Each week, Joe Beam is answering questions submitted by Heartlight.org subscribers based on his counseling experience, academic research, and heart for people as a minister. You can submit your questions to email@example.com.
My husband had an email affair with an old girl friend; I found the emails and am devastated! Though he ended it, I want to go through the emails with him; he wrote that it was the real thing and that he didn't know if he loved me. He gets mad and says I am always going to throw it up in his face. Should he have to face those emails and answer or should I just forgive him and love him and work on marriage?
Paul wrote in Ephesians that we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), put away falsehood and always speak truthfully (Ephesians 4:25), and say those things "helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29).
His actions devastated you and you need to understand what he was thinking or feeling. It is important for him to answer your questions because it will tear you down if you don't know. Your doubts, fears, and anticipations will keep you miserable and afraid. You need to be freed from the tyranny of the unknown and the only way to find that freedom is to know the truth.
Your husband's anger may mean that he is embarrassed. Or he is afraid that if you know the truth you will leave him. He may fear you telling others. However, there are consequences to actions (Galatians 6:7-8) and it is unfair for him to expect you to forget and move on so that he doesn't have to face the pain or guilt of what he did. Furthermore, genuine confession paves the way to healing (James 5:16).
If he does not work through this with you, you will have a difficult time trusting him again and he may never deal with the impact of his own actions. However, don't expect him to be able to explain everything he wrote or why he wrote them. In emotional situations people often do things they cannot explain. Rather than focusing on those emails, you will do much better to deal with the larger question of why and then figure out together how to build the marriage you both want and need. If we can help, we'd love to, check out our information listed below.
If you have a question about love and relationships, send them to me at ask@JoeBeam.com. I'll answer 1 or 2 questions each week, using my counseling experience, academic research, and a deep respect for God's Word.
Don't expect him to be able to explain everything he wrote.
And if your marriage is in trouble, we can help. Go to http://www.JoeBeam.com. Our success rate, even if one partner comes reluctantly, is three out of four marriages.