When infidelity breaches a marriage, the bond of trust that is interrupted is difficult to recover. Many marriages end in divorce after an affair, with it being biblical grounds for ending the marital covenant. If both spouses are committed to saving the marriage, it can be a long and painful journey toward healing. Yet, many couples have been able to heal; their marriages have survived and even thrived after getting over an affair.

Infidelity extends beyond just sexual intercourse, and the nature and degree of unfaithfulness will all have to be considered when discussing a way forward. Working with a biblical counselor is highly recommended in this situation. They will be able to facilitate honest conversations that keep emotional intensity at bay and help the couple navigate the turmoil together with God’s help.

Eight questions to ask after infidelity

Here are eight questions to ask at the outset of the process:

1. Is there genuine repentance on the part of the adulterer?

In the aftershock of an affair being disclosed or discovered, emotions run high, and it can take some time for the dust to settle. While the spouse who has been unfaithful can show deep sorrow and regret for what they have done, it is important to ascertain whether their repentance will lead to change.

This means that they not only feel bad about what they have done, but that they are determined to do a complete one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turnaround to ensure that the couple only need to go through the experience once. They need to break ties with the person they have been involved with extra-maritally on every level and focus on rebuilding the marriage.

2. Does the spouse who was cheated on believe they can forgive?

The betrayed spouse needs time to reflect on what overcoming the affair looks like for them. For some individuals, this broken trust can run so deep that they just cannot picture themselves truly being able to forgive their spouse; what has been ruptured simply cannot be put back together again. They may feel that they have no alternative but to follow through with divorce.

In other situations, there is a longing for the marriage to be repaired, and it is about working through a lengthy process toward true forgiveness. This is the kind of question that requires time and honest reflection and would be beneficial to discuss with a counselor as well as with other spouses who have journeyed the same road.

3. Are both spouses committed to attending counseling?

An essential step in getting over an affair is seeking the services of a qualified biblical counselor or marriage therapist. If one spouse is keen to attend, but the other is not, the chances of a comprehensive recovery are weakened. Given the fragility of the situation, the compassionate, professional structure that counseling provides is invaluable. It is likely extremely helpful for both individuals to attend sessions on their own, in addition to couples counseling.

A counselor will spend time delving into the state of the marriage before the affair, while emphasizing that the betrayed spouse is in no way responsible for the adulterer’s decisions and actions. Likewise, they will harvest how events unraveled. This is part of the healing process, as are the commitments that will have to be put in place to affair-proof the marriage in the future.

4. Will you be able to give yourselves time for the grieving process?

Infidelity is a traumatic, painful experience for the spouse on the receiving end. While it is positive to desire to take the steps in getting over an affair, there also has to be time to grieve. An affair is akin to a death. The betrayed spouse will need to go through the steps of emotional healing, and highly likely re-visit some of the steps.

The spouse who cheated needs to allow time and patience for this and will have to slowly and surely rebuild the foundation of trust. There should be no rushing or short-circuiting of emotions, as they will then certainly resurface down the line. For the spouse who has strayed, it is important to also grieve and repent before God, acknowledging sin and the pain that it has caused, while also trusting in the redemption and forgiveness found in Christ.

5. Will you be able to open up and share honestly?

While a counselor is skilled at creating a platform for honest sharing and expression, both spouses involved need to agree to being more vulnerable. A spouse who has cheated may dig deeper and find that their needs were not being met in some way, which led them to seek fulfillment elsewhere.

Being able to open up about this is not easy, and certainly would have been better to highlight at an earlier stage. However, it is important for true feelings to be aired and explored, in order to rebuild the marriage stronger than it was before.

6. Will you recognize any negative relationship patterns?

It is important that both spouses acknowledge the sinful behavior and that the betrayed spouse is not forced to accept blame. It is, however, necessary to recognize any negative relationship patterns that need to change in order to bring health and vitality back to the marriage.

It could be that one spouse spends too much time working, with the result that the other feels neglected. Each marriage is unique, and it is about taking an honest look at the habits and patterns that have built up over time and might need to be refreshed.

7. Are you able to commit to healthier patterns?

Changing old habits is difficult, and that is why an extended period of counseling is necessary in getting over an affair. If the marriage has been neglected, now is the time to commit to healthier practices – things like a weekly date night, finding a joint hobby, and praying together.

The more positive elements you can incorporate, the easier it will be to work through the negativity that comes with infidelity. Both spouses need to ask whether they are committed to these actions, which require dedication and time.

8. Will you put the steps in place to build your marriage back stronger?

Adultery is part of a broken world, and it is surely only through God’s help that a couple can rebuild a stronger marriage after an affair. There have been many examples where this has been the case, but it requires 100% effort on behalf of the couple. Spouses need to ask themselves whether they are prepared to fight for their marriage, and do what is necessary to thrive, against the odds.

Help for getting over an affair

As a couple walks the road to healing, it would be helpful to reach out to other couples who have been in a similar situation, and who have been able to emerge victorious on the other side of an affair. They can share their insights and encouragement with the kind of perspective that others will simply not be able to give. Surviving infidelity is truly a miraculous event and will be the result of God’s grace, in addition to determination and commitment.

No one ever wants to go through an affair, but it can lead to a richer marriage that has been “through the fire” in a real sense of the phrase. The chance for its survival is crucially helped by a professional counselor. Reach out to our office today and we will put you in touch with a qualified Christian counselor willing to walk the road to recovery with you.

“Conflict”, Courtesy of Getty Images, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Engaged”, Courtesy of Hrant Khachatryan, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Sitting on the Wall”, Courtesy of Justin Groep, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Restored,” Courtesy of Frank McKenna, Unsplash.com, CC0 License


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