As far as the east is from
the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12
A very
common problem for a woman who is grappling with forgiving her husband for
sexual sin is recurring thoughts that spring from the information she knows
about his offence.
Choosing to
stay and reconcile does not mean the pain of the offence goes away, even when
you forgive him. There will always be a scar on your heart. Like any deep wound
that hit a nerve, it will be extra sensitive and prone to ache from time to
You may be
more sensitive to television programs that discuss infidelity or sexual sin of
any kind. Because sexual sin is so deeply personal and intimate, you may find
thoughts intruding into your everyday life at times you least expect them. You
might find yourself sad at times for no apparent reason until you check your
thoughts and understand that you are thinking on things of the past.
You may not
always be able to control if thoughts
of your husband’s sexual sins pop into your mind, but you are able to control
what you do with those thoughts and how long they stay active. Past counselee’s
have told me that when they meditated on the thoughts of their spouse’s sexual
sin they became harder to dislodge. It stands to reason, the more you play with
any sin the greater the hold it has on you. The more you ruminate on the
actions of the past the more the hurt stays alive, the betrayal feels fresh,
and you remain stuck between the sin of the past and moving forward.
The woman
who forgives experiences a kind of post-traumatic stress response. She can
struggle with thoughts and memories that cause her to relive the trauma or
re-experience the pain she felt when she learned of the immorality or
infidelity. When a wife struggles with recurrent memories and thoughts about her
husband’s past sexual sin, it provides fertile ground for ongoing anger,
bitterness and hurt to grow. In her thoughts and emotions, it is as though she
is being sinned against over and over, keeping the hurt and betrayal alive. Recurrent
memories can be a troublesome problem for both people in the marriage as they
try to move forward in the reconciliation process.
The husband
who has repented of his sin and is demonstrating fruit of that repentance also
suffers by the memories his wife has of his sexual sin. He often suffers the
verbal assault of the angry outbursts and other sinful reactions when those
occur. Even when there are no sinful responses, he is keenly aware of the pain
that repeatedly occurs when those memories surface. The repentant husband
relives his (forgiven) sin against his wife each time it is talked through and
hurt and pain is expressed.
Remember, some
days will be better than others.
The world’s
way of addressing intrusive thoughts is to modify your behavior. Behavior
modification is an ineffective way to lasting change. You must learn to do more
than control your thinking; you must change your thinking. You must be renewed
in your mind (Romans 12:2) through the Word of God.
The biblical
method of changing your thinking begins in the heart and is a work of the Holy
Spirit. Your growth and change in this area of your life will affect much more
than your thoughts about your spouse’s sexual sin and subsequent repentance; it
will produce overall growth in Christ-likeness.
We destroy arguments and every lofty
opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to
obey Christ.
Corinthians 10:5 (ESV)
It is
important to understand that we are to not allow our thoughts to have free
reign. Scripture instructs us to take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-6),
to fix our thoughts on God (Isaiah 26:3), and to be disciplined in our thinking
(2 Timothy 1:7) as in other aspects of our lives.