My Wife Cheated on Me for the Fourth Time: Should I Forgive Her Again?

22 July, 2020
Q Salam,

Someone I know has a marriage problem and would like advise on what Islam says about this. My friend has been married for the last 16 years and during this period his wife has had 3 affairs that the husband has forgiven her for.

The fourth time the wife left the house for the third guy, leaving her 3 kids with the husband. It now hasn't worked out for her and now she wants to come back to her husband saying that she has realized that she has done wrong all this time and is asking Allah for forgiveness.

She said to her husband that this will not happen again and she is disgusted by what she did. She said she is repenting to Allah to forgive her. She also told her husband that she wants to do Umrah or Hajj, together with her husband, kids and start fresh.

The first time he caught his wife was when she was on the phone with another guy. When he asked her did you commit zina with this man she said no. He forgave her. The second time the wife went to a guy's house, she said no zina was committed although she did send some naked photos to the other guy. He forgave her. The third time the husband caught her in a car with a guy she said no zina happened.

The fourth time the wife was still seeing the guy that she was caught with the third time. She had a second phone which she was hiding. The husband found the phone with messages saying that they have done everything, even zina. She said she didn't commit zina with him but they did kiss and touch each other.

They do have 3 children together and the husband is confused on what to do. Should he give her another chance as she has now realized her ways and he does truly believe that she will never do anything like this again? The husband's family and mother doesn't want to know her and is telling him that she will not change and if he gets back with her, they would cut ties with him as well. He doesn't want to disrespect his mother.

The husband did show the messages to the 2 older boys as he thought she would not come back. I know this is wrong but he did. The younger boy is seeing the mum with the little sister but the older 14-year-old boy doesn't want to see her.

What does Islam say about this. Should the husband forgive her for the last time as the wife has realized what she has been doing is wrong and is asking Allah’s forgiveness and she is regretting everything? The husband wants to forgive her as he knows this time she means it and she will change. He also wants to do it for his kids.

What should he do? What does Islam say about this and what do you think? Can you help? Thank you in advance.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

We are to show mercy and forgive others. However, there comes a time when one must take a stand not only for self and family-but for the moral foundations of Islamic values.

Psychologically, it appears that the wife may have issues relating to self-esteem, compulsions, sex addiction, and chronic lying.

It would be recommended that the wife seek out mental health counseling if the two were to stay together. 

Separation offers a time for healing to occur for all involved.

Insha’Allah the husband will be able to take a stand and request that his wife remain out of the home until she is able to address any mental health issues which can be causing this behavior and more importantly, address her relationship with Allah swt and her commitment to Islam.

Should this be successful, marriage counseling is kindly suggested.

Ask your friend to pray ishtakharrah prayer to guide him in his decision.

Advise him to make duaa in the last third of the night.


As salamu alaykum,

Shokran for writing to us. I am sorry to hear about your friends’ issues with his wife and his marriage. He must be hurting very deeply. Additionally, he is a very patient and forgiving man however perhaps it is time to look out for himself and the children.

Wife Cheating

As you stated, your friend has been married for 16 years. They have three children together. During these 16 years his wife cheated on him four times. Each of the three times she denied committing Zina.

He forgave her each time and believed she repented. The fourth time she was caught it was with a guy from the third time. Now she wants to repent, do hajj or umrah and start fresh. 

My Wife Cheated on Me for the Fourth Time: Should I Forgive Her Again? - About Islam

Zina a Serious Issue

Zina is a very serious issue. In the Qur’an it states, “Do not even go near zina (fornication and/or adultery), for it is a very indecent thing and a very evil way (Surah Isra 17:32).” A hadith (Sahih Muslim) tells us that “When one cheats in marriage, he or she has to face the wrath of Allah, both in this world and the hereafter.

The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said: “The one who cheats is not one of us” (Sahih Muslim). So, as we can see, this is a major sin that should not be contemplated lightly. 

A Pattern

Zina is a horrendous and serious sin. Whether or not each time involved actual zina or not, it was still sinful-and hurtful. Just the fact that the wife is going to men’s homes, sitting in men’s cars, talking with men on the phone, and is sending photos is alarming.

If this was once – it is bad enough, but could be looked at as a bad decision, a weak moment. However, this has happened four times. It is a pattern.

We are to show mercy and forgive others. However, there comes a time when one must take a stand not only for self and family-but for the moral foundations of Islamic values.

 Repenting

The other issue is her response when she was caught the previous three times. Did she repent? If she repented the first time, there should have been no second, third, or fourth times of cheating. As we can see, this is illustrative of someone who has not sincerely repented.

When one truly repents -one does not commit the same sin again. It appears she may be saying she has repented and is sorry-but she may be saying this to keep her husband.

According to Islam, the husband has every right to divorce her especially as it seems to be an ongoing issue and he has tried everything to prevent divorce. 

Psychological Perspectives

Psychologically, it appears that the wife may have issues relating to self-esteem, compulsions, sex addiction, and chronic lying. This is not a diagnosis as I cannot diagnose her but based on the very brief information you provided about her she seems to have some mental health issues going on.

It would be recommended that the wife seek out mental health counseling if the two were to stay together. 


Check out this counseling video:


Remorse and Seeking a Fresh Start 

While it is nice that the wife who is just caught cheating again- would like to go to umrah or Hajj with the children and her husband to start fresh, perhaps this is just away to calm the husband down as she got caught.

By the fourth time of cheating, it may be quite apparent that this is a lifestyle and a need. In this case of cheating, she moved in with the guy leaving her children and husband. It didn’t work out.

Now she wants to come back. At this point she may feel her husband has had enough and may be using this as a last resort. Allah forgive me if I am wrong, only Allah knows.

