It’s fairly common to hear couples say that they refuse to forgive their spouses because for them, forgiveness means that the wrong behavior is OK. I think it’s important for us to remember that the world has a false idea of what forgiveness is, and in order to properly define it, we need to go back to God’s Word. Is forgiveness the same as reconciliation?
In Romans 13:8, it says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.”
The world believes that forgiveness isn’t a necessary part of life, nor should it be a necessary part of marriage. Worldly experts are constantly advising people to hang onto their anger as a way to protect themselves from getting hurt again. However, some actually advise the opposite. They tell people who have been hurt that they can’t trust their emotions, and they need to push those negative thoughts out of their minds and continually forgive, regardless of how they feel. Many experts even believe that as long as you pray, all of your resentments will be healed and gone.
As you can see, the so-called “expert” opinions on forgiveness vary so much that it’s hard to know what you should believe. While some of these opinions might sound OK on the surface, they are wrong. The truth is that unforgiveness and resentment has a tendency to fester. It can and will eat at you, and eventually it will kill your love for the person you’re refusing to forgive. However, forgiveness cannot be done overnight. It’s a process that does take time.
In addition, it’s important to understand the differences between forgiveness and reconciliation.
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IS FORGIVENESS THE SAME AS RECONCILIATION?
Perhaps you’ve been holding onto some type of hurt because you don’t want to be reconciled with your spouse; at least not yet. As a result, you’re refusing to forgive. You don’t have to reconcile with your spouse the moment you forgive him or her, and the two things are really very different.
Forgiveness is about you extending mercy and grace to the person who hurt you. Remember, mercy is when you get something you don’t deserve to get, while grace is when you don’t get what you do deserve. When you forgive, you’re setting your offender free, and you’re placing that person on God’s “hook” instead on yours. You’re not denying the fact that you were hurt because that would not be possible. Instead, you’re giving yourself permission to feel the hurt and then you’re releasing it so that it doesn’t have power over you any longer. Furthermore, forgiveness only takes one person – you. Reconciliation takes two people.
THE 3 STAGES OF FORGIVENESS
Forgiveness generally happens in stages, and it’s not something that can occur all at once. It’s essential to go through the stages of forgiveness before you can actually forgive. Those stages are:
#1. Facing the Offense: You have to face the reality of the negative effect the offense has had on your life. You also need to realize that being treated that way is not something that’s OK with you.
#2. Feeling the Offense: If you refuse to feel the pain you’re in, you’re actually denying that pain. Denial is not something you want to live in.
#3. Forgiving the Offender: Choosing to forgive is often the hardest thing to do, but it can also be the most rewarding, even if you never get an apology. Remember, forgiveness is not about forgetting what happened, but it is about releasing the debt of the person who caused the pain.
Are you struggling with unforgiveness? I’ve worked with many women over the years who were trapped by unforgiveness. If you’re waging this battle, I’d like to help you find the healing you need to forgive and move on.
If you’d like to talk with a Christian marriage coach about working toward forgiveness, I’d love to help you. Please contact me at 843-379-0288. You can also contact me through my online scheduler for a free complimentary call. I’m available face to face, over the phone or via video call. When you hold onto unforgiveness, the only person who truly suffers is you. With the right kind of professional help, you can embrace forgiveness and freedom from those heavy chains.
Once you’ve realized your spouse has cheated to you, it’s difficult to think about putting the pieces of your marriage back together again. You feel absolutely shattered, and you’re not really sure what you should do. Maybe you’d like to try to make it work, but it all seems so hopeless.
This is where many couples give up, and one or both of them make some major mistakes that lead to the end of the marriage. Let’s talk about five reasons why most marriages fail after cheating.
MISTAKE # 1: THEY DON’T TAKE THE TIME TO HEAL
One of the things many individual do after they’ve discovered that their spouse has been cheating is attempt to jump right into making everything feel as normal as possible. In doing so, they’re rushing through the healing process, and there is a reason why healing is a process and not something that can occur overnight. It’s vital for you to work through the emotions that this betrayal has caused for you, and that means taking the necessary time to heal.
MISTAKE #2: THEY TRY AND “FIX” THEIR SPOUSE
After you’ve been cheated on, it’s a normal response for you to try to make everything right again. Chances are, you’ve thought long and hard about what happened between you and your spouse what may have led to his cheating. You know exactly what needs to change, and you think you know how to change it. This never works. You can never “fix” your spouse, and any attempt to fix him may even do more damage than good.
MISTAKE #3: THEY SUCCUMB TO THEIR ANGER
Anger is a normal response once you learn about your spouse’s cheating, and to some extent, expressing your anger is an important part of the healing process. However, dealing with your anger is so important and there are healthy ways for you to deal with it. When your anger gets out of control, it can actually sabotage your healing, and that’s definitely not something you want to have happen.
MISTAKE #4: THEY FAIL TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT CAUSED THE CHEATING
At some point, it’s important for you to try to understand the circumstances that led to your spouse’s cheating. While this is certainly not something you should be expected to do right away, eventually, it will help you to know what causes them to sin sexually. Once you can work on this understanding, you’ll also find that you’re releasing your control over their behavior, and allowing them to be responsible for his own actions.
MISTAKE #5: THEY FAIL TO GET PROFESSIONAL HELP
Once cheating has occurred in your marriage, attempting to heal on your own is almost impossible. There are so many emotions involved, and it’s difficult for you to make sense of everything that has happened. You need guidance, and it’s even better if that guidance is backed by the Word of God. Getting a professional to talk with you demonstrates your willingness to work through the sin that has occurred so that you can embrace healing and move forward in your marriage.
