Learning to Trust Unfaithful Husband

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A question from the mail: 

"Do you ever again totally trust a husband that has been unfaithful?"

Response from others:

Absolutely! As one who has been through this in our marriage, I know it is possible, but you have to turn all the doubts and fears over to God. When we question and don't trust our spouse many times it makes the situation worse and not better. When this occurred in our marriage we agreed to not do anything that would raise any questions. The first few months I was so scared of the what if it happens again but I soon realized that only my Heavenly Father could take that fear away. Now here we are married 35 years and our marriage is better than I ever thought it would be. I am so glad I did not take the divorce route. I love my husband so much and cannot imagine life without this loving man that I adore. So I give a loud YES to the question. You can learn to trust again but it takes a lot of faith in God and many prayers. Each time the doubts would creep in, I would spend time in prayer for God to take away all the doubts and fears from me.

Every situation is different. For me, I did not want to be a statistic of a broken home for my family. It took a while but we worked at trust. What was the circumstance that led to his actions. Being truthful with each other. Once I had forgiven my husband I never brought it up again. We had been married 14 years when his unfaithfulness happened. We were married 45 years when he passed away in 2007.

Ask oneself ...is the person who was unfaithful a good person who just made a really bad mistake. Or have they serious character issues in general. So many many things to consider. No two situations are exactly alike. Our marriage underwent this situation and we have trust again. Examine the facts of your own unique circumstances. Pray A LOT for God to help you to see  your spouses heart.

This, for me, has been a process that has grown through the years. We all know hard things usually get easier with time, and this is no exception. But know for certain, the effort has been so worth it. Our love for each other has grown so deep we hardly know "where one ends and the other begins" (to quote a favorite book). I always struggled with self-esteem, and obviously the unfaithfulness made that even worse. The fears never completely go away, but I think I can safely say I do trust my husband. He has proven over and over to me that he truly loves me and wants to be faithful to me. Over the years I began to be able to voice my fears from time to time, and make specific requests that would help me feel more secure (such as, Please don't go on walks alone after dark on business trips.) When he responded favorably to these requests, it strengthened my trust immeasurably. I also made a definite decision to put the past behind us and move forward, because it was worth it to stay with him and strengthen what we had. I know this was ultimately what would be the most pleasing in the eyes of God, and I try to live each day with that in mind. It has been 20 plus years, and I hardly ever even think about it any more. You won't be sorry if you make whatever effort you have to to save your marriage. I pray God's blessings on you as He has blessed us.

Trust is not an easy thing to repair once it has been broken by an unfaithful spouse (unfortunatly in my case it has happened twice over a 5 year period). There will be stressful times or moments you let your thoughts run away from you that trust is questioned.  By trying to keep busy when these moments happen and remembering it is not all about you (our need to have justice) and that you are keeping your part of the covenant you made, not only for God, but also for your family/children, and the love we should have for the soul (not the person) of the one who has been unfaithful.

I have been able to overcome much in this area by trying to look at Jesus' example of when he was betrayed by Peter not only once but three times.  Jesus not only forgave Peter but trusted him to care for his followers and used him to build up the church.  It is not easy to trust again after unfaithfulness but it can make the betrayed learn to have a stronger trust in their relationship with God and the forgiveness he has given us.

When you decide to "try and work it out" I strongly encourage the husband (or wife, if she cheated) to be patient. When your husband is unfaithful you have so many questions. Who, when, where, how much, ....etc. I know I did. My husband was PATIENT and KIND and answered all my questions. Even though it hurt at the time, it was what I needed. BUT, I encourage the wife to not ask for specific answers. When you have a vividly painted picture in your head (or a photo or letter) it is so difficult to erase from your mind. Once you have the basic answers...start rebuilding. Don't keep asking. It is a VERY VERY long and hard road, but forgiveness is freeing. Having your church to lean on is beyond words. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't heal and recover your marriage. YOU CAN. We did. Unless you are very different...BOTH spouses have things to work on...work together, pray together...and cry together. It is worth the effort and pain to come out the other side whole again.

I have experienced and lived through the horror of having an unfaithful husband. We went through this time way back in 1990. We remained together and are still together and very happy. We've raised our children, who are also faithful. Couples CAN struggle through and endure through all the pain and rebuild that trust. TRUST is the whole deal. It is the issue that will make or break your relationship.

