Friday, June 21, 2013
Some Things to Consider for Your Journey of Recovery, Part 5
Adultery recovery is a process - often a slow, painful one. Many couples don't survive, while some not only survive, but thrive and have an incredible marriage. I believe it is NOT hopeless. I have seen it first hand in my own marriage.
When my adultery came into the light, we had no idea what the road ahead would look like. The overwhelming feelings were heavy. That horrible day on August 26, 2011 when I called Amy to tell her that I had been unfaithful, I had no idea what her response would be. I didn't want a divorce, so I hoped she didn't either. The next few days, weeks, and months would determine a lot about our future as a married couple.
Another thing I have found to be true for couples when their adultery is exposed is this:
#5 There are no guarantees your marriage will be saved.
Sadly, many couples don’t survive marriage, even more so when faced with infidelity. It is VERY painful and devastating to a marriage. Sharing the “ugly” details of your betrayal will send shock waves through your spouse. It did mine.
Betrayed wives react in so many different ways. Your wife may become suicidal or homicidal. She may shut down emotionally (even physically) and pull away from you and others in isolation. She may lash out in harsh, angry words and actions. She may divorce you. She may even cheaton you to get revenge. Or, she may eventually forgive you and stay with you to work through the healing process (thank God my wife did!).
Reactions will vary from person to person, but honesty with her is crucial. How specific you get with your confession is dependent on your spouse. Graphic details may be demanded by her, but be warned. Those graphic images won't go away and may haunt you on days when you are struggling. If your spouse wants full disclosure from you, then the last thing you need to do is lie more. Be honest and answer her questions. Don't let secrets go on any longer. To withhold truth now only adds to your betrayal. It is best to rip off the "scab" and deal with it in the light, especially within the first few days or weeks. Don't sacrifice long-term healing for short-term "comfort."
This is critical to keep in mind: Don’t base your marital future on her initial reaction (whether her response is positive or negative). Some spouses respond well in the beginning, only to fall apart later. Some react very harshly but end up staying and working things out. Your spouse needs time to process it all. Her faith in Christ and ability to cling to Him will determine a lot. You both will need Him to survive this. Even your best efforts to change and try to make amends with your wife won’t guarantee she will stay.
Don't try to rush through the process or "sweep it under the rug." She will have to decide if she is willing to stay and work things out. Your initial recovery is about two years, followed by a lifetime of accountability, healing, marriage enrichment, purity, and a growing relationship with Christ and other believers. You can’t control whether your spouse stays with you or not. Your responsibility is to pray that you will want to stay in your marriage and do whatever it takes, as long as it takes to get help and healing.
Cry out to God and seek to obey Him, surrendering to Him, using Psalm 51 and other passages as your guide. Pray for God to do a miracle in you, your betrayed wife, and your marriage. Trust Him, even if things don’t turn out like you expect or hope. His promises still stand true – He will never leave you nor forsake you. Nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8, Hebrews 13).