I have written before regarding my and my wife's relationship. You mentioned that she has issues with forgiveness and I agree. I tried to discuss this with her from a scriptural perspective. Stating that we are commanded to forgive as God forgives, Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13 emphasizing the word "as". I said that when God forgives, our relationship with him is restored back to what it was before if we are Christians. For instance, when Jesus forgave Peter for denying him, the relationship was restored. Jesus didn't say, I forgive you Peter but I just can't trust you again, or we just can't have the same relationship. Her response was that she does forgive me, but she is still hurt and that she cannot have a relationship with the person that I am until I fix myself. I have come to her in humility, fully repented and asked for forgiveness. So I guess my question is, how do hurt and mistrust come into play in giving full forgiveness? Where do the damaged emotions come into play in Scripture? Also, how can one forgive "as" Christ forgives if the relationship will not be restored? I have studied this subject extensively and I cannot find anything regarding regaining trust in order to forgive other than in Luke 16:10-12 where it discusses a man who cannot be trusted. I am at an impasse at this point.
I do have another question regarding my and my wife's relationship. A little history first; during the time that I was involved with this other woman, my wife started having inappropriate conversations with a male acquaintance of hers. It started out as her asking him advice regarding the situation but it later turned. She knew him through an activity that they are both involved in. I had overheard some of these conversations and became very angry, even though I was guilty. Now that I have repented, asked forgiveness and am trying to move forward and repair things, she continues to talk to him every night and even two to three times a day. She says that nothing inappropriate is being discussed but after what I've heard in the past I am very uncomfortable with it, even if the conversation is innocent. When I bring up how I feel she gets very upset. Earlier in the year, she agreed to cut down but she still talks every night. This weekend, out of the blue she asked if we could come to a compromise about her talking. I said, well since you asked, I wish that you wouldn't talk to him every night. Then she got mad because I did not want to compromise. Anyway, I am very uncomfortable with it. She says that they just goof off and laugh and it's an escape from what's going on. Also that they talk about their common activity. She gets upset if I do anything that upsets her, but when it comes to what upsets me then it's unreasonable. Again, I'm in a quandary. Everything that I read, whether Scripture-based or secular discourages this kind of relationship. But she says that she is the exception. I feel that kind of thinking is naive. Is there something Scriptural that I can refer to? Are my feelings justified or am I overreacting?
You're at an impasse because anything you say in regards to this matter is seen by her as self-serving. Thus, she feels justified in dismissing your arguments. The fact that you are right and she is in the wrong doesn't matter to her because all she sees and all she wants to see is that you wronged her first.
If I was talking to her, what I would point out is "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). She claims to forgive, but her "forgiveness" is merely words, it doesn't exist in reality. One day she will come before the great Judge and He promises to forgive us as we forgive others. She risks being told, "I'll forgive you, but I can't trust you, so you won't be entering heaven." It was to this problem that Jesus addressed a parable to Peter in answer to his question of "How often should I forgive a brother" (Matthew 18:21-25). The last line is the most telling, "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses" (Matthew 18:25). She has forgiven in words, but she has not forgiven from her heart. The problem is that a preacher or one of the older ladies at church can get away with being this blunt, but she won't listen to you because she will claim it is self-serving.
You have several options.
- You can find a local preacher or an older woman in the church whom she trusts, explain the situation, and ask him or her to speak with her about this matter for her soul's sake.
- You can decide to live with the situation, hoping that eventually, your example will reach her heart.
- Or you can bring the matter to a head by stating that you want your wife back and not a roommate -- and then proceed to file for separation where you keep the house and children, all the while being clear that since she doesn't trust you and puts her trust in another man, there is no reason to live together.
The latter means you are committing yourself to a possible life of celibacy, which isn't different from what you currently have because your only option is to be reconciled to her. But what I would hope is that this forces her to see her responsibility. It is up to her to decide whether she wants to truly forgive you or not, but her decision carries a consequence. Up until now, she can claim to forgive, not forgive, and basically suffers no difficulties as a result of her choice. I don't like the latter option, but it might break the stalemate. In this particular situation, I believe you are within your rights (I Corinthians 7:10-11). I suspect that part of the motivation in talking to this man is revenge for what you did to her.