Looking back and through the therapy we had I realized how lonely I had made my husband...we had a new baby (our first) and I had thrown myself full time into him...I realized far too late that I had jeopardized my marriage by making my husband feel unimportant and lonely. It is something I see a lot of new moms doing...and when I can, I try to gently explain to them the danger in that . NOW, He, my husband, was fully at fault for his actions...we both agreed on that!, but both parties need to do some heavy soul searching to see WHY the spouse strayed. It's never about the physical...it's always about the emotional connection to another person when the spouse is vulnerable..There are few exceptions...one being a sex addict, I assume. But, in my case, we both had issues. If we had dealt with them FIRST...it would have been so much easier than dealing with our issues along with the horror of adultery. I love my husband very much and did back then. He took FULL responsibility before God and our congregation...never blaming me. He is a wonderful Christian man. I hate for anyone to give up on a marriage. I hope your articles help that from happening.

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I have been in that situation before. And the trust is very hard to win back. Especially, when the husband does not want to attend counseling. It hurts very much. But, the people it hurts most is our children. Whenever he is late from somewhere your mind wanders to what he has done before.

When I found out that my husband was unfaithful, yes, I forgave him and thought that trust could be rebuilt...however, when it occured the 2nd time...trust can never be rebuilt.

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May I address this question from the standpoint of the unfaithful spouse?  About twenty years ago my wife made the decision to try to forgive an unfaithful husband (me) and to go about trying to rebuild a marriage that had been torn apart.  There was not good reason for her to do this, as I confessed to her at the time that I did not know if I could forsake my adulterous ways, yet she chose the very difficult path, apparently believing something better of me than I did of myself.  But the scriptures do say that love believe all things and hopes all things.

It has not been easy for her, as while so often we are told that "when God forgives, He forgets" the fact is that we are all human and not God.  How can one forget the treachery of betrayal by the one in whom you had entrusted your entire life?  Even I cannot forget, as much as I would like to.  How can I expect her to forget?  There were times that the memories and the hurt were so difficult for her, especially at those times at which I was still struggling to get my life where it needed to be.  And our marital problems caused financial problems to come on us.  How could she avoid being resentful at times?  But time, prayer and faith caused the pain of betrayal to be lessened for her, to the point that we were able to resume an almost normal life again.

Does my wife trust me today?  Yes, I think she does, as much as is humanly possible.  However, I would not expect her to throw caution to the wind, and I try to make my life as transparent as possible, so that she does not have reason to be fearful or suspicious.

I apologize for my rambling way of addressing this question.  I don't know whether this will be helpful as far as this question is concerned or not.  I hope it is.

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A note of thanks.

"I wanted to thank those who responded to this issue.  Your answers were what I needed.  I am glad there are others out there who value marriage as much as I do.  I did have doubts but I know I made the right decision to stay in my marriage.  I truly kept God right by my side through all of this and used His word to help make my decision. Again, thank you and I hope your words help many others who are dealing with this."

Another Note:   "I wish to thank the unfaithful spouse for his response to your question. I pray that he continue to love not only his beautiful wife, but to love all who fail in any area of service to God and man and keep trying again... We need him."

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Some thoughts to consider while you work on learning to trust your unfaithful spouse.

Pat Gates

 From the Word of God:

  • David and Bathsheba - Even the most righteous can fall into temptation. The righteous also truly repent and change. 2 Samuel 12
  • Jesus and woman in adultery - Jesus forgave. John 8:1-12
  • 2 Cor. forgive the man - This man had his father's wife! He did repent and the Corinthians were encouraged to forgive him lest Satan tempt them. 2 Corinthians 2:6-11: "This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices."
  • Keep a check on the temptation of vengeance. Romans 12:17-19: Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
  • God & Israel - God uses the act of adultery to describe his unfaithful people. God did forgive the repentant and blessed them with the promise of the Christ.

Also consider these dos and donts:

  • Don't bring up the past in order to hurt your spouse.
  • Don't feel now you have the right to ridicule and treat your spouse badly. As a Christian God never gives you the right to act badly to anyone.
  • Don't feel you have the right to turn to alcohol, drugs, over-indulgence in anything, and even adultery to help ease your pain.
  • Do forgive. While the pain may exist for a while, open your heart to forgiveness 
  • Do pray daily and ask for strength, peace, wisdom, and self control. Tell God your feelings and ask for help.
  • Do pray for your spouse.
  • Do understand trust may take a while, but it will come. Be patient.
  • Do understand the pain will lessen as time goes by.
  • Do examine your marriage and work on this together. You may eventually find your marriage is even better than it ever has been.
  • Do focus outside yourself. Do for others. Do for your spouse.
  • Do remember your children. Even if they don't know about the adultery, they know their daddy and mommy have not been loving to each other for a while. They are scared and confused. They are watching. Show them kindness by being kind to your spouse, no matter how difficult you may find this. If you don't have children, be kind anyway. You have no right to be otherwise, and kindness is a great healer.
  • Do listen to your spouse. Don't cloud your thinking with, "Don't tell me what's wrong with me, I never cheated on you." Push those thoughts aside and listen with an open heart. While the adultery was not your fault, if you want your marriage to not only "work out" but to be better than ever, listen.
  • Do remember, as a woman, you are still in subjection to your husband. His past sin does not negate that. At the same time a man whose wife was unfaithful still needs to love her as Christ loves the church and not to be bitter with her.
  • Focus on scriptures that may not necessarily be under the title "Marriage" but are relevant in your marriage such as scriptures on patience, perseverance, forgiveness, humbleness, kindness and love.

