Marriage can be the most wonderful relationship we have on Earth. Yet when there is a betrayal, it can also be the most painful.
Adultery (an affair) is seldom spoken about. Those who find themselves involved in adultery don’t want others to know about it because of shame, guilt, or fear. Spouses of an adulterer don’t want people to know, because they are embarrassed, thinking the act is a reflection of their inadequacies.
When our spouse breaks our marriage covenant, we feel hopeless and defiled. Thoughts of, “how could they” or “why am I not enough” run through our mind.
Adultery is more of a reflection of what is taking place in their heart than it is of you. Perhaps they feel they are not enough. This generally begins in childhood.
Therefore, when someone, other than you, paid attention to them, their ego was raised and made them feel (briefly) that they were enough. This does not justify their behavior, however, it helps us to identify the root of the adultery.
When we are the one who breaks the marriage covenant, there can be a great deal of guilt and shame. In order to protect ourself, we may try to place the blame on our spouse saying, “You never paid attention to me” or “You deflect all my sexual initiations.”
While these excuses can be valid, they do not validate the adultery. As the one who committed the adultery, you know in your heart it was wrong. You also don’t want to lose your marriage over the act. This is when we try to keep the adultery a secret.
The problem with keeping the act a secret is you still know and it begins to eat away at your heart. You wonder, “If they knew the truth about me, would they still accept me and stay in this marriage?”
Distance begins to invade the marriage at a deeper level. The truth is, many people have gone through adultery and many people have come out with a better and stronger marriage than before.
If you have not revealed your adultery to your spouse, this is the first step in restoration. Remember you have been carrying around the weight of your secret. When you disclose this secret, the weight will remove from you, but will be placed on your spouse. While you will instantly feel lighter, they now have to process the information.
While it is extremely unwise to tell everyone about the adultery, there is great wisdom in seeking wise counsel. Talking to someone who is for your marriage can help both of you sort out your feelings.
There is a freedom that comes as your thoughts are put into words. A trusted counselor is amazing in this process.
If you don’t have someone or if you want a neutral person, my husband does marriage counseling at Grace Christian Center in Killeen. This is a free service. He has years of experience in marriage restoration/adultery recovery. Just call and make an appointment.
Whatever you do, remember adultery in marriage does not have to mean the end of your marriage. Many times, it means the beginning of a stronger bond as you work together to strengthen what was betrayed. I believe in you and you will get through this!
Kindra Warner is a marriage group facilitator at Grace Christian Center in Killeen and a Herald correspondent.