Forgive an Adulterous Husband?

Is it wrong to divorce a husband who commits adultery? My husband and I were married in the Catholic Church almost 30 years ago. Several years ago he committed adultery, and the pain still remains with me. I have tried to forgive him but long for something much more important: healing.

No, a civil divorce is an option. Depending on evidence provided, a canonical “declaration of nullity ” may also be possible.

Before you do that, however, you might consider the Retrouvaille program that has helped many couples with a serious problem in their marriage, including infidelity.

More information is available at, with a calendar to search dates and locations. Both spouses must want to save their present marriage for this program to work.

Unfortunately, people often use the terms forgiveness and reconciliation as though they are the same thing. They are definitely not!

Forgiveness is one-sided; reconciliation must be two-sided (mutual). Forgiveness cannot change a past injustice, but it may put it in a different context. In your situation, it can move this betrayal from “This totally defines who I am ” to “This was very painful, but it does not totally define who I am. ”

Forgiveness is not a reward that an innocent party gives to the guilty party; forgiveness is a reward that an innocent party gives to herself or himself, a reward of refusing to allow a previous injury to determine totally the innocent party’s future. In that sense, forgiveness is a gift to oneself.

Forgiveness does not change a past action, but it is a decision about that event’s ongoing effect on the person who chooses to forgive. Eva Kors, a survivor of the Shoah (Holocaust), has said, “I forgave the Nazis not because they deserve it, but because I deserve it. ”

May God help you find the peace that you were always meant to have with or without the man you married almost 30 years ago.

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