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How to Forgive

(selected off internet)

  • Be open.
  • Make a decision to forgive your spouse.
  • When images of the betrayal or hurt flash in your mind, think of a calming place or do something to distract yourself from dwelling on those thoughts.
  • Don't throw an error or mistake back in your spouse's face at a later date. Don't use it as ammunition in an argument.
  • Don't seek revenge or retribution. It will only extend the pain.
  • Accept that you may never know the reason for the transgression.
  • Remember that forgiveness doesn't mean you condone the hurtful behavior.
  • Be patient with yourself. Being able to forgive your spouse takes time. Don't try to hurry the process.

"All this sounds good," you tell yourself, "but how can I ever forget what my partner did to me?" Good question. You don't! Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting. You will probably always remember the particular injustice(s) that drove you into your corner. But what will happen, is that when you forgive, the intense emotions associated with the event(s) begin to fade. You will feel happier, lighter, more loving. And these renewed positive feelings won't go unnoticed. Others will be drawn to you.

Just keep in mind that forgiveness isn't a feeling. It is a decision. You decide that you are going start tomorrow with a clean slate. Even if it isn't easy, you make the determination that the alternative is even harder, and that you are going to do what you must to begin creating a more positive future.

Forgiveness is not the same thing as trust. Forgiveness may mean giving someone the opportunity to rebuild trust., but we don't automatically trust everyone we forgive in this life.

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  • Remember to be merciful and to forgive every sin. Without a doubt, the sins committed against us by those closest to us hurt the worst (cf. Luke 22:61-62). Indeed, the defilement of the marriage bed by one's mate is so awful that the Lord made it the only just cause for putting asunder one's marriage (Matthew 19:6, 9).

    Yet, even when fornication results in putting away, the Lord expects the one sinned against to have a forgiving heart (Colossians 3:12-13). Just as the Lord earnestly prayed for the forgiveness of His murderers, every spouse ought to yearn for his mate's salvation (Luke 23:34).

    Often, when one marriage partner sins against the other, the sin is not forgiven. (I'm talking about a whole range of sins, not just fornication.) Unforgiven sin becomes a root of bitterness and bears the fruit of resentment, retaliation, and revenge, eventually destroying the marriage (cf. Galatians 5:15). God will not forgive those who fail to show mercy by forgiving when their mates ask to be forgiven (Matthew 18:33-35; 5:7; 6:14-15). Furthermore, that person contributes to the erosion of the marriage, rather than its fortification. This apostolic admonition well applies, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:31-32) 

  • via Can This Marriage Be Saved? By Joe R. Price http://www.knollwoodchurch.org

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     DECIDE to forgive TODAY

    Ultimately, the key to healing from infidelity involves forgiveness, which is frequently the last step in the healing process. The unfaithful spouse can do everything right - be forthcoming, express remorse, listen lovingly and act trustworthy, and still, the marriage won't mend unless the betrayed person forgives his or her spouse and the unfaithful spouse forgives him or herself. Forgiveness opens the door to real intimacy and connection.

    But forgiveness doesn't just happen. It is a conscious decision to stop blaming, make peace, and start tomorrow with a clean slate. If the past has had you in its clutches, why not take the next step to having more love in your life? Decide to forgive today. Michele Weiner-Davis


     
    To survive infidelity, both partners must agree to stop engaging in denial, blame, or attack, all of which create more damage in the relationship.
    .

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    A braid appears to contain only two strands of hair. But it is impossible to create a braid with only two strands. If the two could be put together at all, they would quickly unravel.

    Herein lies the mystery: What looks like two strands require a third. The third strand, though not immediately evident, keeps the strands tightly woven. In a Christian marriage, God’s presence, like the third strand in a braid, holds husband and wife together.   -selected

    "Leave father and mother and cleave [to each other]"

    We were visiting friends when they received a telephone call from their recently married daughter. After several tense minutes on the phone, the mother told the father to pick up the extension. The newlyweds had had their first big fight.

