Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named Scoope69:
Hi, Lee I have been pondering about this spiritual question for some time and I was wondering if you could answer this for me. Yes, I have read Everything so far, and it is very welcoming and true. I can’t say I’ve been the most righteous person, nor can I say I’ve been the worst either. I have graduated high school already and I have some college under my belt. To start, I have a spiritual background in my household. I have prayed and longed for a relationship I could share because I am very loving and caring. I saw many spiritual signs and messages in my dreams that I followed. Many of these signs told me to hold out a little longer, the love that I wanted would near. I fell in love with a foreign woman, she is very nice and sweet to everyone. I found out she is married already, and we exchanged numbers and parted after that. Slowly but surely, somehow we naturally worked up a feeling for each other, it is nothing that we forced, it just happened. Now we sort of have this soul mate relationship thing happening. She loves me deeply, and I love her deeply. We were only sexual once, and now could be more. I always wonder now if I am doomed to hell for having sinned. Nothing that I have done is for my own gain or greed or to destroy her. Everything is out of love from my heart. Her inner relationship isn’t the best, I know probably shouldn’t be a part, but it feels right and wrong, I make her happy, but I also want an exact answer, and I feel like you can help. I don’t blasphemy the Holy Spirit, and I very much believe in God and everything that comes with it. I know that only God is good, and I have been researching a lot, I am for sure not evil. I do show love for the neighbor, and coming to you, I know there are no slick ways out for anyone. So I wanted to ask, am I doomed, what should I do?
Thanks for your spiritual conundrum, Scoope69. I do sympathize with your praying and longing for a soulmate with whom you can share your life. This is a longing and desire that God has placed deeply in our souls.
There’s just no way to sugar-coat this one. If you are engaged in a romantic and sexual relationship with someone who is already married, you are committing adultery. And adultery is wrong and contrary to God’s clear and direct commandment.
So here is the exact answer to your conundrum. Either:
- The woman you are in love with must divorce her husband, or
- You must break off your relationship with her.
It’s just that simple.
And even if she does divorce her husband for you, the prospects for a good and healthy relationship with her are not the best. It will tend to be poisoned by the fact that it began with adultery.
You shall not commit adultery
In general, the Bible is nowhere near as strict on sexual conduct as Christianity traditionally leads people to believe. For example, there is no direct commandment in the Bible prohibiting sex before marriage. (See: Is Sex Before Marriage Forbidden in the Bible?)
However, the Bible does contain one very clear and direct commandment about our sexual life:
You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18)
This, of course, is one of the Ten Commandments.
In other words, there is no equivocation about adultery. It is forbidden. Period.
This means that the moment we find out that a person we are romantically interested in is already married, we must put away any thoughts of having a romantic relationship with that person.
It doesn’t matter if we feel incredibly attracted to them.
It doesn’t matter if we think they’re our soulmate.
It doesn’t matter if they’re in a bad marriage.
A person who is married is not eligible for another relationship. Having a relationship with them is adultery, and is simply forbidden.
If they’re in a bad marriage, it’s up to them to end that marriage. Until they do, they are off limits.
Marriage is built on love and trust
Mutual love is, of course, an essential ingredient of marriage. At least, it’s an essential ingredient of real, spiritual marriage.
Another essential ingredient of real, spiritual marriage is trust.
There are many layers and levels of trust. But for our purposes right now, there is a simple, basic type of trust that is required for a real marriage:
Each partner must be able to trust that the other is, and will continue to be, faithful to the marriage.
Marriage is, at its core, a union of minds and hearts between two people. In a real, spiritual marriage, the two people are one in spirit. And they continue to become more and more one as the marriage grows and deepens.
Perhaps early on in a marriage, before that oneness is solidified, each partner may have stray thoughts about being with someone else. But as the marriage grows, if it is a real marriage, such thoughts fade away. The two partners don’t even think seriously about being with anyone else. They have a oneness with each other that they can’t imagine having with any other person.
That is the spiritual basis of trust and commitment to a marriage relationship.
However, even before that level of oneness can develop in a marriage, there is another type of commitment and trust that must be present: a commitment to marriage itself, and a trust that neither partner will violate the vows of marriage.
Yes, early on in a relationship, after the honeymoon, it is fairly common for people to think, “What if?” “What if I had married that one instead of this one? Would it have been better?”
But the fact of the matter is, you married this one. And that means you made a commitment to the person you did marry. It is a commitment not just to love your partner, but to be faithful to your partner.
A person who commits adultery is not committed to marriage
Now this should be obvious.
If a person commits adultery, that person does not have a real commitment to marriage.
How could they?
They married someone, and then slept with someone else. That is the very definition of a lack of commitment and a lack of faithfulness to their partner and to their marriage vows.
So as wonderful as it may feel to develop a relationship with someone who is married, consider this: In the very act of having a relationship with you, and having sex with you, that person is violating his or her marriage vows. In the very act if becoming romantically involved with you, that person is showing that she or he is not committed to marriage, and cannot be trusted to be faithful in a marriage.
That is one of the reasons why statistically, very few relationships that begin with adultery (somewhere between 1% and 10%, depending on whose statistics you accept) end in a successful, long-term marriage. Most adulterous relationships don’t result in a marriage at all. And of those that do, 75% end in divorce.
When you’re in a relationship with someone who is married, it can seem very exciting and real. It has a “forbidden love” aspect to it. And your time together can feel very intense.
But consider that this exciting relationship is based on the violation of another relationship—of a marriage relationship.
Most likely, the person you’re having an affair with won’t even divorce his or her spouse for you. Most likely, your exciting relationship will burn out in time as it becomes clear that you will never be married to this person.
And even if she or he does get a divorce and marry you, you’ll always have to wonder whether, if things get rocky in your marriage, your spouse will do the same thing, violate your trust, and engage in another affair that will wreck this marriage just as it wrecked the previous one.
Adultery is wrong. Don’t do it.
We humans are not perfect. Many, if not most people have one or more sexual relationships before they settle into a stable marriage (if they settle into a stable marriage).
But when it comes to adultery, that is a red line we are simply not meant to cross.
That’s why the Bible discourages sex between two people who aren’t married, but absolutely forbids sex when one or both of the people involved is married to someone else.
So to Scoope69 and anyone else who is either involved in or drawn to a relationship with someone who is already married, my advice is simple and stark:
Don’t do it.
And if you have already done it, end that relationship immediately.
It may feel like the most wonderful, exciting thing on earth. But it is adultery. And adultery destroys both marriages and lives.
The path to true love does not go through adultery.
So put out of your mind that attractive person who is already married to someone else. Don’t set yourself up for the heartbreak that is almost sure to follow. And don’t try to build your marriage relationship on the wreckage of another marriage, and another family.
There is someone out there for you. But that person is not married to someone else. Or if they are, then that person is not for you until they are no longer married to that other person. As long as they are married to another person, a strict hands-off policy is the only proper path. Just walk on by, and keep on looking for the one God has in mind for you.
This is both a matter of personal integrity and a matter of being faithful to the clear, direct commandment of God.
This article is a response to a spiritual conundrum submitted by a reader.
For further reading:
- What If I’m In Love with Someone I Can’t Have?
- Is Sex Before Marriage Forbidden in the Bible?
- How to Attract the Opposite Sex—and Keep ’Em
- How to Know if Mr. or Ms. Right is Right for You: Pointers from Gloria and Emilio Estefan
- How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?