If you are a person of faith you will probably believe that marriage is one of the oldest institutions ordained by God. I certainly believe that. If you’re not a religious person, I hope you will read on anyway. These encouraging thoughts and principles will help those who are religious and those who are not. Marriage is supposed to be treated with the dignity that it deserves. There are many struggles that a married couple may face but surviving an affair is difficult, but very possible!
Due to the imperfections of individuals in marriages today, there has been an increased rate of extra marital affairs. Surviving an affair is one of the most difficult things a married couple would ever have to face. For those who might be facing those hurtful circumstances, these are some general encouragement ideas to help you or someone you know who may be struggling to survive an affair.
- Be unwavering in your belief that your marriage can survive. Hold on to the fact that there is help to be had, there are marriage principles to be learned, and hundreds of thousands of other people who have dedicated themselves to surviving and affair and they have made it through without a divorce, and you can too. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.
- Don’t make hasty decisions about the long term condition of your marriage while the emotions are running high. At the onset of finding out about an affair, the hurt and the emotions are so high, it’s not a great time to make decisions about the long run. As stated before, use ministerial and other professional help to guide you through the painful, emotional first steps. It is very difficult, and when you are hurt you sometimes want to immediately do something to end the marriage. Unless there is an abusive situation, this is very seldom the answer. Making decisions according to what you believe is best for the future is hard to do when your emotions are running so high, but you can do it.
- Know that rebuilding trust can definitely happen, but not overnight. An affair is the ultimate breach of trust in a marriage. Most of the time the marriage did not get to the place overnight to where that trust was broken. Therefore, it won’t be an overnight healing. Also, realize that the lack of trust in the other spouse is sometimes one reason that can influence a spouse to run into the arms of another. This is no excuse in any case. However, working on mutual trust and openness in the marriage can help heal a terrible wound caused by an affair.
- Don’t try to handle this on your own. To work at surviving an affair you will need the support of close friends, you minister, and perhaps a professional counselor. Regardless of your religious affiliations, this is a time to hold on to your faith and dig hard into your spiritual life. Your friends, and perhaps counseling professionals can help. However, the deep wounds of an affair are hard to deal with for those who have no hope outside of the help of themselves and other people.
- Know that the pain will not always be this way. As you and your spouse get help and do the things that are required to heal your marriage back on track, the initial horrible pain of betrayal will start to subside. For some it is quicker than others. I have seen it happen fairly quickly, and for others it has taken quite a while. However, just remember this – it will not always be as hurtful as it was when the affair came to light.
- As you can, reflect on the happier times in your marriage and set the goal that these times can return. There were days when the couple used to have a lot of fun and things were working out well. You have got to grab onto hope that the hurt can heal, because it can. You marriage can be even better in time.
- Equip yourself with proper and helpful information that can lead you to the right steps to save your marriage. Most marriages can be saved. However, it takes the proper knowledge of what steps to take and how to take them. Don’t settle for the counsel of someone who is simply going to get mad or upset with you and help push you into making a bad decision because of hurtful emotions.
- Know that leaning on a faith in the Almighty can help. You may not be a religious person and you’re opposed to this statement. Or an affair may cause you to become angry with God. Let me assure you that God is not pleased with what happened. However, He didn’t cause it to happen and He wants to heal the hurt, the anger, the emptiness and isolation that the offended partner may feel. As a pastor, I would encourage you to pray regularly for your unfaithful spouse and for yourself that you will clear understand what you should do to save your marriage. I highly recommend the wonderful hope giving strategies in “Save Your Christian Marriage.” If you’re not a part of the Christian faith and are not interested in that at all, personally I hope you would consider it one day. However, the book “Save the Marriage” is the book that I would recommend for any person whether they have a belief in a God or not. One more word about Dr. Baucom’s books – each has a quick start guide for actions that you need to take immediately. These are principles that you can immediately put into practice today.
- Know that, in most cases, there is a tremendous chance that you can be successful at surviving an affair in your marriage. Your marriage can be saved and can thrive once again – or even better if the couple learns principles of having a better marriage.
If it’s you who is hurting from a spouse that cheated on you, I am so sorry. No one deserves that. However, do your best on concentrating on the things to heal you marriage rather than the temptation to get even or lash out in an extreme way. It is totally acceptable to be hurt and angry with your spouse. Just don’t let your emotions control you. Know that you can have better times ahead.
If you were the spouse who had the affair, you should have already begged forgiveness from your spouse. There may have been many things that your spouse failed at, but it didn’t warrant an affair. Even with the anger that may pour out of your spouse, you should show humility and take responsibility for your actions. Then commit with everything you have to get one the road to salvaging your marriage for the long term. As you ask your partner to forgive you, and you are truly sorry and accepting the responsibility of what you did, you will need to forgive yourself as well. If there is any chance whatsoever that you could come in contact with the person with whom you had the affair, put in place any accountability measures as possible to keep you from ever getting back into that relationship or any other except the one with your spouse.