Tag Archives: God

Biblical Precepts on Adultery: The New Testament [Podcast]

bible-and-rings

My spouse is cheating, and I’m a Christian, but I’m so upset I don’t know what God wants me to do! I’m the spouse who cheated and I am a Christian, but I ended the affair and confessed to God–do I have to tell my spouse?

In this week’s episode, we continue our new our series “Biblical Precepts on Adultery” as we begin a summer study of what the Bible has to say about infidelity and how God would have us act. Today we discuss three topics we can glean from the NEW Testament about adultery: 1) God is concerned not only with the outer man, but also with our hearts and minds…our INNER man , 2) The one moral exception clause for divorce: infidelity, and 3) Those who commit adultery do not inherit the kingdom of God and will be judged by God.

 

Every “adultery” verse in the New Testament:

Matthew 5:27 NIRV

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.'(Exodus 20:14)

Matthew 5:28 NIRV

28 But here is what I tell you. Do not even look at a woman in the wrong way. Anyone who does has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:32 NIRV

32 But here is what I tell you. Anyone who divorces his wife causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who gets married to the divorced woman commits adultery. A man may divorce his wife only if she has not been faithful to him.

Matthew 15:19 NIRV

19 Evil thoughts come out of the heart. So do murder, adultery, and other sexual sins. And so do stealing, false witness, and telling lies about others.

Matthew 19:9 NIRV

9 Here is what I tell you. Anyone who divorces his wife and gets married to another woman commits adultery. A man may divorce his wife only if she has not been faithful to him.”

Matthew 19:18 NIRV

18 “Which ones?” the man asked. Jesus said, ” ‘Do not commit murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not give false witness.

Mark 7:21 NIRV

21 Evil thoughts come from the inside, from people’s hearts. So do sexual sins, stealing and murder. Adultery,

Mark 10:11 NIRV

11 He answered, “What if a man divorces his wife and gets married to another woman? He commits adultery against her.

Mark 10:12 NIRV

12 And what if she divorces her husband and gets married to another man? She commits adultery.”

Mark 10:19 NIRV

19 You know what the commandments say. ‘Do not commit murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not give false witness. Do not cheat. Honor your father and mother.’ “(Exodus 20:12-16; Deuteronomy 5:16-20)

Luke 16:18 NIRV

18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and gets married to another woman commits adultery. Also, the man who gets married to a divorced woman commits adultery.

Luke 18:11 NIRV

11 “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself. ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people,’ he said. ‘I am not like robbers or those who do other evil things. I am not like those who commit adultery. I am not even like this tax collector.

Luke 18:20 NIRV

20 You know what the commandments say. ‘Do not commit adultery. Do not commit murder. Do not steal. Do not give false witness. Honor your father and mother.’ “(Exodus 20:12-16; Deuteronomy 5:16-20)

John 8:3 NIRV

3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman. She had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in front of the group.

Romans 2:22 NIRV

22 You say that people should not commit adultery. But you commit adultery! You hate statues of gods. But you rob temples!

Romans 7:3 NIRV

3 But suppose that married woman gets married again while her husband is still alive. Then she is called a woman who commits adultery. But suppose her husband dies. Then she is free from that law. She is not guilty of adultery even if she marries another man.

Romans 13:9 NIRV

9 Here are some commandments to think about. “Do not commit adultery.” “Do not commit murder.” “Do not steal.” “Do not want what belongs to others.”(Exodus 20:13-15,17; Deuteronomy 5:17-19,21) These and other commandments are all included in one rule. Here’s what it is. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”(Leviticus 19:18)

1 Corinthians 6:9 NIRV

9 Don’t you know that evil people will not receive God’s kingdom? Don’t be fooled. Those who commit sexual sins will not receive the kingdom. Neither will those who worship statues of gods or commit adultery. Neither will men who are prostitutes or who commit homosexual acts.

1 Timothy 1:10 NIRV

10 It is for those who commit adultery. It is for those who have a twisted view of sex. It is for people who buy and sell slaves. It is for liars. It is for those who give witness to things that aren’t true. And it is for anything else that is the opposite of true teaching.

Hebrews 13:4 NIRV

4 All of you should honor marriage. You should keep the marriage bed pure. God will judge the person who commits adultery. He will judge everyone who commits sexual sins.

James 2:11 NIRV

11 God said, “Do not commit adultery.”(Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18) He also said, “Do not commit murder.”(Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17) Suppose you don’t commit adultery but do commit murder. Then you have broken the Law.

Revelation 2:22 NIRV

22 She sinned on a bed. So I will make her suffer on a bed. And those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly. Their only way out is to turn away from what she taught them to do.

 

The “Biblical Precepts” series:

  1.  Introduction
  2.  Old Testament precepts about adultery
  3. Today: New Testament precepts about adultery
  4. Notable adultery in the Bible and what we can learn
[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/NT+Precepts.mp3]

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Biblical Precepts on Adultery: Introduction [Podcast]

bible-and-rings

My spouse is cheating, and I’m a Christian, but I’m so upset I don’t know what God wants me to do! I’m the spouse who cheated and I am a Christian, but I ended the affair and confessed to God–do I have to tell my spouse?

