If you are working through forgiving your spouse after an affair, it is important that a few things be present from the very beginning. In fact, I have found that if the following traits are not present, then both are typically filling what I call a bag full of holes. That is, couples that are experiencing the ravaging effects of an affair can get all the outside help in the world, but if these items are not present, they will find themselves back to square one very quickly even after months of supposed progress.
It is more than vital that the offender tell all to the offended. Of course, he or she should only disclose that which is in accordance to their spouse’s level of comfortibility, but it is still vital to disclose all the facts to their spouse.
If this does not occur, then it must be noted that when new information comes out six months down the road, the clock resets. That is, the offended will feel that they are back to ground zero as far as the recovery process is concerned.
So if there were two affairs, lay it out on the table. If adultery occurred for a year instead of six moths, let the other person know.
True repentance is taking sole responsibility for one’s actions. If you are working through forgiving your spouse after an affair, you should watch keenly for this. If the other person is saying, “I am sorry, but . . .”. They are not truly repentant.
James 1:19 tells us that when a man tempted he is drawn away by his own lust. Notice the emphasis in the verse. The scriptures tell us that lust is an issue with the perpetrator not the tempter. It is an issue within rather than without.
Of course, usually when adultery occurs in a relationship, there are bad ingredients in the marriage that should be replaced with those that are good. But, if the marriage is on the rocks, one should not commit adultery, they should seek outside help.
The rule is: If there is nothing to hide, then everything should be an open book. That’s it. There is no fudging on this rule.
Newsflash: If the person who committed adultery balks at being an open book to their spouse, something is wrong. It is one of five things:
The person subconsciously plans on dragging their feet until the other pulls the plug on the relationship.
They are not truly repentant.
They are planning on continuing the illicit relationship.
There is still something they are hiding from their spouse.
They are angry and resentful over past issues that occurred before the affair.
Seeking Outside Help
If you are working at forgiving your spouse after an affair, you will not want to be a lone ranger. You are both too emotionally involved to try to fix this on your own.
Regardless, I have found that individuals that are truly repentant are humble enough to seek the advice of others.
Whether couples are dealing with adultery, constant fighting, or a lack of connectivity, our 2-step process to solving marriage issues has proven to be helpful over and over again for couples in need. To learn more about our 2-step process and our resources, check out our book on marriage or our audio material which in on our order page.
James 1:14 not 1:19
Would an apology that only comes after the affair has been discovered be considered genuine?
It can be or else there is no forgiveness for any sins. However, you may do well to consider the little sub-chapter in our marriage book called “Learning Backwards”. It is in chapter 6 of our marriage book. It briefly discusses how we have to give room for a repentant person to move from fear to love. That is, for some, though their repentance is genuine from start to finish, their motive for changing may shift throughout the problem solving process and become purer as time goes on