Infidelity in a marriage. If this happens to you in a future marriage, would you end the marriage or try to work it out and stay together? The short answer is, it’s up to you. It is optional. You don’t need to keep trying, but it is understandable if you did divorce and end things. It is a judgment call and it depends on the circumstances and the people involved. This can be a very tough decision to make. The ideas in this article relate to being cheated on in a marriage, but the basic ideas below are generally true and applicable for dating relationships as well.
In Matthew 19:9, The Lord states that “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery”. Now, New Testament times were a bit different with their ideas on divorce. Today we understand that other issues may also acceptably lead to a divorce such as domestic violence, major addictions, and other serious issues. However, the main point here is that The Lord validated the idea that divorcing for the reason of infidelity (“adultery”) is understandable and acceptable from a spiritual perspective. But he didn’t say that that was the only option. Married couples where a partner has cheated can also choose to stay together and try to work it out. And some successfully do so.
If you are ever in a position in the future where your spouse commits infidelity, you may be faced with this difficult decision. I am unaware of the rates of infidelity among our church members. However, the most recent statistics I recall stated that about 60% of men and 40% of women in general stray from their marital vows and cheat of their spouses. I assume these rates are somewhat lower with our church members, but still in that ballpark. So, if you ever find yourself in this position of being cheated on, this article will give you some ideas and suggestions to help in your decision.
Factors to Determine the Decision.
*Was this a brief or a one-time occurrence? If the infidelity was out of character for the offending spouse, there is a better likelihood that is will not be a repeat situation and you can work past it. Simply put, sometimes people make weak or foolish decisions, which can sometimes be a rare exception to the otherwise decent character and a good track record. When this is the case, the choice to keep trying in the marriage may still be a good option. However, when the infidelity occurred many times over many months or even years, this is a much more serious discretion and a more serious relationship with the other man/woman. Another factor: did the infidelity involve numerous other partners? Is a spouse a chronic cheater? In sum, the duration, level of, and extent of the cheating should all be considered. It all hurts and is devastating, but not all infidelity is the same.
*What was the attitude of the offending spouse when the cheating was discovered? Did they admit the offense or did you discover it? And when it did come out one way or the other, what was their attitude? Were they sorrowful, apologetic, and asked for another chance? Did they offer details, answer questions, and own the offense? Did they offer to go to therapy and/or the bishop and ask to work it out? Or instead, did they act defiant, angry, and/or just wanted to get angry about you snooping or “violating their privacy”? Did they justify what they did? Refuse to answer questions? Did they minimize and act blaming? Did they say they wanted a divorce/breakup? Did they agree to immediately cut off all contact with the other, or defiantly say they will continue the other relationship? Whatever their attitude and reaction was when the truth comes out matters towards your decision to try to salvage the marriage or not.
*How healthy or unhealthy was the marriage before, during, and apart from the affair? When you look at the entire marriage and relationship, has it generally been pretty good, healthy, and happy until/apart from the cheating? Or, has the marriage largely been unhealthy, unhappy, and strained in general? Did the cheating just add to the overall big dysfunction and problems? Looking at the marriage as a whole is important in your decision. Looking at what marital problems existed apart from and in addition to the infidelity matters too.
Like I mentioned earlier, the decision to keep trying in marriage or to divorce is completely up to the spouses involved. Hopefully, the ideas and guidance in this article have offered some help, guidance, and rules of thumb to help with this decision. Feel free to forward this article on to any friends or family members in this position, as needed. Whatever decision is made for those finding themselves in this spot, the ideas shared here can help offer some guidance and direction. And remember that ultimately one way or the other, “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11. So please decide with wisdom and prayer.
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|2021-06-06||Randy Gilchrist||Conflict resolution|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).