Saturday, December 4, 2010

Infidelity: A Positive Thing?

One of the main reasons as to why I chose to pursue a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy has been to deal specifically with issues such as the one presented in this article. Surprisingly, the author was suggesting how infidelity can be good for a marriage. She was not advocating that people should purposely go out and have affairs, but the point she was trying to make was that if infidelity does happen in a marriage, it can have a positive outcome....if BOTH are willing to move beyond the infidelity. Dr. Nelson points out that after infidelity occurs, they can work on creating a new partnership by learning from the mistakes they were unaware of before the infidelity. She states that after infidelity, the weaknesses in their marriage become more apparent. She also says that they will be happier and more satisfied in their marriage if they can accomplish this.

The author chose to take a positive approach to infidelity which I thought was interesting. Most peers, parents, and even counselors would have suggested revenge, anger, or divorce as a "proper" way to deal with infidelity. I chose this article because it made me think about what the Bible has to say about this. There are many people, even Christians, who in the same circumstances would have felt justified to respond with revenge or divorce papers. The verse they turn to to justify divorce is Matthew 19:8, 9. They misinterpret this verse by saying, "Well, if Jesus says we can divorce if there is infidelity, then it must be okay." How come they never look at all the other verses that teach about forgiveness. Jesus was a walking ensemble of forgiveness, and his whole purpose was to die for us to forgive us of our sins. But, because people want the easy way out, divorce is considered a primary option. As difficult as it may be to forgive someone of infidelity, or even just forgiving in general, the Scriptures teach us to forgive: Matthew 5:7; 6:14-15; 18:21-22; Luke 23:34; Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:12-13.

God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and it is NEVER His will for people to divorce. I hate divorce because of the effects that I have seen it have on families: dealing with parents' hatred towards each other, adjusting to new boyfriends/girlfriends of the parents, deciding who to visit during the holidays, and just being in the middle of all the drama. It is terrible to put children through these kinds of experiences. People with divorced parents who say they became happier when their parents finally divorced are never able to capture the full picture. The full picture is that their parents have now set a new precedent for them: if things don't work out in your marriage, then it is okay for you to divorce because it worked out for me. Because children see that their parents have apparently moved on from the divorce, they grow up with a skewed view of marriage, and develop an inclination to see divorce as a positive way to deal with a difficult marriage. Instead of being committed and sacrificial to a marriage, they learn to see divorce as acceptable, and in their warped minds start to believe that God condones it. This train of thought couldn't be farther from the truth. It makes me upset and sad at the same time that people can give up on their marriages so easily. I am not saying that it is easy to forgive someone who has cheated on you, but what I am saying is that forgiving IS what the Bible tells us to do. Anything that is done out of God's will may work out, but that does not mean that it is part of God's perfect will. His plan is always for our benefit (Jeremiah 29:11). Whether it be with our personal lives, our education, or our marriages, everything that we do should be done with the ultimate goal of glorifying God. My hope is that we can all learn this so that we may be able to provide better families for future generations.


  1. Divorce is such an awful thing for families. I'm still trying to hash out my views on divorce. When and in what circumstances is it ok? I truly believe that many people take the easy way out, and don't even consider the option for forgiveness. However, a few weeks ago (and sorry I don't know enough about this) I heard, maybe even in this class, that the Malachi passage used for arguing that God hates divorce uses the same Hebrew word for divorce present in other passages where God divorced from His people because of the sin of that nation. This then poses the question, Since God did the very thing he hated, did he contradict himself? Well of course not! This is certainly not an argument for divorce, but an interesting concept to think about; that God did the very thing he hated.

  2. Yeah the people who try to twist that passage are usually the ones who try to justify divorce. We Christians should not be looking for what grounds the Scriptures give us for divorce, but rather we should look for how to restore our marriages forgiveness. I believe that if couples would learn to humble themselves and ask for forgiveness then many marriages would be able to avoid divorce. The problem we are having today is that both individuals are so prideful and selfish that divorce is seen as an option because it is much easier than humbling yourself. I am not saying that asking for forgiveness and being humble is easy, but I am saying that these are virtues that Christ wants for us to develop. Until we learn this indispensable virtue, divorce will still be a prevalent issue among Christians and non-Christians alike.


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