I am not a licensed psychologist; rather, I am a family sociologist with 25 years’ experience in university classrooms, teaching about marriage and family relationships. I disagree with the December Family Counselor advice given by Dr. Jack Fyans to the woman who struggles with guilt over an affair that occurred a decade ago. Although she has never told her pastor, she has repented. Her question was whether to confess to her husband. Dr. Fyans’ advised her to confess to her pastor, who could offer guidance on how to speak with her husband.
My disagreement comes in two parts. First, Dr. Fyans is a psychologist; most likely her pastor is not. The pastor’s counsel might not be as informed or skilled as Dr. Fyans’ counsel. (I think he “passed the buck” here.) Second, and to my mind, more important, I believe this is a secret, no matter how painful, she must keep from her husband. Telling him merely puts her guilt on his shoulders. Yes, he might be completely forgiving, but chances are great he will not, or simply cannot. Therefore, she risks losing her marriage. At the least, he will never look at his wife in the same way.
If after 10 years, her husband either does not know–or knows but has chosen to remain silent–let it all go and be the best wife she possibly can be.
Janette (Jan) Borst
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