Monday, July 9, 2012

Does Infidelity = Divorce?

I have seen so many marriages failing recently and have several friends who are making tough decisions on what direction to go with their marriages...The Bible does state that divorce is permitted in the case of infidelity, but does that actually mean that is always the best option?  I am picking this topic because I know of at least three Christian couples struggling through this issue.....I would venture to say that most Christians will say that divorce is wrong, except in the case of infidelity.  But, my question is....Is divorce always the right thing to do if there is infidelity?  I have been cheated on and I know that the pain caused by it is devastating!  It cuts you to the core and makes you question your worth as a person.  I personally think that it is one of the most painful things someone can experience, and I think God knows that.  I believe that is why he says we CAN divorce in the case of our spouse being unfaithful.  That is also what the world would tell us to do...."Dump that jerk" would be the reaction of most people that I know....But, does that mean that is what we SHOULD do?  I don't always think it should be our first choice.  Yes, the infidelity needs to be confronted.  Yes, it needs to stop.  Yes, some new boundaries and relationship rules need to be addressed.  But, if both people are willing to make some changes and work hard to make things better, I really feel that it can be worked through and that God will bless that couple.  As I said, I have been cheated on and it was devastating...but I was able to forgive that person.  Am I with them today--clearly no....but that is not because I could not forgive them.  It is because they were not willing to do the work and change and ultimately they decided that it wasn't worth it.  I guess I think of it like this....I have done bad things in my past and I regret them.  I learned from those mistakes and I believe I have sought forgiveness where I needed to seek it.  Actions do have consequences, but thankfully my consequences were not as severe or as permanent as they could have been.  I am thankful for that....I would like to think that the "cheater" can also learn from their mistakes and change and hopefully before there are permanent consequences. 

So, what is a person to do when they find their spouse has been unfaithful?  I think separating for a time is appropriate.  I think both people need to seek wise Christian council--this could be a professional counselor (a Christian counselor), the pastor at church, or solid Christian friends.  I think it is important that the council be from Christians....Their worldview is going to be alot different than someone who is not a Christian.  There are several programs / groups for people struggling...The Respect Dare, The Love Dare, DivorceCare, and  These all have some really good stuff in them.   Gary Chapman has several great books as well....The Seven Love Languages, Hope for the Separated, and Loving Solutions.  If one or both people are unwilling to work through all of this then clearly it may still end in divorce.  Even if both people do the work, it could still end in divorce, but I guess my point is that it does not have to end that way. 
In DivorceCare there was a quote, and I am sure this is not exactly it, but it said something like "when two people marry, God joins them into one body and when they divorce they are breaking that bond.  But, they don't divide back evenly into the two people they started out as.   They rip apart and come out as two broken and scarred halves."  It takes a long time to heal from a divorce and the divorce itself does not fix the problems that caused it.  Most of the time it just adds more problems to solve.  The money gets messed up, the kids get messed up, it just becomes a big mess. 
I am sure this may not be a popular message and that some people may not agree with what I am saying.  That is is funny...this life as a divorced person and a single person is not what I asked for, but it has sure given me many opportunities to discuss things with people that probably would not happen under different circumstances.  Life as a single person--especially a single parent is very hard.  I would advise anyone considering divorce for ANY reason to think long and hard about it and to ask God what he would like them to do.  The answer may very well be that divorce is the only option...but many--most times in fact--I would venture to say that divorce should be the very last resort and every attempt to stay married should be made. 

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