Is Adultery Forgivable?

Marriage and long term relationships always have their ups and downs.  Any one who has been in one for any length of time can tell you there will be actions you have to forgive the other partner for and you’re going to have to be willing to accept imperfections about them.

But is there anything that your spouse could do that would be unforgivable?

I’ve written at length about how damaging porn addiction is to a relationship.  I’ve also written that it does not mean the marriage is over. Many marriages have survived and even thrived after recovery from porn addiction.

But what if someone goes one step further and commits adultery?

Is adultery forgivable?

If your spouse commits adultery, and by adultery I mean actually having sexual intercourse with someone outside of the marriage, can that marriage survive?

Adultery is much more common than you think.  In a totally unscientific, i.e. Twitter, poll, I received these results.

This means a little over one in every five people have committed some form of adultery against their spouse.

For many people, adultery is a line in the sand.  If that line is crossed, divorce is the only option.  

In the Bible, Jesus does make an allowance for divorce if one partner commits sexual immorality, which would include adultery.  He also adds the caveat that if someone divorces their spouse for any reason other than sexual immorality, they themselves are committing adultery.  (Matthew 5:32)

But does this mean if someone commits adultery you MUST divorce them?


Adultery is a grave sin.  It is listed as it’s own commandment in the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God.  It’s even still on the law books in some states as a law open to prosecution.

But sin is sin is sin.  There is no sin that is “better” or “worse” in God’s eyes. The punishment for sin is death. (Romans 6:23)  Christ died to forgive us of ALL sin, no matter how horrible, damaging, or debaucherous it may be.  

He forgave the woman caught in adultery in John 8 telling her, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

If Christ is willing to forgive the sin of adultery, shouldn’t we?


If someone commits adultery against you, you should forgive them. (Matthew 6:15)  But that doesn’t mean that you have to stay married to them.

There’s a reason Jesus provided that exception to allow for divorce.  The collateral damage caused by adultery can often be too much for a marriage to overcome.  

Yet, even as bad as adultery can be, it is forgivable.  

Adultery does not have to end in divorce.

It is possible for marriages and relationships to overcome infidelity.  It is an incredibly difficult thing to do, but it can be done.

How do I know?  Because mine did.

Ready for some cold hard truth?

I’m an adulterer.

My porn and sexual addiction escalated far beyond just porn, masturbation and fantasy.  I committed adultery by having sexual relations with other women.  It did almost lead to divorce.  Things were very touch and go for some time.  But we committed to fight through all the pain and heartache.  We have survived.

I dare to say we have even thrived since all my sins were revealed.  We’re more open and honest with each other.  The “fairy tale” is over.  It hasn’t been happily ever after.  It’s been very, very difficult.  Now we can both admit that neither of us are perfect.  And “what God has joined together, let no man separate,” no matter how difficult it may be.

I certainly understand there are scenarios involving adultery where divorce is not only permissable, but necessary.  But I believe in today’s “disposable” society, marriages are often thrown away and given up on without any effort to restore them.

It’s time we fought for marriage.  If couple’s spent more time preparing for being married instead of getting married, i.e. the wedding itself, there would be many more happy marriages.

Sexual sin is growing.  The world revolves around sex these days.  My mission is to help men who have fallen into sexual sin and help them restore the damage they have done, even if it is as bad as adultery.  

No man is too broken.

No marriage is too damaged.

Christ can restore every broken heart and heal every wound. 

But we have to be willing to put in the work of forgiveness for that to happen.

Adultery IS forgivable.  

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Published by Timothy Reigle

I’m Timothy Reigle, the founder of Into The Wilderness Ministries. After overcoming a fifteen year addiction to porn and sex, I have made it my life’s mission to help other men break free from the bonds of addiction. As an author, coach, and chaplain, I work with men to transform their lives by renewing their faith, re-energizing their families, and restoring their masculinity.

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