In this week’s episode, we begin our new our series “Biblical Precepts on Adultery” as we begin a summer study of what the Bible has to say about infidelity and how God would have us act.

Today we discuss how to study the Bible, the definition of adultery, and what the series will include.  After all, how can you expect to have a godly marriage or know what God thinks of adultery if you never study what HE says about it?

1. How I study the Bible:

2. Biblically define adultery

  • Adultery is a verb–an action–just like “Love.”  It’s not a feeling or “something that just happens” but rather an action that you do.
  • Adultery is between married people.  When a couple is dating, engaged or living together, there can be an expectation of exclusivity, and there can be a break of trust if there isn’t exclusivity, but it is not adultery.  In the Bible adultery is unfaithfulness of a husband or wife to their spouse.
  • Hebrew word Naw-af    Na.af(read left to right)
  • Greek word Moy-khyoo-o    (read right to left)  Moicheuo
    1. Male–unlawful intercourse with wife of another
    2. Female–to be debauched (debauched is an old word that means “destroying someone’s morals”); women that break wedlock
  • Both have the connotation of “those who, via solicitation, are drawn away into idolatry.” Here on this earth, this means idolizing sexual pleasure or idolizing your own ego!
  • In marriage, adultery is an image of one who is faithless toward God.

3. The series:

Today: Introduction
July 5th:  Old Testament precepts about adultery
July 12th New Testament precepts about adultery
July 19th Notable adultery in the Bible and what we can learn
July 26th Q&A – Typical Questions/Biblical Answers!

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Biblical+Precepts-Adultery.mp3]

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Ask Affaircare: Should I Stay or Go? Can God Restore This Marriage?

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


Our question today comes two Loyal Spouses who essentially ask the same question.  Stay or Go wrote:

My man is cheating on me. I have caught him more than once but he continues to do it. Do I stay or do I go now?

and Can God Restore This Marriage wrote:

…so my husband has had several affairs over our 18-year relationship. I found out about them all at once we started going to counseling with our pastor and his wife. during that time he began cheating again. I just found out and while my pastor believes that god can restore this marriage I wonder if we have messed this up so bad. at first I was feeling like I cannot deal with this at all so I will just pretend to not know and move on. It’s been a few days and now I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust him again!

First, we have to say that when we answered “Ask Affaircare” last week, it was just a wee bit long.  This week we will endeavor to keep it shorter!

Dear Stay or Go and Can God Restore This,

We aren’t going to tell you what to do–you two are both adults and personally responsible for your choices. If you choose to stay, do so because you have made a decision to stand firm and then stand firm. If you choose to go, do so because the natural consequence of adultery is breaking the marriage covenant. Thus, if the adulterer BROKE it, they would have to be the one to REPAIR IT by coming to themselves and truly repenting. If they don’t, then divorcing is just one of the natural consequences of the choice that they made to break the marriage covenant.

In the end, the decision is yours and you will reap both the benefits and pay the costs of whatever you choose.  EVERY choice–every decision–has both a benefit and a cost, and usually people make their choices because ‘the perceived benefit’ is more valuable than ‘the perceived cost.’  Now we all know that people are sinful and that the qualities that sinful people value are not the qualities that bring glory and honor to God!  Thus, a selfish person may “value” the ego-boosting flattery of opposite sex attention over the godly commitment to the spouse of their youth.

So since we are not going to tell you what to decide, how about if we look at what the Bible tells us and help you to figure out how to make your own decision?

1.  What are you committed to?  Many people place a commitment to their own happiness ahead of their commitment to their spouse.  Many people put their commitment to ease ahead of the covenant they made before God to put the effort into loving their spouse!

So one way you can decide whether to Stay or Go…is to consider “What are YOU committed to?” Honoring your promise?  -OR- Your own happiness?

2. What did Jesus say about Divorce?  Well…let’s look! Matthew 19:8-9: Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.   I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

So straight from Jesus’ mouth, He says you CAN divorce for sexual immorality–that is to say, you are ‘allowed’–but notice that He doesn’t say you MUST.  It’s not a commandment. So if you don’t want to divorce after your spouse is unfaithful, God doesn’t require it of us, but He does allow divorce for that one exception: sexual immorality.

3. Obviously God CAN restore–He has the ability to do anything.  He is God!  He can choose to suspend the law of gravity or choose to make the sun stand still if He wills!  So the question is not “CAN God restore this marriage?” but rather “Will He? Is it His will?”  One of the best suggestions we can give you to decide what IS and IS NOT God’s will is to read the Bible.  The more you read the Bible, the more you have the opportunity to get to know God’s mind.  The more you know God mind, the easier it is to determine if something is God’s will or not!

4.  What about forgiveness?  Many times people think that “forgiveness” means “forgetting” or “approving” — and nothing could be further from the truth.  We are never, ever told to approve of known sin, nor to just forget about it as if it never happened.  What ARE we told about forgiveness then?  Well let’s look at Luke 17:3-4 “So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

But what if they don’t “come to themselves” or repent (meaning, act and think 180 differently and stop their sin)?  Do we have to forgive then? It doesn’t say we MUST–but it also doesn’t say we can’t! So we are allowed to forgive even if they don’t ask!

