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Cheating: To End or Continue the Relationship?

Infidelity in a marriage. If this happens to you in a future marriage, would you end the marriage or try to work it out and stay together? The short answer is, it’s up to you. It is optional. You don’t need to keep trying, but it is understandable if you did divorce and end things. It is a judgment call and it depends on the circumstances and the people involved. This can be a very tough decision to make. The ideas in this article relate to being cheated on in a marriage, but the basic ideas below are generally true and applicable for dating relationships as well.

In Matthew 19:9, The Lord states that “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery”. Now, New Testament times were a bit different with their ideas on divorce. Today we understand that other issues may also acceptably lead to a divorce such as domestic violence, major addictions, and other serious issues. However, the main point here is that The Lord validated the idea that divorcing for the reason of infidelity (“adultery”) is understandable and acceptable from a spiritual perspective. But he didn’t say that that was the only option. Married couples where a partner has cheated can also choose to stay together and try to work it out. And some successfully do so.

If you are ever in a position in the future where your spouse commits infidelity, you may be faced with this difficult decision. I am unaware of the rates of infidelity among our church members. However, the most recent statistics I recall stated that about 60% of men and 40% of women in general stray from their marital vows and cheat of their spouses. I assume these rates are somewhat lower with our church members, but still in that ballpark. So, if you ever find yourself in this position of being cheated on, this article will give you some ideas and suggestions to help in your decision.

Factors to Determine the Decision:

  • Was this a brief or a one-time occurrence? If the infidelity was out of character for the offending spouse, there is a better likelihood that will not be a repeat situation and you can work past it. Simply put, sometimes people make weak or foolish decisions, which can sometimes be a rare exception to the otherwise decent character and a good track record. When this is the case, the choice to keep trying in the marriage may still be a good option. However, when the infidelity occurred many times over many months or even years, this is a much more serious discretion and a more serious relationship with the other man/woman. Another factor: did the infidelity involve numerous other partners? Is a spouse a chronic cheater? In sum, the duration, level of, and extent of the cheating should all be considered. It all hurts and is devastating, but not all infidelity is the same.

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