Dealing with Infidelity

“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery” (Hebrews 13:4 NLT).

Tom Smith, the highly respected academic survey researcher, has this to say about extramarital sex: “The best estimates are that about 3% to 4% of currently married people have a sexual partner besides their spouse in a given year and about 15% to 18% of ever-married people have had a sexual partner other than their spouse while married.”

There are few heartaches as severe to any married person who is faithful to their spouse than to learn that their spouse has committed adultery. The victim of the adultery loses their sense of safety and security — two vital aspects of a marriage.

Most people who commit adultery do not confess they have been unfaithful. When caught, they often still lie and explode in self-righteous anger that they would even be accused.

When the evidence is overwhelming against them, they grudgingly admit their infidelity, and then attempt to minimalize their unfaithfulness. They continue to lie about the duration of the affair, the number of times they cheated, and the serious nature of their disloyalty.

In addition, they may blame their spouse for the transgression, pointing out all their faults and flaws as justification for their infidelity. They push to quickly “move on” and forget the betrayal ever happened as a way to disregard the severity and consequences of their sin.

They rarely display any sincere and deep moments of repentance, empathy for the pain they have caused, or signs of concern for the spouse they have devastated.

Adultery is selfish.

Victims of an unfaithful spouse, here’s your reality check: You are 100 percent NOT responsible for your spouse being unfaithful and committing adultery.

You did not cause this sin. Your spouse is the only one responsible for the adultery.

For those who have committed adultery, you also need a reality check: You ARE 100 percent responsible for being unfaithful and committing adultery.

You are totally responsible for your actions. Never suggest that your spouse was to blame.


Are you involved?

If you are currently committing adultery against your spouse, confess and repent of your sin to God. Also confess this sin to your spouse, and end that adulterous relationship. Seek counseling to help you get back on the right track. Don’t delay; act today!

You cannot build a good marriage on a lie. Most spouses can forgive adultery if it is freely confessed and repented of before any evidence is found.

Admitting your sin might not be easy, but this act of honesty is the only way to restore sanity to your life. If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness because of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus (1 John 1:8-10). Admit what you have done and make it right.

While this is wise and truthful, it will not be easy.

As Mona Shiver shares, “we all have those moments that some call ‘suddenlys’ – moments that forever change the path of our lives. That moment for my husband and me happened on a cold January evening in 1993. Gary came home and confessed to a three-year adulterous affair. What followed that confession is a blur of pain and confusion that some counselors liken to post traumatic stress syndrome. Dr. Shirley Glass, author of Not Just Friends, tells us that according to therapists who treat couples, infidelity is the second most difficult relationship problem, surpassed only by domestic violence. The point is this: adultery is undeniably an overwhelming issue that requires additional resources for the couple attempting to recover.” (Mona Shriver, from the book Unfaithful —Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity)

You must be ready to commit to a marathon of work to reconcile and restore your marriage. It takes about two years for most marriages to recover from an affair.


What can you do to make things better if you have committed adultery?

  1. Take full responsibility.
  2. Recognize the need for spiritual renewal and revival since the fact that you committed adultery is a clear sign your soul is a mess. The act of adultery is only the fruit of an unbelieving and rebellious heart. Seek help to get your inner world straightened out.
  3. Do not minimize or lie about the details of an affair.
  4. Focus on the pain of your spouse and not on how hard this is for you. Get separate counseling to help you deal with your struggle, but don’t expect the spouse you cheated on to be an emotional support for you while you are working through this.
  5. Commit to a year of regular marital counseling.


Do you think your spouse is having an affair?

  1. Don’t deny the facts or your feelings.
  2. Don’t confront your spouse until you have thought through what you will do if they admit they are having an affair. Get counseling to prepare you for the confrontation.


What to do once you know your spouse has been unfaithful?

  1. Be open to staying or leaving to make the best decision based on their attitude, the details of the affair and the overall hope you have of reconciliation.
  2. Don’t make a decision to divorce too quickly, but rather give yourself time for careful consideration and prayer. Get personal counseling on this issue.
  3. A structured separation in which the unfaithful spouse demonstrates the fruit of repentance, remorse and passion for reconciliation is sometimes helpful.
  4. If there is no repentance or even a sincere promise that your spouse will not be unfaithful again, you will have little choice but to leave the relationship.
  5. Seek your own spiritual renewal and revival. Draw near to God in the gospel of grace in Christ Jesus.


Many marriages survive infidelity if there is real repentance and a desire to reconcile. Denying adultery does not solve anything. Hope is found in facing the facts and seeking a revival of faith and faithfulness.

For more information on how to deal with infidelity in marriage, go to


Dr. Norman Wise is the Executive Director of Living Water Christian Counseling and host of “Ask the Counselor” on Living Water can be reached at 954-726-2303.

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