Monday, February 4, 2013

Can Your Marriage Survive an Affair? Forgiveness


The first thing necessary to overcome infidelity in a marriage is forgiveness.  You have to forgive.  Unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping it will kill the person you can’t forgive.  It will eat you up.  It will cause you to say and do things you normally wouldn’t say and do.  It will destroy your life.   It will kill you in the form of disease manifested by the venom of unforgiveness.

Forgiving is not easy.  It is not a feeling or emotion; it is an act.  A feat you will have to face every day until you’ve conquered it.

Along with forgiving comes forgetting.  It’s hard to erase the image of your spouse with another person.  That is a betrayal no one ever wants to face.  Yet you have to move on from that, get past it.   You may never forget, but you can’t hold onto the pain of unfaithfulness indefinitely.  As long as you do, there will be no recovery, no resurrection of your marriage.

Resurrection is absolutely possible.  Most times, couples come out of infidelity for the better.  It causes them to look honestly at what went wrong in their marriage and what needs to be done to fix it, for the better.  Besides, we don’t normally make changes until we hit a crisis.

If your spouse strays, you have to honestly look at what you both missed in making your marriage healthy and take responsibility for your part.  And never say that you would never do it.  Before it happens, most adulterers think the same thing. 

You may need to seek outside help to sort through “what went wrong”.  It needs to be talked about. You both need to be committed to making the marriage work.   I would suggest a Christian counselor or pastor or even better, a mature Christian couple from your church who’s been through it.  They say that couples do better counseling with others who share similar experiences than they do with professional counselors who’ve learned it from books.

 “I don’t know how to forgive them” you may cry.  It may be one of the most difficult things you’ll ever face.  But what are the alternatives?  To live the rest of your life resentful?  If you give up on your marriage, you may have regret down the road that you didn’t give your marriage a chance.  That “unresolved” will eat at any new relationships you attempt in the future.  What about all the pain and heartache of divorce?  If you choose that path, this is only the beginning of more hardship and pain.   After most couples divorce and have time to “breathe”, they wish they would have tried harder in fixing their marriage.

It’s never going to get any easier than right now to fix your marriage.  The longer you wait, the harder it becomes.  If you divorce, you’ll only carry that hardship on into your next relationship, leaving you to deal (unknowingly) with issues from your past marriage and on top of that, a new marriage.  Everything is magnified.  Second marriages have a 75% chance of divorce.

Besides, look at all God has forgiven us for.  And yet, we continue to live a sinful life, not caring to follow His plan for us.  But He still loves us and waits for us to come to Him, no matter what we’ve done against Him or said against Him.  Imagine the pain we have caused Him.  He has every right to wipe His hands clean of us.  But He doesn’t.  He loves us and will continue to always love us.

God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us.  I can’t begin to comprehend that.  As much as He loved Jesus, He nailed Him to the cross - for us.  He sacrificed His Son to forgive us.  How He must love us.  How much pain are you willing to overcome in forgiving your spouse?

If you truly desire the healthy marriage God intended for you, you need to seek His face.  If you want to draw closer to your spouse, draw closer to God.  Experience the unconditional love He offers us.  If you do, I promise you that you will see amazing changes in your life and in your marriage.  It will be worth it all.  

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