How to deal with an unrepentant spouse

Jay Dee

How to deal with an unrepentant spouse

Jul 13, 2016

I received this question about a week ago in the comments of our survey on period sex (which is still open for entries by the way): How do I get over the hurt of my husband cheating on me and constantly on chat sites and

Anonymous Question

I received this question about a week ago in the comments of our survey on period sex (which is still open for entries by the way):

How do I get over the hurt of my husband cheating on me and constantly on chat sites and porn also changing all his pass words. We are in church leadership I’ve gone to pastoral counseling ( he went once) . Hrs always saying I turn him off because of my insecurities yet he’s the reason I have them …cheating, porn, and telling me we need to workout more ( which I agree even though I’m on the gym 5 days a week and 32 years old 120 lbs and 5’2″) any suggestions

So, the question is, “How do I get over the hurt”, but I think the question is misguided.

I’m not sure you can get over the hurt of a spouse who is still actively betraying you and shows no remorse, regret, or takes any personal responsibility for it.  Rather, I think the issue that needs to be dealt with is the present, active, lifestyle of sin.  Now, I would say this about any couple, but since he’s in church leadership, it’s even more imperative to get this sorted out.

Leaders are held to a higher standard

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. – James 3:1

Leaders need to be held to a higher standard for a couple reasons:

  1. A church leader that is actively trapped in a sin is less likely to preach about it.  So, if he’s engaging in online affairs and watching porn, his preaching about those topics will be less effective, if not non-existent.
  2. If he does preach on it, and his affair comes to light, then it not only throws those lessons into question, it taints the image of the church, Christianity, and ultimately God.  We are His face in the world, and when we are caught in hypocrisy, it reflects badly on our Lord and Master.

All Christians need to be held accountable by other believers

But, regardless of whether he is a leader in the church or not, the fact still remains that he’s a Christian who needs to be held accountable.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:1-2

We need to keep our brothers and sisters in Christ on the straight and narrow, including our husbands and wives.  Perhaps even more importantly so in those relationships, because we have a deeper insight into their lives and we will be able to recognize sin earlier on.  Also, hopefully, we can confront them in a more gentle way.

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. – James 5:19-20

In marriages we can not only “save their soul from death”, but also perhaps save the marriage from destruction.  Better yet, it might lead to a thriving marriage through the process of confrontation, confession, repentance and forgiveness.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. – James 5:16

How do you hold someone accountable with a spirit of gentleness?

Well, thankfully, Jesus gave us a protocol to follow:

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. – Matthew 5:15-17

The process is straightforward:
  1. Approach them alone, if they won’t listen, then
  2. Approach them with someone else, or a couple of people, if they still won’t listen
  3. Bring it to the church

I’ll be honest, I have yet to see anyone implement this between spouses.  I’ve heard of some trying, and then, unfortunately, the church tends to drop the ball.  But, I wish more would use this process.  Not because I want to see the sin paraded out, but because I want to see it dug out of marriages, brought into the light and healed.  Sadly, the fact that it isn’t done is a symptom of a much larger issue in our churches of not holding each other accountable. This is especially true of spouses.

As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. – 1 Timothy 5:20

Now, this wife seems to have gone through part of the process already.  She’s approached her husband directly.  She’s gone to counseling, which one could say is approaching them with another witness.  If this was one of my church members, I would tell them to bring it to the elders ask ask them to go with her to confront her husband.  If he still won’t listen, then, frankly, it needs to be brought to the ruling body of the church.  In my opinion, he needs to repent, or be removed from leadership.

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? – 1 Corinthians 5:12

Now, this is hard for a number of reasons.  If church leadership is his job, it might mean their source of income being at risk.  Even if it’s a volunteer position, it’s his pride on the line, and our self doesn’t like to die easily.  But, as I wrote yesterday, the risk is worth it.  In this case, I don’t think there’s really a choice.  Or rather, the choice is to follow God, or to hide your husband’s sin, becoming an accomplice in it.
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. – James 4:17
Not only that, but this is the loving approach to take.  Secret sins are a cancer that will destroy his life, and his relationship with God.  To bring them out into the open might just be saving him.

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. – Proverbs 28:13

So, I feel like I’ve hit you over the head with enough Bible verses.  Getting over the hurt is going to be hard, but, it’s not time for that yet.  I’m afraid this is likely to hurt more before it gets better, whether or not you work to put a stop to it.  Either way, it’s going to cause pain.  Leaving it alone will be continued pain for the rest of your marriage.  Confronting it will involve being refined in fire for your husband, you will will likely need to go through it, at least in part, with him.  It won’t be fun.  The choice is yours.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Are you curious if your bedroom activities are "normal"?  Find out by filling out our latest anonymous survey.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x