I am sixty years old, and my wife is forty-four. Fourteen months ago she was diagnosed with cancer…. It has metastasized and is now in her brain. One month ago, when we were getting ready for bed, while in a state of panic, thinking of death, she confessed that she was unfaithful to me three years ago with an ex-boyfriend from her youth.

I feel troubled and don’t know what to do. I never thought that my wife would be capable of this. I need to get out of my mind all the possible things that they did…. I don’t know how long they would spend time together. I need help.

Dear Friend,

We are so very sorry for your wife’s illness and for all the grief that you are both going through! We can certainly understand why your wife’s revelation has made everything worse. It is to be expected that her past unfaithfulness is causing you much emotional turmoil.

You ask how to stop thinking about your wife’s encounters with the other man. The problem is that when we try to stop thinking about something, it makes us think about it even more. A better tactic is to replace the troublesome thoughts with an alternative line of thinking. Every time the turmoil begins in your mind, be ready to occupy your mind with something different. Some people think of where they would like to go on vacation. They think about the place, the hotel, and the activities. Other people occupy their minds listening through earphones to a good audio book or to a podcast. Still others think about the things that they would do if they suddenly had a lot of money. Filling your mind with other thoughts is the best way to accomplish what you want.

Your wife wanted a clear conscience, so she told you her darkest secret. She wanted forgiveness and relief from guilt, but she just caused you more grief. The only One who can forgive her and take away her sin is Jesus Christ. He died on the cross to pay for all our sins. Please encourage her to pray and ask God to forgive her for all her sins in the name of Jesus Christ, His Son. She needs to be prepared for eternity, so that death will not frighten her. One of the most well known verses in the Bible assures us that if we trust in Christ, we will have eternal life.(1) Your wife can live eternally in Heaven if she chooses to become a follower of Christ.

Of course, we recommend that you too become a Christ follower. You need the grace, peace and strength that only Christ can give. And He can assist you in controlling your thoughts. His help is what you really need.

We wish you the best,

1 Jn 3:16