    In a few moments, the father rejoined us and tersely explained, “Said she wanted to come home.”

    “What did you tell her?” I asked.

    “Told her she was home.”

    -selected

    *Practice "leaving father and mother" and "cleave" to spouse.

    A couple married for 15 years began having more than usual disagreements. They wanted to make their marriage work and agreed on an idea the wife had. For one month they planned to drop a slip in a “Fault” box. The boxes would provide a place to let the other know about daily irritations. The wife was diligent in her efforts and approach: “leaving the jelly top off the jar,” “wet towels on the shower floor,” “dirty socks not in hamper,” on and on until the end of the month. After dinner, at the end of the month, they exchanged boxes. The husband reflected on what he had done wrong. Then the wife opened her box and began reading. They were all the same, the message on each slip was, “I love you!”
    .
    selected

    Broken marriages begin to mend and communication is reestablished when one of the partners is willing to make a breakthrough and say, “Lord, begin with me. I am the one who needs to change, to love more deeply and more wisely.”

    Even if you think your spouse is 100% wrong, when you stand in the presence of Christ you will begin to see that you, too, have shortcomings. You will discern where you have failed to accept responsibility for the marital relationship, and you will be able to say, “God, change me.”

    The Christian is committed to follow Christ who went all the way in love, all the time. So, for a start, stop demanding that your partner change his ways. Let God start changing you.

    -selected

    A Wall Or Bridge

    They say a wife and husband, bit by bit,
    Can rear between themselves a mighty wall,
    So thick they cannot speak with ease through it,
    Nor can they see across it, it stands so tall.

    Its nearness frightens them, but each alone
    Is powerless to tear its bulk away;
    and each Dejected wishes he had known
    For such a wall, some magic thing to say.

    So let us build with master art, my dear,
    A bridge of love between your life and mine,
    A bridge of tenderness, and very near,
    A bridge of understanding, strong and fine.

    Till we have formed so many lovely ties,
    There never will be room for walls to rise.

    Source unknown

    On her golden wedding anniversary, my grandmother revealed the secret of her long and happy marriage. “On my wedding day, I decided to choose ten of my husband’s faults which, for the sake of our marraige, I would overlook,” she explained. A guest asked her to name some of the faults. “To tell the truth,” she replied, “I never did get around to listing them. But whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I would say to myself, ‘Lucky for him that’s one of the ten.’”   -selected

    Through the Eyes of Love

    Hands—beautiful, symmetrical hands
    Long tapered fingers
    Tanned skin from outdoor living
    Useful beyond belief
    My wife’s hands.

    Knotted—arthritic hands
    Misshapen from age and disease
    Not very nimble now
    But still useful beyond belief.
    I know what others see
    Hands as they are today
    But I see beautiful, symmetrical hands.
    My wife’s hands.

    And a face, beautiful sparkling brown eyes
    Full red luscious lips
    Skin like warm ivory
    A blush of dawn in her cheek
    Lovely beyond belief.

    Aged wrinkled skin
    A brown age spot here and there
    Eyes grown dim with time
    Lips pale and thinner now
    I know what others see
    A face as it is today
    But I see a face
    Lovely beyond belief.
    My wife’s face.

    -unknown

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    The temptation of adultery is insidious - Be Watchful!

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    STOP before it goes any further:

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    STOP thinking you are too righteous and you can place yourself in dangerous situations with other men and not be tempted.

    STOP sharing negative thoughts about your husband with others, especially men.

    STOP going to lunch with other men during work hours, unless you are with a group of other women. Better still, only go to lunch with women.

    STOP going places with single women from work as this could put you in tempting situations.

    STOP riding alone with men.

    STOP visiting with men in your house alone or in their house.

    STOP accepting gifts from men.

    STOP thinking about just self, think of yourself in partnership with your husband. Would your husband like your associations? Would your husband like the conversation and attention you are giving your co-worker, neighbor, brother in Christ etc.? If your husband could read your mind, would he like what what you are thinking about? Remember, you and your husband are ONE, a union. Remember, God knows every thought, every action.

    STOP daydreaming about another man and never allow yourself to fantasize a relationship. If this is happening, control your thoughts and stay away from that individual. If you don't have a choice, then make your conversation short and try to always have someone else with you.

    STOP flirting, even if you think that's as far as you will go or want to go. If you are married and you flirt, you are wanting attention and the other man knows this. Quit thinking it's just a quirky part of your personality as you are lying to yourself. You are wanting attention from other men and even if that's as far as you go, it is wrong and you are causing impure thoughts in the other man.

