Affairs – The First Order of Business

Affairs in our society are running amuck! From Arnold and Maria to Senator Weiner, the age-old problem just takes on new names and faces.
I have a lot of experience with affairs. Let me restate that. As a counselor, I have lots of experience with affairs. And a common dynamic is for the betrayed partner to fear confronting his/her cheating partner, or at the very least, setting boundaries with the offending spouse. Usually there are children involved or financial concerns that keeps the betrayed spouse a slave to the offender. 
Another dangerous dynamic often develops, the betrayed loses him or herself along the way in the marriage long before the affair occurs. So, by the point of an affair, it becomes very difficult for “the betrayed” to stand-up for what is right in the relationship.

And if confrontation does take place, the cheating spouse typically lies about his or her involvement, even in the face of physical proof. So, not only is the cheater betraying his spouse, but he isn’t even willing to be truthful with her when she confronts him. Talk about adding insult to injury! 

An important bottom line to all of this is –

As long as one partner runs from honestly taking responsibility while the other partner carries more than his or her share in the marriage, then destruction and damage are imminent.
Sure, there can be huge ramifications and consequences with facing this betrayal head on. But the real damage will come if you don’t take a stand!
So, the first order of business is to determine what the consequences will be for continued unfaithfulness. Consequences can be anything from; no longer having sex with your unfaithful spouse, to asking the spouse to move out of the bedroom, to other types of separation—always in view of saving the marriage! Seek the help of a Christian marriage counselor to walk with you through what types of consequences you should impose.
Also consider what types of positive behaviors you will require. For example, one requirement could be to go to a counselor together, or go to church together, or go to a small group Bible study together, or all of the above!
If you’ve been cheated on, you’ll probably have to be the first to raise the standard of respect in your relationship. Don’t believe the lie that you’re not worth it! Christ wants honor and faithfulness for you. After all, you are His precious child that He paid the ultimate price to redeem! And the good news is— 
Christ will never leave you!
For additional reading regarding affairs, check out:
Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson
Torn Asunder by David Carder

  • Thankful I don’t know this pain, but I know many who do. You give good advice. Thanks for sharing from your counseling experience 🙂

  • Beth~ This one hits so close to home for me. Affairs are like run-away trains with the betrayed spouse left to try to control the engine. Usually, the damage is so substantial that the train is beyond control, and the cheating spouse has no desire relent. There are so many factors that play into such circumstances, but I am encouraged to know you underscore the love Christ has for the betrayed spouse (actually, for BOTH spouses). The betrayed spouse easily feels unlovable and rejected – for good reason. Christ wants more for them, and it is imperative they realize this and act to protect themselves (and their marriage if possible) accordingly. Thank you for addressing this very important issue!!!!

  • This subject deserves many more posts from many different directions. Someone emailed me thru the blog and ask for more info on the subject, so this is the first of many posts. Hopefully, “others” will help me to address such a necessary topic among messy married couples. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Whether the affair is sexual or emotional, it still hurts. Forgiving the spouse who has made a bad choice is hard. Praying for the strength to forgive them and pray for them through this time in your marriage. You will have to go through this process of forgivness many times because something will bring back those feelings that you thought were gone. It will take time to restore what seconds took away. Trust in God and pray.

  • thank you for sharing this, friend… for daring to speak into the dark places…

  • Thank you for this post.
    The whole scenario is so accurate, it’s scary.
    This has touched my home, and the hardest part is finding a way to confront the issue.
    My biggest fear is that doing so will make ME the one responsible for destroying our family. My fear is the kids will blame me in the end.
    It’s so hard to pray through this all, and not feel abandoned.
    I’m about 2 seconds from throwing my shoe through the TV the next time I see another politician revealed–or, worse yet, TV folks questioning why the wife did/didn’t “stand by her man.”
    No one understands until you’re neck-deep in the situation.

  • Big D,

    I’m so sorry to hear of your pain and betrayal. I pray that you are able, in time, to draw near to God again. I know that He hurts for you, because I do. And if I do, how much more the God “who is love” does for you too!

    And you’re right–no one understands until they’ve experienced the pain that you have. I don’t profess to know. But I do know that with all the challenges that lie before you, you’ll need a human advocate, a sounding board, a listening ear to work through the pain of this betrayal. So I hope you consider, if you haven’t already, enlisting the help of a Christian counselor.

    I will pray for you and your marriage and I hope that you stay in touch. Also, thank you so much for your honesty! You never know how it might help someone else who reads this blog and is in “similar shoes.”

  • Big D,

    I’m so sorry to hear of your pain and betrayal. I pray that you are able, in time, to draw near to God again. I know that He hurts for you, because I do. And if I do, how much more the God “who is love” does for you too!

    And you’re right–no one understands until they’ve experienced the pain that you have. I don’t profess to know. But I do know that with all the challenges that lie before you, you’ll need a human advocate, a sounding board, a listening ear to work through the pain of this betrayal. So I hope you consider, if you haven’t already, enlisting the help of a Christian counselor.

    I will pray for you and your marriage and I hope that you stay in touch. Also, thank you so much for your honesty! You never know how it might help someone else who reads this blog and is in “similar shoes.”

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