So we are still not going to tell you what to decide.  Instead we pray that this look at what the Bible tells us has helped you to figure out how to make your own decision.  We would also like to invite you to come back on Friday to listen to the podcast–either on the Affaircare YouTube channel, on iTunes or Stitcher, or here on the blog–because we’ll be going into even more detail on how to decide if you should stay…or you should go.

Ask Affaircare: I Don’t Know What to Do Anymore

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


Our question today comes from a Disloyal Spouse who just can not break it off with the Other Person.  He writes:

Hi, I just found your site tonight and I’m really struggling.  I’m the disloyal spouse and I’m still in phone contact with the OP which is my ex fiancée.   My spouse knows about my affair, which lasted years.  I’m still very much in love with my ex, although I’ve tried to not be.  I can’t let the ex go, I’ve tried and tried over 18 yrs.  I keep flip flipping back between the both of them.   I have left my spouse a couple of times for my ex.  I am now back in the marital home since March 2014 after moving out and into my ex ‘ s place for 2 months.  My heart is with my ex, and I have a hard time being intimate with my spouse, to the point of hardly ever.  I’m very depressed over what this situation has become.  Don’t know what to do anymore.  

Unhappy in life

Dear Unhappy in life,

Actually, yes, you do know what to do. The problem is that you don’t want to! You write that you are depressed over what this situation has become, and that is quite understandable – and something you can easily overcome. But I have to make a couple of things clear. At Affaircare, we approach reality from a Christian viewpoint, which means that we understand very clearly what is right and what is wrong in this type of situation. We know the solution, and, we know that the solution is both possible and also fulfilling. This means that what we expect you to do is specific and clearly laid out by God in Scripture. Moreover, your depression is self-inflicted and as such, your choices will determine whether you continue in depression or move out of it.

The first thing I’d like to point out is that you are not acting like a man (you aren’t acting like a woman either, so do not misinterpret what I’m saying.) There is an old saying: “A man is as good as his word.” In biblical terms, this is found in Deut. 23:23 “…You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth…”  You are only as dependable, credible, trustworthy, and respectable as your ability and desire to keep your promises, and this is something that God promises He will help His children fulfill.

In this instance, you have made a promise to your wife, and you have backed out on your promise. You have not kept your word. You are a liar. You are sinning. Of course, the idea of sin will only bother a Christian, but the rest of this appeals to nearly all walks of life. No wonder you are depressed – you know deep inside that you are a liar, untrustworthy, lack credibility, and respectability. If you didn’t feel depressed, there would be something really wrong with you!

Interestingly, feeling depressed because you realize all of these things is a good sign: your conscience is working and you know the correct path to take. You can overcome this. The fact that it bothers you is actually a good thing!

But there is more. You write that your “…heart is with my ex…”, that you are “…still very much in love with my ex…” although “…I’ve tried to not be…”  Again, it’s understandable why you would feel depressed, and let me say that there is a solution to this. Keep in mind that what you are talking about is NOT love! It is familiarity, lust, admiration, affection, and any number of other emotional states. You have chosen – even if not with explicit intention – to feel these things about a person from your past, rather than giving them to your wife. In this, you are cheating. You are not giving 100% of your loyalty and affection to the person you promised to give these things.

Love is none of the above. It is an action. It is how you treat others. You promised to love your wife – that is, to treat her in a way that is best for her – and yet the only person you are really loving right now is yourself: you are chasing after what you have determined is best for you. And you’ve shown how bad you are at even that simple activity –  you feel depressed because it isn’t working!

On top of this, there is a strong possibility that you enjoy the lure of forbidden activities. That is, you get a thrill out of cheating, out of the actual sin. Adam and Eve were tempted in the same way – and gave in the same as you. Its a very human characteristic. The one thing they were forbidden – that was the one thing they wanted most – because it was forbidden. That is fallen human nature at its strongest.

So you have chosen to give into temptation for the sake of fulfilling what makes you feel good. And this calls up the first point we brought up: a man is only as good as his word. No one says it is easy to do the right thing. Sometimes it is hard. But a real man will do what it takes, because it is the right thing to do, even if it is painful or difficult. What you have chosen, instead, is to worship your pleasure. You do what it takes to feel good – and, ironically, you find that it fails at every turn. What a surprise! You feel depressed!

Yes, you know what to do. You have three choices:

1) Stay the course, keep doing what you are doing, and quit complaining about feeling depressed. That’s the consequence of the choice you made, and no one is interested in your self pity.

2) Divorce your wife, and run to your lover. It’s almost a forgone conclusion that this will end up in failure, but this would at least free your wife from the anguish of being chained to a dishonest, cheating, self-centered fool who refuses to act with love toward her.

3) Drop your ex, turn to your spouse for forgiveness, do the right thing, and take the consequences, however painful they may be in the near future, knowing that as a real man, you are taking steps to build credibility, trustworthiness, and respecatbility. And, if you are a Christian, know that God has promised (and cannot fail) to pull you through and bless your choice. Your depression will end, and you will find life much more satisfying – once you have done the hard work

Faithfully,
David at Affaircare

Ask Affaircare: Should I expose after the divorce is final?

