I wish it never happened to anyone and I hope it never happens to you, but in my job I hear it almost every week. It’s a word we are afraid of, one that can destroy, and certainly one that will break a heart. Sometimes people admit to it, but mostly they deny it.
The word is AFFAIR.
I once thought that word was guaranteed to end a marriage, but after seeing countless marriages put back together and actually strengthened following an affair, I now believe it definitely does not have to be the final chapter of a marriage.
Again, I hope you never hear the word, but if you do, here are some steps to take:
Expect numbness - For the first few days or even weeks you may not feel anything. That’s okay.
Decide where you want to go with the marriage – Do you want to make it work or not? This is something both of you must decide. You will not be able to move forward in any direction until you do. (This may take a week or a month or more, but if you want to save the marriage, you have to make that decision.)
Get counseling quick – This is not an issue you can solve on your own or just ignore. If you intend to save the marriage (which I hope you do) then you will need help.
Get a plan to restore your marriage and work the plan - This will be a difficult, long process, but the results are worth it.
Eventually you will need to forgive your spouse for the hurt he or she has caused you - This is a work of grace, but it is necessary to restore the marriage.
Build safeguards into your life – You will need to learn how to protect your marriage in the future. What went wrong? Where were the holes?
Invest in other marriages – Once your marriage is healthy again and you’ve semi-recovered, you will have valuable experience to help others. Don’t be afraid to let God use you in this way.
This post addresses the offended party, not the one in an affair, but even for you, the word “affair” doesn’t have to end your marriage. I’m praying for those who read this that it won’t mean that for yours.
Feel free to comment with tips, stories, resources, or suggestions of your own.
What would you add to my list?