Indecent proposal
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Dear Counsellor,

How forgivable is cheating, because my husband pays me no mind, thinks I'm a stone without feelings, refuses to sleep with me, except on the rare occasion when he's thirsty and it's a slam-bam occasion to get his rocks off, and meanwhile, there's this man at work who has made an indecent proposal, and I am ready to risk it all. The only thing holding me back is retribution, because I go to church. But could I just do it like David and then pray about it?

Well, this is one of the pluses of being a person of faith, the guard rails that exist in your spirit. The gospel does restrain us from doing things we'd not quite want to do, yet, because of a temporary challenge, we may feel inclined to. The notion that it's the "only thing holding me back" is, therefore, useful. Yes, we are often inclined to make our lesser, temporary, challenges become massive ones because of frustration, impatience, fears, and doubts. We can even make what is a breakdown in a relationship become an unnecessary break-up of a relationship.

I understand that you're ready to risk it all. And I am not dismissing or doubting the extent of your struggle. And you certainly aren't a stone without feelings, you have a real need for intimacy and affection. But you're now considering dishonouring yourself because of the present situation. Remember, you determined your husband was worth it back then — honour your own past selection process by doing your best to try to salvage things. And yes, David prayed and was forgiven, but he made a painful mess that took lots to recover from.

Here's my advice:

Take your hubby on a date: It may sound difficult and unusual, but men like to be taken out too. Take him somewhere and make a big deal of him, despite how you feel. Then, after a while, tell him how you're feeling. Tell him you'd like to get to the bottom of things regarding the breakdown in intimacy. Also tell him you're taking him out again somewhere special soon. And make a plan to do that. In doing this you're setting the conditions for a rekindling of communication and possibly passion.

Pamper yourself: Take some time to take care of you. Make a schedule to treat yourself regularly. Go out with girlfriends and do something new (nothing you'll regret). Also consider a wardrobe investment and probably a salon day. It could be useful if you started this before the date with your husband, and wear something new when you take him out. You're not pampering yourself for anyone. What you're doing here is making yourself happy and comfortable. You need to show yourself some love too.

Don't cheat: This other man may just be looking for a temporary fling or to add a notch to his belt. Then you'd have to live with whatever might happen at your work thereafter. Cheating can be forgiven by God, but sometimes it's not easily forgiven by a spouse. It is always best to end one relationship before starting another. If your marriage isn't working, then that's that. But make every mature effort to ensure that you've used all your creativity and all your ability to make it work. And if you're thoughtful and skilled, it is amazing what you might be able to do to salvage something.

Schedule counselling help: Make a booking with a reputable counsellor. You may want to schedule sessions for yourself prior to scheduling a session for both of you. Even if your date with your husband is successful, you should both still spend some time on a counsellor's couch. Tracing where and why the breakdown happened will be important.

Challenges will always come to test our mettle and maturity. You are obviously facing one such test now.

Get on The Counsellor's Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to

Christopher Brodber

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