    STOP dressing immodestly. Oh, by the way, I don't go for that idea that a young woman nor an older woman doesn't realize she is dressing immodestly. Of course she knows it, if she does it on a regular basis. Once in a while she may not realize the slit of the skirt is up too high or a piece of clothing may be tighter or more revealing than she realized, but more often than not, that isn't the case. Women aren't stupid and neither are men.

    STOP ongoing private conversations with a man, whether it be at work, at the church building, on the phone, on email, anywhere!

    STOP looking for approval from other men. If your husband isn't giving you the attention you want, talk to him. If he still doesn't, do not give yourself an excuse to receive that attention from men. God does not give you the right. It is a dangerous scenario.

    STOP fighting temptation alone; go to God and confess your temptation to your heavenly Father and ask for strength and help.

    STOP having ongoing conversation with men via email and text messaging. It may look innocent at first, but in a way, it's more dangerous than face to face as we tend to be more open and at ease in the privacy of writing.

    STOP feeling sorry for yourself. No marriage is perfect, but patience, understanding and love can make a good marriage.

    STOP thinking if you were married to _______ instead of your husband, you'd have a more exciting life. What you are experiencing is the excitement of the thought of being attractive and attracted to another man. If you could be married to that other man, the excitement would fade. Try working on your present marriage to make it more exciting; it's not just up to your husband to try.

    STOP any impure thoughts as soon as they pop in your head. Don't allow them. Of course you can control them.

    STOP living your life in regret and start living your life.

    STOP thinking if you and another Christian are attracted to each other, even if it's because you are both so spiritually minded and respect each other, it makes it OK. It doesn't.

    STOP having an emotional affair with that man because he understands you better than your husband or he compliments you when your husband doesn't. Your thoughts aren't right and these "emotional affairs" can and most likely will turn into physical affairs.

    STOP thinking about yourself so much. Think about God and truth and all good things. Think maturely, rationally, and in love.

    STOP falling into temptation and putting your own soul at risk as well as the other man's.

    -Pat Gates

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    I put this Q & A on this page, not only for the sake of the actual question, but also to show that we should never excuse ourselves from immoral thoughts. Even if a Christian never commits the act of fornication, lusting another man/woman is wrong whether it be fantacizing, internet pornography or whatever form lusts may develop. Ladies, longing after another man is never a God-given right even if your husband does not give you the attention or compliments you want, or if you are bored with life in general and want some excitement. If your husband is emotionally and/or physically abusive, the same holds true: God has never given you the right to have emotional or physical affairs with other men. (pg)

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    When a man is involved in porn on the net, does that qualify as fornication?   May a woman put her husband away when this happens?

    "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9).

    When a person wants to do something, such as divorce their spouse in order to marry someone else, but they can't find scriptural justification for their action, they will either try to dismiss the restriction by saying the command is not relevant today or they will try to broaden the restriction so that what they want is included in the command. In other words, they will either try to subtract from God's word or they will try to add to it.

    "Sexual immorality" or "fornication" that appears in the passage above comes from the Greek word porneia. Porneia refers to illicit sexual acts that take place outside of the bonds of marriage, including adultery, homosexual acts, incest, oral sex, and the like.

    But the question is whether porneia includes sexual lusts that are not acted upon. The reason this comes up is that Jesus stated, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). In this statement, Jesus is not saying that sexual lust is adultery, but that it is equivalent to adultery. In other words, sexual lust for someone who is not your spouse is just as much a sin as actually committing the act of adultery. Still Jesus is not stating that they are the same sin. The major point that Jesus is trying to get us to learn is that desiring to commit a sin and actually committing the sin is not that different to God. The Jews emphasized the physical to the point that they excused or dismissed the spiritual implications of the law. They knew that adultery was wrong, but thought there was nothing wrong with thinking about it -- so long as a person didn't actually do it. Jesus is pointing out that sins originate in the heart (Mark 7:21-23). The only difference between thinking about sin and committing sin is the opportunity to act on your thoughts.

    In Matthew 19:9, Jesus is referring to the acts of fornication, not just the thoughts of fornication. Several difficulties would arise if thoughts were included, but the most difficult would be proof. "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?" (I Corinthians 2:10). Could a wife demand a divorce because her husband looked at pornography, watched a movie that included scenes of fornication, or looked at a woman walking down the street too long? If a wife was convinced that her husband was thinking about other women, even though she had no evidence of it, could she demand a divorce and then remarry?

    Don't get me wrong. Lusting after a woman who is not your wife is sinful. It will keep you out of heaven. It needs to be corrected. However, the porneia in Matthew 19:9 refers to actions of fornication and not the thoughts of fornication. The Greeks had different words for sexual lusts.

