Question:

Twelve and a half years ago my husband was nearly arrested for having sex with another man in a public bathroom. At that time I also discovered he has a serious pornography addiction. He attended counseling for about six months and when the therapist moved he discontinued therapy. I believed he was repentant at the time.

Now just three days ago, (twelve years later) I have discovered that he is viewing pornography involving under-aged girls. At the time of the original offense in the restroom, I asked that he find someone in the church to be accountable to, he didn't. I asked that he continue counseling, he didn't. I asked that he put a filter on the computer, he didn't. I believe that he was not repentant. He accuses me of not being forgiving of his transgression. Can a woman in the church grant forgiveness to her husband if he was not repentant in the first place?

I feel deceived and want to divorce him. Can I divorce him for the infidelity of years ago if he did not truly repent? I do not see that he "made a change". I sit in a terrible place, married to a man who is consumed by lust, a desire for pornography, homosexuality (including homosexual porn), and now a lust to look at under-aged girls the same age as one of his own daughters. Who knows how long the last item has been going on without my knowledge. What is a woman raised in the church of Christ to do in a situation like this? It is clear that God hates divorce, but I can see no other solution.

My heart and my head do not believe he was sincere in the first place. I do not want to live the rest of my life wondering, and living in fear. I also do not want to fear for my children or anybody else's children who come over to visit. I am disappointed with the eldership of my own congregation asking me not to divorce him. At minimum, I believe they should have supported me when I expressed a desire for him to move out of the home at the moment. I understand God hates divorce, but I feel that my husband's heart was not sincere and that he was not repentant with me or God. He may have been sorry then, and more so now. But it does not appear that he made an effort to make himself right with God or me. I feel no obligation to him now and seriously doubt if I will be able to trust him. With sexual sin like this, I do not believe I will be able to trust him again. Since I am not God and have a human heart, what do I do? I did try. Do I have grounds for a divorce for sexual immorality after this history?


Answer:

It sounds to me that this last incident has thrown you for a loop. But let's not rewrite history. Even if you want to claim that you did not forgive him for the homosexual sex he was involved in twelve years ago, the point is that by your actions you have shown that you did accept him back. That incident is over and done with. Do not bring up the past. The fact that he has returned to similar sins does not erase what was done in the past. "Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven" (Matthew 18:21-22).

What must be focused on is the current problem. He is involved in pornography that focuses on underage girls. I can understand your concern regarding the safety of your daughters and their friends. If you're adamant, then you can separate or divorce by what Paul stated. "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife" (I Corinthians 7:10-11). That is, you can have your husband leave, but you are simultaneously committing yourself to remain single until such time that you and your ex-husband can resolve the problem, or he passes away. Since this is not a problem of fornication or adultery, then a divorce under these circumstances do not allow you the right to remarry.

It is a tough choice, but it is there because divorce is a serious matter. If a person says the only way they would divorce is if they have the opportunity to marry again, then the issue isn't as serious in their mind as they make it out to be.

Even if you decide to divorce, there should effort made to help your husband get out of his sins. It is not unreasonable to state that he should get counseling or do something that demonstrates that he is addressing his problem. But as a Christian, the attitude should never be, "I'll never forgive him." Jesus warned, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).