An Inquirer asks “In my case, my life has been controversial. God has given me all that I have needed, almost everything in twos: two houses, two cars, two daughters, and a loving family. Everything that anyone could want, I have had. As a child, I don’t remember hard times, in spite of the fact that I was raised by my mother alone. She worked to provide everything we needed in life.
Now I have been married more than fourteen years, and yet during that time I have been unfaithful many times. I even have another daughter with a woman who is not my wife. I have spent almost two years avoiding being unfaithful, and I have been successful, but the weight of so much sin is weighing heavily on me and making me believe that it is impossible to attain God’s forgiveness.
In addition, I have stayed in contact with the women with whom I have had extramarital relations, although no longer with any intention of sinning again.
I am looking forward to your advice, and that you will clarify if there is forgiveness for me.”
The fact that you have avoided infidelity for two years shows your determination to overcome temptation. We congratulate you for having been successful for such a long period of time.
We also congratulate you for seeing how destructive infidelity is. So many people have been hurt already: you, your wife, your two daughters, your other daughter, her mother, and the others who you’ve been involved with.
You have had the strength to put a stop to the extramarital relationships, and now the question is how to clean up the mess.
How can everyone begin to heal after so much hurt?
The last sentence of your case is very interesting. You say that you still have contact with women that you had relations with. It is no accident that you included this sentence.
Something deep inside of you is telling you that this continued contact is very dangerous. We believe that you must immediately do whatever is necessary to stop this contact. If that means finding another job, or moving out of the neighborhood, you should do it.
The only exception is your little daughter.
She did not do anything to deserve growing up without a father. In fact, she needs a relationship with you. We would encourage you to have regular visitation with this daughter. And we would encourage your wife to accompany you every time you pick up the daughter or take her back.
If your wife knows that you have no interest in the little girl’s mother, your wife will be able to better accept your other daughter. Your wife will see that the little girl doesn’t deserve to be punished for what her father did.
We assume that you have already confessed your infidelity to your wife and begged her forgiveness and that is why she is still with you. The fact that she has chosen to forgive you shows us that she is a strong enough person to do the things we are asking of her in this discussion.
What to tell your other 2 daughters?
As much of the truth as they can handle at their ages, and the whole truth when they are older. They have a sister and they should be able to know and love her. Your wife will have to be a positive example to the girls of how a mother can forgive and love, even a child who is not her own. Will it be complicated? YES. But consequences of sin are almost always complicated.
How can you avoid falling into temptation again?
- Tell your wife when you first feel an attraction for another woman. Your wife should understand that all normal men feel attraction to the opposite sex. The attraction is not the problem. She should accept your honesty and be thankful that you feel enough confidence in her to tell your secret.
- Find a discreet male friend who knows how dangerous infidelity is. Tell him every time you are tempted. When you get the secret out of your head and into the air, the power it has over you will diminish.
- Determine that you will never be alone with another woman again. No lunches, dinners, car rides, or walks. Maybe you think she understands you. That is a convenient way to justify very dangerous behavior.
- Make plans to spend quality time with your wife and your daughters. They need you. Find activities that you can enjoy doing together.
You say that you believe that sometimes it is impossible to gain God’s forgiveness.
This is not true! In the Bible in Matthew 18 verses 21 and 22, Peter asks Jesus how many times you must be willing to forgive. Jesus answers “seventy times seven.” If Jesus expects men to be willing to forgive that many times, how many more times must God be willing to forgive.
God wants to forgive not only your infidelity, but also all the other ways that we humans sin against Him.
All you have to do is ask. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
If you want the weight of so much sin to be removed completely, confess your sins to God and ask for His forgiveness. Then read the Bible for the truth about how God loves you and wants to give you a wonderful life.
Learn it well, and then teach it to your 3 little daughters.
Charles and Linda