So, Dale and I survived infidelity. We survived the writing and sharing of our story turned HIS, and we joyfully renewed our vows in a Beauty from Ashes, I Do: Part 2 ceremony.
What a journey we have been on! 9 months in the making, just like the gestation of new life! We have NEW life in Christ!!!
Thank you, Jesus! It’s all behind us, now we can move forward with joy, peace, forgiveness and LIFE abundantly.
LOVE wins. JESUS wins. MARRIAGE wins.
If I could sum up “How To Survive Infidelity” from my point of view as the betrayed party, this is what I would say:
6 Steps to Survive Infidelity
Forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive. Every moment of every day, then forgive some more. Forgiveness is a choice. CHOOSE IT. Then live it, daily in your words and actions. The quicker you forgive, the quicker the Lord can move in those soft hearts you have laid before him. The quicker your marriage will be healed and renewed.
I had to make a decision after I forgave Dale, to not speak down to him, or throw in little jabs that came from the deep hurt in my heart. It was not my place to take Dale’s sin from where it hung on that cross and throw it in his face. Do NOT go there.
When you feel hurt, tell your spouse, “I am hurting right now.” Or a sentence I used with Dale a lot is “I am in a bad place today.” Let them hug you, as touch softens your heart and melts those walls that try to be thrown up. Seek the Lord immediately, “Help me do this your way, Jesus.” Dale was always good to wrap me in his arms and pray over me when I was struggling. His tenderness and love for our Savior bringing tears to my eyes.
2) Be aware of the devil and call him out. See him at work in your life.
Never have I been more aware of the devils attacks, as I think about the trap he laid out for my husband. It is disturbing how well thought out it was, how many years it was in the making.
First, satan lured him into the pot of water….it’s only porn, you are just looking, not acting. It’s HARMLESS. Next, he turned up the heat….YOU and you alone can provide for this family. It’s all about YOU, you don’t need the Lords help, look at how successful you could be. Heat gets turned a smidge higher as he convinces Dale that telling me he started looking at porn again, would only hurt me. PRIDE came next, too proud to admit he had a problem. DISTANCE from his Lord and Savior, as he was ashamed of his actions. Then, LUST sealed Dale’s fate, as porn attaches a deep and powerful lust to you. Coupled with distance from the Lord, and those clanging bells of warning, have officially been muffled . Dale was boiling and dead in that pot of water before he even knew the devil had him in the pot.
I Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Satan will not let you fix your marriage without fighting for the death of it. Remember who the enemy is, NOT your spouse….it’s the DEVIL! He HATES Christian marriage, for it is the very PICTURE of Christ and His bride, the church. No wonder marriages are failing at a 51% rate now.
3) Take your thoughts CAPTIVE.
If you have survived a betrayal in your marriage, you will know EXACTLY what I am talking about. The devil TORMENTED me day and night, night and day. He used my thoughts on what I deserved and how I should find it elsewhere with a new man and new marriage.
He put many a destructive thought in my head about my marriage, calling again and again with what I deserved and what I didn’t, attacked my self-worth, and feeding me lies.
“You aren’t really going to take him back, are you? He will only hurt you again.”
“Boy, Dale sure is late tonight, wonder why he’s not answering his phone…”
“Look at you, 4 babies sure have done a number on your body. I bet he’s seen hundreds of better bodies on the computer. You are disgusting.”
When satan attacks, pray your eyes will be opened to see it right away so you can fight and win. Our VICTORY over the devil has already been won. Claim it, PROCLAIM it.
Out loud say: “I give NO consent to that thought.” Then I’d add for good measure, “Leave me! In the name of Jesus.”
And he would flee, shrieking at the sound of the name of Jesus. I don’t care how foolish you feel saying it out loud:
DO IT. It helps!
Take it from a girl who has a very vivid writers imagination, I HAD to take control of my destructive thoughts, the out of whack roller coaster of emotion I had Dale and I on, or we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Satan is out to destroy you, he is throwing his head back and cackling with glee that he got you and your spouse this far. He is circling for the kill. Stand up and FIGHT BACK. You’ve GOT this! THE VICTORY IS YOURS!
This attack on worth and thoughts, is not just a tactic he uses on the betrayed party, he also used Dale’s thoughts! Tormenting him about his inability to say no next time, making him scared he couldn’t stay pure in his thoughts and actions. And, just when we both thought the onslaught was over, he’d come back stronger and more often. Get your armor on!
4) Allow yourself to Grieve. It’s healthy, it’s ok, it brings healing.
