19 responses

  1. thankfulhusband
    June 2, 2014

    I thought this was very good advice. I appreciate the fact that you were willing to be hard towards a woman for her sin in your advice.
    thankfulhusband recently posted…The NonNegotiablesMy Profile

  2. J (Hot, Holy & Humorous)
    June 2, 2014

    Wow, I never noticed that “multitude of sins” appears twice in the New Testament, with James’s statement that you cited, “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins,” and Paul’s statement that “love covers over a multitude of sins.”

    And in truth, turning a sinner from their error and saving them IS love. Sometimes, we think love only comes in prettily wrapped packages with soft, sweet messages inside. But there’s nothing more loving than looking after your friend’s best interest and fighting for her family. Great advice, Sheila!
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…Showering and Bathing Together: Why You Should Try ItMy Profile

  3. Daryl
    June 2, 2014

    Very needed words. We all know there are millions of couples who go year, after year, after year living in a marriage that is excruciating and conclude there is no help, no way out. There grounds for discontent are not unfounded. What are some ways to get the word out that there struggles are very common and that real help is out there? This site is one of few I have found that is dealing with these things in a very forthright, upright fashion. There is advertising for everything in every conceivable form of media. Like “just say no” and many, many others. Is there a way we could get the message out that many, if not most marriages can not only be saved but become what they were meant to be ( Insanely awesome, beautiful, precious, crazy fun)?

  4. Tia
    June 2, 2014

    Thank you for this post! I am stuggling with what to say to a friend who is doing this currently. We are new friends so I stuggle with being so bold. Normally I would not hesitate.
    I kdo now my pastors wife had done all that you suggested above and went beyond that. The pastoral staff has also taken the measures they needed to.
    Thank you for this post. I will definitely step up and be bolder.

  5. julie
    June 2, 2014

    Well said, Sheila. My only (very nit-picky) concern is that if she is having an affair it needs to be exposed to the husband even if she ends it (not “end it OR I’ll tell”). Obviously you need to first confirm that she is indeed having an affair, but her husband needs to know even if she has agreed to end it. Offer to go with her, offer to help her/them find counseling, etc. But ending it and leaving it hidden doesn’t sound like a good idea. Just my two cents.

    Overall, though, I totally agree with you. So often we only think of the warm, fuzzy love (and approval), but that’s not Biblical – or not complete. Leviticus 19:17 says, “Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.” Yah, I get that we do NOT need to confront our friends about every little thing, but WHOA, this verse seems to be saying that NOT rebuking is NOT loving; in fact, it’s hatred. Along the lines of, “You’re going down a path that will lead you directly off a cliff, but I’m not going to tell you.”
    julie recently posted…Grasshopper DaysMy Profile

    • Sheila
      June 2, 2014

      Actually, that’s a really good point, and I meant to clarify it in the article, so let me do it here.

      I think if she ends it, then you can now leave it to HER to confess to her husband. But I would really make sure this happens. I’m still not sure that it’s your job to tell the husband if she doesn’t, but I would definitely advise her to confess, and to get a counsellor/pastor involved.

      You should be working towards bringing everything out into the light, but I’m not sure that it is always OUR role if the friend does end it and is trying to work towards reconciliation. I knew one couple, for instance, where there was an affair, and she did end it, but the relationship was so precarious at the time that confessing likely would have ended the marriage then and there. Instead, she worked at rebuilding and got some counseling, and a year later confessed. It was rocky but they worked through it.

      Had a friend intervened earlier, though, the marriage may not have been saved. So she was working towards confession, but she was waiting for the right time.

      That’s why I think it’s hard to give a definitive statement if the person has indeed repented and is working towards reconciliation, because there are so many factors involved.

      • julie
        June 2, 2014

        That makes good sense, Shelia :D And I wasn’t clear either, because I wasn’t thinking specifically of “outing” someone, but of holding them accountable to “out” themselves.
        julie recently posted…Grasshopper DaysMy Profile

  6. Larry B of larrysmusings.com
    June 2, 2014

    Helpful and thoughtful article. We do seem to be having an epidemic of extra-marital affairs. In the secular media, one hears that the reasons spouses often give for seeking an affair are that their emotional and/or sexual needs are not being met by their wife or husband. This is something to keep in mind. Are you meeting and satisfying your spouse’s needs?

