5 Things You Must Do to Restore Your Marriage When Your Spouse Had an AffairJul 28, 2022
The pressure of writing this post is a bit overwhelming and my heart is heavy. Sigh… not because I think I have all the answers but simply the reality of the broken person who will search for this resource. Remembering that surreal and painful moment of hearing “I’m having an affair.” And now knowing that I may be speaking into your “moment” causes me to stop and pray hard that I don’t mess this up.
As I (Trisha), write I am reminded that this isn’t about what I’ve done. This post is all about what Christ did for me in my “moment” and how He continues to restore and bring HOPE in what was a very hopeless situation! This post is for YOU the hurting and broken spouse whose world is being turned upside down. I pray my words are encouraging and hope filled as you begin your journey of healing.
The Grieving process is a gift from God. As Christians we often feel guilty for being angry, sad or depressed. Knowing your spouse has had an affair is like being told they have died. All that you have thought to be true about your marriage and your spouse is now dead. It is OK to be angry! It is OK to feel depressed! It is OK to feel confused! It is OK to feel hopeless. Just because you feel these emotions it doesn’t change who God is and the love he has for you.
Grieving is the start to the restoration process and maybe not for your marriage but for you as a person and child of God. While it can be unhealthy to get stuck in one of the stages of grief it is essential to grieve and understand that with grieving comes healing!
- Get Help! You Need Community.
When Justin said “I’m having an affair” it seemed that all my community disappeared. The affair was with my best friend and staff member of our church. The two people I should be able to turn to in a crisis were no longer there. It was SO LONELY. I was confused, tired, disoriented and in desperate need of help. The Lord brought an amazing group of women who despite hurting themselves loved me, embraced me and helped me SURVIVE the next few days and weeks.
I don’t know who this is for you. Pray that God would bring people to mind and trust those people to help you. I know it’s hard. Here I lost the two people closest to me and now had to trust others? Community may not be easy but IT’S A MUST. You need community for the sake of your family, your mental health and for a covering of prayer.
- Create Boundaries / Create a Plan
I often say that just like with parenting there are general principles we can apply when parenting our children but if you’re a parent you know that each child is different. The same is true for your marriage. Although there are general steps you can take for your marriage, each marriage is different and your boundaries and plan will look different from mine.
Justin was NOT broken at the beginning of his confession! He was cold and made it very clear he was not in love with me and was not coming home. This was MY reality and I needed to create healthy boundaries. I kicked him out of our house. I created a new checking account and took the majority of our money. I had someone help me understand our finances because Justin did everything. I had a couple that helped me connect with Justin to take our boys since I wasn’t speaking to him. The list goes on and on. But with a plan and clear boundaries it gave my boys and I stability when my life was falling apart and time and space to begin to heal.
- Counseling. Counseling. Counseling.
Let me first say that just because someone is a counselor that doesn’t mean they are good at what they do! Justin and I were so blessed by two amazing counselors Kathy (JD’s counselor) and Dan our marriage counselor. I don’t care if it takes you 5 tries to find a counselor your comfortable with YOU NEED TO GO.
Dan helped me navigate my emotions of the hurtful details Justin would share with me. He gave me tools to know how to grieve in a way that is healthy. He taught me that it was ok to “go after Justin” in sessions and demand the truth. He helped me to see my own junk and brokenness instead of hiding behind Justin’s. He allowed me to be angry but helped me not to become bitter. Each session we had to trust and choose to take ownership and action to step into that path of healing he was helping to provide.
- Identity Thief / Finding Who You Are
It’s emotional to write this one. Who am I? What do I do from here? What will my family and friends say or do? What will my work do? Will I find a job to support my family? Am I really a single parent now? What if he marries her? How do I tell my kids? How do I walk my kids into school knowing half of our congregation will be there? God why? God what do I do? I worked so hard. I sacrificed so much just for this?
I no longer knew who I was. I hadn’t realized how I used so many other titles such as pastor’s wife, mom and friend to find my identity. The loss of so much brought me to my knees. Yet it allowed me to see that the only identity that matters is who I am in Christ. A loved daughter of the king and in time Jesus would teach me that this is enough.