Psalms 126:5 “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.”7 Stages of Grief:
Shock & Denial – This is NOT happening to me, to my lovely marriage. You may deny the reality of the loss of your marriage at some level. This stage may last several weeks. (See related post: Broken Hearts, Shattered Promises)
Pain & Guilt – As the shock wears off, it is replaced with suffering and unbelievable pain. Do not hide this, do not escape, allow the tears to come. You may have guilty feelings or try to live in the land of “If Only”. If only he hadn’t gone to work that day. If only I was skinnier. If only I had called him more that day…..
Don’t go there. Flee this mind-set. (See related post: The Other Woman)
Anger & Bargaining – Sadness gives way to anger. How DARE you do this to me! You may want to lash out, but please remember to ask yourself if you are speaking life or death. Helping or hurting your spouse. This is the time to release bottled up emotion, but do so in a healthy way. You may ask “Why me?” during this time. Trust that God will help you through. (See related post: Confessions of A Heartbroken Housewife)
- Sadness, Reflection, Mourning – Just when it seems life should move on and get better, a period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning friends. It is a necessary step to move to a point of healing. (See: The Death of Little Girl Dreams)
The Upward Turn – As you start to adjust to this new life, you feel more normal. The physical symptoms of heartache are less, and you find yourself smiling and laughing more. (For me, this came after I forgave Dale: Choosing to Forgive)
Reconstruction & Working Through – This is the stage that you will find yourself seeking to define what your “new” life will look like now that you forgave your spouse. This is the beginning of a new chapter of hope, new-found love and a fresh start in Christ. (See post: Welcome to Tonya-land, Won’t You Let the SONshine In?)
Acceptance & New Beginnings -This is the final stage of grief, in this stage you accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance doesn’t mean instant happiness, or that bad days won’t come, but you will find a way to move more and more quickly past these bad days. And, they are coming farther and fewer between them. You will find new joy in the one your soul loves and you will find that your love is deeper than you could’ve ever imagined. What doesn’t break you, DOES make you stronger!
5) Love Freely
But be aware of the walls the devil tries to throw up between you….
First my wall would go up while Dale’s heart sought me out, longing to connect with me. Begging me with sorrowful eyes to let him back in my heart and life. Then, when I would be ready to give him my whole heart and was seeking him out, he threw up a wall and was trying to protect his heart from the roller coaster of emotion I had him on….one day loving fully, the next day, cowering in fear behind a wall, taking my heart back so he wouldn’t hurt me again. By calling satan out and calling it what it was, an attack from the devil, we were able to quickly overcome this stage, praise God!
There was a few weeks at the beginning were I could hardly let Dale touch me, let alone make love to me. But this is an important part of connecting and healing. When two become one, it strengthens the bond between the two of you, and the devil has a harder time worming in.
You need this connection with your spouse, putting aside all fears and giving them all of you. It reminds me of one of my favorite songs. You will recognize this one from yesterday’s slide show:
“You’re going to have all of me. You’re worth every falling tear, you’re worth facing every fear, you’re going to have all my love, even if it’s not enough to mend our broken hearts…..”
Sex is a beautiful gift from God to be enjoyed with your spouse. Don’t bring the past hurts into the bedroom. Don’t let satan invite anyone else in, through your destructive thoughts, wondering if “The Other Women” or “The Other Man” is here with you. She is not! He is not!
We bind his or her presence in the name of Jesus, we break off their connection with our spouses, and then move into a tighter, closer bond than ever before. Pray and speak these things out loud and watch satan flee. There is POWER in the spoken word.
6) Remember that the power of LIFE or DEATH is in the tongue.
You have a choice for your words to be sweet and life-giving, or poison, bringing death and destruction. Make sure you speak lovingly to your spouse, not taking cheap jabs or throwing in snide remarks….anything you think you are saying that is “Your Right” because you were betrayed, is WRONG!
Assignment from counseling:
Both of you take out a piece of paper and list off ALL the things you love about each other and your relationship. Afterwards, read them out loud to each other. The more you write, read, speak and hear positive things, the more you believe them. AND, the more those positive thoughts travel back and forth in your brain, they will create a “Positive Path”, easily traveled next time. Soon you will find “glass half full” kind of thoughts come more and more easily.
No matter what, keep your chin up, and remember….GOD IS BIGGER!
Tomorrow, a post from Dale:
How to Survive Infidelity: The Betrayer’s List
God Bless you, Dear Woman, for all the words of wisdom (& experience!) you have shared that will definitely be used to minister to other hurting wives, and husbands…to HIS glory! Philippians 3: 13,14 -…but this one thing I do; forgetting those things which are behind…I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah!
