Reader Q/A: My Husband Cheated on Me. Am I Justified to Leave Him?

Question: “I just found out my husband has been having an affair with another woman. I’ve felt something was wrong for a long time and now I know what it is. I’m shattered and want a divorce. I married a lie. My question is, am I justified to leave him, or is that disappointing to God?”

Reader Q/A

Thank you for reaching out. I’ve given this some thought and even though it’s not my place to tell you whether you can (or should) divorce your husband, I do have four questions for you to consider that may be helpful:

1. Do you have healthy people around you?

It’s vital that you surround yourself with trusted friends whom you can talk to about this. However, be careful who you are listening to. Many wives will confide in friends who are going through (or have gone through) their own marriage trauma and come out full of bitterness and anger. These types of friends can be the most damaging people for you to confide in right now, so please be careful. Find a counselor, pastor, support group, or trusted friend who can graciously pour healing waters of wisdom on the flames of your pain, not gasoline. (If you need help finding someone in your area, Pure Community is a good place to start.)

2. Is your husband repentant, humble, and actively seeking recovery?

If your husband is visibly repentant (in action, not just words), then I encourage you to give it some time to see what happens. Far too often I see wives give up on their husbands before they’ve given him a chance to truly find freedom—which is always a longer process than we’d like it to be. I know this suggestion won’t undo the pain of what he’s already done, but it may give you some hope for a better future together.

On the other hand, if he’s still justifying his sin, making excuses, or blaming others for his actions, it may be a sign that he’s not ready to change—at least not yet. This means you’ll need to decide wether you’re willing to (or called to) wait out some potentially tough years in hopes of him changing in the future. If this is the case, it’s not uncommon for wives to pursue separating for a season. Often, a separation will show him how serious you are about needing him to change, which may be the catalyst for him to start taking his recovery seriously as well.

3. Are you considering divorce as a response to your pain, or because it truly is the only option?

Try to resist the urge to make any major decisions in the midst of your grief. Rarely are those the best decisions. Many wives believe ending their marriage will also end their pain, but that is never the case. Even if you do decide to leave, you will still need to heal, forgive, and fight the temptation of anger and bitterness toward your ex-husband on a regular basis.

4. Have you asked God His thoughts on whether or not to leave?

Most importantly, have you prayed about your situation and sensed which direction you should go? I always advise people to seek the Lord first, especially with major decisions such as this one. Ask Him what road you should take, and be honest with yourself about what you hear. Once you believe you have His answer, confirm it by discussing it with the wise counsel you’ve hopefully surrounded yourself with already.

I do hope this helps. Feel free to contact me again if you have any further questions. Also, if your husband does want help, send him my way. I’d love to chat with him or at least send him a copy of 10 Lies Men Believe about Porn.

Either way, I’ll be praying for you, your husband, and your marriage.

In Christ,

If you have a question about pornography addiction, my personal story, or anything else for that matter, you can send it to me by filling out the form on the contact page. I do my best to answer every question I receive personally, and never post my answers without first removing all names and other identifying details.

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