Marriage

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Before I give you my personal opinion, let’s establish some common ground.  Whether someone is leaning towards staying or going, we all, who find ourselves dealing with infidelity in our marriage relationship, must realize one thing:  The covenant of our marriage vows has been broken. For whatever reason God, in His sovereignty, said that the act of infidelity would break that covenant. It says in the Bible:
It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.  But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.”  Matthew 5:31-32
I decided that after putting that verse in there, I better have some commentary to put behind those words.  The information I found in my NIV Study Bible states:
Jesus said that divorce is not permissible except for unfaithfulness.  This does not mean that divorce should automatically occur when a spouse commits adultery.  The word translated “unfaithfulness” implies a sexually immoral lifestyle, not a confessed and repented act of adultery.  Those who discover that their partner has been unfaithful should first make every effort to forgive, reconcile and restore their relationship.  We are always to look for reasons to restore the marriage relationships rather than for excuses to leave it.
From the beginning of Chris’ and my story, we have shouted from the rooftops, “It takes two people to be willing to do whatever it takes to make a marriage work.” And seven years later, we are still standing on that soap box. So, no.   My personal opinion is that women and men shouldn’t be expected to stay with their cheating husbands or wives. Gasp. Wha? Watch your tongue! You sinner! You’re a pastor’s wife, and I can’t believe you said that! You should be removed from being a leader in your church! Remember, this is MY opinion based upon MY experience and MY understanding of God’s Word. My God is absolutely the Creator of the universe.  He is infinitely more wise than I could ever dream.  His power reaches into the galaxies and the stars are his handiwork. Nothing is too difficult for Him. But, He is also a gentleman.  He doesn’t force us to follow Him or love Him.  And there will be some men and women who choose to live in a place of hard-heartedness.  Many of you have experienced this first hand and because of that, your marriage ended.  But you’re still blessed, aren’t you?  Because that’s the way God rolls. Wait, can I say that?  Can I say “that’s the way God rolls“? So, if you ever find yourself in these shoes, pray for God to tell you what to do.  He will.  I can promise you that.  It’s wise to get counsel from other godly people in your life, but ultimately? The decision is between you and God. If you hear from Him that he wants you to trust Him and stay put, then get ready to have an intimacy with Him that you never imagined.  And in the process, He will bring healing in His perfect timing that will astound you. Alrighty.  Let’s get at it. What’s YOUR opinion?

29 thoughts on “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”

  1. Cindy, I agree with you on this one. Both parties, along with the loving influence of our heavenly Father, can bring a marriage back from destruction and heal the divide. That’s not something God can’t do.

    The Lord wants us to press in and do what we can to make our marriages work, but there comes a time when that is no longer the case. Isn’t God good to us? When either spouse breaks that covenant you spoke of earlier, it is perfectly permissible to end the marriage.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Now, I’ve got to go and take the grand-kids to school.

  2. My opinion. I agree that it takes two to make a marriage and break a marriage.

    I would like to say that I would stay in the marriage and try to make it work but honestly I don’t know what I would do. I have two examples of women who stayed with their spouse after they found out their spouse had cheated. Although the two women’s situation turned out differently.

    One of the examples is you. I found your blog and started reading your story and couldn’t stop. The work God has done in your lives is amazing. I am thankful you and Chris were able to work through that to be able to reach out to others (however, I wish you didn’t have to go through the pain).

    The second woman’s story didn’t turn out so well. He said he wanted to make their marriage work but wasn’t willing to give up his mistress. She tried but he wasn’t repentant and after a couple of years they eventually divorced. It wasn’t pretty and plenty of people told her she should leave her husband and got mad at her when she didn’t.

    I admire her strength and reliance of God during this painful situation.

    I pray this never happens to me but I am realistic enough to know that we all have weaknesses and this could happen. Heck, it could be me that has the affair.

    Having said all that…I’d like to think I’d try to make my marriage work but I don’t know what my heart will be like. Hopefully, I’ll be able to stop thinking about me long enough to rely on and seek God.

  3. I’ve got no bone to pick with that sentiment [smile].

    I strongly believe that all relationships can work if both parties are willing to work on it. If one of those people isn’t willing to work, then… there’s not much you can do. And for all the in between times/parts? God’s grace is enough.

    ~Luke

  4. I’m not sure what I would do. I pray I never have to find out. And although I am so sad that you and Chris have had to go through all of this, it is clear that what Satan intended for evil, God has clearly and triumphantly used for His good.

    Amen!

  5. Cindy,
    I would agree with fact that a spouse isn’t “required” by God to stay in a marriage where there has been unfaithfulness. The Bible is pretty clear that is isn’t a “requirement”, otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have given us the exception.

