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Today’s Question: My husband says he wants to just move forward and work on our marriage, so he does not want to bring up his affair anymore, so he talks and acts like it never happened. But it is so hard when I only found out about it a month ago and it is constantly on my mind. He says he chose to be with me so he does not want to keep bringing up the affair. Should I not bring up his affair anymore to move forward and work on our marriage?
Answer: Aren’t you the lucky one. He chose you instead of his mistress…. and that means you should be grateful. You should not feel hurt or angry that he’s lied and cheated on you. Just forgive and forget. Get over it and quickly he tells you.
Here’s a reality check. He’s the one who broke his wedding vows. Broke your trust. Cheated on you with another woman and now he thinks you should be grateful because he chose you? Hello? My question for you is DO YOU STILL WANT TO CHOOSE HIM? He doesn’t get to make that decision right now. You do.
Adultery is one of the clear biblical grounds for divorce. Listen carefully to what he’s telling you.
Is that true? No.
He shows no repentance. And since he wants to move forward and work on your marriage, what exactly does that mean? It means that he will blame you for his cheating. That something was wrong with your marriage (or by implication you) so he had no other option but to cheat.
But that’s not true.
There are plenty of unhappily married folks who do not cheat on their partner. Why not? Because they do not want to be a cheater and a liar. Your husband did something damaging to you and to your marriage but he refuses to look at what he did. He doesn’t want to let you talk about it or be a witness to the impact and pain it caused you. Why not? This is his work to do, not marriage work.
You cannot rebuild broken trust with someone who is unrepentant and unwilling to do the hard work to understand why he felt entitled or justified to cheat in the first place. Granted he may have been unhappy or troubled about some things, but he chose to cheat. He could have gone to counseling. Talked with you. Gone to the pastor. Done lots of other things. His unhappiness did not make him cheat. If you don’t hold firm and he doesn’t do his work, you will be seeing a repeat of this pattern again and again and again. Is that what you want your marriage to look like? Him being free to cheat when he feels like it and you being obligated and grateful that he comes home?
I hope not. And if you’re tempted to give in to his nonsense, then you have your own work to do. For example, Are you afraid to be alone? Are you not capable of supporting yourself financially? Have you put your entire well-being in your marriage and it scares you to let that go? Are you afraid God will be angry with you don’t go along with your husband and say, “No this is too serious to ignore?”
An affair is betrayal at its worst. You will have your own healing work to do around that. He has his own work of honest self-examination and self-reflection to understand and repent of what he has done. Next, he will need to care about the impact he has caused you and work to rebuild broken trust. If he is not willing to engage in any of this work, please do not expect him to be a faithful or honest man in the future.
This is tough truth, but strong medicine is meant to help not to harm. You asked this question because I think you already know the right path to take, but you need support. We’re here for you.
Friend, do you ever feel gaslighted by the nonsense of what your destructive husband says are your next steps forward? How do you get clear on what’s true?