This is a post I’ve wanted to share for a while, so now that the book study is complete, here is an article I’d like you all to read:
Okay, now that you’ve read that, let’s be honest. That was painful, wasn’t it? Either you know someone who has cheated or been cheated on, or you, yourself, have ventured into that arena. The painful truth and reality of affairs is quite real and it happens more than we’d like to admit.
This article comes directly from the heart of a man who has been down that path as the cheater – the guy who made a really bad choice. And, it seems that he paid dearly for it. I’ve had conversations with people in that situation and it truly is just that painful (and confusing, destructive, scarring, etc.). I’ve also had experiences with those who were on the other end of that situation – the spouse who was betrayed. That, too, is tremendously painful and damaging. Clawing your way back into a healthy, trust-filled and loving relationship after that is extremely difficult. It can be done, but it is not easy.
I’m sharing this article with you so that you can take a realistic look at what a bad choice can cost you. After the many conversations and personal experiences I’ve had over the years, I can say with certainty that it is much easier than you think to go down that path. Often times it begins as a simple friendship with someone of the opposite sex that turns into an inappropriate relationship. Or, it could begin as a “simple” one night stand only to turn into something with emotional ties. Whatever is begins with, it always ends up decimating your marriage. Friends, it is simply not worth it.
Here are some other tips I’d like to add when it comes to avoiding this serious mistake:
- There is never an appropriate close relationship with someone of the opposite sex (that you are not related to) that is not your spouse. Casual, work-related or church-related conversations in public are definitely acceptable. But, going out alone, meeting for drinks/coffee, running or exercising together without your spouse, etc. is not appropriate. I don’t want to sound like a prude, but that is hovering on dangerous territory and could lead to inappropriate relationships. It’s too easy to begin to lean on that person for the type of emotional intimacy that you should be getting from your spouse.
- Be extremely honest with your spouse and don’t get defensive when your spouse asks you where you are going, have been, or who you were with. Honesty is the best policy – ALWAYS. If you feel uncomfortable telling your spouse who you had coffee with, that should tell you that you probably should not have had coffee with that person. Trust your gut – if it feels wrong, it probably is.
- Share passwords to electronic devices and be open with finances. If your spouse does not have access to these things, they should. This is not to encourage “snooping,” but rather to allow for openness and to not hide anything from your spouse. More times than not, if you are open with passwords and finances, that’s all your spouse needs to know and there will be no snooping. The mere idea of openness truly encourages intimacy in your marriage.
- Finally, if you are facing or have faced an affair in your marriage please don’t think that you have to throw in the towel immediately. If the offending spouse feels remorse and wants to rebuild your marriage there is hope. If the spouse who was betrayed wants to work through it, there is hope. A good marriage counselor can help you navigate that healing process and you can have an amazing marriage after an affair. It’s hard and painful, but counselors have told me that couples can come out the other end of it stronger and happier.
And, at the end I have to share the power of God’s grace in all of this. Regardless of whether you are the betrayer or the betrayed, God’s grace is yours and you are loved no matter what. Your heart and soul can be mended as well as, possibly, your marriage. I encourage you to lean on God’s love and grace and let that be your strength. If you know of others dealing with this in their own lives, perhaps you can be the beacon of light that guides them. In the meantime, I am in constant prayer for all who are seeking healthy marriages. I know that God’s love and strength can build us up and heal the most broken of us all.