    If a woman decided to divorce her husband because of his involvement in pornography (and she really should not do so), she would have to remain unmarried for the rest of her life. "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife" (I Corinthians 7:10-11).

    http://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org

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    If you have divorced your unfaithful husband.

    God has allowed divorce for one reason and one reason only: fornication (Matthew 19:9). There are Christians who have tried to make their marriage work but the unfaithful spouse has no desire to change, therefore the faithful spouse divorces her unfaithful spouse due to fornication. If this is the case there are a few suggestions I have.

    • While the pain will remain try your best not to live in bitterness and hate as this will fester into life-long pain for not only you, but your children.
    • Don't live in guilt due to your spouse's sin. It was their sin. Period.
    • Remember children may keep their pain inside as the young don't know how to express it and the older ones may not want to further add to your pain. In both cases their pain may manifest itself in bad behavior. Young children may live in fear you will also leave them. Talk to your children and allow them to express their thoughts and emotions. Stay calm and patient. While it is difficult to have to deal with their pain when you are hurting so much youself, your love, support and patience will go a long way and will be to your's and your children's life-long benefit.
    • Never take your anger towards your spouse out on your children. They may already think the divorce is their fault. Reassure them of your love and they had nothing to do with the divorce.
    • Don't speak bad of the unfaithful spouse to your children. You will have to talk to your children about the divorce and you can wisely answer their questions according to what their age can handle, but explain calmly and don't continually bring up your spouse's faults. The children still love their dad/mom and miss the absent parent; they will feel defensive if you tear down the parent they love. Don't be offended by this; they are not trying to take sides, they just love and want the absent parent's affection.

    -Pat Gates

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     Question and Answer regarding building trust after an affair. (found on internet)

    Q: My marriage is really in trouble, and I need your help. About a month ago, it came out that I was having an affair with a woman, and both she and her husband are friends of our family. It did not go on for long, but my wife is ready to leave and feels betrayed by both me and her friend. She says once trust is broken like this it can never be the same. How do I save my marriage, and how do we repair the friendship with the woman and her husband?

    A: The good news is, it can be healed, though it takes time and a huge amount of work.

    The first thing you need to do is to get it - to completely realize what you have done. You have broken a trust. It's for this reason that I have always disliked the word affair, because it makes it sound like some fun thing without consequences.

    It's really adultery, the breaking of a sacred trust. I don't say this to beat up on you, but only to point out that calling it what it is gets us off to a good start toward healing it.

    So, you must offer your wife a complete apology.

    A complete apology includes an acknowledgment of the wrong done, taking responsibility for what you did, a voicing of the damage done, and a commitment to making sure it never happens again. Only then can the words "I'm sorry" have any useful meaning.

    After making a complete apology, it's time to work on rebuilding trust. It's easy to believe that once trust is broken it can never be rebuilt, because we tend to think of trust as an all-or-nothing proposition; you either have it or you don't. The problem with this is it leaves no room for rebuilding once trust is damaged or broken.

    So, let's look at trust on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 the lowest and 10 the highest. Ask your wife how she would rank her trust level for you right now. You may need to brace yourself for the answer. If it's a 2, don't set a goal of getting back to 9 just yet. It's too big a leap.

    Ask her what it would take to get from a 2 to a 3. In this way, by moving up one level at a time, you can, over time and with lots of work, get back the trust that was broken.

    In most cases like this, rebuilding trust requires living under a microscope for a while, and maybe longer. Your every move and word will be closely watched. This may require your wife knowing your exact whereabouts at all times, presenting receipts for any money spent, and other exercises in building trust.

    Living under a microscope is no fun. It's rigorous and painful; it can hurt your pride and even make you feel like a child. That's just part of the price you pay to gain back something that is worth all you are going through.

    It's crucial that you do nothing to cause the magnification under the microscope to increase even more. This brings me to your question about healing the friendship with the woman whom you were with and her husband.

    For right now, that should be the least of your concerns. That friendship might heal later, but for now, the last thing you want to do is give the impression that the friendship is more important than your marriage. You must tread very carefully here.*

    You have a difficult road ahead of you. In the toughest times, you will need to keep in mind that the goal is worth it. Good luck.

