I was unfaithful to my wife, and she found out…. We are no longer together as a couple… but we still live in the same house along with our children. I can’t stand her anymore, because she makes insinuations and often reminds me about my wrongdoing. It gets to me and drives me up a wall. What can I do to keep from arguing with her?
It is difficult to give counsel when there are so many details that we don’t know. For example, have you been faithful to your wife since the time that she found out, or are you continuing to be unfaithful? Did your unfaithfulness take place only one time, or was it a relationship? Are you still in contact with that woman, or have you cut off all communication with her? Was she a friend or relative of your wife? Are you really sorry for what you did, or are you only sorry that you got caught?
You broke the vow you made to your wife, and she now cannot trust you because she doesn’t know if you might repeat your behavior. She also doesn’t know when you are telling the truth and when you are lying. You have hurt her badly. She is wounded, and her unkind words are a kind of shield with which she protects herself emotionally. She has barely survived this betrayal, and she is afraid that she couldn’t survive further betrayal.
It appears that you continue to live together, in spite of this issue, for the sake of the children or for financial reasons. However, the tension between you two is not good for the children nor is it good for the two of you.
The best advice that we can give you is to consult with a marriage counselor. You may say that you can’t afford it, but we assure you that it is less expensive than having to set up two separate households. Even if you decide that the marriage cannot be saved, a counselor can help the two of you communicate in a more positive manner for the sake of the children.
God’s design for marriage is that it last for a lifetime, but His Son Jesus Christ taught that your unfaithfulness gave your wife a legitimate reason to separate from you. (1) However, because she has chosen to continue living with you, she probably still loves you, and there may be hope to save your marriage.
If you want to save it, then you must take responsibility and accept the consequences for having wounded your wife. That means that, in spite of her unkind words, you need to respond to her in such a way that she can feel your love. Her words are the consequences of what you did, and those consequences must be faced, no matter how unpleasant they are. Furthermore, in order for her to learn to trust you again, you will need to communicate to her exactly where you are at all times and who you are with. Expect to have to do those two things for years, not months, because your wife’s healing will take a very long time.
We wish you well,
1 Mt 5:32