8 1/2 years of this and I finally understand. Lord, please don’t let it take my brothers or sisters that long.
The first time I caught him cheating was completely a fluke. I got on his phone to check the time and found messages I wish I hadn’t seen. Photos. Sexting. It made me light headed. How could this happen?!
But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.
My trust for him was shattered, so you know what I did? I watched him. Like a hawk. I stalked his phone whenever I could. I made boundaries for what I would let slide and what was not acceptable. And he consistently pushed and broke the boundaries for 8 years. And I kept trying, kept forgiving, kept being the best wife I could be. Loving even when I wasn’t being loved.
I mean, it seems so obvious to say this to someone who has never been through it, but for those of you Christian women like me who are going through this, let me say it anyways. It is NOT your job to watch him or to set up boundaries for him! Oh my gosh, if I could have figured that out 8 years ago, the places I would be now!
So why should you not set the boundaries? Plain and simple, you are not God. God already gave us a guide on what is right and what is wrong. It’s called the Bible and I would highly recommend it to anyone! Check it out and you will see – adultery (even wanting a woman in your heart) is a sin! That means pornography. That means for some people kissing (if it leads to lusting). Going to strip clubs…guess what. It’s lust! It’s a sin! You are not your mans conscience! It is not your job to set the boundaries, because Christ already established the boundaries of what is acceptable!
And now, why should you not watch him? Again, it’s not your job! We all stand alone before God, accountable for our own sins. Not the sins of our spouse. If you are having to play conscience for him, you are doing him no favors. In fact, you’re probably harming him if I am going to be blunt, because he has no accountability for himself. Each man or woman must be responsible for self. He must have self control. It’s like a person who struggles with overeating who eats small amounts of food in front of others and sneaks food when no one is looking. Your body is going to suffer from that, whether you did it in private or in public. Just because your husband didn’t see you eat it, doesn’t mean your body won’t digest it. It is great to have someone to be accountable to and certainly, if your spouse asks you to be that accountability person for them, you can be. But they have to be self disciplined and self controlled enough to be on good behavior, whether they are with you or not. This isn’t something you are in control of and it is certainly not something you should be responsible for! What your spouse does in privacy is their issue and if it is something that is going to lead to sin and death, they bring that on their own heads.
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
So what can you do then if you find yourself in this same place? Pray for strength for yourself. And pray for strength for your spouse to overcome their addictions. Encourage your spouse, if they are willing, to seek a counselor or join an addiction group. Encourage them with the word. Build them up. If they do openly admit a fault without being prompted to do so, forgive them and pray with them. Be a loving, respectful, and encouraging wife. Remember to repay evil with blessing. But if (as is my case) your spouse shows no remorse or regret, receives conviction as condemnation, and shows no desire to change, you need to put your foot down. Consequences are necessary. In my case, divorce is the consequence for 8 years of affairs. I pray that it won’t get to this place for you and that you will learn from my mistakes. But please, don’t just roll over and take it. If your spouse has no intention of changing, ask God for clear direction and if He prompts you to leave, wash your hands of it. You can not be responsible to be someone else’s moral ground and conscience. You can not drag your spouse to the Lord. Only God can stir a mans heart and change it. So if you find yourself in a place like this, trust the Lord and put it in His hands. He sees the whole picture and has a good plan for all of this.
One of the hardest things I have ever had to live up to was a promise I made to God and my husband. “If you make me choose between you and God, I am choosing God.” 8 1/2 years it took me, but I am keeping that promise. I am praying for the man still. Every day. Lord, your will be done in his life.