Our vision for RefineUs is to be a place that focuses on our hearts and not our relationship status.
Married, single, dating, single again, remarried, or anywhere in between, this is a place for you. There are times we paint in broad strokes to speak to as many people as possible.
Then there are times God lays something specifically on our heart that we want to share with a specific group of people.
The number one blog post of 2011, 2012 and the most viewed blog post of 2013 so far is, 5 Things You Must Do to Restore Your Marriage After An Affair.
While not everyone that is a part of RefineUs has experienced infidelity, many, many people come here looking for hope and direction in the midst very intense pain.
Today, I (Justin) want to share with you what I believe to be the biggest mistake couples make as they recover from an affair. This mistake usually isn’t made intentionally, but it is made often.
The biggest mistake you can make restoring your marriage after an affair is to focus on what and not why.
Short of losing a spouse or child, there is no greater pain that is experienced in a marriage than infidelity. It is heart-breaking, destructive, dark and sinful.
There is never an excuse for an affair, but there is always a reason.
But unless we are willing to go beyond the what of the situation to determine why this is a part of our story, we limit the parts of our heart God can redeem and restore.
Many couples get stuck in two very broken places: anger/resentment (for the one who’s been betrayed) and shame/guilt (for the one who’s cheated). When you’re stuck in either of these places the path of least resistance is to focus on what happened and stop short of digging into why it happened.
Here are some differences between a marriage that focuses on what and a marriage that is willing to focus on why:
- What focuses on what they did; Why invites God to change me.
- What desires payment and retribution; Why is willing to forgive.
- What wants all the pain to go away as quickly as possible; Why wants all the pain to have purpose and is willing to endure it.
- What drifts toward that which is safe and guarded; Why shares all of the truth and risks being vulnerable.
- What wants everything fixed; Why allows God to make all things new.
- What focuses on all we have to do to heal our marriage; Why gives God free reign into all parts of our heart and marriage.
Choosing to focus on what and not why will alleviate the pain temporarily but leaves the sickness in the relationship. What allows many couples to experience the same mistake again in a few months or a few years. But there is another way.
When you choose why over what, the cost is greater upfront. Conversations are more difficult and honest. Mistakes by both spouses are admitted and owned. Making them pay gives way to forgiveness. Shame and guilt are overcome by grace and mercy. The focus moves from what he/she did to “How did we get here?”
Brokenness and repentance become the cry of both person’s heart…and God shows up in powerful ways.
The greatest gift I’ve received is a wife that wanted to know why. It changed everything about our recovery and provided the path to restoration.
The most important thing you can do in the restoration process is to not focus on what happened, but allow God to teach you why it happened.
That is the place of true life change.