Sunday, March 23, 2008
Dr. Richard Dobins Writes
WHEN A PARENT HAS HAD AN AFFAIR
Even Christian marriages are tested by adultery. In some ways, adultery poses a greater crisis in Christian marriages, because Christians do not expect each other to get caught up in adulterous affairs.
On the one hand this is rather naive, but at the same time it is true that a person cannot walk in obedience to the Lord and be untrue to his or her spouse. Adultery should never happen in a Christian marriage, but as we read the New Testament we discover that it has always been a problem that Christians and the Church have had to deal with.
When there are children in the home, recovery from adultery is much more complex. Some agreement must be reached between the parents about what the children should be told. When there are children in the home, healing must occur on three levels:
1. Healing within the individual. The first healing that must take place is the spiritual healing in the heart of the adulterer.
This requires the person to have a repentant heart before God and a broken spirit so that God’s grace may repair the bond between him/her and the Lord.
2. Healing between husband and wife. The adulterer has broken the bond between him/her and his/her spouse.
This healing can only come as 1) the adulterer convinces his or her spouse that the affair is truly over, and, 2) the spouse forgives the adulterer and assures him/her that he/she truly is forgiven.
3. Healing must take place within the family.
This healing process will take months of careful reinforcement before the needed healing takes place between the spouses and within the family. Getting through the first year after the adultery is toughest. After that, the marriage and family bonds begin to revive and become healthy again.