You note that the scriptures challenge us to forgive again and again. The implication, however, is to forgive those who honestly seek reconciliation—your husband seems to want to get into your good graces without making any changes that would protect you both from harm in the future. While forgiveness is important, you are forgetting many other scriptures that admonish us to be wise in our associations with others as well as the use of healthy boundaries.

Proverbs 13: 20 says, "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." You give no indication that your husband has set boundaries between he and those that lead him into harm.

In regards to healthy boundaries, you seem to be enabling your husband to maintain his destructive lifestyle. The Apostle Paul speaks clearly about such matters in Galatians 6:7. "A man reaps what he sows." By "forgiving him" again and again, without true character change, you are not allowing him to experience the consequences of his actions. You are enabling him to bring destruction into the sanctity of your marriage.

I suggest it is time to take sharp, clear actions. It is time to let him know you love him, but cannot allow unfaithfulness to taint the sanctity of your marriage. I suggest you draw a clear line—he must seek counseling to understand his character issues that lead to unfaithfulness; he must dissociate from those that lead him into harmful actions; he must work diligently with you to create safety and trust in your marriage. If he refuses to do these things, you and your marriage remain in danger, and you cannot be a party to that.

In all of these critical decisions, seek the wisdom of the Lord—He promises to give us wisdom liberally. "If you look for it (wisdom) as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." (Proverbs 2: 4)

Dear Dr. David,

I have read some of your articles on Crosswalk.com but they usually address from a woman's position. What about the man whose wife cheated on him? My wife and I were married for sixteen years and the divorce was finalized this past March.  I did not want this divorce and fought against it nor do I really believe in them. When my wife and I started to date she knew that I wanted to be in the ministry as did anyone who knows me. I started Bible studies, lead prayer groups, preached, and so on, have been active in the church. During our marriage she slept around, drank, and did drugs. I knew of three of these affairs but felt that if each of us followed God's Word and leading plus went to get Christian marriage counseling then the marriage would become stronger. Please help me understand what happened in our marriage. ~ Discouraged

Dear Discouraged,

Please see my comments in my response to the previous writer, as they apply to your situation.

In short, many marriages are in trouble for lack of some basic, healthy boundaries. Unfaithfulness occurs for various reasons, most predictable and preventable. When we examine a marriage in trouble we often find issues such as unhealthy communication styles, poor conflict management skills, a lack of healthy boundaries, a lack of sacrificial giving, and failing to take danger signs seriously. I am often saddened at the many marriages which falter, but where the couple has failed to heed the warning signs by getting in-depth counsel. Most couples are like the frog in the boiling pot—they feel the water getting hotter, but hope things will magically turn around. They won’t, and don’t. Cosmetic changes do nothing for us. God demands a heart change—a Godly sorrow that leads to repentance.