    -Jeff Herring/ ezine

    *I like this response, however, I would say the friendship with that couple needs to terminate; the last thing the man needs is to remain in contact with the woman he committed adultery with. Keeping them as close friends is not wise, nor would I think possible with the hurt spouses. It seems like the guilty man isn't ready to break off his relationship with that woman...seems to me he wants her and his marriage. An adulterous situation needs to be cut off immediately and contact needs to cease or if impossible (such as in a workplace or church) it needs to be minimal and always with someone else present. -Pat

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     To the unfaithful spouse

    1. Promise to stop the affair -- and to stop seeing your lover -- immediately, including phone calls, emails and text messages.
    2. Answer any and all questions.
    3. Show your spouse empathy, no matter what.
    4. Keep talking and listening, no matter how long it takes. You can't speed up your spouse's healing process, and you shouldn't ever negate its significance. Be ready to answer questions at any time, even months or years after the affair has ended. And listen to his or her reactions without anger or blame.
    5. Take responsibility. Blaming your partner for the affair won't heal your marriage. Showing sincere regret and remorse will. Apologize often and vow to never commit adultery again. It may seem obvious to you that you'll never stray again, but your spouse may have worries, so renew your commitment to your spouse as your one-and-only.
    6. Don't expect quick or easy forgiveness. Your partner may be in deep pain or shock. Expect tears, rage, and anger.

     (selected from internet)

    The most important step of all in surviving infidelity is for the unfaithful spouse to commit to a plan to rebuild trust. The unfaithful spouse must never, never stray again! He or she must make sure his wife or husband knows where he/she is at all times and can contact him/her. The unfaithful must spouse must never lie and always tell the complete, honest truth to the spouse.

    Many unfaithful spouses expect their loved ones to immediately forgive them and resume trusting them, but while forgiveness may take place, rebuilding trust will take years of responsible, honest behavior on the part of the unfaithful spouse. And, since that spouse hurt the love one terribly, he or she has no right to resent the fact that rebuilding trust takes a long, long, time. If it eventually is rebuilt, the adulterer will be fortunate indeed!  -selected

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    WANT TO PREVENT ADULTERY IN YOUR LIFE? 

    But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Gal.5:16

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof. If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk. Gal 5:22-25

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    It's time we all make a "covenant" with ourselves. "I have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a virgin?" Job 31:1

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     .

    For those of you who are abusive to your spouse (yes ladies I'm talking to you) don't think for a minute that you are guilt free if your husband commits adultery. I'm not talking to those of you who have made mistakes (we all do), but to those who are blatantly abusive. While you yourself are not guilty of adultery and your husband's guilt is not your guilt (he has no right and stands guilty before God), you are sinning in your behavior. It isn't the usual case, but once in a while I've witnessed a Christian who is abusive (men and women) and they almost seem to gloat when their spouse commits adultery. They expect full sympathy from everyone and they hold their head up, glorying in their innocence. While I don't believe the adulterer should be excused or made innocent, the abuser has no right before God to hold his/her head up in self-righteous pride.  

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    I left out the names that were in brother Padfields letters (below). pg

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    Letter To The Other Woman

    by David Padfield

    Dear __________,

    Since you claim to be a Christian, I am not going to spend a lot of time reminding you of what our Lord said about adultery in Matthew 19:1-9. You know that adultery and fornication will keep you out of heaven. Instead, I would like for you to see the harm you have done to the lives of so many innocent people.

    Several weeks ago _______ E-mailed me and told me of her husband's marital infidelity, and how her family's life had "been turned upside down." After nineteen years of marriage she discovered a "secret mailbox full of romantic E-mails" from you. She told me how he supposedly met you online, and presented himself as a single man, even though ________ now says you knew he was married all along. ________ found it hard to believe that any woman calling herself a "Christian" would be involved with a married man. She said you have no clue as to how you hurt her family, including her extended family, and their spouses and children. I could almost hear her sobs and tears as she wrote about how her family had been torn apart by your illicit relationship with her husband.

    ________, have you considered what type of man you are now involved with? Nineteen years ago he stood in the presence of his family and friends and swore before his God that he would be faithful to ________ until in death they parted. With your "help" he has since betrayed those vows. How can you be so infatuated with a man who is willing to break such a sacred vow? How can you spend time with a man whom you know cannot be trusted? Do you think you are so special that he will never lie to you?

    Since ________ moved out of the house, ________ has been in deep financial distress. It seems as though he can find $700 a month for an apartment, but he cannot find money to feed his own children! _________ sent me a small picture of their children -- I wish you could see their sweet, smiling faces in the photograph. I wish you could see their tears as they try to understand why their daddy is no longer living at home.

    At least on one occasion _________ promised to visit his children, but failed to show up because he wanted to spend time with you. Can you imagine how deeply hurt his kids were when he failed to show up? How can you be involved with a man who has so little regard for his own children? Is your need for male companionship so strong that you are willing to destroy innocent young lives to get what you need? How could you be in love with a man who is willing to allow his children to suffer so he can spend time with you?

