Has anyone read this? Opinions?
The article is bad enough in my mind, but the comments run anywhere from reasonable to vitriolic.
The premise seems to be that no matter what you have done in your marriage, that if your spouse has an affair, that you are the victim of the worst offense, and that if you suddenly realize your own sin, you are not required to make any steps towards repentance until your spouse does first.
The comments go on to repeat that over and over again.
Obviously, there probably can not be reconciliation, till both parties repent, but I would like someone to convince me why only the person who has the affair has to go first and the other gets to live in unforgiveness until he does.
I also find it troubleing that in the few cases where the wife was the unfaithful party, the response is more along the lines of ” Oh, you poor thing. we are sorry for everything, but yes, you broke the covenant so you ha e to repent first”, but it is a man, no matter what they have endured, they get what we shall call a harsher treatment.
I agree that the cheating spouse should repent of cheating. They should never excuse their cheating, nor justify it. Nor should they blame their spouse for what they have done. But I agree with comments made in this thread that whoever has sinned should repent. And no one should be bent on waiting on the other to repent first.
There were a few other things the author said that I would question.
Does it take two to tango? Seems to me it does. The cheating spouse typically cheats with someone else. (Somehow that person is left out of the whole conversation.)
A comment about covenants. Not all biblical scholars would agree with the author that committing adultery breaks the covenant. They would argue that it breaks the harmony of the relationship, but that the covenant remains until the death of one of the partners. Furthermore, I’m not sure it is completely accurate or fully comparable to compare God in a covenant with us with a spouse in a covenant with their spouse. In our relationship with God, He is a perfect partner and we are not. In marriage, both partners are imperfect. Therefore, it is unlikely that (m)any of us can claim totally inculpability. Furthermore, very few things happen in a vacuum. There are usually various factors involved.
The author seemed to suggest that assurances or guarantees could be given that cheating would never (again) happen. Isn’t that somewhat idealistic? Sure we make promises – beginning with our marriage vows, but how can we give guarantees of not sinning? Or not sinning again? We must walk in faith, humility, and utter dependence on God and one another.
It seems to me that the whole premise of the bloggers problem is the fact that it was around a wife asking herself, “What role did I play in this?”
To pick up an offense and say that the spouse is being blamed or picking up the blame, by asking that question, seems to take an assumption way too far. The truth is, our choices and our sins do not happen in a vacuum. There is a ripple effect and our own choices/sins effect far beyond ourselves. Are we solely responsible and will we be held accountable for our sin, no matter what others have done? Absolutely yes. But that doesn’t mean that others choices, or even sins, don’t have an effect on us.
If a spouse is loving like Christ calls us to love, that helps set up an environment that vulnerability and temptation is much less. We see in 1 Corinthians 7, a big factor in Paul telling spouses not to deprive one another is so they won’t fall into temptation. That means, one persons choices DO effect the other.
I don’t think a relationship or an individual can ever go wrong in examining themselves and asking “What role did I play in this?”, and taking responsibility for their own shortcomings and sin. Isn’t this the “removing the plank out of your own eye”?
As a former sexual refuser, I have to take an honest look and see how my choices and sin did affect my husband and his own choices/sin. Yes, he alone will be judged and held accountable for his sin, including sexual sin…. but so will I. Every word I have said, every deed I have done, no matter how much I felt justified in my own sin at the time….I will be held accountable. (Praise Jesus for the covering of His blood!!!)
I have not talked in much detail publicly about this, but I have fallen into my own EA. I have taken full ownership of this. I did not blame. But if one wants to understand why another could fall to such a level, then that person has to be willing to take a look at themselves and ask, “What role did I play in this?” Maybe the answer is “none”, but the likelihood in a marriage, that will not be the case. My husband’s eyes were open to his own role, and he very much stepped up and took ownership and responsibility for the role he had. He even went so far to be able to give thanks and praise God for it, because it opened his eyes to where he was falling short and was unknowingly causing deep pain and harm to me and our marriage. The truth is, if he had not withdrawn and neglected me for such a span of time, I never would have been put in that place of vulnerability, to that same level.
Doug, I’m sorry you have had such a bad experience there. I stopped reading Sheila’s blog in 2015 when I realized she was willing to twist and omit scriptures to make the Bible say things it doesn’t say, in order to support her own position.