Tonya, Thanks for that post. You have really been an encouragement to me! Thank you for showing me how to be strong and trust the Lord thru this all. I have been thru those days where I let satan in and tell me all those lies! But, he is NOT going to win. GOD is bigger and he is in control of our lives!!!! I am so thankful for that.:)
Hugs to you,Kristina
What a great post filled with godly counsel! I think this things are great to remember in marriage in general, even without the sin of adultery in the mix, so many marriages and people could benefit from implementing these things in the normal day-to-day hurts. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing this! What a beautiful testimony!
I love the reminder: “Remember who the enemy is, NOT your spouse….it’s the DEVIL!” So, so true, and so good for me to hear.
You’re amazing! You started blessing my life the first day I saw you at hesston and realized you weren’t THAT girl(the barbie lol) and inspire me and encourage me everyday! I am blessed our lives crossed paths! I love u my friend!
What a beautiful testimony!
Thank you for sharing!!!
AMEN! I hope that others who read this will find help if they are in the same situation!
Wow. This is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you so much for sharing your story, I dont know that I could but its so nice to know I’m not alone in this mess. I was betrayed by my husband two years ago and only two months ago did it come to light. I’ve been on the worst emotional roller coaster the last 6 weeks and I’m finally feeling like I can breath again. I’m living again and not just simply keeping my head above water anymore. Your posts are so uplifting, and they remind me I’m doing the right thing in forgiving the man I’m so deeply in love with. In a world so negative and with so many people judging the both of us, it feels great to know there are people in our corner. It just reminds me of the phrase “people who live in glass houses shouldnt throw stones.” Thank you for your positive words. 🙂
The one thing I have not read about yet is about your children. No doubt that they saw a change in the way you guys interacted with each other. How and did you address this with your kids at all? I know they are younger but do you have advice on this?
This is a great idea for a future post. Destiny, our 8 year old, picked up right away on our tears and sorrow. We explained to her in simple terms, that daddy had broken mommy’s heart, that there was going to be lots of tears and hugs and healing for a while, but that we were NOT going to get a divorce. That she had nothing to be scared of. From then on, she’d watch Dale comfort my tears with understanding on her face. A few months later, while I am tucking her in, she says “Mommy, I can tell God is healing your heart with Super God Glue, because you are smiling and happy again.” Precious, precious words from a very grown up little girl.
The others had a season of acting out, as I am sure they felt a shift in the tone of our home, but for the most part where too young to understand. I will write more about all this in a future post, thanks for your question and the post idea!
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Our feelings are real and they are powerful, but they are not more powerful than God and the truth! Bring your thoughts and feelings under Christ’s control.
“Leave me, in the name of Jesus!” Thank you for sharing this. I am going to do this, over and over if necessary. My husband was not unfaithful but betrayed me and our vows in other ways. My husband is sorry, dedicated, and has done EVERYTHING I have asked and our pastor has recommended to fix our marriage. Yet Satan points out the hurt to me, over and over. Points out the uphill battle we face to fix our marriage. Points out the negative instead of the positive. “Leave me, in the name of Jesus,” I say to these thoughts! “Satan, you have no authority in my house, or in my mind!” Thank you for revealing this to me today, when I need to hear it.
Love this phrase: ” Satan will not let you fix your marriage without fighting for the death of it. Remember who the enemy is, NOT your spouse….it’s the DEVIL! He HATES Christian marriage, for it is the very PICTURE of Christ and His bride, the church.” So true, not only with marriage, but all evil in our lives. Thank you for being so open about your experience. I’m sure you have helped many, including myself. God bless..
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am going through something very similar and have just begun the process. Today I listened to “Dancing in the minefields”. The ages and time married described in that song are ours exactly. I’m seeing God everywhere in the midst of this mess and know He will bring healing beyond imagination. May god continue to bless you and your family. I pray we will one day be a testimony to those around us as well.
I’ve read quite a few trying to help myself deal with infidelity in my relationship, but this is the only one that has left me with a renewed feeling of hope. Everything you and Dale have experienced through this, every part in your story, your thoughts, your actions, his actions, and the importance of your faith and love in Lord, speaks and relates to me in ways that you could never imagine. I also chose to not give up and to fight, but I never expected every day to hand me battle after battle. Reading your story gives me hope and motivation to continue facing them and has showed me some major flaws in my fight that I just simply didn’t see. I could write this for days and still not find all the words to express to you how much of an impact your story has made on me. Thank you.
Thank you. I cried because I know the pain this has caused in my marriage. Please contact me via email. I need help because I don’t know the difference between forgiving and trusting my unfaithful partner.
Keep reading, we talk about this in the Surviving Infidelity series, all written in the midst of some serious heartache and learning from the Lord. All the posts are listed in the Surviving Infidelity Tab. I think you will find the answers you seek in those posts….they read like a story, from sorrow to healing, from ashes to beauty.
