As Christian wives we are called to faithfulness, challenged to maintain a steadfast trust in God. Our faithfulness with Him is an ongoing relationship; and with Him, to the world, we are called to demonstrate a desire for a relationship with our Father. He remains dependable and committed, we do not. In the Garden of Eden God our God placed the tree of knowledge. He created a situation where His children could choose whether or not to live by His perfect standards. Standards designed to protect His children and keep pure the relationship. The Lord gave mankind a beautiful gift in the dignity of choice. When it comes to our marriage we have a choice.
To stay faithful or not; to stay...heirs together in the grace of life. 1 Peter 3:7 or to step into sin and into adultery. A theme that runs through Scripture is God’s intent for husbands and wives to be faithful to each other. Fidelity in marriage is God’s plan for His Kingdom and God’s purpose for His children. Adultery is strictly prohibited. (Ex 20:14, Deut 22:22) Jesus also condemned adultery (Mark 10:11, 12; Luke 16:18) and Paul denounced it as one of the “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19). Basically, it’s a big fat no, no.
Let me go ahead and say that I am putting “legalism” aside here. I will not go deep into the results of unfaithfulness because truly, I am no expert. What I want to focus on here is why we stay faithful to our spouses. No doubt that adultery is such a severe breach of trust and fidelity that it is noted as a permissible grounds for divorce (Matt 5:32). If you have stepped into that sin, know you are forgiven when asked for forgiveness. If you are on the other side of that sin, it is time to forgive. If you have not stepped into that sin this is a lesson to help keep you faithful until the end. We cannot control our spouses as they too have been given the dignity of choices in this life but we can control our own behaviors.
…heirs together in the grace of life.” 1 Peter 3:7
I was reading a FaceBook post recently from an old friend. She was divorced and had tried to have relationships since the divorce. One of the things she said that made me very sad for her was that she realized that she may no longer be able to grow old with someone. That every new relationship was starting from the beginning and she would not get to experience the fullness of what it is like to walk through a marriage from beginning to the full end. Her statement made my heart ache for her. I understood exactly what she was saying. It was more about experiencing all the seasons that God intends with a lifelong marriage. I have no doubt that she will find someone to love her until the end and that God does have someone waiting for her if she’ll trust Him, and she can still experience that fullness.
I have friends that have walked through the storm of adultery, some of those marriages were healed and some were destroyed. I have friends that are walking through it now and some that are in the midst of the sin itself and it has not yet been revealed. Infidelity is everywhere. It is hidden in the dark places but where there is dark there will be light.
Jesus taught that adultery begins in the heart (Matt 5:7, 28, 19:18, 19) and is rooted in lust. Many a marriage has suffered greatly because of “emotional adultery” which Jesus taught was just as serious as sexual immorality, and our minds struggle with this. You may be reading this and imagining that my marriage has not experienced any of this, that I sit on a pedestal and preach with a finger pointed. That is not the case and I am ashamed to say there was a time when I myself was the guilty party.
When I first wrote this study I was also seeking God’s guidance on the subject of faithfulness. I was struggling and only I knew it. A deeply emotional betrayal of the heart was happening. My emotions were all in the way. I was in the midst of a storm in my marriage that felt like it had an uphill climb and I was looking for a way out of my misery. I thought I was finding it in another relationship. It seemed innocent at first but that line seems very blurry and it seems that there is all this grey area, but really, there is not. In my heart, I was cheating on my husband and I regret to think that if given the opportunity it would have become more. I praise God today for taking that desire away of seeking something different for my life and turning my eyes back to the one man who choose me.
I realize now that it is my choice, it is in my control as to whether or not my husband and I are “heirs” of the wonderful things this life has to offer or I can “error” and ruin it all. Husbands have their own choices to make but we as wives have ours. We have the power to decide if we want to be happy because happiness doesn’t lie within our husbands or within ourselves, it lies within Christ. For the sake of my marriage and our happiness I want to grow old with my husband and be “heirs in the grace of life.” I had to confess to my husband my heart, it was the hardest thing I have every done but he understood because he also knew that our marriage was rocky. That was the first step, looking the sin in the face, asking for receiving for and receiving forgiveness. I will forever love my husband for the grace he showed towards me. I may never truly know how his heart felt. His forgiveness left me at his mercy and in a vulnerable place that changed the dynamics of our relationship but strengthened our marriage.
You too can have the bounty of goodness that God wants you to have. Whew, didn’t that sound a little preachy….bounty of goodness, but it’s true. God wants us to be happy and love each other. He wants us to be partners in the goodness of life that He has to offer. We are our husband’s helpers by design, their friends, a gift to them from the one we call Father who is gracious and good. We don’t need to spoil it no matter our circumstances. God made us to be our husband’s helper; made to meet their needs here in on earth with His help. God will meet their spiritual needs. We are our husband’s companions and we are there for good conversations, for uplifting, for support, for encouragement, and so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Remember, they need us! No matter how hard our marriage becomes God intends for us to live life with faithfulness, thanksgiving, and joy. I have had a much deeper appreciation for my purpose as a wife.
Today, if you have experienced either side of infidelity in your marriage, whether it is from your own doing or your husbands I need you to know that God is the ultimate healer. If it was emotional or physical, it doesn't matter. I encourage you to seek God’s strength and wisdom on this topic. Remember that God does not make a mistakes, we do. I pray a hedge of protection around your marriage and encourage you to do the same.
God promises to make the value of trouble a door of hope. Jill Briscoe
I am married to my high school sweetheart. We've been pressing ahead together for over 24 years. We have 5 beautiful children; 3 by my own body and 2 through foster to adopt. I wrote this Bible study in 2009, years ago, for myself and shared it on my blog. It is very dear to my heart. It's been tweaked and edited many times and I'm proud to be bringing it back to you. Over the years I received countless emails from women who credited this study with changing their marriage for the better. Since removing it from my old blog I have received just as many emails asking when it would return. I hope you enjoy spending your time in God's Word with me.