Question:

Good evening, sir,

I was told about your web site and that you can help me with some questions I have about my marriage. I been married for less than ten years. Well, last year my wife was seeing another guy from work. I found her messages when she was texting him. I confronted her about it and she told me she been seeing this other guy. I was mad but got over it and forgave her. Well, several months ago she told me they slept together couple times, which I knew nothing about. I only knew she was seeing the other guy. She said she was scared to tell me but that she didn't want to have our marriage based on a lie. I felt so hurt. All my trust for her went out the door. I wanted nothing to do with her. She asked me for forgiveness, and she told me she would never do it again. She cried and cried over it and didn't want our marriage to end.

We are trying to work it out, but I can't get the thought out my head. Every time we have sex I think about her with another man. I am trying my hardest to forgive her and forget about it but I can't. What should I do?


Answer:

"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).

Your wife knew she did wrong and she felt the need to be punished for her sins. In a sense, it felt too easy for the amount of guilt she was feeling. She wants your forgiveness knowing the full extent of her sin.

That is hard. It is easy to talk about forgiving (releasing a debt) when it is a matter that doesn't really bother you. It is harder when the matter is something that affects you personally. It is probably hardest of all when hits your pride and your trust in another person.

I usually tell a person who has repented of their sin to let the matter go unless the spouse brings up the issue. Adding further damage to a relationship doesn't make it easier to heal. But few people will listen to reason when guilt is consuming them and they become their own worse enemy.

Jesus said, "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). As incredibly hard as it seems, forgiving her really isn't an option if you want to reach heaven. She has turned from her sin and it is your duty to forgive.

The problem you are having is forgetting what she told you. The mind doesn't have an erase function. Memories do fade, but only if you don't dwell on them. While you can't forget at the moment, you can choose not to bring up the issue any more, which a part of what forgiveness is all about. Don't ask for details -- you really don't want to have more to forget about.

Instead, remember one very important point. She would much rather be with you than with him. She knows you are the better man. What she did was wrong, she knows it, and she has left it.

Instead, both of you need to focus on making your marriage better to reduce the temptation of this ever happening again. It is going to be hard for a while, but you can do this. One danger for you is the temptation to take revenge for what she did. "Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:17-21). The way to overcome this evil is by being good to your wife, and that includes being a good lover to her.

Once again I thank you for listening. Forgiving is hard, but it's something I will do. At first all I could do was think about pay back. But what's that going to prove? Nothing but more heartache in my marriage. So we are working on everything, and we just have to put God back in my marriage. Once again, thanks.