How To Handle Infidelity in A Christian Relationship

Infidelity ranks high on the list of possible reasons for any Christian relationship to break down. Once one or both partners cheat their way, trust will surely crumble, and then the eventual parting of ways of the couple.

In recent years, divorce rates have increased due to several factors, including infidelity, abandonment, abuse, and addiction.

In the U.S., for example, there were more than 630,000 divorces filed from 2000 to 2020. Out of the 1.6 million plus marriages in America, there was a 2.3 per 1,000 population divorce rate during the reporting period. The marriage rate, meanwhile, was at 5.1 per 1,000 population.

These data came from 45 U.S. states plus the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.

For Christians, breaking up a marriage through divorce is hardly an option. Christian relationships are expected to be lifetime commitments, so partners tend to make the marriage work even if infidelity has left an ugly scar.

How do you make things work if your relationship was negatively affected by a cheating incident? Here are some tips on how you could handle infidelity in a Christian relationship:

  • Acknowledge the mistake and ask for forgiveness (or forgive the erring partner). One of the first things a Christian couple must do when infidelity befalls the relationship is to acknowledge the mistake. Once both partners have done this, then forgiveness should follow. For the erring partner, there has to be humility to ask the other partner for forgiveness; for the other partner, an equal humility to offer forgiveness. These things do not have to happen quickly, but they have to happen nevertheless.

  • Seek help from a pastor or Christian counselor. In many cases where cheating occurs in a relationship, the intervention from a person of authority can do wonders to salvage the relationship. As Christians, you will do well when you seek help from your pastor or church counselor. Having a neutral party assist you in processing what happened to your relationship can help make the journey to healing easier and quicker.

  • Analyze the mistakes and learn from them. Aside from acknowledging the mistakes, it’s also important to map and analyze them. Did one partner’s negative behavior somehow push the other to stray? Or did the erring partner simply fail to fight the temptation to cheat? No matter what the actual reason for the infidelity is, both partners must dissect the cause and make sure not to allow a repeat of it moving forward.

  • Voice out your pains. In any relationship with a cheating phase, both partners must verbalize their pains. There is no use keeping one’s pain secret from the other partner, as it would only lead to unresolved feelings that could wreak havoc on the relationship. One way of ensuring that the relationship will have a smooth path toward healing is to voice out those negative emotions and strategize how best to avoid the things that caused them in the first place.

  • Spend more time doing activities you love. One of the best ways of beginning the healing process is to mutually agree on a schedule during which you would do activities that you both love. It does not have to be grand or expensive, as long as it is something that you could both get mutual satisfaction and enjoyment.

  • Identify and follow healthy patterns. Once you have mapped out what went wrong that caused the infidelity, you should now ask yourselves what positive things you could do to avoid the exact triggers for the infidelity. Once you have done that, all you need to do is to follow those positive patterns religiously.

  • Involve God more in your journey toward healing. Nothing is too hard when God guides your journey toward healing from an infidelity issue. If you hardly went to church before the cheating occurred, then be sure to mutually commit to attending worship services together. Constant prayer should also do your relationship wonders since God hears those who pray sincerely. 

  • Take your time to grieve. This is one aspect of moving on that you should never rush. Individual persons have different coping mechanisms, so it’s only logical that people also have varying rates of moving on from something that caused them pain. If it takes a month or a year before the offended partner finally recovers from the pain, then be it.

  • Pray to God to grant you a humble heart. Whether you are the offending party or the offended partner, asking God to give you a heart full of humility is one way of speeding up the healing journey. According to Ephesians 4:31-32: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Knowing that you’re wrong and asking for forgiveness, or knowing that you’re also a sinner whom God forgives many times over, should give you the humility to let go of your pain, tread the part towards forgiveness, and move on.

Related Article: How to Spot, Prevent, and Handle Sex Abuse in Religious Institutions, Public Places, and Homes

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