I’ll never forget the moment my wife disclosed her sexual affair to me. It was like a dream…like it wasn’t real. In a split second my view of her changed. She was no longer beautiful in that moment. All I could picture was her doing things with the other man that for the past 17 years were exclusive to our marriage. The purity of our marriage was gone.
In my mind, I had a picture of what our marriage was supposed to look like. While I had the occasional disagreement or emotional pains with her, in the grand scheme of things I felt very blessed. I wouldn’t say that our marriage was perfect, but it was pretty good…in my mind.
When your spouse has an affair, is it possible to ever see them as anything other than a cheater? Can you ever look at them again without disgust? Is intimacy possible without thoughts of filth running through your mind? I’m here to tell you that the answer to all of those questions is “Yes”.
When God looks at me, He sees Jesus’ righteousness (His perfect life and right standing before God) and not my sin. The beauty of the forgiveness that God offers through Jesus Christ is that it has no limits, no conditions and no end (Psalms 103:12). This means I can screw up constantly and God’s forgiveness does not change. How is that even possible? It’s possible because Jesus Christ was perfect in every way and satisfied God’s judgment once and for all. The forgiveness of my sin has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Jesus. That’s why I can’t screw it up.
Likewise, when I look at my wife, I need to see Jesus’ righteousness covering her also. Quite frankly, this is impossible without having the same perspective on sin that God has. Fortunately for God’s children, He has given us the ability to see and understand things as He sees them. The Bible refers to this as having “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16).
Practically, how then do I gain this perspective? Just because I have the ability doesn’t mean I use it. You’ve heard it said that, “you become like those you spend time with.” Very true. When I spend time with God, I dwell on things like love, forgiveness, sacrifice, humility, truth and peace. When I’m neglecting my relationship with God, it’s very easy to dwell on judgement, hate, pain, worry, revenge, pride and fear.
I’m so very grateful that when God looks at me, He sees Jesus’ death on the cross as the payment for my sin. Jesus also died for my wife’s sin. I need this perspective on a daily basis so that I can see my wife as beautiful, forgiven and pure in God’s eyes. I can only love her because God has taught me how to love like He loves (1 John 4:19).
If you are really struggling to see your spouse as beautiful again there are two things you need to understand. First, it will take time. The fresh trauma of such a revelation as infidelity will turn your world upside down for months. Second, God wants to use this tragedy to ultimately draw you closer to Him. As a result of drawing closer, you will gain the wisdom and understanding that He offers. Ultimately, you will be able to see your spouse again as God does- beautiful and forgiven.