    However, I have no problem going further and saying that, choosing to stand for a marriage and remain in it is the ultimate picture of God’s relationship with us! The blessings that can come out of this – whether or not seen on this side of eternity or not – are unspeakable and promised.

  6. It’s true, there is no way I could make a judgement call about each individuals call or “no call” to the marriage. I have not walked in your shoes to the degree of infidelity and so I can’t say that I know what every man or woman should do in every situation.

    You’re a wise woman indeed.

  7. Well said! BRAVO! I’m so glad I found your blog. It is like getting my marriage shot in the arm. Thank you for being so open and transparent.

  8. I truely believe that once u decide to stay you must forgive first then never ever throw it at them again. Remember you forgave. Then take divorce out of the equasion or it will never work. They have to know you are in it to make it work, even tho it will be a long road and a lot of work. I actually left my husband then came back because I felt it worth the work to rebuild it for the kids to have a family. I am glad I did. We have now been together for 22 years. Hang in there if you BOTH want it to work it can be done but first you must forgive and trust in GOD. Thank for sharing it helps tn know you are not alone.

  9. It Takes Two Willing Parties To Make The Marriage Work!

    After months and months of praying for my broken marriage, praying that God would break my husband and cause him to repent and come running back to me, I found that God had a different plan in mind for me.

    May I just say that there is no amount of forcing, begging or pleading that will cause someone to break or repent, if they are not willing or wanting. I stayed in a marriage where I thought he had repented. I thought he was broken, only to find him hiding more, sneaking more often.

    I hit the hardest rock bottom I ever thought imaginable. But guess who was there to pick me up? To build me up, to become a stronger woman than I EVER thought possible? The One I strive to be with every second of the day. My God! My Heavenly Father!

    There were nights I thought I couldn’t go on, but in those nights He was the one holding me, wiping my tears, talking to me and giving me strength to put one foot in front of the other. I clung to Him and He made me strong.

    To this day, I will tell people, I would go through ALL OF IT AGAIN, the broken marriage, the trampled heart, lost dreams, just to get to where I am NOW with My Heavenly Father. I stand in awe of the things He has done in my heart and thank Him daily for what He is doing with me!

  10. hi, i found your blog originally thru rachel’s a while back. thanks for your transparency. i am a strong supporter of growth and victory thru transparency =) but believe it or not there are very few people that know these details. mainly because it is still so fresh. so i’m going to give this a shot…

    the very man who physically betrayed me after a few years of our marriage is also the man who has ignited my passion for God thru his daily choices of filling himself w/ the Spirit as he earnestly began to seek Him.

    my husband fell again and yet again after his first confession. i wanted so desperately to believe in him. but i began to turn my back on God and blamed Him for not ‘giving’ me a man who was stronger.

    when he found true victory as he leaned on God for help out of the pit of his destructive sin, i was at first repulsed at this man who stood so tall as he bowed humbly before God. the pain from the sting of his betrayal turned into mockery as i hardened my heart against him.

    when he demanded my affection and heart, i cursed him. i had thoughts of leaving him and knew it would be justified. at the same time i felt an anger rise up in me of knowing it was satan’s goal to tear us apart.

    i knew the Real victory would be to overcome satan’s goal. it wasn’t just my husband’s and my soul satan was battling for. the devastation a divorce would bring in our children’s life would be catastrophic spiritually. to me it would be like handing them a platter w/ a meal fit for a king and watch it turn to decay before their eyes. i do not think separation is always wrong(every situation is different), but i do know it always leaves someone feeling abandoned.

    for me, staying w/ my spouse after he repented and was made anew, was about turning to God and coming to terms w/ the pit of ‘self-preservation’ that i threw myself in.

    ~~~~~~~*~

    :: MY DAILY ARMOUR ::

    pray:
    ask God to change your heart at the level of the root of your sin.

    action:
    having a true relationship w/ God, which can only happen when we Honestly seek Him. surround yourself w/ couples who have successful marriages.

    seek:
    the true definition of forgiveness. and then confirm it.

  11. Sometimes divorce is unavoidable.
    Sometimes they don’t want to work on it.
    Sometimes the sin is the excuse to separate.

    Sometimes you don’t know what you have until you lose it.
    Sometimes if you work hard and it is God’s will, you get it back and it is better than ever.
    Sometimes……

    All the time you have to quit being the controller and step aside and let God control it.

