How do you prepare yourself for bad news? You’d probably rather have some sort of warning about what’s about to happen so you could got a hold of something before it hits, But that usually doesn’t happen, instead wham, it blindsides you! This is what it was like for me the second time in our marriage that my wife confessed to an affair. To hear that the one you love has been unfaithful….how do you prepare for that.
I don’t believe there is a formula for doing it right, no perfect time or place, there is only truth. The news of your wife being caught up in anything from fantasy romance, porn or actual adultery is devastating and will almost for sure ruin the trust that is key to a marriage. It will shake the very foundation of your life, and even if it appears to be what you might think is a one time slip, the reality is there’s probably more to it than just a slip. Bottom line it’s really about the heart and it’s likely something that has been going on in her heart for a while.
When my wife told me about her last affair I had to take some time to figure out what was going on because this was the second time it had happened. The first time was with a guy and it ended our first marriage. Then, after we’d remarried and had two children it was with a woman…what was going on?
I asked the Lord what to do and His response was to ask me if I was without sin? If I felt I was, then I could throw stones. Great! Who can ever claim that? I wanted some sort of answer and possibly a way to pay her back for wounding me again, instead Jesus had me to see how He extended grace to me. Wait a minute, why is it suddenly about me? I thought I was the victim here!
The reality is we both were victims because we had not yet learned to live as the new creations 2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! Both of us needed to look at the reality of our lives and face up to what was really going on. We found the only way to make that happen was to live captivated by His grace so we could extend it to each other when we needed it.
Since then my wife and I have become dependent on grace being in place and our marriage has flourished because of that. God never intended it any other way. Grace is that place where love is not withheld because of behavior, withholding it will only create shame. We’re not perfect, but we live extremely transparent with each other. Living this way allows for us to truly express and receive love which provides the environment where you are able to see potentially dangerous areas in each other and address them before they become problems. The biggest things it does is it helps create trust, you know that thing that was destroyed with the confession of sexual brokenness. Trust can be a tricky thing to re-establish once it’s lost. When grace is in place it became so much easier to risk trusting her once again.
I have found that everyone has their own unique situations, however; here are some points that all need to consider:
- You need to own your sin. You made the decision to act out which is something you’re responsible for. 1 Thess. 4:3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; To repent without acknowledging the reality of what you’ve done is only trying to excuse your behavior. Own what and who you have sinned against. After his sin with Bathsheba, David wrote in Psalm 51:4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. that he’d sinned against God. Start there and then work your way down to the others.
- Clearly state where you are within the marriage. Define if you are coming or going. Don’t wait to decide until you see how the other person reacts, that is their choice. If you want to restore the marriage say that, if you’re committed to it, say it, be clear.
- Then find help. This is not a battle to fight alone, if you try to, the enemy will own you and your thought life. This is the reason for confessing and repenting. It brings you to the foot of the cross where you will find all sins are on level ground. There you will also find the presence of the grace I talked about.
- Be honest with your husband. Don’t think you’re protecting anyone except yourself by withholding information, it only makes things worse. Exposing your sin and the reality of what that means will always hurt. However; sharing all the sordid details is like dragging your spouse over broken glass, it doesn’t accomplish anything good, it’s just extremely painful. Warn your husband that you will answer all question truthfully, so they need to make sure they really want to hear the answers before they ask.
This a hard situation to go through, I’ve been there and found the way out. I know that going through this now by building grace into your life will pay you back greater joy the remainder of you life.