So, here’s a question that was posed to us. Following the question, I’ll give my answer below (along with a few other points I make afterward). We keep receiving these types of questions posed to us, so I’m hoping this will help clear up our position on this particular issue. The question that was asked concerns whether or not to wait for a straying spouse.
This particular question was posed to us from someone from Kenya:
HI. My husband left to live with another woman and they now have a child. The affair began in 2010. I tried to stay on until he threw me out and I took our 3 kids with me in 2012. That was also the year she had their baby. It’s now almost 3 years of separation. Should I still wait?
Here’s my response on whether she should wait or not:
I’m so sorry to read of your husband’s unfaithfulness. This has to be so very painful for you, especially because of the 3 kids you have together. My heart goes out to you —truly. I will never understand how a spouse can justify this type of behavior. It is so very wrong, and so very hurtful. I cry for you and your children.
As for whether or not you should wait for your husband to hopefully, prayerfully return to his senses, and come back to you and your children, and to God, all I can do is encourage you to ask God what HE thinks. Ask Him whether or not you should wait. He knows; we don’t. I know that seems like a simplistic answer, and truly that is not what I want to give you. But I know it is the right one.
I guess part of your answer to this is whether or not your husband has filed for divorce. If he hasn’t, perhaps there is a reason. I can’t tell you what to do. But I do encourage you not to do the filing —no matter how much pressure he puts upon you, and no matter how tempted you are to do so. If he wants to end this marriage completely, let it be on his head, not yours. He would be the one to initiate and carry out the divorce.
Wait for Spouse?
If for no other reason than this one, you have 3 children that are looking at both of you as to the vows you made on your wedding day —the ones you were to especially keep when you had each of them. Your husband obviously has violated those vows. If you stay true, despite your husband’s unfaithfulness, you will be telling your children that you are a promise-keeper. But please don’t date. This is destructive on so many levels. Hopefully, your faithfulness will inspire them to grow up to be promise keepers too. They need at least one parent to set them a good example.
I can’t tell you whether or not to wait for your husband. No human being should do that. As humans, we have our own biased stuff that gets in the way of directing people on this type of issue. God alone is the only one you should look to, in answer to that question.
But whatever you do, please don’t pray with an agenda. Don’t be looking for the answer you have decided you want. If you do that, you won’t hear God in a pure way. It will be tainted. The Lord knows the beginning from the end, and He knows whether or not your husband will ever respond to His and your pleas. He knows whether or not your husband will repent and turn his life around. God knows if he will turn his heart toward home, Him, and you and your children, as he should.
Don’t Limit God
Also, don’t limit God working, as far as time goes. I’ve seen unbelievable miracles that have happened years later, when all seemed lost. Patiently pray. And eventually, as you really tune your ears and heart to Him, He will let you know if you are to keep persevering and waiting. The direction that seems right to us, may or may not be right, from God’s perspective. His silence is not a yes or a no. It’s a “not now” type of answer. Wait until you hear clearly.
I hope and pray for you that you will, and that you will know, beyond a shadow of doubt that God has given you the answer you truly need, not one that people, including myself, will give in our biased ways.
After saying all that, here’s the expanded part of my answer. Please know that I realize this woman, and any other spouse that is exposed to this level of unfaithfulness may appear to have the “right” to divorce her cheating spouse. You can read about it in Matthew 19:3-9. But just because you appear to have the “right” to do something, doesn’t mean that you should. When God is at work, who are we to interfere, even if it pains us to do so? With the woman who posed this question, or any other spouse who is faced with their spouse’s unrepentant unfaithfulness, we need to talk to God about this matter. And those of us who are watching, need to pray with her (or him) instead of giving our biased advice. God is very capable of directing us in these matters.
Yes, I also know that sometimes we misinterpret what God tells us. And yes, I’m aware that sometimes God appears to be silent. But that still does not justify any of this, if other people give the advice to divorce. I believe with my whole heart that this is something that needs to be settled between a person and their God. The decision is to be made without human interference, as well-meaning as we may be.
I stated that in something else I wrote a while ago that you can read, on this same issue:
I hope this helps in some way.
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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