I realize I am on dangerous ground here in talking about an Under and Over Reaction from our spouse upon discovering we are not the faithful and true man she thought she was marrying. Every spouse is entitled to react in any way they feel they must.
Obviously, there are overreactions that one may have. At the beginning of my recovery every morning I woke up without a knife in my chest was a good start. But clearly wanting to kill you or having someone else do it is out of bounds.
Does the name Lorena Bobbitt mean anything to you? On June 23, 1993, after her husband came home from work, he raped his wife, and not for the first time. While he slept, she went into the kitchen, got an 8-inch carving knife, went into the bedroom, pulled off the covers, and just cut it off. She then fled the scene…penis in hand…and drove away. She eventually threw it out the window into a field, called the police, and confessed to her actions.
But that is not the end of the story because they found it, cleaned it, and reattached it and John Bobbitt went on to be used in some porn movies like John Wayne Bobbitt: Uncut and Frankenpenis. You just can’t make this stuff up and what a horrible series of events they both experienced.
So, I think it is safe to say that there can be an Over Reaction…but how far is too far? Your wife has been devasted by your infidelity. She needs to know if you did anything illegal. Have you contracted an STD and perhaps given it to her? Were any of her friends involved? All this before we even get to the place where talking about reconciliation can begin.
She needs time and space. She will need counseling and support from other women and not just going to her friends and telling them. A lot of bad advice can happen in that situation if there are others in that group who have had a bad experience in forgiving and finding healing in their own marriage.
Again, let me emphasize that she needs to have the freedom to react in whatever ways she feels she needs to react. If she grew up in a home where her father committed adultery and the couple divorced, she might think that is her only option…but it is not. If a spouse has a partner who continues in having affairs and watching porn, then certainly a separation can be of value. If affairs continue then, one has biblical grounds for divorce.
I have known and worked with men whose wives left them no choice and quickly decided to kick you out of the home and began divorce proceedings. And if you are the husband that thinks she will not do that because you are living your life according to the Bible and the Bible teaches us God hates divorce and reconciliation is the only way to go. However, keeping yourself only for her is according to the Bible as well but you went ahead anyway. God also hates immorality
It is a long and very difficult road for a couple to be able to stay together, find the help that each one of them needs, and then work to build a new marriage. Someone told my wife…
“Your old marriage is dead…
But God can give you a new marriage.”
Those were bold words for us to hear…and yet prophetic in nature. There were many reasons to believe that our old marriage was dead. We had drifted ever so slowly apart dealing with work, 4 kids, pastoring a fairly large church, and all four kids playing soccer and or music.
We failed to keep our connection strong, and I take the blame for that…because of my secretly growing sexual addiction. I would not allow myself to be open and honest with Mona. We were roommates just trying to survive but not staying open and honest with each other. And in that situation and an extreme amount of stress as a Senior Pastor I had given myself over to my flesh and became addicted to porn and sex and was so deeply ashamed and afraid, I became a master of disguise.
I was trying to fool everybody and the blessing of God’s hand on my life and ministry was withdrawn. However, on September 9th, 2005 the façade came to an end, my mask was ripped off, and I had to tell my wife the truth and allow her to react in any way she felt she needed. However, she is a strong and stable woman and did what she needed to do for herself to survive…while I did the things I needed to do to survive as well. The survival of our marriage would have to wait until we were ready for it.
If God preserved our marriage and we were both able to do the hard work of recovery, then perhaps there was a chance we could survive this…yet with some massive scars that would remain.
You need to be able to do whatever it takes for her to survive what for many has been a death blow. And if it ends up being that a divorce is the only way for her to survive then we are getting what we deserve. But she has just been whacked upside the head with a four-by-four and reeling from the impact. She needs help and support preferably from a Christian counselor who has experience with helping the spouses of sex addicts. If she can find someone who has already gone through such an experience and can confirm that the counselor is good…then all the better.
There is always a disaster when adultery has been discovered. It is a mess that cannot be cleaned up easily nor quickly. It will take a lot of hard work for both of you to get the counseling you both need and address your own personal issues before you begin to see if the marriage can be saved.
And oh, by the way, I do know some couples who got serious about getting themselves help, following the divorce and have even remarried after about 2 years and they work as a team helping couples get both the individual support they need and then how to begin helping the couple with reconciliation either before or after divorce.
Here is their website if you want to consider using them to recover and restore your marriage.