The Pain and Purpose of Infidelity Disclosure: Why Truth Really Does Set Us Free

Part of the Codependent in Colossians Series

by Kim Pullen | April 12, 2018

Series Manifesto: Instead of ignoring the pain following the disclosure of our spouse’s sexual sin, we choose to use our trauma as a catalyst for growth, digging deeply into God’s Word in search of spiritual healing and transformation.

truth sets us free

COLOSSIANS 1:25-27

“I have become its [the church’s] servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” —The Apostle Paul

 

Disclosure.

It’s not just the title of the 1994 erotic thriller starring Michael Douglas nor is it just the name of a British House band. 

For betrayed spouses, “disclosure” is a word we don’t generally associated with good news. It’s a trigger word for pain, the deep emotional agony that robs you of speech. It’s the nightmare you desperately wish you could awake from. 

That’s not the kind of disclosure the Apostle Paul is talking about to the Colossians in 1:26. Paul was talking about God revealing a secret He had known all along, a treasure that would open up new worlds to the Jewish Christians and free them from the chains of mental oppression. 

These two types of disclosure—the confession of sin and the proclamation of great news—appear completely unrelated. In fact, they’re fraternal twins. They appear vastly different on the outside, but their source and purpose is the identical—to reveal the truth for God’s glory.

 

The Walls Come Tumbling Down

“I need to talk to you.” 

These are just about the scariest six words in any relationship. They could be the opening line of a confrontation or a confession. Either way, they are the precursor to a secret revelation. And they feel like a wrecking ball swinging toward the dam walls protecting your fragile heart. 

When my husband first confessed infidelity, my dam walls didn’t just crack, they collapsed. I found myself drowning in the truth. 

No wonder the word disclosure carries as much weight to a hurting spouse as the numbers “9/11” to any American who watched the Twin Towers fall. 

But just as the crumbling of those building revealed weaknesses in the US borders and my crumbling marriage exposed the defects in my relationship, God’s disclosure divulged man’s complacency with the status quo and their dangerous reliance on self.

 

God’s Secret Revealed

Unless you’ve read Colossians or Ephesians carefully, you might’ve missed the fact that “Jesus in us” was no secret. 

Don’t feel bad. The ancient Jews missed it. God told them about him over and over again in the Old Testament, but when he finally showed up, they didn’t recognize him (John 1:10). The reason the Jews missed him wasn’t because they missed the prophecies about his coming, they missed him—the Truth (John 14:6)—because he wasn’t what they expected. 

In reality, he was so much more. So much, they had a hard time wrapping their heads around this secret— 

Jesus living inside us. 

For the Jews of the first century, this was blasphemous. It was morally inconceivable for the spirit of God to take up residence inside sinful man. This “truth” was a betrayal, an abomination, a defilement of the sacred covenant between God and man. 

Just like the truth of your spouse’s sexual sin felt like the ultimate defilement of your sacred covenant with them.

 

His Perfect Timing

When God finally exposed the truth of my husband’s sin, how could I have suspected this crushing revelation was God’s loving act in my and my husband’s life? In his perfect timing, God disclosed a truth He’d seen fostering in our relationship for decades. 

Like my first century Jewish cousins who mistreated Paul for revealing such news, I was tempted to bludgeon my husband for telling me the truth. 

But first, I had a few questions for my Father who I thought was supposed to protect his obedient daughter from such affliction. And, like the patient parent, he gently responded to my interrogation:

ME

Why would You let this happen to me?!

GOD

I never promised you your husband wouldn’t leave you. I only promised you I never would (Deuteronomy 31:6, Matthew 28:20).

ME

Why did You wait till this point in my marriage to reveal this?!

GOD

I have My reasons. My darling, I gave up my son for you. Do you honestly think I don’t love you and that I don’t have a greater purpose for your pain (Romans 8:28, 32)?

ME

Why couldn’t I have married somebody else?!

GOD

Everyone has baggage. Maybe I saved you from something worse (Psalm 139:16, Psalm 91).

Sometimes truth hurts. And it can hurt no matter which side of the conversation we’re on.

 

Truth Sets Us Free

The Jews who accepted God’s secret—Jesus in us—were not only freed from the bondage of the Law, they were freed from the burden of sin and could embrace the power of the Holy Spirit to change and bear fruit.

Yes, it meant facing their prejudices and sinful responses, but His purpose and promise far outweighed their pain.

It’s like that for us, too. Only when we embrace the painful truths disclosed in our marriage can we view our spouse and our baggage through God’s eyes. When we surrender our past and our future and remember our spiritual Daddy has been nothing but faithful, then we can let Him take our hand and guide us toward repentance, healing, reconciliation, and peace.

 

Disclaimer: The full disclosure of infidelity or sexual addiction in marriage is a thorny and complicated process. For the benefit of both husband and wife, I recommend it only be done in the presence, and with the direction of, a licensed mental health counselor specializing in sexual addiction and recovery.

You can help someone else on their journey by sharing your thoughts on this post in the comment section below.


Also published on Medium.