Adultery in Marriage or a Committed
What the Adulterer should do
The purpose of this topic is for giving generalized help and understanding:
to those who are committing adultery,
committed adultery in the past,
having additional intimate relationship(s) in a monogamous relationship outside of marriage, or
have in the past had an additional intimate relationship in a monogamous relationship.
It is necessary to explain that God sees commitments in a relationship with a man and woman inside of marriage and outside of marriage as a bond. Obviously a marriage is defined in God's Word as a permanent bond with exceptions when one or both break the vows. Outside of marriage, when two enter into a commitment agreement leading up to marriage, it then can be argued scripturally that when someone breaks the commitment in the same ways as if they were in a marriage then it is just as grievous. In the Old Testament, read in Joshua 9 where Israel is tricked into a peace treaty by one of the tribes, Gibeon, which God had instructed to wipe out but God had Joshua keep the agreement since it was made.
To make this topic clearer in understanding by the reader, the author is going to use Adultery or Affair to refer to within a marriage of in a committed monogamous relationship. It almost goes without saying that people have had monogamous relationships throughout time without marriage and these type of relationships suffer the same problems, hurts and spiritual needs as those in marriage. In some parts of the world and throughout history, marriage was the same as the term "Given to one another" or "Committed to one another".
Adultery can be sexually physical or emotionally commutative without sexual contact.
Steps to take after or during adultery:
Stop immediately. It is wrong. Read Proverbs 5, Proverbs 6:20 - 7:27 if you don't understand the consequences. There is many, many more scriptural references which you can easily research.
Find two people that you can confess your adultery to, who you can trust and who can also hold you accountable in all areas of helping you to stop the affair along with not having one in the future. The two people should be of the same gender as you. Your selection of the two people should be based on respect, advise and prayer power to intercede for you.
DO NOT confess your adultery or affair to your spouse or partner. You must carry this for the rest of your life. The reasons are listed below in the section "Understanding the Victim of Adultery's pain and consequences".
Find ways to get fulfillment in your spouse that you substituted with someone else.
Estimates on Percentages of those who commit adultery
The author of this topic has been a victim in both a long relationship during college and also later in marriage which lead to divorce. Because of these two experiences, I have done a lot of research. I recognize adultery is very common and there are many people looking for help. Thankfully at 56 years of age, I have never been unfaithful and my advice is based on many books read, sermons, audio messages and also empirical observations on successful recoveries of marriages. Furthermore, after time has gone by, I have been extremely blessed for going through these events and actually glad that those relationships did not continue!!! After reading this topic, see Divorce & Relational breakups.
One book written in the 1980s gave the following estimates:
55% of men will have one affair in their lifetime.
Men have affairs, commit adultery for sexual desires.
70% of women will have two affairs in their lifetime.
Women have affairs for emotional intimacy.
Affairs on average last between 1 and ½ years to 2 years before boredom or guilt end them.
Some affairs last the entire life or decades for individuals. A recent famous case, exposed in the late 1990s, is of the well know news correspondant, Charles Kuralt who wrote seval books: ""A Life on the Road," "On the Road With Charles Kuralt" and "Charles Kuralt's America.""
The estimates are conjecture because how can an accurate and honest calculation be done as no one would want to admit to being adulterer on a census. None the less, these estimates can be somewhat helpful for consideration in examining how common and easy to commit adultery and guarding from doing it in everyone's lives. A Pastor once told me "Some sins should never be done once because if you do them once then a million times will never be enough." There is no scriptural basis for this but it seems that it is too common an observation in many areas in life.
Understanding the Victim of Adultery's pain and consequences
The spouse of the Adulterer should never be forced to bear the pain, guilt or have questions dealing with what the Adulterer has done. If you are the Adulterer, do not put that burden, pain and knowledge on your spouse by telling them what you have done!
For most people who commit adultery, especially if they are a Christian and have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them as described in the scriptures, will feel guilt for adultery. The initial feelings for the adulterer is the desire to be clean and forgiven. Confession is to God under the Blood of the Cross and to an accountability group, not the spouse. The adulterer wrongly thinks that the adultery can be fixed, wiped clean and forgiven by confessing to their spouse.
Confessing to the spouse does many negative things which are chiefly and generally:
The Adulterer thinks if they can get their spouse to say "I forgive you" then they will feel free from the guilt and the relationship will be healed. For some adulterers, asking for forgiveness and getting it will actually clear their minds and give them freedom from the guilt. The common observation seen is it can also lead to future rationalizations that new affairs will be okay since it only requires asking for forgiveness or the adulterer becomes desensitized to adultery where is can be rationalized away as permissible.
Confessing to the spouse, dumps the pain felt by the adulterer onto to the victim spouse along with additional emotional pain. The victim spouse will have no way to release this pain. Sometimes this pain can be felt for the life of the spouse. The spouse can feel profoundly hurt, victimized, trespassed against, devalued, trust destroyed, anger, the inability to forgive the Adulterer and have the need to always know where the Adulterer is going. These are the primary emotions and the Adulterer has magnified their own pain and guilt to be received and carried by their spouse while the Adulterer no longer has to "carry" the burden. The only poor example that is mild in comparison of pain would be the feeling you would get when you came home and found a robber has been coming into your home for a long period of time and stealing from you with the knowledge and help of a trusted member of the family.
If you are trying to save your marriage and relationship, then you must do as listed above in "Steps to take after or during adultery". You must confess to your support peers that you have selected and of course God but not to your spouse. Everything that mankind does sinfully was paid for by Jesus Christ on the Cross so that we can go to Heaven by Faith in a relationship with Him. As you may know, Paul in the scriptures warns us about loss of rewards and privileges in Heaven. The Cross gives us entrance and is a free gift when we accept it. Thank God for Grace and Mercy but adultery can have consequences in our earthly lives. For example take a look at the life of King David who in the end repented and trusted God. It is the desire of this author that you save your relationship and move forward in a loving and fulfilling life.
After reading this topic, see Divorce & Relational breakups.
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