Knowing how to cope with infidelity in marriage can be perplexing. An injured spouse has to deal not only with the pain, hurt, and anguish of unfaithfulness, but also the decision to reconcile or end the relationship. Meanwhile, an unfaithful mate may struggle with issues of guilt, remorse, self-loathing and shame. Mending a marriage riddled by adultery and distrust may take years, and some relationships may be irretrievably broken. Couples in crisis may need to consult a professional therapist, pastor, or other spiritual leader to discover how to cope with infidelity in marriage and work through the devastation, disappointment and heartbreak of adultery. The road to reconciliation may be difficult, but not impossible with the right counsel and a willingness to forgive.
Men and women who cheat have no idea how devastating marital betrayal can be; and society is partly at fault. Scenes of unfaithful spouses engaged in adulterous behavior and fornication are regularly paraded across millions of television screens each night. Promiscuity is promoted as some sort of rite of passage for young males; while the seductive female is marketed as an object of desire. But when it comes to fidelity in marriage, America and the world has been sold a counterfeit. God's original purpose for holy matrimony was for one man and one woman to be joined together in a one-flesh monogamous bond for a lifetime. In biblical times, couples were discouraged from divorcing except in cases of fornication or moral uncleanness. For hundreds of years, marriage was held in high esteem; but the 60s and 70s produced a free love society where couples tended to be promiscuous and less committed to holy matrimony. This tendency to love and leave without remorse has made knowing how to cope with infidelity in marriage more difficult.
Christian couples, particularly, will want to know how to cope with infidelity in marriage because God holds believers to a higher standard. In the eyes of the Lord, a guilty spouse is still worthy of forgiveness; and holy matrimony is an institution worthy of salvaging if the couple is willing to work towards reconciliation. The Bible offers several scriptures on how to cope with infidelity in marriage. First of all, God will judge, or penalize, an adulterous spouse: "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).
A mate who violates the sanctity of holy matrimony and abandons an innocent spouse breaks the holy covenant and frees the innocent spouse from the marriage bond. "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?" (I Corinthians 7:10-16).
Even though the Lord is well aware of the sin of fornication and the hurt and betrayal an innocent spouse faces; the manner, timing and type of judgment is also up to God. But the Bible also admonishes believers to forgive, even when how to cope with infidelity in marriage seems elusive. "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:9-15).
The decision to forgive and reconcile, or divorce is a very personal choice between husbands and wives, but the determining factor is love. When Christian couples seek the will of God, then reconciliation is highly likely. However, restoring a marriage broken by adultery requires genuine remorse from the guilty spouse. Separating and promising not to contact a former lover, becoming more accountable to the offended spouse, and renewing the commitment to faithfulness will help rebuild the relationship. How to cope with infidelity in marriage also requires an innocent spouse to push past feelings of betrayal and rejection to find a place of peace. Forgiving one's spouse is paramount if the relationship is to continue; and love and time heal all wounds.
Couples seeking how to cope with infidelity in marriage can only take one day at a time. Open and honest communication if reconciliation and the arduous task of putting the marriage back together can begin. Candidly and patiently talking through problematic issues without arguments or accusations helps rebuild trust. Estranged spouses may need to seek professional counseling or visit with a seasoned clergyman to facilitate reconciliation. Wounded emotions can be healed when couples set aside time to reconnect physically as well as mentally. Enrolling in a weekend retreat for troubled spouses may also help smooth the transition from a broken home to a happy haven.
How To Save Your MarriageYou can discover how to save your marriage by seeking the aid of an experienced marital counselors or clergy. When couples find it difficult to resolve conflicts or are at an emotional stalemate, the best recourse is to solicit the aid of an impartial professional who can analyze problems and offer viable solutions for reconciliation. A troubled marriage does not have to end in divorce if both spouses are willing to exhaust every avenue to put the relationship back together again. Licensed therapists are trained to objectively assess weaknesses and strengths and suggest ways of mending broken hearts and wounded spirits.
Initially, counselors may meet with spouses individually to hear each side and to accurately assess and define major and minor areas of conflict. Later meetings will be scheduled with both spouses present. Quite often, the cause of marital conflict is difficult to pinpoint, but stress from financial troubles, joblessness, chronic illness, or infidelity is a contributing factor. An unemployed husband may resent a wife who is forced to become the family breadwinner. A spouse suffering from a debilitating disease and the resulting hospital bills can place additional strain on a fragile marriage. Infidelity on the part of either spouse can destroy a home and leave in its wake two individuals scarred by betrayal and distrust. No matter what the cause, the decision to discover how to save your marriage by seeking professional help is the first step toward recovery.
During initial sessions, as the therapist allows each spouse to share concerns from an individual perspective, the goal will be to help partners come to a meeting of the minds. Sometimes husbands and wives can be completely oblivious to each others feelings; but a prudent counselor can gently guide them toward a greater understanding and willingness to see eye to eye. A marriage counselor will suggest that couples first of all, resolve to reconcile. Before partners can discover how to save your marriage, each spouse must be committed toward attending sessions and implementing suggested plans. Quite often, one partner may balk at sharing intimate details of the marriage with a total stranger. But confiding in an impartial professional who can effectively help couples work through their problems may be well worth the initial embarrassment.
When couples are trying to reconcile, it is important that the playing the blame game be avoided. No one individual is ever solely innocent or guilty when it comes to marital conflict. Each spouse must be willing not only to take responsibility for actions which might have contributed to the marriage's demise; but also avoid accusations that gender strife. Partners should also have realistic expectations of the outcome. A marriage broken by infidelity may require long-term counseling as spouses work towards forgiving the offending party and reestablishing trust; and rebuilding trust does not happen overnight. An experienced spiritual or secular counselor may suggest how to save your marriage by taking gradual steps to reestablish accountability and work through emotional hurdles.
Once a measure of reconciliation has been achieved, couples should strive to rebuild intimate bonds that foster unity of heart and spirit. Sending the children to a babysitter and enjoying a quiet dinner date at a favorite restaurant, or scheduling a weekend vacation are ways to rebuild romance. Finding ways how to save your marriage through intimacy is half the fun; the other half is discovering that the person you married may still be the love of your life. Fostering an atmosphere conducive to reconciliation also requires eliminating outside interference. Remember: you married your mate, not your mother, best buddy, or next door neighbor. A husband or wife needs to know that they come first, and that as both discover how to save your marriage through counseling, they each are willing to make the necessary adjustments to eradicate patterns of behavior or relationships that adversely affect the marriage. Consulting one another before making time commitments to family or friends also helps repair marital breaches.
Couples who want to discover how to save your marriage but cannot afford to pay a professional therapist can get help through local clergy. A pastor or spiritual leader is an excellent source of biblically sound advice to restore a broken marital relationship, rebuild trust and rekindle the flame. The 5th Chapter of Ephesians offers this advice: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies" (Ephesians 5:22-28a).
"He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." (Ephesians 5:28b-33). With professional counseling and sound biblical advice, couples can discover how to save your marriage and avoid a painful divorce, its devastating effects, and consequent destruction of the most sacred institution ordained by God.