I can write these things because I have been on both sides of the issue. I have been the other woman and I have been the innocent spouse. When I was in college, I met a man from Mexico. The first time I saw him, he was quite overtly checking me out. I saw his eyes moving up and down my body. I could see the lust and desire. I’m not going to lie. I enjoyed having a man find me desirable. It made me feel good. We began hanging out together, but the relationship did not become physical. One night, I was on the phone with him, and he casually mentioned his wife and child. I had no idea up to that point that he was married. I was shocked. He deliberately misled me and deceived me, but that was on him, not me. The moment of truth for me came, though, when I found out he was married. If he wanted to commit adultery, I was not going to be a willing participant. I have too much respect for others, myself and marriage for that. I also have reverence for God. I knew what I had to do if I was to be a woman of good character and morals, as I was raised to be—I had to end it. That is exactly what I did right after he told me of his wife and child. I told him I could not and would not see him anymore, nor would I be friends with him, and I stuck by it.
It seemed like common sense to me—to end it. I mean, what kind of person gets involved with a married man (or woman)? If I had been foolish enough or dumb enough (whatever you want to call it) to continue to see him after I knew he misled me, I think I would have deserved all the consequences I would have surely received. His wife would have had every right to not like me, to not trust me, to not respect me, and to think of me as a “loose” woman or as a “homewrecker.” That’s the kind of reputation I would have brought upon myself. Fortunately, I used the good sense God gave me and avoided a relationship that would have been sinful and could have gotten complicated. I was not going to be the woman who could have destroyed a marriage. I was not going to have that on my conscience.
So, I write this to all the other women and other men who recklessly enter into or continue in relationships with a married man or woman. Just as I had the choice to do right or wrong, so do/did you. You have no idea what you have done or are doing, I can assure you of that. You have no idea of how the spouses of those men or women see you, and you have no idea about the way you have shown yourself to be by your actions.
I have talked to many women who have said the same basic thing of the other woman: She does not think she did anything wrong. Of course, there are variations of that theme: It’s not my fault; I’m innocent; I’m not to blame; He lied to me; I’m the victim, etc. At the heart of the issue is that it is deeply disturbing and profoundly sad that any woman (or man) who gets involved with a married person can knowingly, willingly, and purposefully make such sinful choices that inflict an enormous amount of pain on a person who has done nothing to deserve it, and then not even care! That is the epitome of arrogance, pride, selfishness, and cruelty. I do not think any woman (or man) who has been cheated on would disagree with me about these things. Am I correct ladies?
Character matters. Integrity matters. You choose to throw aside your character and integrity when you get involved in a relationship with a married man or woman. That is the truth. If it is hard for you to accept, then maybe you need to hear it. Maybe you can still change who you are. I know the truth hurts, but if you want to change, you have to first acknowledge your flaws and sin, or you will repeat them.
So, I will tell you how the innocent spouse (and probably anyone else with any scruples) sees you and how you can change what you have done.
Let’s start with how the innocent spouse sees you, the other woman:
- You are a person who has poor character and little to no morals. If you have a conscience at all, it is either very weak, or you just don’t listen to that little voice that tells you, “This is wrong, and I know it, so I shouldn’t do it.” Your actions reflect what is in your heart and tell people who you really are.
“And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person”(Mark 7:20-23).
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person” (Matthew 15:19-20).
“Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy” (Proverbs 12:20).
“Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin“ (James 4:17).
2. You are not a trustworthy person. They cannot and should not, under any circumstances, at any point in time, trust you or believe a word you have to say. They would be insane to trust you!
3. You are a selfish, cruel, cold, mean, and callous person. A good person who cares about others would not sleep with someone’s spouse.
4. You do not care about them. If you cared at all about them, you would not have slept with their spouse. That’s common sense. Expecting them to think that you for one second care about them is ludicrous!
5. You do not respect them. If you respected them at all, you would not have slept with their spouse. That’s common sense, too. Don’t add insult to the injury you helped cause by even hinting that you care about them and respect them and their marriage. Your actions spoke volumes to them, so don’t bother defending yourself.
6. You do not respect or honor marriage, nor do you understand the significance and sacredness of marriage. “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4). Note this verse because it references both the spouse committing adultery and the one who participates in that adultery by being the other woman/man. Sleeping with someone to whom you are not married is fornication, which is a type of sexual immorality. Fornication is a sin and adultery is a sin. God will judge both people! A man or woman is to have his/her OWN wife/husband, not that of someone else.
“But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2).
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17).
God instituted marriage, and He takes it very seriously. Marriage is symbolic of the relationship Christ has with the Church:
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washingwith water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:22-32).
Do not deceive yourself into thinking that God will overlook your part in trying to destroy or in destroying a marriage. Those who mess with marriage will be judged for it.
7. You lack compassion and the ability to empathize, as well as have no regard for how your sinful choices and actions affect others. You have no idea how much your selfish, self-indulgent, cruel actions have wounded or are wounding the innocent spouse. You have no inkling of how much pain, agony, and anguish you put them through or are putting them through. You cannot fathom the number of tears they cried or are crying over your sinful and wrong relationship with their husband/wife. Anyone who can inflict that kind of pain on another person and then try to excuse themselves has a severe and deep character flaw and a major spiritual problem. Do you not know the Golden Rule? “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31).
