5 Things You Must Do to Restore Your Marriage After an AffairJul 28, 2022
Today, Trisha and I are starting a two-part post on things that you must do if you want to restore your marriage after an affair. I am writing part one today, from the perspective of one who has had the affair. She is going to write part two tomorrow, from the perspective of the spouse who didn’t have to choose restoration, but did. The title says 5 Things…I’ve listed 6. We have couples ask us all the time where to start this process…what MUST they do…these 6 things are where to start.
- Totally Surrender and Repent Before God
There is a huge difference between being sorry for the consequences of your sin, and being sorry for your sin. I lived most of my life with a sliding scale of sorrow. The more severe the consequences, the more I was sorry. If you have a true desire to restore your marriage, superficial repentance won’t due. Allow God to crush you. Allow God to destroy every part of you that went numb to the pain you were causing your wife, your kids, your family, yourself. Allow Him to break your teeth against gravel, (Lamentations 3) and totally surrender and repent.
- Cut all ties with the person with whom you have had the affair
This is a non-negotiable. I have talked with couples who have not done this, and 6 months later, 2 years later, 4 years later the emotional or physical affair begins again. Change your email address, change your cell phone number, sell your house and move, quit your job, go to a different church…whatever it takes to cut all ties with this person, you must do.
- Submit every minute of your life to a trusted friend
For the first two months after the affair came out, I didn’t have much contact with my wife, Trisha. We were separated. I didn’t know if our marriage would make it, but I wanted to be a different person, even if she decided to divorce me. I would call the people I was staying with or text them with every move I made during the day. “I am working at PF Changs from 11-2, I am stopping by Starbucks to meet with Jeff, I will be to the house by 4PM.” I had lost the ability to be trusted and honestly, I had lost the ability to trust myself. I knew that I needed complete transparency in my life. Grace is free, but trust is earned.
- Get to a Christian counselor that specializes in marriage restoration
This was a huge step for me, and for our marriage. My wife had asked me to go to counseling on several occasions before the affair. I was too proud to admit we had problems that I couldn’t fix. Initially, I went to counseling every day but Friday, for about a month. We then went 3 times per week for about 4 months. It was hard, it was vulnerable, it was uncomfortable…but it not only saved my marriage, I think it saved my life.
- Come clean early and often as you try to rebuild trust
As you begin to uncover the lies and the deception of your affair, your spouse will have a lot of questions. TELL THE FREAKING TRUTH! For the first 30 days of our restoration, I held back parts of the truth I thought would be too hurtful, too damaging, too much for Trisha to handle. HUGE mistake. What your spouse needs is for all of the lies, all of the half-truths, all of the second guessing to go away. Only the light of truth can penetrate the darkness of lies. The more you tell the truth and the earlier in the process you share that truth, the more opportunity you give your spouse to hit bottom, so they can begin to heal. (This step is listed under counseling for a reason. Your spouse will need the help of a counselor to process all of the lies that are exposed in this step.)
- Be willing to do whatever it takes to restore your marriage
I meet with people who have had affairs and they can’t believe their spouse wants to separate. They are upset that their spouse wants to see their cell phone. They are mad that their spouse has asked them to shut down Facebook or wants their password for their email. Give me a break! If you aren’t willing to quit your job to save your marriage…something is wrong. If you aren’t willing to stop traveling to save your marriage…something is wrong. If you aren’t willing to stop chatting over Facebook to save your marriage, something is wrong. If you have broken your marriage covenant with an extra marital affair, and you are saying you want to restore your marriage…put your money where your mouth is!
Are there things you would add to the list?