Q&A – Do I have to confess my adultery?

Q:       I am dealing with something and need some advice.  About a year ago I cheated on my wife.  I have never told her about it and the relationship I had with the other person is over.  Do I have to tell her about what I did?  I know that if she finds out she will want to divorce me.  I know that what I did was wrong, but I don’t want to get divorced.  Wouldn’t it be better if we just worked on the problems in our relationship and saved my marriage?A:        The simple answer that I will give you to your question is that your wife absolutely has a right to know the truth.  Let me explain why I believe that.  What happened was definitely a sin against God and needs to be confessed to God.  But it also needs to be confessed to your wife.  The Bible says that our bodies do not belong to ourselves, but also to the one we are married to (1 Corinthians 7:4).  The bible also speaks in many places about how when a couple is married the two become one.  Because of the marriage covenant that you have entered into, and because you are one with your wife and your body does not belong to you, she has a right to know about what has occurred in your life. 

One of the main purposes God designed into marriage was intimacy.  Not just physical intimacy, but emotional, and spiritual intimacy also.  God’s desire is that you and your wife be completely open, honest, and transparent with each other.  Only then will you be able to fully experience what God desires in a marriage relationship.  For your marriage to truly be what God desires it to be, there must be honesty and transparency.  I think that it is wonderful that you are willing to work on the problems you two have, but doing that without letting her know the full truth of the situation is like treating the symptoms of an illness instead of treating the cause.  She has to be able to know what she is facing to truly be able to work through the issues that exist in the marriage.

Your wife is definitely going to be hurt when she finds out what has happened.  Understand that while you have been thinking and dealing with this for a while, she has not had the opportunity to do that.  It is going to take her some time to deal with what has happened.  I would strongly suggest that you come and talk with a pastor here and/or let us refer you to a Christian counselor to help you both work through this.

But understand that just because you tell her the truth does not automatically mean that you will get divorced.  That is a possible consequence to your sin, but not an absolute certainty.  Even when infidelity has occurred in a marriage, God can still heal what has been broken.  He is a God of healing and wants to heal your marriage.

I believe that the reason you are struggling with the question about whether or not to tell her, shows me that God is working on your heart and leading you to confess to your wife what has happened.  It will not be easy, but it is the right thing to do.  I truly don’t think that this will be resolved in your mind until you do confess to her what happened.  James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed….” I am praying for you that God will speak clearly to you about what you need to do.  I will also be praying for your wife.  Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

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