That said, I didn’t find fault with her post at first, since she was saying “Are you to blame?” and that’s different than, “Did you play a role?” She was just comparing apples and oranges. She admits she didn’t read the book. She is not off base with the idea that you cannot have a healthy marriage with an unrepentant cheater. (She is also correct later when she says that rebuilding the marriage and dealing with the cheating are two separate issues.) Then I got to this part:
No spouse can be perfect. To say that a spouse has a role in their spouse’s cheating puts an undue burden on people that we aren’t meant to have and that Jesus does not put there.
She is way off the mark, and misrepresenting Scripture yet again. Dr. Joe Beam of Marriage Helper has a lot of great resources. He and his staff are professionals with vast experience helping marriages in crisis. Watch Marriage Helper YouTube videos, and you will learn how the offended spouse often plays a major role, can do things to change and improve themselves, and the changes this brings to the relationship may in fact help bring the offending party into a place of repentance. This is in line with 1 Peter 3:1
The fact is, the same attitudes or behaviors on the offended spouse’s part that contributed to the vulnerability to cheat can also create a stumbling block to repentance in the offending partner.
It is tragic that Sheila’s rant may prevent some of her readers from reading a resource that might have turned out to be life-transforming for them.
I had a friend to had an EA while he was absolutely fed up with his wife’s disinterests in their emotional, physical aspects of their marriage. I understood that he was lonely, sexually frustrated, that they were often fighting. He clearly blamed the affair on his DW. I could see his point and listened long to the details he brought up. But at the same time would never assign blame of his EA to anyone but him, speaking biblically. A temptation is a temptation and the responsibility was still his.
I confess, I just don’t want to read the article. But I think I understand what happened: a woman wrote a book saying, in effect, “My husband had an affair, he is guilty of sin, but I also have some sin that probably contributed to the situation, and I accept responsibility for that and repent.”
Then someone else, who is over-zealous about a current hot button word, “victim blaming”, decided this book is dangerous and might make all women everywhere think that unless they are perfect wives, if their husbands cheat, it is their own fault.
Is this right? If so, of course the woman who wrote the book is right. We are always to self-examine and avoid contributing to the sin of others. Still doesn’t make us responsible for their sin, but it does make us responsible.
I haven’t read it.
Blame is a strong word. I would venture to say that in some cases the non-cheating spouse is to blame (But that should never be viewed to be an excuse or permission for the other to cheat or sin in others ways).
In other cases, there likely is no blame. In some of these cases, there might still be a level of responsibility – because we are called to be and do “the one anothers” recorded in Scripture. When we don’t fulfill our responsibilities toward each other, aren’t we being irresponsible? Because we haven’t done all that we could have to keep ourselves and our spouse from sinning.
that pretty much sums it up.
Of course, victim blaming the other direction was OK. If you were the victim of neglect and abandonment, you had other options like counseling and boundries, or divorce and you obviously didn’t pursue those options with enough fervor.
She rite this article in response to a book published by Focus on the Family written by a wife who was cheated on and who “realized” she was to blame. I agree with Sheila. The one who cheats chooses to cheat. It’s not something your spouse can make you do. And you alone are responsible for your sin. You cannot blame your sin on someone else. Not to say that all the sin is on one side in a marriage like this, but no sin on one side condones adultery on the other side.
I am posting this here for anyone who wants to read it. I don’t know if I should. I don’t even know if I am on solid ground, What I do know is that I have said everything I can, and rather than change hearts, all they did was dig in. I am really struggling to understand why anyone would act this way. I was initially really hurt by the whole thing, but now I am just numb.
Doug on August 5, 2019 at 6:33 pm
I am going to address this one last time, only this time I am going to be about as real and personal as I can.
You have done exactly the exact thing in this post as you claim to oppose. You have done so repeatedly, and without a shred of remorse.
I spelled out my story as precisely as I could. My wife accused me of an affair 25 years ago, and then withheld the fact that she was pregnant, and then killed my child.
She spent the next 20 years punishing me for her decision. I don’t believe it was a conscious decision to do so on her part, but any shred of intimacy, love and affection died with my child. She didn’t just withhold sex, she took everything I had, and at every minor provocation, her response was to threaten to leave me. Eventually, I did have a brief affair, which I broke off and tried to rebuild things. My wife did not know about the affair, and did not learn of it for another 10 years, when I confessed it after accepting Christ.
After I told you my story, your response was essentially, “You had other options besides cheating”. I can no more deny that than I can my infidelity, but you and I both know those options fail most of the time. In truth, at the time, some were not even options, just because they were so foreign to me. About the only one that you mentioned that I really understood was divorce, and I never wanted that.
