Leo did not know what to do. He has slipped into a brief affair. When Sylvia discovered it, he lied and tried to cover it up. Two weeks later he broke and confessed all. She was devastated. Thankfully she contacted us for a Marriage Intensive.
Trust break of any kind are significant traumas to the relationship. The natural reaction is a long period where nothing the betraying spouse does or says is accepted in truth. In fact, the betrayed spouse reviews all the memories of the relationship to date, questioning whether the betraying spouse was lying all along.
The Truth About Rebuilding Trust
- Affair recovery is possible. We have worked with hundreds of couples in our marriage intensive, one couple at a time, who have moved through the recovery process and now have a stronger and better marriage.
- Affair recovery is a process, not an event. It will not happen all at once in a meeting. Forgiveness and reconciliation is not possible with a single conversation. There are no magic words, or magic pills, that will automatically bring trust back into the relationship.
- The affair recovery process takes time. Forgiveness and reconciliation will take an average of two to five years. Like any trauma, reactions to triggers will vary in length and intensity. Every data point related to the affair will serve as a possible trauma trigger.
Betrayer’s Trust Building Responsibilities
- Take Full and Complete Responsibility – There were probably problems in your marriage that led to your vulnerability to have an affair. But the actions that you took are fully your responsibility. It is not your spouse’s fault. It was your decision. Accept responsibility for what you did. Own your mistakes fully. Do not blame your spouse for your infidelity.
- End The Affair – You cannot be in any type of relationship or have any contact with the third party. That means absolutely no contact. If you work with that person, you need to look for another job. You must declare to the third party that it is over for good and there is no chance of any kind of relationship or contact going forward. It is not OK for you to ever see them or be connected to them in any way going forward.
- Live With Impeccable Integrity – Live above reproach. No white lies. No sneaking. No time alone, even for a minute, with the opposite sex. No after-hours social outings with opposite sex present. No lunchtime meals with the opposite sex. No dips into sexually charged settings like “breastraunts” or “gentlemen’s clubs”. No talking to the opposite sex about your marriage problems. Do nothing that could be misinterpreted to be temptation in any way.
- Be Fully Transparent – Your spouse must have full and unhindered access to everything. You must share all of your passwords. Your phone and computers must be accessible and able to be unlocked at any time by your spouse. Nothing that your spouse wants to look at should be off limits. Your location at all times must be available to your spouse.
- Be Your Spouse’s Healer – When your spouse has the natural reaction to the trauma triggers of your affair, they will be accusatory and lash out. Instead of becoming defensive, fighting back, or withdrawing and hiding, your job is to help reassure and soothe. Move toward your spouse with grace and tenderness. You caused this to happen and you can be a part of the healing of this trauma by nurturing and connecting responses.
The affair recovery process is almost impossible to go through alone. We highly recommend you seek professional help. Find a Christian Marriage Counselor or Coach, or call us (281-894-7222) for a Marriage Intensive. Your marriage deserves professional intervention.
What do you have to say?
We love to hear from readers. Has your marriage survived an affair? Do you agree that affair recovery is a process and not an event? What other things would you add for the betraying spouse to do? What other suggestions you would add to this article? Do you know someone you need to forward this article to?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2016. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.