    Every time I have counseled people who suspect their spouse has been unfaithful, I always suggest they go to a doctor or health clinic and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. If you are willing to spend time with a married man, then it is safe to assume that you might also be carrying an STD. I know _________ had the blood test, but I have not inquired as to the results. I can not imagine anything more humiliating for a married woman than to have to go for a blood test because she might have contracted an STD from her own husband. Do you have any compassion for this poor woman whose life you have turned upside down? How would you feel if you and _________ were married and some other woman took him away from you? Would you not feel betrayed? Would you not consider "the other woman" to be a tramp, one step above a common whore? This is exactly how people look at you right now.

    If you have read this far, then there is hope for you. It means that you are concerned about your soul and how your actions have harmed others. In the Bible, genuine repentance is accompanied by "fruits worthy of repentance." You need to break off your relationship with _______ immediately, and go to _______ in person and apologize for how you have devastated her life. The good news is that you can repent and renew your allegiance to Christ. The blood of Christ can forgive every sin in your past. Sin does bring shame, but a failure to repent brings on more shame, and finally death.

    If you would like to discuss this further, please call me at any time.

    Yours in Christ,

    David Padfield

     ,

    Letter To A Betrayed Wife

    by David Padfield

    Recently a young married woman contacted me via E-mail concerning a single woman she thought was a member of this congregation. It turned out that the single woman was not a member here, but I was able to put the married woman in contact with her.

    The problem was that the married woman's husband had been involved with the single woman -- at first by E-mail, then later in person. The husband finally left his wife and moved into an apartment so he could spend more time with the single woman.

    As the story unfolded, it was discovered that the single woman knew that the man was married and had three children at home, but she was more concerned about her own needs than those of another family.

    During the course of a couple of two weeks I spoke with the married woman a couple of times on the phone, and corresponded by E-mail a few times. When things started looking up for the woman she E-mailed me a "Thank you" note and I sent her the letter below in return. I also sent a good friend of mine, Gene Taylor, a copy of my final letter, and he suggested that I publish it verbatim for the benefit of others.

    You should also read the letter I sent to "the other woman." This woman claimed to be a Christian, but her works denied her. The names in these letters have been changed to protect the innocent people involved.


    Dear ________,

    Thank you for your kind note! I am so sorry our paths had to cross under these circumstances. You have been patient enough to listen to a suggestion or two I made on the phone. Would you mind if I offered you a couple more? As a minister I have been counseling people with marital and family problems for over 25 years, and here are a few things I've learned that might be of benefit to you at this time:

    First, I know you have children, but I don't recall if they are boys or girls. If you have boys then you will have to find someone to be a male role model for them. It might be your father, brother, uncle, etc. Some male close to your family needs to spend time with them to show them how grown men act. They need to see a how a gentleman treats a lady. This person does not have to discuss your husband, but by example and teaching he needs to explain that cheating on one's spouse is always unacceptable. From experience I've learned if the mother tries to say anything negative about her husband, sons are likely to rebel and defend their father.

    If you have girls then you will need to demonstrate by your life that a grown woman does not tolerate being used by a man. At the same time, you don't want your daughters to grow up thinking that all men are slime. Normally a girl's self-esteem is in large part a product of her relationship with her father, and your husband has done a great deal of damage in this department.

    Second, don't beat yourself up by trying to think of what you could have done to prevent this. You are not to blame. Your husband stood before God and both of your families at your wedding and swore that he would never be unfaithful to you. That sacred vow did not have a list of "exceptions" attached to it.

    I don't know if _______ pursued your husband or if he pursued her. Either way, both were at fault. If she had any moral character she would have come to you and apologized the moment she found out he was married.

    It is possible that your husband has a medical problem -- your sister (a medical doctor) could help if that is the case. However, in the cases I've seen over the years it is highly unlikely. By the time most men get to your husband's age they start thinking about "what might have been." Did I get married too young? What would have happened if I took another job? What would my life be like without kids? Most of the time men get over these questions and move on with their lives. Sometimes they try to "answer" the question by developing a secret life. But again, your husband has the problem, not you!

    Third, on the phone you sounded like a very reasonable and compassionate person -- I did not detect a single note of bitterness in your voice, even though you have been deeply hurt. Please don't let these events change that about you. Your children will do well in life if you maintain your honor and dignity in word and deed. There might even be some times when you want to give up, but you know you can't. We can't control what happens around us, but we can control how we react.

    I'm sorry I've rambled on for so long, but I haven't been able to get your situation out of my mind and I told my wife that I would not be able to sleep tonight unless I sent you this note.

    We will keep you in our prayers,

    David Padfield


    Note: No letter was sent to the man involved since I did not have his mailing address and had no way of getting in touch with him.

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