AskAffaircare

 

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


 

Our email question today comes from a divorced wife, who writes:

It has been a year since I caught my husband and his mistress (also his employee). When I went to his family, they said I was being paranoid. Now it has been 7 months since our divorce has been finalized. His mistress and her husband are divorcing as well. I want to forward the personal email correspondences between my x husband and his employee to his mother. Should I? That is the only thing that is bothering me…that none of his family helped me, they made me feel crazy and paranoid. I also want to resend it to my husband and his employee and to his workplace.

 

Dear divorced wife,

You are DEFINITELY in our prayers!  We bet this has been a very painful, trying time for you working through the discovery of the affair, dealing with in-laws that did not support you, and then finalizing a divorce.  It sounds so hard!

But let’s start by saying that the step of “Exposure” in our “Steps to End an Affair” is often a step that is misunderstood.  Very often people think that exposing the affair is just going to drive their spouse further away or that it is done in a spirit of vengeance to hurt their spouse back.  But the Bible is VERY clear about being vengeful–in both the Old and New Testament God is consistent when He tells us what He wants:

Deuteronomy 32:35 says “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”  So in the Old Testament days, God was telling Israel that if a nation did not hear His voice and follow Him, when that evil nation sent thousands against His people, that He would be their ROCK and feed them, defend them, and avenge them.  The message was that vengeance is God’s job, not ours.

Romans 12:19 “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”  In the New Testament the Apostle Paul quotes the verse we above!  He is teaching the new Christians what Love in Action looks like, and he says  something beautiful in the verses surrounding this one:

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
 if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

WOW!  What a lesson in how to treat our spouses and their families when they are being hurtful to us!

Now, after reading all this you may be thinking, ‘Well wait! Then how does your Exposure step fit into all this?  Seems like it would be contrary to what we just read.”

If you review the steps we suggest, the first step is that if you suspect, before you go off half-cocked making accusations, that you keep an open mind and investigate to find the truth.  When a person is sinning (and adultery is sin), they usually try to cover it up with lies, deflection and hiding it, so in order to find out if the gut feeling is true, you keep your mind open to either finding proof they are faithful or they are not, and you search out facts.

The second, third and fourth steps exactly mirror the steps on dealing with sin in the Church in Matthew 18:15-17:

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” [This is Step 2 Confront–alone, one-one-one, giving them the opportunity to deal with it honestly and discreetly.]

“But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” [This is Step 3 Disclose–tell one or two mentors, wise people that your spouse looks up to and may listen to, and give them the opportunity to deal with it as quietly as possible.]

“If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” [THIS is Step 4 Expose–and the goal of “telling it to the church” is to give them the incentive to stop an active sin and be reconciled with God and with their church family!]

It is important to note that Exposure has a very specific goal: to END AN ACTIVE AFFAIR. Yes, the Disloyal Spouse is likely to be angry, because you are not keeping their secret, and having the affair out in the open takes away some of the “fun” of their clandestine rendezvous!  But a marriage can survive anger–it can not survive active adultery!  So the goal is very clear and very focused: end an active affair. It is somewhat drastic, but often shining the light of truth on a sin that someone is trying to hide is enough motivation for them to stop!!

So to solidly answer YOUR specific question, no we do not think it would be wise or helpful at this time to send the emails to your ex-spouse’s family OR to his workplace.  That was maybe an option while you were still married in an attempt to break up the infidelity and then give you two time to save your marriage, but now, the divorce is final.  It’s been final for almost a year.  And yes, often people disappoint us and hurt us when they are not willing to stand up for the truth and do the right thing.

It sounds like his family just swept his adultery under the rug and/or accepted it, and we understand that is EXTREMELY painful to you.  But now you are no longer bound to or obligated to or part of that family.  You are free to associate with people who do love you and support you, whether they be your blood family or your Christian family.  Personally, we suggest that rather than sending out those emails, that instead you return your focus to living in a way that pleases God, and focus on people in your life who ARE loving and who have acted in a way that supports your spiritual growth.  If someone is encouraging you to seek vengeance, that is not a person who is encouraging you to mature in Christ!  So instead, let go of your ex and his mistress and his family.  Your responsibility to them has ended.  NOW your responsibility is to being the woman God intended for you to be.

 

 

Adultery, Abuse and Addiction

praying

I’ve read three articles recently about the topic of pro-marriage, church and pastors not addressing the issue of difficult marriages well:

1.  “Help!” by elisabeth klein corcoran

2. “Enough with the Divorce Shame” by Chump Lady

3. “Pastors: Send a Different Message to Struggling Wives” on Crosswalk (also by elisabeth klein corcoran)

All three articles are written about one overall theme: the pro-marriage community…the Christian community…is not dealing with adultery, addiction or abuse in marriages.  The messages perceived by those who are hurting are “Pay me $199.99 and you can save your marriage all by yourself!”,  “If you tell anyone what’s really going on, you’ll be judged for it”, “Asking for help results in you being blamed for your spouse’s choices”, and “If you only ____ more (fill in the blank with prayed, submitted, cooked, had sex, or forgave) then your spouse wouldn’t ____.”

