Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Recovery Timeline

I have read that it takes about 18 to 36 months to recovery from adultery. Closer to 18 months when you pursue counseling and do things "right" or work hard to heal. Without counseling, it can take closer to 36 months to recover. Also, something alarming, is that couples who end up divorcing as a result of the adultery, do so 18 to 24 months AFTERWARDS. That means, they spent over a year (even close to two years) trying to work it out or stay together, only to eventually divorce. 

That leads me to two thoughts:

1). Your spouse's initial reaction after your adultery is exposed does not mean that's how things will end. If your spouse responds well, then that doesn't guarantee he or she will stay so "positive" or calm. There can be a ricochet response that has a bit of a delayed effect. Once he or she thinks through it, she may choose to bail or not do the hard work of recovery. Some of that depends on you - the one who betrayed her. Your response to your exposed betrayal is very important.

If your spouse responds very poorly and "negatively" after finding out about your affair(s), then that doesn't mean your marriage is over, either. Even if she says she wants a divorce. Her initial response is simply that - initial. She needs time to vent, process what all has happened, and then decide what to do next. It takes time to face such betrayal.Again, your response here is critically important.

2) Surviving adultery is no easy task. Many couples don't do the hard work, for the long haul. Some bail quickly. Some stick with it a few months or even a year or two. Just "surviving" or staying together doesn't equal reconciliation or marriage bliss/healing. Pushing it under the rug and not dealing with it will cause problems later. Short term pain to achieve long term healing is the best approach. This is tough and explains why so few do the real, gut wrenching work. For those who do, it is well worth it.

I am grateful to God and my wife for allowing me to stay married and keep my family intact. We are not simply surviving. With God's help and the help of others, we are actually thriving. We have been through hell and back but it has paid off.

The work is still ongoing. The initial 18 to 24 months of recovery are vitally important, followed by a lifetime of sanctification, growth, accountability, prayer, and investment in our personal growth and marriage growth.

May you persevere and see God do something only He is able to do.
Romans 5:3-5

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