Saturday, May 9, 2009

Can a Relationship be Restored After Infidelity?

If you know me, you know I mostly write reunion stories when I’m wearing my Romance Author’s hat. I just love the idea of finally getting together with your "one who got away" (OWGA).

In the past, I’ve used all sorts of plot ideas for the reasons my H/h went separate ways, but I’ve never tackled infidelity.

Mainly because I would never think or desire to cheat on my hubby and after twenty-two years together, he still treats me as if I’m the only woman alive. It makes me very secured in my marriage. Therefore, I find it difficult to grasp the deep emotional devastation such a betrayal would instil in an individual.

However, I know many people are not as blessed, and for whatever reason people cheat. As Christians, I would like to believe if my husband or I found ourselves in this situation, we would find a way to forgive each other and rebuild our trust in our marriage.

The more I think about this emotionally painful betrayal of the sacred sanctity of marriage, I find myself wondering what pushes a person to be unfaithful. Sure there are a trillion reasons, but what is the thinking when the cheater makes the decision to “go for it”? Is there even a moment when they consider consequences?

I’m thinking no one strays if they are happy in a relationship, right? So there must be something thought missing in the relationship. Maybe lack of quality time together? Non communication? Too busy for each other? Stopped trying?


Then when the infidelity is discovered is it too late to fix the relationship? I mean, there must be major trust issues to overcome. Then there’s also the core issues—what made them cheat in the first place.

Some people believe a partner having an affair is enough cause to end a relationship. I disagree. I believe a relationship can be rescued despite the crazy, sometimes impulsive, things people do. If these two people got married for love then nothing should be too difficult to overcome, if both parties are willing to work at fixing their relationship.

The Bible tells us about Wives and Husbands in Ephesians (5:25,28,31-33) Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. Men ought to love their wives just as they love their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself. As the scripture says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one”. There is a deep secret truth revealed in this scripture, which I understand as applying to Christ and the church. But it also applies to you: every husband must love his wife as himself, and every wife must respect her husband.

It’s very easy for me to say, if we all lived by this scripture, we’ll never hurt our beloved ones. However, I know we live in a fallen world, and we sometimes succumb to the enemy. The trick is not to let him win when he tries to take away what God has given us.

There is no excuse for hurting our loved ones. But surely, with forgiveness and a willingness to overcome hurt pride and work to rebuild trust, a relationship can be mended? And with hard work and prayer that restored section can become the strongest part of the garment of marriage.

Prayer, forgiveness, time, and patients, I think are important threads when it comes to mending relationships.

What do you think? I know some people have been hurt so badly that forgiveness doesn’t even feature in their minds as an option. Let me remind you, an unforgiving heart is a blessing blocker. You will never find happiness, even if you aren’t looking for another person to provide that happiness. You can never be truly happy within yourself, because you’ve allowed the enemy to rob you of the simple gift of joy from God.

I would like to hear your experiences. Have you ever cheated, been cheated on? Did you overcome the betrayal or left the relationship? If you have not had this experience, do you know of anyone who has? How did they react? I’m looking for inside information because I think I may tackle this subject in the future.

Thanks for sharing.

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  1. Unfortunately, speaking from experience, no.

    The main ingredient in a relationship is trust and honesty. And i personally don't believe that it should never be toyed with. I have no compassion of understanding for those who cheat, because there is no excuse. It takes a coward to cheat.

    There's no reason that a person can't move on from being cheated on. They can forgive the person, but that deosn't mean they forget. There is no way i could look at that cheater again and not wonder every time they leave my sight where they are and who they're with.

    The trust has been shattered. They've taken a knife and plunged it into the heart of the relationship. Killing it.

    Dramatic? Maybe. But that's how i feel about the subject and I'd say a whole lot more about those who commit adultery but I wouldn't want to deface your pretty page.

  2. LOL. Thanks for not defacing my pretty page, hon. I can see how painful this subject matter is. You've helped me to get a hint of the deep emotion involved. Thank you for your honest and eloquent reply.

  3. Monique,

    I love the new design. Very pretty!

    This was the subject of my second manuscript -- a Christian couple dealing with adultery. The husband is a good man who is seduced by "the woman of his dreams." He takes her to lunch then they have a one-night stand. The story follows them from his confession through separation, pastoral counseling and eventual reconciliation.

    Personally, I feel the possibility of reconciliation depends on the two people involved and the specifics of the adultery. To tell you the truth, I don't know if I could do it, because I don't handle rejection very well. Most likely I'd tell him to hit the road ...

  4. That sounds like a great story, D. I do agree it depends on the people involved. I don't think anyone will stop to look at the specifics of adultery when they are hurting, so specifics may only matter to the one doing the cheating.

    I do feel, though, that the depth of love shared between the man and wife is a factor.

    I love my husband desperately, and though it would rip me apart to find out something like that, I honestly don't think I could turn him loose.

    Don't get me wrong, I suspect I would make him spend every waking moment repenting his mistake, cos I don't take rejection well either.

