As much as we'd like to talk about the good times only, it is an unfortunate fact that many marriages struggle with all kinds of problems. Infidelity is a very common one and also the most devastating for the couples that must deal with it. So, how do you repair the damage done when one party in the marriage steps outside of it and has an affair?
My husband and I minister to couples on a weekly basis. The majority are struggling with the issue of forgiveness after an adulterous relationship. The pain of betraying a spouse can have far-reaching consequences. Many couples never try again after the betrayal is found out about. But for those who choose to fight for their family, the battle sometimes wages much stronger against them with the passing of time.
If you're a part of a relationship that has been damaged with unfaithful behavior, the first step is forgiveness. You can't truly forgive if you see it only from the perspective of what was done to you. You need to see it in the light of God's truth. We all make mistakes. We all fail in some area or another. Though we are inexcusable when we break hearts, it is unreasonable to believe a person can be perfect. Therefore, the first step to forgiving is to look at infidelity like you would any other heartbreaking mistake. See it has a flaw in your spouse's character. See it as something that is attacking you both. Understand the spiritual significance of infidelity. Realize that both of you are going through different struggles. It may hurt to imagine your spouse desiring someone else. It may hurt to hear them tell you what they desire that you don't supply. It's going to be painful, but it can be overcome.
Lastly, remember that saying "I forgive" is the same as saying "I won't bring it up again" to your spouse. Don't throw it up in the heat of an argument. Choose to deal with your pain in a productive way. Rather than argue, discuss what you're feeling when you're feeling it and ask for what you want. That goes a long way towards rebuilding all that is lost when infidelity happens.