    I was here. 🙂

  12. I think we need to tread carefully and thoughtfully as we speak about divorce and “staying together”. So often, we do not know “all” and that makes it difficult to give clear direction. I appreciate a perspective from someone who has been thru this heartache and can still not promote doing it “their” way. God is very considerate of our hearts and desires to walk us thru these challenges and I think we do our best to represent Him with love and support. I am thankful for your blog this a.m. as it came across vulnerable and protective. Vulnerable for yourself and protective of those who are reading it and their individual situations. I appreciate the fact that you stayed and God has done a beautiful work with both you and Chris. I am thankful that I left and God has done a beautiful work in me too! It is amazing how God works all things together for His good. thanks for a good post!

  13. I was faced with the choice and I stayed. Let me back up a bit. I was in a marriage previously that ended in divorce. Neither of us was close to God back then. We were selfish and didn’t want to fix the problems. I don’t know, if we had been close to God, if things would have worked out, and its in the past and I can’t change it. All I can do now is ask for forgiveness for my mistakes.

    I got closer to God and promised Him and myself, that when I got married again, it was for forever, no mater what. Then I met the man I am married to now, and things were great. Then I was faced with the “no matter what.” I had to remind myself over and over of the promise I made and it was super hard. I thought about leaving a couple of times. It took a lot of work, and the help of some awesome people that God put in our lives to get through.

    God forgive us of our sins through his son Jesus Christ. He sent him to die on the cross for us! How could I NOT forgive my husband after that sacrifice? And if given the choice to go back and change what happened, I don’t think I would. I didn’t like the pain, but the path God has led us on is so much more awesome than I had ever imagined. Our marriage is in such a better place, and we get to do so many great things because of the mistake that was made.

    It does take 2 people to make it work. But does it not really take 3? If you do not have God in your relationships, it just makes if that much harder. My choice and my opinion is to stay and work it out with God. I am SOOOO glad I did. I can’t wait to see what is next!

  14. I am in the middle of this choice right now. There are those that have indicated I should leave (both believers and non-believers) and there are those that encourage me to say. Well-meaning friends and family want to see my hurt get better and I understand that.

    A new friend…close to this site – VERY close to this site reminded me that my husband is not broken – and this point does not WANT to be broken. That leaves me with a very heavy heart and a lot of decisions to make.

    I pray – every day – to see and hear God. HE is the One I have to follow. I pray every day for his guidance. At this time – I do not feel led to leave…I feel let to stay and fight for my marriage. God speaks to me and I am trying to listen. If/when I feel led differently, I pray I have the strength to trust God to see me through. Until then – although my husband is not broken…yet…I pray for him and I will fight with my Savior against the enemy for my marriage and the human being that I adore and love most in this world. WHEN he is rescued from his life of addictions – I pray that God will use us the way this site is being used.

  15. I’m in a stay. But, my husband isn’t. He’s running. He’s running scared. I have to remind myself that he is in God’s hands, not mine. God is a BIG God, and will make all things right. God knows where I stand, and that I’m willing to work on our marriage. I’m willing to do what is necessary to make this work.

    About 1 month ago, my husband came back to me after being engrossed in an affair. But, as of last Friday – he has returned to her, and is running from us, and I also think running from God.

    With putting God first and foremost for us individually and in our marriage – I am certain that anything is possible. ANYTHING. I have to lay this at God’s feet and allow him to work.

    Thank you Chris and Cindy for being so candid about what you go through, and sharing your faith with all of us.

  16. I think that your opinion on this matter counts significantly considering your experience, Cindy. And I certainly apprecaite your honesty and realism–as always.

  17. i agree with you. i can’t really add to what the others have said.

    but i think i agree most closely with what Chelsey said. God chose us when we were adulterers, sinners, etc. what a perfect love He has for us.

    thank you for your post.

  18. I agree with you. I think that if it’s possible for it to be worked out betweencouple with God’s help then it should, but in some cases, there just is no other choice. And I believe God knows and understands that.

    I never tell woman that are dealing with a cheating husband that they are trapped into just living with it.

  19. Love your courage to say what needs to be said (the truth) regardless of who might agree or disagree. You’re BOLD and I love it! BOLD like Jesus! Imagine how many people must have said “he did NOT just say that! Isn’t he the son of GOD!).

  20. Since Jesus said it, then it is so: you can divorce (and marry again) if your spouse commits an act of fornication, and still be without sin in the situation.

    It doesn’t say ANYwhere that you *have* to do so. It does say many times to forgive. It also says love your enemies. But if you do get a divorce from a cheating spouse, you have not sinned.

