Affairs: Dealing with an Adultery
Adultery is a huge red flag that a marriage has some serious problems. The question is, “Are both partners willing to own their part and fix what is broken?” There are many great books written on the subject which are far more detailed than I can be here, but here are some of my thoughts after working with many couples in this situation.
To the partner who was unfaithful:
Second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages. Your chances of success are way lower than you think.
99% of divorced and remarried couples say this: “If I knew blended families and second marriages would have been this hard I would have worked a whole lot harder on my first marriage. (The wisdom of hindsight).
Initially, it’s easier to leave than fix what is broken. Sooner or later you will have to fix what is broken or it will cause problems in future relationships. Divorce causes even more brokenness for far more people, so there is a lot less to fix if your work on the original marriage.
Giving up your “lover” may be the hardest thing you ever do and you cannot do it without accountability, help and God’s grace. Remember, no matter how wonderful an affair feels, it is not based in realtiy. It’s like going to Disneyland. No probems to solve, no bills to pay, no core patterns in your way…..yet.
Kids from divorced parents have huge trust issues in their future relationships. If you love your kids, work on your marriage.
Remember, God is not mocked. You will reap what you sow. (Galations 6)
To the Partner that was wronged:
Give yourself time and get some help to process through all the feelings. If you dismiss the feelings they will come back later. Learn to identify and process them.
Ask God to help you see your part in the unhealthiness of the marriage. Own it, confess it and work on it.
Be willing, to be made willing to forgive. This takes time. This prayer is a good starting point. “Lord, make me willing to be willing to forgive.
Remember, God understand your pain. Israel was unfaithful to Him and he feels deep anguish over this betrayal of his love.
Don’t involve your kids in hearing your complaints and pain. It’s fine to tell them you are feeling sad, mad or whatever, but don’t use them as a sounding board for your problems. Pick a few safe adult same sex friend to help you process.
I’ve worked with some couples after an affair who looked back and see all the pain was an impetus for huge steps of growth in their marriage. For some couples it is the first time they are truly honest with one another. As I keep saying, that is the beginning of growth.
Thanks and blessings,
Milan & Kay
Next week: What does the Bible say about this subject?