  5. Hi Monique. I will confess...I was almost the spouse who cheated. My husband and I had been married almost eleven years. When we'd been married seven years, my husband confessed he'd been lying to me since we were married. For seven years, he'd been smoking. He promised he'd quit, but still hasn't - and we've been married almost 24 years now. But the trust was broken. A lie is a lie no matter how you look at it. So, our eleventh year, I'd been trying to deal with my husband's lie for a while and couldn't. We weren't doing things together (especially in bed). I was hanging around with my husband's ex-wife and her husband - who was a flirt. I was a flirt too. lol Anyway, I'd been losing weight, and my husband didn't notice. He didn't pay attention. Husband's ex's husband was paying attention. At first it was innocent flirting. Then innocent phone calls... Then visiting without his wife when my husband wasn't home - and I'd go to their house when his wife wasn't home... One thing led to another and we kissed, then made out on the couch... Then I realized before anything really had could happen, that Bruce didn't kiss as well as my husband, so why was I willing to ruin my marriage with a guy who didn't kiss that good? lol I never told my husband, but not too long after this, my husband realized how much we'd grown apart. I was willing to call it quits. He wasn't. So we tried to rebuild our relationship again. I guess it worked...we're still together. lol

    But this is a good topic, Monique. I happen to think that infidelity can ruin a marriage. I have a friend whose husband has cheated on her many times. They have five or six kids now (can't remember). Her husband was a Youth Preacher. They were strong in their faith. But he couldn't keep his tally-whacker in his pants. She finally divorced him. He was a sex addict. But the trust had been broken, which means it's sooooo hard to forgive and forget. Even though my husband only lied to me about his smoking habit, it was (and still is) hard to trust him. That doesn't make for an enjoyable marriage.


  6. Crap - sorry Monique. My entry reads 'Heather', which is my daughter. Looks like she was using blogger last, not me. But the post is really from me. (grins)

    ~Phyllis Campbell~

  7. Oh, Monique, I could just hang out on your blog all day long. It’s SO pretty!!!

    But there’s nothing pretty about infidelity unfortunately. Luckily, I’ve not had to go through it, so even though I’ll say it’s unforgivable and unlikely that I would ever mend the relationship, because if you cheated once you will again, I’m not entirely sure how I’d really react faced with it in reality. I’d have to think about the children, who’ll come first, well before both my husband and I. But there is another spectrum though, connecting emotionally with someone who is not your spouse. It would devastate me if my husband suddenly became in sync with someone else, and that might make it harder to make him stay if his infidelity combined both the physical and emotional. Do you give up then?

  8. Fascinating post, Monique. Adultery is such a breech of trust, for a marriage to recover from it can be so painful. I believe even Christ said "do not divorce except in cases of infidelity" Even He knew how hard it would be (if I'm wrong on that, please correct me. I don't know scripture like you do:)

    Can we find forgiveness in real life? Yes, I think so, but it is hard. I've heard many stories from spouses who'd stepped outside their marriage and after hearing their confessions, I can understand, while it's such a betrayal, why they sunk so low. It's not always so cut and dry.

    In romantic fiction? That would be a hard sell for me. For a Hero or heroine to think about it, kiss, even almost go 'all the way' I could see. But to actually go through with it? When I read a romance I want that promise of happily-ever-after. If infidelity is involved, I'd always have that doubt.


  9. I´ve read that fidelity is harder for women that it is for men, according to scientists:

  10. Hi Monique welcome. I'm just saying hey!
    I think people cheat because there is something they need that they are not getting in their relationships. I don't judge people, but I wouldn't think of cheating, I'd be honest and tell him instead.

  11. Hi Monique. This is a very interesting subject to me. Let's just say that sometimes bad things happen to good people. Getting rid of the hate in your heart is a very hard thing to do. That's where faith comes in. A good marriage is built on honesty and deep love. When that leaves one person, and since this is a 100% committment for both, a sacred trust is broken. Learning to live again and finding forgiveness inside of you can take years. But not letting go can be just as devastating.

  12. Hi Monique! I wandered over here from the TWRP loop. Nice to meet you.

    My wonderful husband and I have been together for nearly 23 years, married for almost 20. I'd never dream of cheating. It's so sad when a relationship disintegrates. And unfortunately, infidelity is sometimes glorified. Remember the NYT bestseller Bridges of Madison County? It was beautifully written, but the premise was disturbing.

    I agree with April -- what a pretty blog. I hope to visit again soon!


  13. Hi Monique,
    What a pretty blog spot you have created.
    Very insightful article.

  14. Monique, you're very fortunate to have a mate of 22 years and neither one of you has cheated on the other. You are in the minority. Most of the time if infidelity comes to the knowledge of either mate, divorce usually follows. That's why over half of the married couples end up in divorce. Before I leave this beautiful site, if you would allow me, I'd like to tell you something about my new book, "Beth:Love Along The B.G.Sanford," and just released by Eloquent Books. It's the amazing and entertaining story of one woman who overcomes all odds and obstacles that life has thrown at her, along with a couple of ugly divorces, to find real Love......Along The Way. For those of you so inclined, my book can be purchased on line or have your local bookstore order it for you. Either way, the reader is in for a real treat!
    Good reading my friends,

  15. 18 years and neither my husband nor I have cheated either. It's never crossed my mind. I like to think that we could work through it. I know I would be devastated initially, and probably for a long time, but 18 years is a long time and we have three children, which I believe is a consideration. I think all issues between married couples are complicated, and that there's no single answer. It depends on the individuals, and usually requires much prayer, soul-seeking, and maybe counseling.

  16. What a fantastic response! Thank you, beloveds, for your input. I will spend much time researching this subject if I find the right angle. I may never tackle this subject, but if I do, your comments will definitely guide me. Thanks again.

    And of course I'm beaming over the lovely compliments about the blog! Thanks x


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I greatly appreciate it! :) :)