    I know I am always so happy when a family can stay together and work it out. It is not the end of the world (although I realize it feels like it)… And does not have to end the marriage. If people are stupid for staying in that marriage, then there are a lot of stupid people out there. And who cares if they seem stupid to the world? God and Jesus obviously does not think staying (forgiveness inferred) is stupid, and that is what counts. 🙂

  21. hmmmm…..staying is when the hard part starts. Much to face when staying happens. God honors it—-i’m believing Him for that one. Keeping eyes on HIM and HIM alone helps with the process. Is it always right to stay??? Probably not. God does give an out in a marriage when there has been infidelity…..every situation is unique, yet similar. I believe TRUE forgiveness is necessary for staying to work. True forgiveness is only possible through Christ and a continual, constant relationship with Him. It’s also important to live in the now……neither can live in the what-ifs of the future or in the pain of the past. Such a long and tedious process……looking to Him for the grace to complete the task.

  22. I agree with you… but I think that far too many people take the divorce option without studying what God says on remarriage. (Take that same verse, for example.) I’m not going to say more, because I don’t want to start a new controversy, and I know I’m in the minority on this issue.

    BUT… I would encourage everyone who is contemplating divorce to also do a study on remarriage, unless they honestly think that they will always be 100% willing to stay single for the rest of their lives. Many people take this verse as grounds for divorce… and then they don’t think twice several years later about getting remarried, and by then, they’re already in love and will have a hard time looking at the thing objectively. I simply encourage people to do that NOW when they’re not the slightest bit interested in getting remarried.

  23. Cindy, this is well said. I haven’t married so I have no clue about it. But you are so wise that I really adore you. Thank you very much.

  24. Howdy. My name is SAM. I am a friend of Beth K, in Texas. She gave me your blog address, and I am enjoying reading what you wrote. I had to laugh on this post ~ because I just used the words “thats just how God rolls” on a post that I made last week…too funny.

    Thank you for sharing your story, from what I have seen, you are a blessing to many.

    Smile,

    SAM

  25. Thank you everyone for your posts. I am currently separated from my husband and we have both been wrong and selfish (I won’t go into detail b/c I am working on letting go of the past). We married young, had kids, and I am just finishing up my Bachelor’s degree 🙂 We used to constantly fight but now we are civil towards each other. I used to try to reconcile on my terms and through my ideas. Recently I decided I still have time on my hands and that the marriage is not over, I am learning to trust God for whatever the outcome and I pray that he gets the glory out of this situation. On my hardest days and nights alone I cry but I also remember things could be a lot worse. My husband still supports us (me and my two kids) financially, keeps a roof over our head, gave us his car and buys the kids clothes and shoes.

    Knowing that God has a plan (A GOOD ONE) keeps a smile on my face and joy in my heart.

  26. CIndy: I share not only the same first name, but also the same story except that my husband is not a pastor. He confessed to me one year ago almost to the day. His confession consisted of almost 20 plus years of marriage with this double life, sexual addiction , pornography, affairs that also included prostitutes. We have three children, two of whom are grown men now, , and a daughter who will leave for college next year. I have been journaling our journey, and until now, found very little in the way of this site or books on this topic. I am still in my marriage. I chose to stay, and allow God to show me what I should or should not do. I will tell you the pain is still very real and oftentimes raw. My struggles are still what to look for, and waiting on God to show me.My difficulty lies in the fact that I did catch my husband on the internet in dialogue, and that is when the confession followed. Up until that time, I had no reason to even think that the possibility of infidelity would be happening, never mind to the degree it existed. I do not know what to be looking for in the transformation he claims God has done, because I did not see anything prior to the confession. I have those around me, telling me I am crazy to be here, never mind to believe that God has done this in him. My response at the moment, is He is the GOd of the Universe, why couldn’t He change my husband.? This is not to say I trust my husband now, or believe everything he tells me, I just choose to believe God is in control , at work, and He will show me again, if there is reason not to believe. Thank you for this blog, and I will pray your book gets published. It is so needed.

  27. I caught my husband in an affair a month ago and I’m still torned as to what I want to do. We have been married for 35 years and I had no clue whatsoever. I intercepted a phone message and confronted him and he came clean. He said it started as talking and went further from there and lasted for several months. I had no clue because he is home every afternoon after work and we’re together doing things such as camping, boating, etc on weekends. It was a total shock to me. Since the confrontation we’ve talked more seriously than we had in years. I think we got to comfortable with our lives (if that makes sense). I still love him and I’m trying to forgive him but it is so hard because I thought we had a good life and it scares me that I didn’t see it. We had gotten away from church and am now attending regularly plus have started counseling with our pastor who is a marriage counselor also. I pray God will guide me. I have bad days and good days. We have 2 grown children and they know what happened. He confessed to our children and our best friends and asked for their forgiveness and said he got into a situation and didn’t know how to get out of it. He said he felt so relieved when caught. My husband tells me several times a day he loves me and is sorry so why am I still feeling so blue.

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