As a nouthetic counselor, I wanted to look at these articles and ask myself two things.  First, I want to do an honest assessment: Do we–the Christian, pro-marriage community–do an injustice to those who come to us, hurting and in a difficult marriage?  How do we need to change?  What do we need to learn?  I want to take an honest look in the mirror and see what we need to do differently … and better!  But second and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I want to look at the Bible and what God says in the Bible, because I am duty-bound to obey God and encourage others to do the same.  It has been my experience that obeying God and doing what He wants is not always easy and is not always painless, nor is it usually what we want to hear!

The first thing that I’d like to address is the pastor himself.  I’ve heard many times of people going to their pastor or their counselor as if the person is a mind-reader and can magically tell what is “the truth” and what is a lie!  So I want to remind everyone who does go to a pastor, preacher, minister, or spiritual leader…they are a human being with the same human limitations that you have.  Can you just “detect” what is the truth and what is a lie?  No.  And neither can they.  Furthermore, they often only have one side of the story, and my guess would be that your version of what has occurred differs GREATLY from your spouse’s version of what has occurred.  Even in strong, godly marriages, each individual in the marriage has a different personality, different personal strengths and weaknesses, and the way they view things is entirely different–so it is just common sense that in a painful marriage that differing point of view is even more different!  Finally, any pastor or church is an imperfect, SINFUL representation of what God intends His bride, The Church, to be.  Pastors can have their own (sinful) agendas; churches can be anything but christian and just be basically social action committees, and sometimes people are afraid to stand up strongly against a sin because they don’t want to be accused of being judgmental–especially if the sin is a popular one!  So part of the issue here is that we expect “the pastor” to be a lie detector and then basically scold the cheating spouse (and come down on your side) — and those expectations are unrealistic.

The second thing that comes to my mind is that when one spouse goes to any kind of professional–whether they are a coach, minister, counselor or therapist–people who are professionally-trained are going to address the person in the room with them.  Your spouse is not there; you are.  Your spouse didn’t make the effort to make the appointment, figure out childcare, and get their behind end to the office; you did.  And the professional person (who is not a lie detector and can not just tell “the truth”) is not going to tell you “how to get your spouse to do it your way” or scold them if they don’t.  Again, that is an unrealistic expectation.  On this same topic, it is just one of those universal truths that no one can control another person.  Period.  The only person at the appointment is YOU and the only person you can control is YOU.  So the professional is going to help you look at and address YOUR issues…not your spouse’s.  What I’m trying to say is that as a pro-marriage Christian coach, when I have a loyal spouse in session with me whose disloyal spouse is wantonly flaunting adultery in their face, I can show the Loyal in the room how a loving spouse “should” act according to the Bible, but there are no magic words to MAKE the Disloyal do that.  We may be in complete agreement that a godly spouse would not do X, Y or Z, but if their Disloyal is bound and determined to sin–I can’t stop them and neither can the Loyal who took the time to come talk to me!  I can’t even change the spouse who came to me!  The only person who can change is the person who came can change themselves and even then it’s with God working in them, not through sheer will.  Thus, I can maybe confirm for the Loyal “Well, when your Disloyal expects to be able to sin with no natural consequence, that’s unrealistic, so you are okay in acting in a way that allows consequences.” But otherwise my options are limited to addressing the person in front of me: what ways they may have contributed (if any), how they handle it, how they decide to act, tools they can use to understand, and what they do to grow as a person due to this circumstance.

Soooo…we’ve addressed two unrealistic expectations: 1) Pastors/professionals can tell “the truth” and will do a perfect job doing the godly thing, and 2) Pastors will come down on my side when I tell them the sin my spouse is committing, and they will tell me how to get my spouse to stop it.

Next, let’s address some major errors I think the Christian community is making, and what we can do differently.

One of the MAJOR mistakes I see is when a hurting spouse comes to their pastor/priest/minister and reveals that there is adultery, abuse or addiction, and the pastoral response is basically a cliche…something like “Well you go right on back there and just submit more.”  Yes, as I said above, when you go to a professional they realize you can not change your spouse, so they may focus on you and what you can change, but it’s my experience that by the time someone gathers the courage to say “Ummm…I think something is wrong here” they are usually hurt so badly you better react as if you’re in the emergency room and they just came in with a gunshot to the head.  When it’s just “somewhat bad” people keep trying, keep their mouths shut, wonder if it’s just them, and try to just bear it (of course, not EVERYONE is that way, but many/most).  And when someone makes all the effort to set up an appointment and get to the office and says “It’s not going very well” that really means much, MUCH more.  Sending someone back into a home that is harming them via mental, emotional, spiritual or physical abuse is cruelty, frankly…and both adulterers and addicts DEFINITELY employ abuse!

Thus it seems to me that one area pastors REALLY need to do better, is to take the time to find out if it is a case of adultery, abuse or addiction, and if it is… to protect the spouse who is being abused! Now, this does not mean “end your marriage immediately” or encouraging divorce even–but it does mean taking the time to do true investigation, because often abusers are masters of deception.  And it does mean giving the abused spouse–whether that is a man or a woman–the support of finding safety.  As much as Malachi 2:16 is used to force “God hates divorce” down people’s throats, listen to the WHOLE VERSE: ” ‘The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel,  ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’  says the Lord Almighty.  So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. 

