Question:

My wife of over forty years just told me when she was 16 years old and her boyfriend was 18 years old, they fooled around. He played with her until climax, and she also played with him but not to climax. They never had intercourse. Just before breaking up, they were at her parents' home one day alone and he took off his clothes and stood naked in front of her, scaring her very badly. We had dated before this and later got back together and later married. She thought she told me about this, and may have, and I just forget after all these years.

I was a virgin when we married and had not touched a girl in her private parts in any way. I was raised in a very strict church of Christ environment. My wife also was raised in a very strict Methodist environment. Soon after marriage my wife became a member of the church of Christ. She is a great one -- very faithful to the church, God, and myself. I, though, had slide backwards as i do not attend church now.

I so much want to things right again with God. I just cannot get these thoughts out of my mind. I constantly visualize these acts. I know God has forgiven her and so have I. My wife says I must forgive her boyfriend's soul even if I don't forgive him. We know she sinned, but he pressured her into this. I really have a problem forgiving him. He took something from me that I cannot get back. My wife and I love each other and enjoy each as much or more than we did over forty years ago.

Please advise me how to keep from having these bad thoughts and to forgive him as I should. Please reply as soon as possible. I need your help. I need to be a good Christian again.


Answer:

Yes, you need to come back to Christ. But I suspect that this isn't what is really holding you back. Perhaps I'm wrong, but consider this.

Let's assume that you did not know about your wife's sin. What was taken from you? You are the man your wife married. You are the one she respects. You are the one who treated her properly and with honor. He walked away with nothing. He tried to force love and lost. You did it God's way and won -- yet, that isn't good enough for you.

After forty plus years, there is nothing missing from your life. Now, over forty years later you are going to claim something is missing?

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). You and she got back together because he tried to rush things and she rejected him. Who knows? If he had behaved himself, you might not have had the forty years of bliss that you've had. Your wife might not have become a Christian. Something that was sinful and wrong got turn around into something good. Satan won a small skirmish but lost the battle.

Technically, you can't forgive him until he repents and asks. "And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him" (Luke 17:4). But you do need to be desirous of an opportunity to forgive. What better thing to learn than that a man who sinned in the past has straighten out his life before it was eternally too late?

He didn't hurt you. Mostly he hurt himself. In the process he almost hurt your wife, but she overcame. Be thankful that she is yours. Give the Lord glory for the years you two have had together. And make the last of your years even better by walking hand in hand with your wife into eternity.

"Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing" (I Peter 3:7-9).

Thanks for your attempt at helping me. No need to remind me of the wonderful years and the remaining ones left on earth -- the ones in eternity also, I hope.

I was not correct in saying something was taken from me as she was not mine then, so nothing could be taken. I guess I should have said that I missed out on the great thought of being the first. Sex is defined as anything that leads to or could lead to sexual intercourse, so I was not the first. In today's world I know that's not very important, but it was in mine and the world I was brought up in. All is forgiven by God and me.

My wife says I am more hurt because of not being first than anything else and she doesn't blame me for feeling this way. She knows nothing can come between us because of hurt feelings or a little disappointment. All this is understood. We don't have a problem with it.

The question I asked in the beginning is still the same. I need help with best way to keep the thoughts of these acts from reoccuring. I guess if we had both been lucky enough to have come up in a lilly white world where things like this didn't happen to one or the other there would not be kind of issue to deal with. I am very glad that God helped bring us together but if it happened because of what her ex did to her or they did together thats kind of sick so it must have been the devils work. Tks. No rely necessary unless you think it will help still trying. I am really a good person but always been insecure low self esteem and very hard on anything to do with morals

I hinted at the answer, but I guess it didn't come through clear enough. You counter bad thoughts by focusing on the good. "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:8-9).

When a person says they are disappointed they aren't first, the root problem is actual pride. Their ego was wounded. For example, if a runner runs a race and comes in with the best time he's ever done, that is a reason for joy. But if his best time didn't put him in first because someone else ran faster, and he is grumpy about the race and hard on himself, that isn't proper. But in your case, you were first in everything that matters to you. She didn't have intercourse with this other guy, you did. The truth is that you are "competing" with a guy who is not in the picture about a one-time set of events which no longer matter. It's time to drop the personal pride.