to resolve the areas of greatest irritation? Could I have held her even if I had made all the changes she wanted? Is it reasonable that I should hate myself for this thing that has happened?
If you examine objectively what has occurred, you might begin to see yourself as a victim of your wife's irresponsibility ... " (Dr. James Dobson)

"Every divorce is the result of selfishness on the part of one or the other or both parties to a marriage contract. Someone is thinking of self comforts, conveniences, freedoms, luxuries, or ease...Sometimes people are goaded to the point where they erringly feel justified in doing the things that are so wrong. Nothing of course justifies sin." (Spenser Kimball)

Healing Marriage from Adultery
The Marriage Covenant
Healing for Betrayed Spouses
10 Strategies for Surviving Infidelity
Resources for Recovering from Affairs and Infidelity
Marriage Missions Articles on Affair Recovery
"Divorce and Remarriage: What Does the Bible Teach"
Biblical Grounds for Divorce

from www.affairrecovery.com
1. 20 Mistakes of Betrayed Spouse
2. 20 Mistakes of Unfaithful Spouse

from bo sanchez
Fight the Relationship Drift


Anonymous said…
What a very helpful guide! Have looked for long, this is it from God!
Anonymous said…
the adultery of my partner is devastating... where do I go? what do I do? Thanks for posting this resource.
Anonymous said…
Leslie McFall has an interesting way to deal with the so-called exception clause in Matthew 19:9 that appears to allow for divorce and remarriage for marriage unfaithfulness.
He has written a 43 page paper that reviews the changes in the Greek made by Erasmus that effect the way Matthew 19:9 has been translated. I reviewed McFall's paper at Except For Fornication Clause of Matthew 19:9. I would love to hear some feedback on this position.