One thing that is extremely important–and I mean EXTREMELY–is that the shepherd should “take the time to find out if it is a case of adultery, abuse or addiction”.  The reason that is so important is because there are times when a spouse will claim “abuse” when their spouse disagrees with them…or claim “abuse” as the justification for why they are doing the sin they are doing!  Since pastors are not lie detectors and do not live behind closed doors with you, they can’t “just tell” that one spouse is sitting in their office lying their head off, and outside the office they are a completely different person.  But too often I think one spouse comes in, the pastor hears one side of the story and does not investigate, and just believes whatever is told to them.

I’ll give you one crazy example … and then another the other way.  Once a lady came to her mentor and told him all about how her husband screamed at her last night for THREE HOURS and then threw some china at the wall that smashed it to smitereens.  Naturally the mentor told her the husband was abusive and no way was it acceptable for him to scream for three hours and break things…and the mentor encouraged her to leave him.  Only problem?  The wife didn’t mention that her husband screamed for three hours BECAUSE HE HAD FOUND HER IN THEIR MARITAL BED WITH ANOTHER MAN!!!  She “forgot” that little detail and when asked why she didn’t tell him, she told the mentor she didn’t think it was relevant!

Okay here’s the second example.  A spouse goes to her pastor and tells the pastor her husband has been drinking, been abusive and calls her names.  The pastor calls a meeting with the husband and tells him how wrong he is to be abusive and that calling your wife names is sinful and that he has to stop drinking immediately.  Well obviously “abuse is sinful” and “drinking is sinful,” right?  And they are…but what the wife didn’t tell the pastor was that she was having an affair and finding fault with everything about her husband, telling him he didn’t earn enough money, he wasn’t a good father, he wasn’t a good husband, having him do literally all the housework all the while screaming at him…and to escape the pain of being told how worthless he was, he would drink so he’d feel numb.  Okay not a SMART solution but it was a way to cope.  And finally, after getting abused all night long, he’d tell her, “Leave me alone you witch!” and off she run to the pastor waving the “abuse”word …who then called the husband and told him how wrong he was without ever investigating or dealing with the real issue: the affair.

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Respect Dare Day 4: The Vision

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It’s Day Four of the Respect Dare here at Affaircare, and we are joining with Jennifer at Unbroken Woman as she leads us through Nina Roesner’s The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband.”  Jennifer is over half way through her Respect Dare, but here at Affaircare we are looking at this Dare with just a little twist: how do our childhood scars relate to infidelity? What can we learn to keep our marriages affair-free OR bring them back from the brink of unfaithfulness? Or if that has been an affair, can learning about our pasts free a couple to help  them rebuild?

To join us on our Affaircare Respect Dare journey, please get Nina’s book (or e-book) and all the info by CLICKING HERE.

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In Nina Roesner’s book she say’s “He (God) has a specific purposes in mind that you were specially created to breathe life into for His people and His Glory.”

Another thing Nina say’s is “if you are married, one purpose for your life is to become Holy within the context of your marriage, shining His light to the world.”

It is EXTREMELY important to note that Nina says that if you are married, that your life’s purpose is “…within the context of your marriage…” because too often I’ve heard people say that God called them to leave their spouse so they could join with some other person at church and have a more effective ministry!  I’ve heard of churches and pastors who have looked the other way, knowing that one member of the choir is having an affair with the choir director, because they need the music ministry.  Seriously!  I can’t make this up!   And yet God has made it clear that He hates divorce and that we should not commit adultery–just look at the Ten Commandments.  If we are married, our life’s purpose is to shine HIS LIGHT within the context of our marriage.

This is not to say that you are expected to stay in a situation that is physically abusive or to continue in co-dependent or unhealthy dynamics.  Nope,  But how often have you heard people use the excuse of “abuse” and then come to find out that their spouse screamed at them for hours because they JUST found out about their adultery?!  So make no mistake–it is reasonable to be safe, but if you are married, your life purpose IS within your marriage…not with someone else.

Today, we are asked to use the assessment we did for Dare 3 and “write a positive purpose statement in the present tense, describing how and who you intend to be in four months.” “We are to keep them positive, avoiding “I’m no longer”, “I’m not”, or” I don’t” statements.  Write about two hundred words, being as descriptive as possible.”

When we’re finished, we are to rewrite it as a prayer and put it somewhere where we can see it at least once a day. “Begin the discipline of praying this statement as a daily prayer, from the heart, as you go through the remaining days of The Respect Dare.”

I love that we are asked to write this in the present tense, because although I may not perfectly display all the fruits of the spirit, guess what?  In real life, I AM a beloved daughter of the Most High God with the Holy Spirit living within me!  I am dead to sin and alive to God.  So this IS who I AM even if I am not fully sanctified yet.  For my vision statement, I’m using Galatians 5: 22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

I am loving toward my husband, my children, my neighbors, and myself.  By “love” I mean agape–Godly love, the kind of love that serves and is looking out for the other person’s highest best, even when they don’t want to hear it and it is hard. Love is helping others to obey God and love Him.

