Infidelity is devastating in itself. But the situation is complicated even further when a child has been conceived as a result of the affair.
Although adultery has the potential to destroy trust and tear couples apart, it doesn’t necessarily signal the end of a marriage. Instead, a couple should submit themselves and their marriage to God and dedicate to rebuilding their relationship with God’s help. He’s restored many marriages from near-destruction and He’s willing and able to restore even more.
The conception of a child through adultery is likely going to be considered an inconvenience by those participating in the affair. In fact, in many cases the conception is what brings the affair out into the open – it’s difficult to hide a growing pregnancy.
So what can a couple do, when one of them has an affair that results in a child?
- If the husband had the affair
If the husband was the one who had the affair, then the wife has only one choice if she wants her marriage to continue: she must forgive him (Mt 6:14-15). Ideally, the wife will accept the child as her stepson or stepdaughter. She should never stand in the way of her husband forming a relationship with his child, as he has financial, spiritual and emotional obligations to all of his children (Eph 6:4), including those who he fathers outside of his marriage
- If the wife had the affair
If the wife was the one who had the affair and she is now pregnant, then the husband must likewise forgive her. This situation adds an extra awkward dimension, as it’s most natural for the mother – and better for her child – to raise him or her in the family home. But the husband and wife must first discuss how much to tell their other children about their new half-brother or sister, and possibly how they will explain the presence of the child’s natural father, who may want to be involved in bringing up his child. Many men may struggle with this, but the ideal situation would be for the husband to accept his wife’s child as his stepson or stepdaughter and not treat him or her any differently than he does his natural children
Like most of the sinful situations that we get ourselves into, this one will most likely be painful for everyone involved. But it’s important to remember at all times that the child is never to blame for his or her parents’ sin. With God’s help, some good can come out of even the most awkward and heartrending situation.