Getting started when your spouse has an affair
Your world has been turned upside down. A future that looked promising is now clouded by uncertainty and confusion. You experience a roller coaster of emotions. Mentally you have constantly moving pictures in front of your eyes, in which you see the two together. You feel vulnerable and exposed. One moment you feel guilty because you hate your spouse because of what happened; and the next moment you feel guilty because you still love your spouse in light of what happened.
Wondering if all those years you spent together were just a lie. You are angry because you did not see it coming. Tears flow uncontrollably and unexpectedly. You are depressed and lonely – even God seems very far away. You never dreamed something like this could happen, but it’s real. The news that your spouse has cheated has thrown you off track and you don’t know what to do.
Your friends and family can’t see how hurt you are. Because they are primarily concerned about how you feel, they take your side. Maybe they tell you things like:
"You deserve better."
"You can do without someone like that in your life."
"Life is short. The sooner you put the person out of your mind and go your own way, the better."
"You know it will happen again if you stay in this marriage."
While you mean well, such comments only add fuel to the fire of your already inflamed emotions, and they drive you to reactions that are anything but helpful. You’re trying to filter the advice you’ve been given, but you’re not sure where else to turn. Is there help?
The good news
The good news for you is that God has concrete direction for those who have been betrayed, rejected, and hurt by others. The purpose of this article is to help you navigate through this painful stage in your life. Perspective and hope you will find here come from the Word of God. What God has to say to you in this crisis is powerful and practical.
You are at a crossroads and the decisions you make now will affect the rest of your life. The price you pay for messing up your future by doing something you might regret later is high. It is true that your spouse has done something to you that is reprehensible. But remember that your spouse has sinned not only against you, but also against God.
Therefore, God is involved even to a greater degree than you are! Because He knows the pain you are going through, and because He knows what has brought you to this point, He is offering you the opportunity to experience His grace in a new and fresh way. In the following lines, we will learn what God expects from you in order to overcome this crisis. He wants to take you by the hand and lead you into uncharted territory you never thought possible. Will you go with him?
What does God expect from you?
This is the question that you also need to be aware of. God’s ways are perfect and his counsel is sure. If you are unsure of the nature of your present relationship with God, remember that God has gone out of His way to prove His love to you. He wants you to turn away from everything else and experience the grace He has provided through His Son.
Even greater than the need to restore a broken marriage is the need to restore a broken life. It could be that God is using your pain to point out to you the need to be reconciled to him.
Man’s biggest problem is that he is a sinner separated from God. He has a heart blinded by sin and a mind equally blinded. Because we are sinners, there is nothing we can do to overcome our sinful condition. Moreover, because God is just and holy, it is impossible for Him to overlook our sin, or rather. to apologize. If he did, he would thereby violate his divine nature. God’s justice must be satisfied and our sin must be punished. Nothing less than this satisfies God’s justice. But God is not only just and holy, but also equally merciful and loving. (Romans 5:12)
God showed His mercy to man by promising to send a Savior to reconcile his rebellious enemies to Him. For centuries people waited for God’s redeemer to come. Finally, God’s Son was sent as the only solution to man’s problem. Jesus’ sacrificial death fully satisfied God’s righteous demands and enabled him to forgive and declare righteous all who come to him in faith.
For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21).
If you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, turn to Him today. Ask God to open your eyes to the weight of the burden of sin you carry. Entrust yourself to the mercy of God and implore Him to save you.
First steps if your partner is having an affair
Although this was not what you had in mind when you were married, it has now become a reality. You are actually in this situation and cannot somehow go back to undo it all. You must go ahead. But in order to move forward in the right direction, you must be sure that you are taking the right action. The journey ahead will not be easy. Sometimes you may even find them unspeakably difficult. While there is no guarantee that your marriage will be restored if you follow the steps outlined in this chapter, if you consciously choose to follow them, you will find that your relationship with God will become more intimate than you ever imagined.
Keep your eyes on God
What God does is always right because He is righteous (just and holy). His workings and ways are always perfect in every way. What you know about God and believe in relation to Him will enable you to do what He wants you to do. In the face of your problems, you can be confident that you are dealing with a God who is close to you. (Heb 13:5b-6).
It is important to realize that not only is your spouse responsible for his or her actions before God, but you are as well. You can rely on your own strength and try to tackle this problem on your own, or you can depend on the unlimited power of God and rely on Him.
