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How to Save Your Marriage After an Affair

4. Be patient with your spouse’s willingness to FORGIVE and TRUST you after an affair.

Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.
– Luke 17:4

I don’t believe anyone sets out on a quest to commit adultery and bust up their family. It happens one small bad decision at a time. One “meaningless” flirtation that leads to a lunch date at work. One silly text that points to inside jokes and a secret meeting. One inappropriately vulnerable conversation that leads to an intimate relationship. And, any of us can fall prey to this temptation when boundaries are crossed, and we proceed without caution. Even so, when one spouse decides to have an affair, they choose to break their marriage vows. The other spouse is NOT to blame. However, no spouse is ever completely innocent of sin in marriage. We ALL fall short.

In this article, I have at times referred to the spouse who had an affair as the “guilty” one and the other as the “innocent” one, but none of us are completely innocent because none of us are perfect. But thankfully, we serve a perfect God who graciously chooses to forgive our repentant hearts. His forgiveness wipes away the stain of our sin, so we do not need to beat ourselves up and walk in shame emotionally. However, we must face the natural consequences of heartbreak and broken trust that are an inevitable reality after an affair.

As the spouse who had an affair, you are asking for a vast amount of forgiveness. When you humble yourself and approach your spouse with a repentant, honest and contrite heart, they will be more prone to forgive you quickly and trust you over time. Please remember that we all process things at different rates and experience various emotions, so give your spouse the time and space to cope so they can come to a place of forgiveness in their heart. Then, make it your mission to be honest and consistent in your words and actions to regain their trust every day.

Again, no spouse causes the other to have an affair, and an affair is NEVER warranted. We all fall short of being the perfect spouse. Humility will move us toward harmony. James 4:10.

Nothing is impossible with God…even saving a marriage after an affair. I highly encourage you both to see a Christian counselor on a regular basis and attend a crisis marriage retreat/conference. Please go to MarriageToday.com for more information on this and to see our other resources.

Saving your marriage after having an affair is not an easy road, and it will take everything you both have to fight for it. But, your spouse and marriage are worth fighting for. It is our hope and prayer at MarriageToday that you and your spouse experience full restoration and healing in your marriage. May God bless you and keep you as you both move forward and work hard to cultivate a healthy, thriving marriage!

This article originally appeared here.