No hope? Self-fulfilling cheater prophecy. - Divorce Minister
“I just do not have any hope for our marriage.”
Ironically, faithful spouses are usually the ones who are accused of giving up on the marriage.
The reality is that the cheater gave up on the marriage the moment they decided to violate their marriage vows. Plus, many of us–I suspect–sat in the counseling office with a cheater who claimed “hopelessness” over the marriage.
Like so much, cheaters put the burden of “hope” on the faithful spouse or circumstances. They refused to take personal responsibility for bettering their own relationships.
You see, many cheaters see themselves as tragic “victims” of their marriages and circumstances.
Sitting with a pastor or counselor while dealing with such a cheater is a waste of time. They are done with the marriage. All they are there for is image management–i.e. they want to do bad things without looking bad.
The cheater fails to acknowledge that they have a role to play in restoring a ruined relationship. They are not just passive passenger on this “trip.”
What about faithful spouses deciding on ending the marriage?
I see this scenario differently. Biblically, the differences between an adulterous spouse and faithful spouse are very stark. One has permission to divorce–namely the faithful partner–and the other is in flagrant sin.
Even for those faithful spouses who decide to stay, I think they have to play an active role in the marriage rebuild. It looks different than the active role of the cheater in the rebuild.
The faithful spouse has to decide to work to keep their heart open to the rebuilding process. It is costly; and there is no shame for a faithful spouse deciding that it is not worth it to them. They have biblical permission to divorce, after all (see Matthew 19:9).
A hopeless statement is out of place, regardless. Either decide to work on the marriage or end it. Cheaters are just trying to “have their cake and eat it, too.”
*A version of this post ran previously.