God bless you on your road to Healing, total and complete~
Hello Tonya, Im Cheky,. I would like to ask for prayers about my marriage, i am on the process of healing, im having some bad thoughts and emotions to my Husband, Im hoping and praying that my trust will restore by God, that everything will be restored.
Thank you very much,.
I too am going through a similar scenario. I’ve been on many sites looking for advice and by far your words have helped me the most. They really touched my soul and helped me to focus on what God wants me to do. Thank you for speaking out from experience so that you could help others in their healing. God bless.
Thank you for writing this. I just found out my husband did something awful and I haven’t been able to handle it… We have been going through some hard times financially for over a year now and the best way I can describe the feeling is if you tied a toddlers shoe laces together and every single time they tried to take a step forward they just fell down. Over and over again we just couldn’t keep our heads above water. I kept thinking God had abandoned me, especially with the news I just received about him being unfaithful. This post spoke to me and really moved my heart. You described everything so perfectly and really lifted my chin back up for me. My family is screaming at me to leave him and they have left me for keeping him so I’m very much alone in my struggle and grief but I’ll always have Jesus and because of that I’m never really alone. Thank you for bringing me back to Christ and helping me remember that he doesn’t put you through anything you can’t handle or grow from. Maybe this is the wake up call our marriage needed. Bless you and your family ❤️
Tonya, thank you for writing this. I happened to stumble on your page yesterday. I am currently going through and awful situation with my husband of 13 years. I won’t get too much into detail but he was also unfaithful (2+ years). This year as been a whirlwind and we are at a point where we don’t even talk anymore. He has showed no remorse for his actions but yet I have chosen to forgive him. Your words have given me so much hope for I know that God can build something out of nothing. I ask that you please pray for us. Thank you again! God bless you and your beautiful family always!
I’m been through this too.. for me it’s been about a year and a half now since the tragedy.
I see this is written from your point of view.
This is what you can do… but what about your husband? Does he do these things too? And easily? What would he say about it all?
Can you do the things above if your husband isn’t necessarily acting like they want forgiving?
And what if they do WANT to be forgiven and WANT to hold the marriage together – but it takes “time” for them to get over the feelings they had for the other person.
I love my husband – and I know (as much as I’m ever going to know) that he loves me. But he has still loved someone else… and it hurts so much. I can forgive him and keep my marriage together … but it still hurts – every day
I did forgive my husband – I had thought. I loved him deeply and only wanted to help him and be with him after I found out about his short lived affair.
But try as I might – my forgiveness and forgetting and letting go – was hindered by the fact that – try as he might – HE couldn’t let go – of HER.
Two or three times in the following year – he made contact with her… and kept it secret. (He never saw her in person)
One time was innocent chit chat .., the next was a letter explaining his feelings and undying love god her. He has apologised profusely to me everytime I found out… and promises to me that it is all nonsense and that I am the only one to him.,,
So try as I might – my attempts at forgiving have been so hard and almost thrown back in my face… he loves me – I know this … so why have I had to endure this?
I can’t bear not being the only one…and my heart breaks everyday… because I don’t know what to believe.
I want to love someone that loves only me… and I can’t see how he – or anyone for that matter / csn let go of the other person, that they have slept with, been infatuated with and confessed to loving… I get that.
But I wouldn’t choose that man to be MY LOVE. Normally.
He swears it’s all over now – it’s been I think about 5 months since he “made contact” in a secret way.
I don’t know. I just don’t think my heart will ever get over it – or be happy again.
I would like to add that my husband is a good man.. has asked me to forgive him, has been very kind and understanding of my grief. However – it’s me. It all just hurts so much. I feel like (from his secret contact) that he really did want her – and when he realised he couldn’t have her -finally (because she didn’t want him) that he was just left with me by default.. it’s just the feeling I get. Because of him not cutting contact decisively and with reason (because he loves me) I feel like it wasn’t his choice to stay with me but almost rather – hers!!
I mean is it enough to be sorry that you fell in love with someone else ? Can I forgive that he DID want to be with her? Even if it was just a crazy thought? Can I forgive that if she had of wanted him -he may have left?
What can I do to forgive that ?
He has asked me to forgive him – saying that all he said or did was “nonsense” and “wrong” and he wasn’t thinking properly and couldn’t possibly have meant those things… he says he has loved only me -all along.. and that perhaps he was actually sick to do and say what he did last year… he’s been lovely and romantic to me, soft and caring… if it hadn’t of been for the affair – you would say we have an amazing marriage right now.
I’m just really stuck, and still really hurting.