Adultery is like a house on fire. What do people do when their house is on fire? Do they start rebuilding the house while it is still on fire? No. They rush to get everyone out of the house and call 911 immediately. They might grab water hoses and buckets to put the fire out. But nobody rebuilds while the fire is still raging.
But, when the fires of adultery hit our families, often we fail to put the fires out before going on with life or rebuilding.
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Adultery is like fire, and fire requires three things: Heat, fuel, and air. Take away one of the three and the fire dies.
Adultery Fuel: What’s on Fire?
When the fires of adultery hit, many things get burned:
- Your marriage
- Your family, specifically your children
- Wedding vows
- Trust and respect and security of the children and family
- Standing in the community
- Principles, ethics, good standing in the community, financial credit
- All trust in the justice system
- Fruit of your own labor
- Right to live in the family home
- Your property
- Peace of mind
Adultery: Heat Builds
The heat threatening to ignite the fire related to what’s being burned:
- Contempt for marriage as a promise
- Believing a lie that greener pastures exist elsewhere–contempt for family.
- No integrity. No commitment to honor one’s word.
- Bad divorce laws prostituting justice and robbing the faithful and children.
- Cowardly legal system depriving the faithful and their children of property and rights.
- Attorneys and judges who profit from corrupt laws may fight to keep them in place.
- We expect fairness rather than getting ready to roll with the punches of injustice.
Adultery: Consuming Oxygen
Our expectations supply oxygen for painful flames:
- We expect faithfulness–wedding vows to be honored.
- Our spouse will at least love our children and family if not us.
- We don’t expect to be lied to or cheated by our spouse or courts.
- Justices crush our hopes when courts betray us.
- We don’t expect our courts to throw our children into a whorehouse of adultery or abuse or to kick the faithful out of their house or to use injustice to profit from the suffering of the faithful.
- We’re hit directly in the face with the hardest of blows when we least expect it.
Adultery’s Warning Signs
I don’t believe adultery comes without warning signs. Adultery is selfish and cowardly; those involved think only of their glands. They hurt their spouses and their children to get what they want. When guilt threatens their peace of mind, they lie to themselves. They say “Children will recover; they’re resilient.”
These lies do nothing for those they hurt. They only provide emotional anesthesia to enable the unfaithful to continue. Their children and spouse may be on the edge of suicide and their attitude is, “There, there–handle it maturely and all will be well.”
Unfaithful spouses rarely commit adultery before they know it’s safe. They make sure if the affair doesn’t work out, they can return to their faithful spouses desperate and afraid to lose them.
Before marriage, during courtship, they threaten breakup. Can they bully their spouses to get their way? During marriage, unfaithful spouses threaten divorce to get their way.
By doing this, they establish they can manipulate and control other family members through pain, through mockery, through bullying, through threatening. They discover their spouse will take blame or responsibility, and they find they can get away with anything.
Faithful Spouse’s Tragic Response
When desperation and panic overtake us, we feel desperate for something we can do to fix it. We take blame or responsibility for choices we never made. Our dignity and self-worth lie tortured to death. And out of desperation we give our unfaithful spouses all they need to continue controlling and turmenting us. And we reward them for their adultery and lack of love for the family.
Children will suffer dearly just to pleasure or support the unfaithful parent. After all, if the unfaithful parent can throw the faithful spouse away, maybe one day they’ll throw the children away, too. Truth is, they already have started that process from the moment they first indulged adultery as a possibility. And while anyone can fail, the faithful spouse will recognize this and turn around.
The hardest thing for a faithful spouse to do may be to lose the fear and panic and hold the unfaithful spouse responsible with the truth. Sometimes unfaithful spouses will absolutely wreck the family just to get away from a painful truth, and that is a very real reality every victim of adultery will have to face.
Running After the Cheater
Letting go may feel bad. But it is better to ask whether the unfaithful spouse has any intention of being faithful, if their word has any value, if they love their family and their children enough to honor their vows. It is better to know the truth. And if they flee perhaps the best thing to do is exactly what Jesus did when the rich young ruler asked what he had to do to be saved only to walk away sad when Jesus gave him His answer.
Did Jesus run after Him? Did Jesus soften the rules? No. Jesus laid the truth on the table and respected the right for the young man to make his choice. With that choice, this young man would declare his character to the King of Kings, to himself, and to future generations. And Jesus would allow him to walk away if he wished.
Before a family can be saved from adultery, the adulterer has to face the truth of what his or her actions mean to himself, to God, to the family, and to the children. You cannot soften the blow without lying. And there is no true repentance that is not truthful.
If the marriage covenant is to continue, both spouses must be committed to the promises inherent in that covenant. If only one spouse remains faithful, the other spouse may continue to have a moral obligation to honor the vows but without any intention of remaining faithful to that agreement or covenant. Unfaithful spouses only make promises to get something they want but have no intention of honoring those promises.
A Blunt Scolding of Family Wreckers
Let’s be blunt: It takes a real whore to go after someone else’s spouse. And it takes a real whore to cheat on one’s marriage. Good people simply do not cheat. And those who say good people cheat are lying to themselves.
If your spouse is cheating, then apparently your children have a bad parent. Now, a judge or a mediator can ask insincere, cowardly, and rather stupid questions such as a fake-socratic “How do you know?”, but more often than not, they will only ask such a stupid question if they they can keep you intimidated by the spoken or unspoken threat that if you question them, they may take your children away.
And I’m sorry, but that is the kind of family court system and laws we have today in most countries.
We cannot go in expecting justice to prevail. Instead, we must go in prepared to roll with the punches of injustice, and this goes for America as much as any other nation now that we have 1970’s Unilateral No-Fault laws on the book. These laws are great for money grubbing judges, mediators and lawyers and child support organizations, but they are not good for children or their faithful parents.
So, take a deep breath, expect to be raped by the courts, go through it, and keep breathing, and after all the destruction and injustice takes place, take some more breaths, get up, and recover your strength and wisdom. And next time, if you choose to marry, marry someone with integrity–not a whore, a liar, a cheat, or an abuser. You deserve better and so do your children.
Trust God Through Tribulation
So, keep your cool, spend time in prayer, turn it all over to God and know that He did not bring this problem to you but rather gave you the opportunity to come to where the problem was and experience it and learn from it, and know in your heart that God loves you and through and in all things He does all He can wisely do to bring the very best for everyone who loves Him and are called according to His purpose. (see Romans 8:28).
Rather than letting fear control you, control it. Refuse it. Resist it. Tell yourself positive things. And, you don’t have to go into denial to do this. Positive thinking is not about lying to yourself and pretending bad things are not happening. Positive thinking is about looking at the bad things and knowing that God is able to bring good through them all regardless.
So, make a strong effort to discipline your thoughts to focus on the good.
Happiness Improves Your Chances
Confident, happy people are attractive. If you can open the cage door for your spouse and let your spouse go, that sends a message back to your spouse that you don’t have to hold onto someone desperately to keep him or her, but that you are so worth having that you don’t have to worry about being alone. It’s good to prefer to have your spouse with you, but it is also important to be able to be happy without your spouse.
That takes away their motive to bully through adultery and threats of divorce and helps bring health back to the marriage little by little.