    I think another relevant factor that is not always brought up is past promiscuity prior to marriage. Sexual affairs or brief sexual encounters after marriage (occurring within months of getting married) may be an indication that the guilty spouse is having a difficult time adjusting to monogamous sexuality. Such casual sexual encounters with others also imply a lack of commitment to the marriage. Promiscuity prior to marriage is very harmful in so many ways. (And, such promiscuity is not always related to use of porn. There are other factors in play such as poor judgment, inability to resist peer pressure, and lack of self-control.)
    Larry B of larrysmusings.com recently posted…some thoughts on organized religion – past and present – and the spiritual impulse in humans – part threeMy Profile

  7. Erin
    June 2, 2014

    I had a friend, who I wasn’t real close with, who was living with her fiance, had a child with this man, and had been together with him for several years — having an affair with a much younger man, who was single, seemingly carefree, and said all the right things to her. I had suspected it, but wasn’t sure. I also babysat for her. She would ask me to babysit all day on a day she didn’t have to work, and I found out that she was going to meet with this guy while I was babysitting for her. I stopped babysitting for her unless I KNEW she was just going to work. I never said anything to him or her. She claims to be a Christian, but her actions — affair included — show she is not. She wasn’t attending any church so that wasn’t an issue. I was also friends with her mom who knew of the affair and would try to justify and make excuses as to why this was all okay. I was honest with my friend (her mom) and hopefully her mom got the guts to say something to her. We’re not friends today because I just couldn’t watch or support that.

  8. Heather
    June 3, 2014

    I’d be interested in a “My friend is having an emotional affair” post, since that’s usually how these things start!
    Heather recently posted…3 views of Mt. Fuji: tempuraMy Profile

    • Sheila
      June 3, 2014

      That’s a good idea, Heather! I’ll think about that. Like you mean when you know your friend is in contact with someone on Facebook, or texting someone from work? I think I may take the same approach. Let her husband know that you’re worried. I do believe that we keep too many secrets.

  9. Paul H. Byerly
    June 6, 2014

    Thanks for taking on a tough issue.
    I tell folks I am a friend of their marriage first, and them second. This leave no question about how to handle something like this.
    Paul H. Byerly recently posted…Confronting to ConnectMy Profile

    • Sheila
      June 7, 2014

      That’s a great way to put it! Perfect.

  10. Cobus
    June 6, 2014

    Thank you so much! Excellent and sound Godly advise. Do you truely think that an emotional affair has to be confronted the same way? Do you have to confess to your spouse, knowing the hurt and damaged trust that will result – even after you repented and turned around? When does a (lustfull!) attraction/infatuation move to being an emotional affair- when you act on it?

    • Sheila
      June 7, 2014

      That’s a great question. I think if someone is attracted to someone else and is dealing with it that does not have to be confessed. That would only cause hurt.

      On the other hand, if you have a friend that you know is constantly texting someone, and flirting with them on Facebook, and is refusing to stop, then I do think that steps may need to be taken.

      If a friend confesses to you that she’s attracted to someone and wants to figure out how to stop it, then you certainly shouldn’t go running to your spouse. But if the friend is in dangerous territory, and is refusing to admit it, then you may have to take some steps.

  11. MB
    June 14, 2014

    Wow, this is a tough one! I’ve often wondered what I would do in a situation like this. I don’t like to meddle in the affairs of others (no pun intended) because I don’t appreciate being lectured, so this is really difficult. You can’t control the actions of other people. All you can do, it seems, is pray about the situation and hope for the best.
    I don’t condone or support people who have affairs but it seems a bit cruel to do some of the things suggested above. It is one thing to talk with somebody about their actions and the consequences that could result, but quite another to shun and ostracize them socially because of it. Maybe if they have betrayed you in some way and slept with your husband (as no true friend would ever do), then I understand taking that position, but otherwise? I dunno…seems a bit extreme. We can hate the sin but acknowledge that the sinner is only human and most likely hurting in some way, seeking something to fill a void. It seems more prudent to have a “heart to heart” talk with the person and gently help them understand that nothing good can come from what they’re doing, as it could possibly ruin their marriage or hurt their children if they have any. Hopefully they will see that this isn’t what they want to happen.

    Affairs shouldn’t be condoned but I will say that as a married woman, I battle with temptation. My husband is a wonderful man in many ways but we have no spark at all. There is no sex or intimacy of any kind. I love him dearly, he is the one I want to be with, but honestly? He is a cold fish. I know it sounds terrible but it’s true. I’ve wondered if it stems from his upbringing…his mother frowns upon dancing because to her, it is “sinful”. Sex is looked upon as something taboo and to me, that is sad. We have to sleep in separate beds when we visit his folks. I’ve never been unfaithful to my husband but I won’t lie…sometimes it is hard to imagine the rest of my life without being touched and held and made love to. It is hard to feel undesirable after you’ve made a commitment to be with the same person for the rest of your life. And worst of all, to feel guilty for having natural sexual desires although you’ve never betrayed your spouse.