I am filled with joy, which is joy because of God’s grace, delighting in Him.  He’s literally the cause of my joy, not others, not my possessions, and not my circumstances.

I am peaceful, as in a wholesome sense of wellness and peace of mind.  Tranquility; a mild and friendly spirit.  Hey, let’s be honest.  When most people would be worried or stressed out, I am calm and at peace because I know that My Father is completely sovereign and has it all in His control!

I am patient, meaning I have tolerance and stay-power that is only produced by God.  If there are troubles, I can bare them and you know what?  Still be filled with joy!

I am kind.  You know what this one is?  Meeting real needs, in God’s way, in His timing.  It’s being useful to other people.

I am good, and I don’t mean that “righteous” kind of good.  I mean that kind where it’s a personal characteristic, like doing “good works” and behaving in a morally excellent way.

I am faithful, trustworthy, reliable, someone who keeps her promises.  My word is my guarantee.

I am gentle.  I LOVE this one!!!  This means I have divine power expressed with reservation and mildness; meekness.

I have self-control.  This one I take to mean that as a Believer I have mastery over my natural self, my old nature.  I have self-restraint; true mastery from within.

Now to see what other’s have written about Respect Dare Day 2, here are some links:

The Respect Dare, Day 4 – A Godly Purpose Statement by PeacefulWife
The Respect Dare – Day 4 by Tiffani at My Beloved is Mine
Dare 2 ~Vision~  by Jennifer at Unbroken Woman (our “Fearless Leader”)
The Respect Dare: Day Two by Orenda at Broken But Not Forgotten
Day 4 by Kamila at Your Marriage Is Your First Ministry
Respect Dare 4: Who I Will Become by Forgiven Wife

The RESPECT DARE blog … with Nina Roesner

In the comments below, please share thoughts and where we can pray for you. If it is private, please email us at affaircare@gmail.com or share your prayer request with us anonymously.

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The Respect Dare–Starting August 1st

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The Unbroken Woman blog is hosting The Respect Dare. She started her Dare on July 10th, using Nina Roesner’s The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband as a guide, posting about their journey. Here at Affaircare, we’ll be starting The Respect Dare on August 1st.  I’ll be adding it to the Romance Calendar and I’ll be blogging about respect, in light of an affair, for the whole month…well 40 days actually!

Here are the “Rules” on The Unbroken Woman site which I am brazenly copying here on Affaircare:

1. For ladies only! This is on the honor system and I might not can prove you are a lady, but I trust that anyone willing to submit to finding ways to strengthen marriage in a Godly manner wouldn’t be dishonest.

2. Participation must be sincere!   When you comment, please share your journey or your struggle–not “good comment” to everyone’s comment.  Be honest and let’s help each other grown here.

3. All interactions with each other need to be encouraging! If another woman is expressing struggles, let’s rally around in loving support and encourage her in the truth.

4. NO HUSBAND BASHING! Major pet peeve. Ladies, this is about us. Let’s mind our business and let God deal with our husbands so when posting our personal struggles, make it about our reactions and our attitudes. An example of a healthy expression might be, “When he snapped at me I ………” An example of an unhealthy expression is anything that might paint your husband in a negative light.

INSTRUCTIONS:

* Purchase the book if you can.  Here are links for the paperback and also for the Kindle versions–OR you can support Affaircare and purchase it through our Amazon account and a little bit of your purchase comes back to us!  YAY we both win!

* Make sure to subscribe your email to our blog so you can receive the daily post.

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And if you’re so inclined, sign up over at The Unbroken Woman’s “I Dare You” page too, to thank her for the WONDERFUL idea!!

* Read the study daily and comment here as often as possible.

If you have a Twitter or Facebook, like us and follow us–then go follow @unbrokenwoman and ‘Like’ UnbrokenWoman and RT the message on the study.  The more women we bring on board, the more marriages that will be enhanced!

So glad to have you joining!

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Peeping, Prying and Private Investigations

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Is snooping after an affair justified?  Is it right?  Wrong?

I was reading this post on Affair Advice “22 Months Later–A Setback” and it got me thinking about snooping and privacy in marriage.  Paraphrasing the post, the author is a recovering Disloyal Spouse, and he and his Loyal Spouse have been reconciling and doing fairly well in healing their marriage.  The event that precipitated this post, is that it has been 22 months since D-Day, and after a business trip, his wife went through his things looking for evidence, and she sort of freaked out because one evidence she was expecting to find was not there…and she took that to mean he had been lying. They had a set back in their recovery.

So on the one hand, Disloyal Spouses may feel like their Loyal Spouse is smothering them, giving them no privacy, and being their parent…telling them what to do, when to do it, and with whom they can do it.  On the other hand, the Loyal Spouses feel like their spouses were dishonest and covered things up so they could have their affair…and their trust in their spouse’s honesty was destroyed.  Now they just want to know what’s going on and be included rather than excluded.

Now I could tell you MY opinion and you know what it would be worth?   A hill of beans!  LOL  Instead, let’s see what the Bible has to say about peeping, prying and private investigations within a marriage.

