Counseling Critical to Surviving Marital Unfaithfulness

Dear Hopeful,

First, I commend your desire to make your marriage work, though unfaithfulness is a legitimate, biblically sound reason to divorce, particularly if the guilty partner is unrepentant. If your husband had confessed adultery, repented, and asked forgiveness, in such a case I would say the law of forgiveness would have you to stay, but otherwise you are not bound to your husband in the case of adultery.

Your husband’s disinterest is NOT your fault. That is what pornography does. Reality simply cannot compete with the fantasy pornography tantalizes the viewer with. Kept up long enough, and the man will inevitably seek to act out his fantasies as well.

I would pray and fast to seek God’s direction. Jesus also said any man who has looked upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart, so pornography alone could reasonably be considered a divorceable offence, but that decision should never be reached lightly. Even when you have a biblical, legitimate reason for divorce, you have Dear Abby’s favorite question, are you better off with him or without him? As well as what God would have you to do. I don’t think you’re quite there yet.

The tact you take will depend on your convictions concerning submission, but if your convictions don’t tell you otherwise, in such a situation, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to explain to your husband—gently—that if he wants this marriage to work out, you must seek marriage counseling. Whether you require him to go or just insist on him allowing you to go alone is to your discretion, but try to avoid wording this as an ultimatum as some men will dig in their heels.

If you take the latter tact, pray, and if the Holy Spirit tells you I have spoken wisely, tell your husband you want to make this marriage work, but in order to do so, you, yourself need counseling and if you don’t get it the marriage is doomed. Try not to point fingers at him, he has it coming, but it won’t make your case. Do lay your own cards on the table. Be polite, be gentle, admit freely to your own problems, yet make it clear, without counseling, your marriage is going to fail.

Above all, pray. For yourself as well as for him. Cry out to God, He is your helper and your strength in times of trouble. If you ask, He can even reveal to you whether your husband has acted upon the lust in his heart.

One way or another, you definitely want to get the matter resolved before children enter the picture. Things get all the more harder when you have a child’s interests to consider.

I will tell you this: for your marriage to survive, God must change your husband’s heart concerning martial counseling. You cannot keep this marriage alive by yourself. To save the marriage, your husband must repent, or at the least allow you to seek help on your own. I highly recommend undertaking a three-day fast before approaching your husband on this. It could help save your marriage.

Love in Christ,

P.S. If you’ve fasted before, go with a total fast or a water-only fast, otherwise, a bread and water fast or liquid fast will do.

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