God’s work in your life
God wants to do an amazing work in your life regardless of your spouse’s reaction. In the midst of unspeakable pain, we are sometimes unable to make any sense of what we are going through. That God would consciously allow pain in our lives is hard to grasp. But God is always good and His purposes are always good. In his faithfulness, he may inflict unwanted pain on us, but he will never inflict unbearable pain on us. (Rom 8:28-29)
That is, God makes all things – things that are good, pleasant, and easy, as well as things that are disappointing, painful, and difficult – work together to fulfill His purpose for those who belong to Him.
You may think your greatest need right now is to feel better or for your marriage to be "fixed" again. These are important needs, no doubt, but God Himself is your greatest need. Look to Him. Trust him. Commit to put God above everything else and above everyone else and follow Him no matter where He will lead you. He is your only hope.
Simply ignoring the pain doesn’t help at all. You may think that distancing yourself from your spouse who has hurt you so much will help, but it won’t. If you don’t honestly face the pain that has come into your life and hand it over to God, you may end up resorting to self-destructive means to deal with it.
God himself is your greatest need. Struggle to get the right perspective and fix your eyes on Him. Recall how you have experienced God’s faithfulness in the past and praise Him for the help He will give you this time, too. Resolve to look beyond yourself and consciously seek a God who is present. Don’t wait to set your heart on him until the day when things might get easier – set your eyes on him now because he is your only hope!
Recognize your personal problems
What is your reaction?
When someone sins against us, the temptation can become very strong to repay evil with evil. Scripture, however, instructs us to leave it to God to do justice. (Rom 12:17-19)
Bitterness is a noxious weed that affects the heart and mind. If we allow it to run rampant, other sins will soon join it to overwhelm and dominate the bitter person. (Heb. 12:14-15)
Feelings of bitterness are the linchpin of revenge, hatred, anger and a host of other sins that dull us spiritually. Bitterness left to its own devices can get in the way of what God wants to do in your life.
There are six deadly effects of responding to unwanted pain with bitterness:
- Bitterness disturbs peace. Bitterness brings unrest into our lives. It triggers anxiety and worry and disturbs the peace of God that is supposed to guard our hearts.
- Bitterness destroys joy.
- Bitterness robs you of strength.
- Bitterness distorts our line of sight. Bitterness views life through a distorted filter that distorts reality and blinds us to our own faults. It leads us to shift our focus away from the Lord and onto ourselves and the pain we feel. Bitterness does not allow us to see how God can use what we are going through for good.
- Bitterness spoils relationships.
- Bitterness is not pleasing to God. When we allow bitterness to run wild in our lives, we make prisoners of ourselves. Bitterness sets in motion a downward spiral of discouragement, depression, and despair.
Every sin is an offense to the holy God – no matter how "justified" we think that sin is. We absolutely must be careful not to adopt a self-righteous attitude that argues, "At least my sin is not adultery!"Just because you have not been unfaithful does not mean that you are not guilty. Just as God hates your spouse’s adultery, He also hates the sins that may have crept into your life.
This article is an excerpt from the book:
My spouse has been unfaithful
This pocket guide aims to give you a biblically based perspective and renewed hope. Because what God has to say has life-changing power and great practical relevance.
In what respect do you fail?
If your wife has committed adultery, God expects nothing from you now but what He commanded you to do before she committed adultery. You are still called to,
- Love them as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25)
- To give her understanding and reverence (1 Peter 3:7)
- not to be bitter against them (Col. 3:19).
If your husband has committed adultery, God expects nothing from you now but what He commanded you to do before he committed adultery. You are still called to do so,
- to honor and respect him (Eph 5:33)
- Submit yourself to his guidance and authority (1 Peter 3:1-6).
This kind of thing goes against the grain and seems unnatural to us. Instead of protecting yourself, God expects you to humble yourself and confront your personal failures.
Deal honestly with your sins
God wants you to have a pure heart. If your goal is to follow God, then you need to confess your sins and experience His forgiveness. If you honestly confess your sins to God, the crushing burden of your sin will be lifted from you and you will enjoy the blessing of experiencing liberating forgiveness. (Ps 32:1-5) What if it doesn’t feel like I’ve been forgiven at all?? Some mistakenly assume they have not been forgiven because it doesn’t feel like it. But the fact of God’s forgiveness cannot be based on feelings. The Bible teaches unequivocally that God forgives us our sins if we confess our sins. If God has forgiven us, then we have been forgiven – basta!
This article is an excerpt from the book "My spouse was unfaithful".
Other topics in the book include: "Get started, What’s next?, What if my spouse continues to be unfaithful?, Conclusion, steps in the application."