What I want to know, in your words, is how you can sit there and tell someone with a clear conscience, that they were somehow to blame for all they endured, because they didn’t explore every option you mentioned 10 years later. Your response basically said that I lost all standing when I had an affair, that I could no longer claim offense.
I have to be honest. you asked why I was getting angry before. Because you were wicked and abhorrent, and took my standing and my voice one more time, after it had happened so often and I had already lost so much.
You blamed me for not knowing the way forward in a situation that few find their way clear of, and many end up killing themselves. It isn’t like I haven’t thought of it myself.
I am going to close by saying that you are no different, certainly no better than those you oppose. You don’t care who your words wound. I have tried to let them go, turn the other cheek and walk away, but I felt you should know the truth.
Rebecca Lindenbach on August 5, 2019 at 7:56 pm
Doug, this is the last comment we will have on this situation (there was a previous 20+ comment thread that was deleted at Doug’s request).
If someone does something horrible to you, you have a choice. You can stay or you can leave the marriage. If you stay in the marriage, that is a choice.
Your wife killing your unborn child IS grounds for divorce–I don’t think anyone would argue that. But you CHOSE to stay despite knowing that.
Then, after choosing to stay–no matter what the situation–if you have an affair, that is wrong to do so. No matter what your spouse did. Because you chose to stay. And when we are in a marriage we promise not to sleep with anyone else. That’s the cornerstone of a marriage–fidelity.
I’m really sorry if you feel wounded or blamed but that was never the intention–we actually continuously said that the way you were treated was not appropriate and we are very very sorry for how you were treated by your wife.
But I’m going to be honest, you made a choice to stay in a marriage. If you didn’t want to divorce her, you definitely should not have had an affair. You can’t have it both ways, and that sounds harsh but we’re not saying you had NO option, we’re not blaming you for what your wife did, nothing like that. All we’re saying is everyone is responsible for their own sin. And if you’re in an abusive marriage, you CAN get out. But the way out isn’t infidelity. And if you choose not to leave, you also are promising not to sleep with anyone else. That’s literally all we are saying.
Truthfully, I don’t actually think you want to have a conversation here. I think you just want someone to tell you that what you did was OK. It wasn’t. What your wife did definitely wasn’t OK either–and I think you may really benefit from some counselling for the grief that that has caused you, because that would be incredibly traumatic. But I am going to end the conversation about your individual situation here because you keep bringing up the same point and don’t seem to be furthering the conversation. We’re not going to say an affair is ever valid, and you don’t seem to be willing to end this conversation until we say so. So the conversation is no longer fruitful, and I won’t be letting any more of these comments through, especially since earlier you said you wanted to be finished talking and I respected your request to have your comments deleted and then you started posting virtually the same comments again.
If you think it is wicked and abhorrent to tell people they shouldn’t have an affair when they choose to stay in a marriage, I am sorry. But we simply do not agree that an affair is ever OK, no matter how horrible the marriage is. And we do not think that you can CAUSE someone to sin–God says that we all have the ability to stand up under temptation, and that includes the temptation of an affair when you are in a horrible marriage. We are responsible for our own actions. We always have other choices to end the marriage or begin change. Even abuse victims don’t need to get out by sleeping with someone else–they can get a separation, file for divorce, get community around them for protection, even call the police.
Again, we’ve said all we have to say in this manner and since you’ve asked us to delete all the comment thread, which included our responses you are now attacking, and then you posted this attack of Sheila without us having all of our previous replies up I will delete this comment soon as well since it is unfair since you asked us to get rid of all of the comments you are referring to that would show people that, no, we are not blaming you for what your wife did and no, we are not saying that you lost the ability to claim offense done as soon as you had an affair. Multiple times we said that you needed to deal with what your wife had done, too–but the affair had to be dealt with FIRST because that was the current breach of trust. You can’t say you forgive someone and want to stay married to them and then years and years down the road have an affair and blame it on what they did in the past. Either you forgave them, or you didn’t. Either way, the affair is still the first thing that needs to be dealt with because you can’t deal with anything else until that is handled.
I’ll be deleting this tomorrow, but just so you could see this response I’ll be leaving it up for a bit. I truly do wish you well, we all do, and I hope that you and your wife are able to work through these issues if that is what you want. I do truly recommend some counselling because I can sense you’re in a lot of pain still, since this issue is still making you so angry. Often, from my experience, when this much anger is shown it’s not from a place of maliciousness: it’s from a place of deep hurt. So please seek someone to talk to both individually and as a couple, because you should not have to live with that pain forever.