Husband does not want Divorce

It is understandable that the husband does not want to get divorced. They have a long history together, and three children. 

It is understandable that he would like to forgive her for the sake of Allah and for the sake of their marriage. Additionally, he may truly believe that this time she has changed. 

Getting into Feelings

The husband may want to contemplate why he thinks in this way. What makes it different this time- the 4th time, when the other three times she has cheated, she probably said she was sorry and that she repented? What makes him believe that this time she is sincere?

While we are to forgive others as we would like to be forgiven by Allah, there is a time when forgiving may be mistaken for condoning. As this is the fourth time, and she actually moved in with the guy,  perhaps the wife feels the husband will just forgive her and turn his back-thus she is free to do as she pleases. 

Health Aspects

This is not emotionally, spiritually, or mentally healthy for either the husband nor the wife and it may actually enable her to continue to sin unless a firmer resolution-outcome is sought.

The husband insha’Allah, may wish to explore his feelings regarding the effect her cheating has had on him, why he is so adamant about not taking steps towards resolution (aside from taking her word that she is sorry and it will stop), and how he feels this will affect their children.

He may also wish to consider safety measures to avoid getting STD’s. Protecting one’s heart may not be a conscious decision in some cases as we may not have control but he can protect his physical health.

Repetitive Behavior

Repetitive behavior is indicative of a much larger problem than just making a mistake. We all make mistakes, we all sin. However, it appears that his wife repeats this behavior over and over. It may also be that since this is the fourth time she may feel like he will leave her thus she pleads to do umrah or Hajj.

I would kindly suggest to insha’Allah that the husband think very seriously about his situation before he agrees to continue with the marriage. Yes it is true that Allah hates divorce however Allah also hates major sins like zina especially when it’s done over and over and there’s no true remorse or repentance. The whole concept of repenting is that you don’t do it again. 

Children now Involved

It is a very difficult situation and I am so sorry that the husband and the children have to go through this. You were right when you stated that he should not have shown the children the pictures.

Now the children may need possible counseling to get over this and recover from what they have seen, and now know about their mother. In the future insha’Allah it would be best to not involve children in adult issues if possible. As one can see, the 14 year old now does not want to deal with his mother.

Thinking about the Future

Insha’Allah your friend will think very seriously about the situation and the future. Given the history of the wife cheating four times already, and the last episode she actually left her family and moved in with the guy, sadly it is likely to continue until the wife gets some professional and spiritual help. 

Separation with Stipulations

I kindly suggest that your friend considers a separation from his wife for now. He may wish to speak with his wife about conditions for a possible continued marriage.

These conditions may include such things as her going for counseling, increasing her relationship with Allah, strengthening her Islam, getting involved in Islamic activities such as Qur’an classes, prayers at the Masjid, sister groups to provide support, as well as marriage counseling when she has been solidly and honestly on this path for a while.

In other words, in order for the marriage to possibly be successful, the wife will have to get mental health counseling to address her desires to cheat as well as willingly and sincerely devoting her life to Islam in the service to Allah. 

Wife’s Accountability

Insha’Allah the husband will be able to sit calmly with the wife and discuss this option if he so chooses. Insha’Allah the wife will be agreeable and understanding given the hurt, pain, and fitnah she has caused.

This was not a one-time incident, is it been an ongoing issue which must be resolved before the marriage can be continued. Also if she is not willing to separate and repair her relationship with Allah, address her possible mental health issues, and participate in marital counseling, perhaps the husband will have to contemplate divorce.

Wife Returns to Path of Islam

If the wife is able to do these things and is sincere about following Islam and saving her marriage, she will be successful (in time) insha’Allah. At this point your friend and his wife may want to engage in marriage counseling to begin to heal the marriage.

This can only happen however after the wife returns to Islam and receives mental health counseling to address why her behaviors are as such. 

Saving a Marriage

Allah hates divorce and we must try everything in our power to save our marriages. However, it takes two willing participants to save a marriage, not one. Both must be honestly, sincere, and committed to saving the marriage. In a lot of cases this requires change and compromise.

If the husband does decide to take his wife back and not request a separation so that the wife can address her issues and strengthen her Islam, then it is possible he will be faced with the same situation a little bit later on. 

Family

In regards to his family, it is no wonder they do not want to have anything to do with her and recommended that he not continue the marriage. They are rightfully upset. They are hurting as well.

In the case that the husband chooses to stay with his wife and trust her despite previous failed attempts, he will need to rely heavily upon Allah as it will be a very stressful and risky situation. Now that the family and also the children are involved, knowing about the wife’s fiascos and sins of zina, the entire family is suffering.

As they stated they will not talk to the husband should he take her back, there is also that element to consider. While it is the husband’s decision alone what he does with his wife, his family may or may not change their minds later.

Trust will be very hard to rebuild, but if the wife is sincere, it can be done over time. The husband may just have to pray to Allah for Allah to touch his family’s hearts regarding this matter-if Allah so chooses.  

Conclusion

Separation offers a time for healing to occur for all involved. Insha’Allah the husband will be able to take a stand and request that his wife remain out of the home until she is able to address any mental health issues which can be causing this behavior and more importantly, address her relationship with Allah swt and her commitment to Islam.

Should this be successful, marriage counseling is kindly suggested. Ask your friend to pray ishtakharrah prayer to guide him in his decision. Advise him to make duaa in the last third of the night.  We wish your friend the best.

Salam,

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

https://aboutislam.net/family-life/husbands-wives/got-a-cheating-spouse-here-is-what-to-do/

https://aboutislam.net/ask-the-counselor/extramarital-affairs/

https://aboutislam.net/family-life/husbands-wives/infidelity-issues-stop-cheating-online/

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.