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14). Would you want someone to sleep with your husband or wife? If your answer is “No,” then you should not sleep with or have slept with someone else’s spouse. That is common decency really. If someone is married, they are off limits! Period! End the relationship, and let it remain so.
8. You have no fear or reverence for God or His word. God will not let you off the hook or hold you blameless. He is a holy God and judges according to His truth and His standard, not according to your delusional, twisted, or warped version of truth.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
9. You are guilty! You are not innocent, blameless, or above reproach. You chose to do the wrong thing instead of the right thing. What you did or are doing is absolutely 100 percent your fault and your fault alone, no matter how you try to spin it or what you have told yourself or others. You freely chose or have chosen to enter into the relationship and you freely chose or have chosen to remain in the relationship. You could just have easily chosen or could just as easily choose to end the relationship, which is what a good person with a pure heart would have done or will do, as this is the only right thing to do. When you chose or choose not to do so, you showed/show your true heart and bad character.
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15-15).
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
“For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:5-6).
“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience” (Colossians 3:5).
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
According to God’s word, sexual immorality is the only sin that is against one’s own body: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). So, you sinned against your own body, against God and against the innocent spouse. If you want to argue about that point, take it up with God because it is completely supported by scripture.
10. You lack sound judgment and lack foresight and wisdom. Think before you act. A wise person carefully considers her/his choices and actions, not just for the present, but for the future. Your lack of judgment, wisdom and foresight helped get you into the mess you helped create, so you have no right to absolve yourself of any and all wrong doing. Your lack of judgment, wisdom and foresight resulted in sinful choices that had/have consequences. Since you helped create the consequences, don’t cry “Foul!” when it is time to reap what you sowed: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7). Be a mature, responsible adult and deal with the situations you helped create or are helping create.
“The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly” (Proverbs 5:22-23).
“But she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6).
Now that I have made it clear how the innocent spouse sees you, let me address the issue of how you can make things right.
- Try some humility. Admit your sin to God, make things right with him, and then make things right with the spouse you sinned against.
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6).
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).
“Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).
- Do not attempt to justify, rationalize, excuse, or defend yourself or your pathetic and hurtful choices. That is only demonstrating more disrespect and disregard for the innocent spouse. The only thing you can say to that spouse that matters is “I’m sorry. I wronged you. Please forgive me.” Until and unless you get to that point, just keep your mouth shut. Your inability to admit your fault and your wrongdoing is insulting and disgusting to the innocent spouse. The innocent spouse does not, for one second, buy into your excuses, nor does God. When you say things like, “I did nothing wrong,” “I’m innocent,” “It’s not my fault,” “You just don’t understand,” “I’m the victim,” yada, yada, yada you are insulting and disrespecting the only innocent person in the entire situation, which is the spouse of the person you slept with. Shame on you for perpetuating that destructive lie and continuing to live in it! You are also demonstrating profound selfishness and callousness.
When Adam and Eve sinned, Eve blamed the serpent, and Adam blamed Eve. God, however, does not let us play the blame game. He held Eve accountable for her sin and determined the consequences Eve would pay for her sin. He held Adam accountable for Adam’s sin and made Adam pay the consequences for his sin. In God’s eyes, both were guilty. God gave Adam and Eve free will, just as He gives that to each of us. You can read the story of the fall of man in Genesis 3. We act according to our own free will. We choose to sin or not to sin. No one can make you sin, nor is to blame for your sin. That is a truth expressed in God’s word many times. God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11; Acts 10:34). If God did not accept Adam and Eve’s excuses for their sin, He will not accept excuses for your sin. You ignore this truth to your own peril.
- You don’t have to tell the innocent spouse anything at all about her/his spouse. Believe me, they know of their spouse’s sins, lies, and deceit, but they also hold you responsible for your sins, lies, and deceit. Why should she/he trust you anyway? Worry about fixing what is wrong with your character instead of attempting to minimize, excuse, or justify your sin. It is repugnant to the innocent spouse and to the God you will one day answer to.
Here’s the thing about the truth. Once you know the truth, you are accountable to it and will be judged according to it. Your refusal to admit your sin and accept any blame does not make your estimation of yourself true. It shows that you have deceived yourself. The truth is the truth whether you believe it or not and whether you like it or not. When you find out the truth, that is the test of your character. How you responded/respond to the truth shows just as much about you as it does about the cheating spouse. Further, for anyone reading this who entered into a relationship with a cheating spouse and later found out that person lied and deceived them, if you chose to remain in that relationship, you demonstrated a severe lack of good sense and good judgment. By not ending the relationship, you became culpable. Don’t lie to yourself. Your foolish decision to continue the relationship was YOUR decision. It told the innocent spouse all he/she needed to know about who you really are.
“And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, EACH ONE OF THEM, according to what THEY had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:13-15). This verse is about how each one of us, individually, is responsible for our own actions and sins. It comes down to personal responsibility.
The good news is you can still change and do right by the innocent spouse and get your life right with God. There is still hope for you. God is ready, willing, and able to forgive you if you will humble yourself. The harsh reality is that if you continue to hold yourself above reproach, you will spend an eternity separated from the God who so desperately loves you. Is your soul worth it? Is your pride worth it? Is that how you want to be remembered–as a woman or man of poor character and no morals? The choice is always yours, just as it has always been yours and no one else’s.