    So that is also worth looking at and talking to your friend about. Maybe it’s a deeper issue, like feeling rejected or unwanted by her husband? Maybe loneliness? Not that adultery is justified (it rarely ever is) but it helps to understand her emotions and why she is doing this. By trying to understand and offering wise counsel, maybe you can guide her down the right path.

    • Daryl
      June 14, 2014

      MB, your level of honesty is truly rare. My heart breaks for you. God never intended marriage to be this way. Don’t know where you are with God, but I would like to share with you that there is definitely a raging spiritual battle and marriage is at the top of the list. Here are some links to some information about spiritual conflict. I will inform you in advance that they are one hundred percent Bible, Scripture but NOT simply the opinion of human thought. I hope you will take a look. May God work in your marriage so you may be treated as He intended.

      http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1953/the-believers-warfare-part-1?term=spiritual%20warfare

      http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1954/the-believers-warfare-part-2?term=warfare

      • MB
        June 15, 2014

        Hi Daryl,

        I appreciate your kind words. I’m not having a spiritual battle, really…more like a moral conflict about what is right (being honest, not hurting the one I love) and what I truly need on an emotional/physical level.
        I appreciate my husband for all of the great qualities he has and I feel lucky to have him in so many ways. But at the same time, I am human with a high sex drive and it is frustrating that he doesn’t seem to want me in return. The rejection makes me feel like I’m just not good enough…and this is a message I was given about myself from many people at a very young age.
        So although I’ve never had an affair and most likely never would, I can see sometimes how it happens. Once again, I just want to say that I don’t condone infidelity at all…it is a very hurtful, destructive thing to do. My parents divorced because my father got another woman pregnant.
        This is why I often try to do the right thing in my marriage despite my true feelings. I love my husband, hence I would never want to hurt him in any way.
        I also hold myself to the standard of “do unto others” because I know how hurt I would be if he ever cheated on me. I believe in treating people the way I want to be treated. But it is a struggle sometimes…I am still fairly young and I have physical/emotional needs that aren’t being met.
        Thanks for saying I’m honest. I believe that there are certain things that we simply must be honest about because communication is important, no matter what faith one practices. Sex is one of these issues that we shouldn’t tap-dance around. I think my husband was raised with a somewhat repressive, unhealthy view of sex and anything related to sexuality and this has carried over into our marriage.

        Some people might feel that it is improper for a married woman or even a single woman, Christian or otherwise, to hold views like the ones I’ve shared…but it comes from my heart. It hurts to be married to somebody who is ideal in many ways but so incompatible with me in others. I’ve always wanted children and now it seems that he doesn’t. I’m now deeply ashamed of my body and reluctant to be intimate with him because of the rejection, which has caused me to gain more weight. I was a size 4 when we met and although I’m not gorgeous, I was a very attractive girl. I know that some men still find me attractive even at my current size (10-12, and I am short). So I often beat myself up for gaining weight and not being pretty enough no matter what I do.
        This is why I suggested that the person talk to her friend and find out why she is having, or thinking about having, an affair. Maybe there is some emotional/physical need that isn’t being met. Not an excuse to cheat but some insight into why…maybe the other man is showing her more attention than her husband does, or makes her feel special. Maybe her husband is critical or controlling and the other man is more easygoing. I would never blame the spouse who is cheated on in most cases because infidelity is hurtful enough as it is, but sometimes we have to understand all of the people involved and how the situation came to be.

      • Daryl
        June 16, 2014

        MB,

        Thank you for sharing what I consider to be extremely personal information. I don’t know if this format is appropriate for someone to attain the kind of attention needed to help someone work through such difficulty. I am not a frequent user of these things but I have been very blessed by Sheila’s wisdom and her love for all of us. I so desire for you to have someone who would be able to impart to you the comfort, support, love and wisdom you need. You said that you do not perceive your marital struggles as a spiritual battle. I beg you to reconsider. I am not proposing that you need to begin to think every thing is some kind of spooky, weird, satanic, demonic occurrence. The evil realm is very, very crafty and subtle and can certainly convince you that you are justified stepping out on your husband. God made the beauty of sexual enjoyment/pleasure. Your husband is to love you as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it and loving you spiritually, physically, emotionally and sexually is all part of it. Do not give up my friend. May God send you some people who will lift you up in prayer and may God begin to do a work in your husband so he will begin to see how grievously he breaks you heart. You are in my prayers.

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