It’s a question that lands in my email box two to three times a week since the No More Perfect Marriages blog series in January.
Unfortunately there are too many marriages dealing with unfaithfulness and people are looking for help.
The question I’m asked multiple times a week is “When you discovered the affair, did you contact the other woman? And then that question is usually followed up with “Have you forgiven her?”
Yes I did contact the other woman. I called her. It was a brief one-sided conversation that went something like this: ” I know what has been happening between you and my husband. I am calling on you to be a woman of integrity and to stop this relationship before a family is torn apart any further. I expect you to stop contacting my husband and to stop responding to his contact.”
She was divorced and if she had been married, I would have likely told her that if she didn’t break off the relationship, I would contact her husband. In this case, I didn’t have that option. I do have a friend who had a similar situation. Her communication to the “other person” included that she would contact the woman’s husband if it didn’t stop and that was enough motivation for the woman to break off the relationship.
Now I will say that in my case it didn’t appear to make a difference, but I still felt that it was important that I did it. It was a boundary line that needed to be drawn. I was fighting for my family.
As for the second question: Have I forgiven her? The answer is yes. I had to. I had to for three reasons:
1) Because God requires it. Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Colossians 3:13b tells us, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
2) Because I did not want to become bitter. I didn’t want my heart to be cluttered and unavailable to God.
3) Because I wanted to move forward. I didn’t want to have one foot in the past while I was trying to move forward with my life.
Although it was not expected, nor do I believe needed, I did have the opportunity to communicate my forgiveness to her.
As with any challenge we face, we each have to look to God for direction. In the case of forgiveness, God’s word is clear. In the case of contacting the “other” person, the Bible does talk about accountability but mostly I had to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I felt prompted by the Lord to make the call and He gave me boldness and courage for the few minutes I needed to make that call.
When we walk through difficult seasons, sometimes there’s no “guidebook” on what to do. This is why having a relationship with God is so important. In John 14:26 Jesus says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things…” Romans 8:26 tells us, “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” I certainly felt weak and needed God to teach me what to do!
What about you? How has God led you during a hard season in your marriage?