Yesterday, Tonya posted her Top 6 Ways To Survive Infidelity. It only seemed right that I speak to the other side of this, to the one who caused the hurt.
6 Ways to Help Your Spouse Survive Your Infidelity
1) Cut ties with the other person. This was not a problem in my case, since it was a one time act, but for those of you in actual relationships with another….FLEE. Cut ties and don’t look back. Delete them from your phone, your Facebook, change jobs: WHATEVER IT TAKES. Your marriage is WORTH fighting for, so do it. Do not ever enter into a “friendship” with the opposite sex again, it has no place in your life.
2) Be soft & tender before God and your spouse. You caused this hurt and unspeakable pain to your spouse, now it’s your job to make it right. Be prepared that the Lord will want to continue to do a work in you, now that the truth is out. It’s time to step up to the plate, make lifestyle changes, get accountability partners set up, and get the help you need to walk in freedom. Admit that you made the mistake, own up to it or it will own you!
The more soft and moldable you are during this time, like clay in the potters hands, the less chiseling Jesus has to do to make you HIS.
Watch this video to see what I mean, it’s my favorite:
3) Be Open to Answering Questions & Talk About It. Openly Share Your Remorse. Unanswered questions grow GIANT in a hurry, where as a truthful answer, quiets those fears and allows your spouse to move past them. Tonya had many, many questions that were hard for me to want to answer at the beginning, but I knew she needed my truth. I knew I owed that much to her, even if reliving my mistake made me sick to my stomach and angry at times. Each and every time she was told an answer, I would watch her struggle to accept it, work through it; cry or whatever she deemed necessary to heal, before a quiet resolve came over her. A new level of peace was achieved, as she was able to silence those thoughts or questions.
A truly remorseful spouse is a huge huge huge part of a successful restoration. Make sure you are totally transparent to your spouse, nothing hidden. If she asks questions, answer honestly and FULLY….not just enough info to get her to be quiet for the moment, because if later, she finds you weren’t totally honest, it sets things way back for you both. The path to healing is paved with difficult choices, being open and forthcoming is key to the successful healing of your marriage.
4) Be ready to scale walls and slay dragons.When Tonya gets scared she throws up walls between us and takes her heart back, I can feel it happen. I know this is my fault, I caused her this pain and mistrust. My job is to not be angry that she pushes me away. Rather, my job is to scale those walls, and slay those “dragons” (fears) that are holding her back, and lovingly swoop her in my arms. We are to be our wives heros, their rescuer, their knight in shining armor. Trust is hard to build, and easy to break. Give you and your wife both extra grace during this rebuilding time. And TALK about things. (see step 2)
5) Put On Your Armor. It is ESSENTIAL that satan is unable to attack you in this manner again. You have been burned once, be on the look out for him to lure you back to that pot of water again. You KNOW the consequences this time, you KNOW the tools the enemy used last time to make you fall, so be on alert for those. You want to win the war? Then be sure you know what your enemy is bringing.
Putting on the Armor means being in God’s word, DAILY. Being on your knees before him, DAILY. Seeking His help to be the man He has wanted you to be all along. When you put on the armor, you are essentially putting on Jesus. Anything you say or do, listen to or look at, must FIRST get filtered through your Jesus armor. Look at it that way, and it’s a total game changer!
6) Forgive Yourself. I don’t have a lot to say here, except that I am still working on this. Some days are easier than others, but remembering that Jesus spread my ashes as far as the east are from the west, keeps me going. Why would I want to keep swimming out into the ocean to gather up my transgressions again? I just end up wearing myself out. Jesus died for ALL sins, and there are no levels of sin, none worse than another in my Father’s eyes. I am working on living this out.
I hope this can help you and your spouse to heal. God is the great Healer, He wants to put the pieces of your marriage back together for His glory, if only you will give Him all the pieces.
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!