One of the first mentions of marriage and this concept of privacy is in Genesis where it says that “Adam KNEW his wife Eve” (Genesis 4: 1, 17, & 25).  The Hebrew word used there is “yada” and people often associate this as “he had sex with…” but that is NOT all that “yada” means.  In these three verses, Adam shared himself and his life and his affection with his wife, Eve, and from that sharing of love, a child was conceived.  Yada/Knowing is sharing your thoughts and feelings so intimately with another person that your body follows along.  Yada is dedicating yourself to someone so that you can engage them in love and sharing.  BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!  “Yada” is also used in Prov. 12:10 where it says: “The righteous know [yada] the needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. ”  Put simply, a wise person understands the needs of those around him/her and meets those needs (even of the ANIMALS!), but a foolish person is so self-centered they not only are they unaware of the needs of those around him/her but they are CRUEL to them!!  Yada is acting in mercy to those around you and meeting THEIR NEEDS.  Amazingly there is still more!!  “Yada” is also used in Jeremiah 22:15-16, where it says: “But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know [yada] me?” says the Lord.”  In this verse, the prophet is giving a SCATHING rebuke to a king who had been selfish, corrupt, and exploited others, and he is telling the horrible king what it is like to truly KNOW (yada) the Lord.  See what it says?  Yada is doing justice, showing mercy to the poor and needy, and living a life that shows good character.  In other words, Yada is faithfully living our covenant relationship with the Lord in EVERY ASPECT of our lives.

So I like and echo what Warrior Princess says in her blog “After the Affair–Living Life in the Open“.  Speaking as a former Disloyal Spouse, I do remember feeling like I was being watched a little–especially at first–but I also remember feeling like I earned that because I had kept so much hidden!  I did long for the day that my spouse would trust my honesty again, but I knew that in order for him to have faith in my honesty, that meant I had to:

a) BE HONEST– for a long, long time!  My words and my actions HAD to match, for a while!  and

b) BE OPEN– I had to stop hiding when I was hurt or lonely or disappointed.  I had to stop being one person with him and another person at work.  I had to open up my thoughts and feelings to him and let him KNOW me.  For so long I had been hiding certain aspects of what I thought or did, thinking he’d get mad or freak out, and that is actually disrespectful; it’s saying “I don’t believe you have the moral fortitude to deal with this maturely.”  I had to take the risk!

But even more than that–living life in the open–look at YADA up above: “To Know.”  Did you notice anything?  Let me restate the bold parts: “Yada is dedicating yourself to someone so that you can engage them in love and sharing. ” ” Yada is acting in mercy to those around you and meeting THEIR NEEDS. ” and “Yada is faithfully living our covenant relationship with the Lord in EVERY ASPECT of our lives.”  Did you notice that YADA “To Know” is not about YOU?  When you are in a marriage, getting “To Know” your spouse is not about getting them to engage YOU in love and sharing…it is YOU taking the time and spending the energy to do that FOR THEM.  When you are in a marriage, getting “To Know” your spouse is not about getting your spouse to treat you with mercy and meet your needs…it is YOU practicing mercy on a daily basis, forgiving their imperfections, and learning what their needs are and actively meeting them!  When you are in a marriage, getting “To Know” your spouse is not about living your life to yourself or for yourself…it is about faithfully, day in and day out, living in a covenant relationship with GOD and expressing that covenant in everything you do in your life.

So what do you do when your spouse is peeping, prying and investigating your private life?  I say let them.  Let them be included in your life.  Include them in your activities.  Share your thoughts and feelings.  KNOW them, and let them KNOW you.

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Fathers…

Fathers Day

I’m reposting a blog I wrote for Father’s Day way back in June 2010!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

God has a lot to say about the fathers in our lives.  Before I go any further, let me share a few verses about fathers and children:

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  • “For the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.” (Proverbs 3:32)
  • “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” (Proverbs 23:22)
  • “Honesty lives confident and carefree, but Shifty is sure to be exposed.” (Proverbs 10:9 MSG)
  • “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” (Proverbs 17:24)
  • “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” (Colossians 3:21)
  • “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” (Psalm 103:13)
  • “Don’t fail to correct your children. You won’t kill them by being firm, and it may even save their lives.”(Proverbs 23:13-14 CEV)
  • “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 ESV)
  • “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.” (Proverbs 17:27)
  • “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)

This day and age, the role of men in families is being undermined. With access to fairly easy divorce, for no declared reason other than “we aren’t happy” children today often have men that come and go in their lives. Men often think they don’t have just as much right to custody of their own children. But children very much NEED fathers in their lives!

A father may be the male person whose DNA you carry–your biological progenitor.  A father may be a man who stepped up and raised you when your real father left your mom.  A father may be a pastor or clergyman who ministered in your life.  A father may be the guy who hung out with you and taught you what being a man REALLY was.  Fathers can be anyone from the humble bread-truck driver to a busy executive CEO–but they are the guy who guides you, teaches you, never gives up on you, and shows compassion while spending time.  Today we honor our FATHERS.  So thank the man in your life who was your mentor, adviser and model.  Let him know that he meant something to you.

Happy Father’s Day!

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