A FINAL THOUGHT
Remember, your marriage and family legacy is your greatest asset. When you have been devastated by a cheating spouse in marriage the main thing that is on your mind is to get out of the pain. The pathway out of your pain is to avoid the five major reasons why marriages fail after cheating, while finding the right Christian coach or counselor who has the perfect step-by-step plan to move you out of your pain.
A plan that works.
Has your marriage been suffering because of a sexual betrayal? Maybe you’ve even made some of these mistakes, but you’re not sure what else to do. A Christian Marriage Coach and Counselor can help you see things a different way, and shed God’s light on a situation that otherwise seems hopeless.
If your husband has had been involved in pornography, infidelity or a sexual addiction, one of the hardest things to him do is to talk about his sexual betrayal with you. Still, he knows that he has to disclose what happened. Maybe he’s in that position right now, and he’d like to be able to come clean about everything that happened, but he’s just not sure how to do it or what to say. It’s a difficult situation, but it is possible to do it with love and with complete honesty. Let’s talk about what he can do if he’s ready to start communicating with you and disclose his sexual betrayal.
THE TIMELINE OF TRUTH
In most cases, a sexual betrayal never happens all at once. They happen over time, and this is time that you want to account for. Creating a timeline is the best way to do this. The timeline need to be with five-year increments, and notate all of the instances of the following:
Sexual awakening · Sex education · Sexual experimentation · Sexual abuse ·Introduction to pornography · All sexual and emotional relationships When your husband is creating his timeline, honesty is the most important element. He might think that a particular item doesn’t matter, or that it’s embarrassing to you, but this is about full disclosure and honesty. If it happened, it should be included.
DEFINING FULL DISCLOSURE
It’s understandable that these situations are hard to talk about. However, full disclosure means telling the entire truth and not leaving any details out, no matter how insignificant they might seem to him. As he works on his timeline, he needs to be sure to describe the nature of the action, whether that means looking at pornography, any emotional or sexual affairs, visiting a strip club, paying for a prostitute, going to massage parlors, or even viewing profiles online. He needs to indicate how long these acts have been going on, and when they occurred in relation to where you were at that time. For example, did he act out while you were out of town? Or, perhaps he only participated in these activities when he was away on business or while you were working. Other details he should provide regarding his sexual betrayal should include: The location of these events · Any excuses he used to find the time or the place to participate in them · The money that was spent · Any consequences he dealt with that you weren’t aware of (arrests, unexpected pregnancy, money lost, etc.) ·Instances of unprotected sex · Secret bank accounts or credit cards · Secret email accounts or PO boxes.
VULNERABLITY AND A NEW BEGINNING
The fact that your husband would agreed to full disclosure of his sexual betrayal is to be commended. This places him in an incredibly vulnerable position, and you need to see his brokenness and that he diligently pursuing God at this time in his life. The fact that he’s willing to talk about it takes a lot of courage for anyone to be so honest, and he should be encouraged to know that his willingness to proceed is an excellent opportunity to lay a new foundation for your marriage.
This is a new beginning for you both, and disclosure is the first step towards building a new foundation on truth instead of deceit. You will likely need help with this process. In fact, it is highly recommended that you use a Christian marriage coach to help you prepare. It is also important that you and your husband are in a safe setting as a coach can serve as a witness to your disclosure and can help guide the process. However, your coach is much more than that. You’ll be seeking the guidance of someone who bases everything on the Word of God, which should give you comfort in this difficult time.
If you would like to make an appointment to discuss the full disclosure of your sexual betrayal, please contact me at 843-379-0288. You can also make an appointment online using my convenient online scheduler. Going through full disclosure alone is difficult, but it’s much easier when you have someone you can lean on and trust to lead you, according to God’s Word.
If you’re a woman who has been sexually betrayed by a husband struggling with pornography, infidelity or a sexual addiction there’s no doubt that there are a million questions going through your mind. You’re angry, you’re hurt, and you’ve never felt so alone before. You long to have answers to your questions, but at the same time, you’re a little bit afraid of how the answers are going to make you feel. You certainly don’t want to get hurt even worse.
Finding out that your husband has a problem with infidelity, pornography or has a sexual addiction is devastating, and the feelings you’re experiencing are entirely normal. There are some questions you should have answered, but there are other questions you should not. The most important thing to remember is that by talking with your husband about his betrayal, you’ll be doing your part to give him the opportunity he needs to enter into a spirit of repentance, which is really what you want.
THE OPPORTUNITY FOR FULL DISCLOSURE
Talking with your husband about his sexual sin is a healthy exercise for both of you, and it might surprise you that it’s vital for him. Once he begins to talk with you, he’s coming out from the dark shadows he’s been living in. He’s exposing his sin and bringing it to light. It’s not easy to be obedient, and truth is often difficult to face, but by allowing him to do it, you’re also giving him the chance to really see how his betrayal has hurt you, your marriage and your family. Once he understands the extent of his sin, he will understand a need for forgiveness.
Even so, before he can ask for forgiveness, you need to express how the betrayal has caused you to feel. You can talk with him about the impact his affair has had on you, so that he fully understands what has happened within your marriage. Remember, you are being asked to forgive a big debt, and it’s not going to be easy for you to do it. You deserve to be heard.
ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
With so many questions burning inside of you, it’s hard to know which ones are the right ones. Actually the “wrong” ones are probably the first ones to come to your mind. Questions like, “What did you talk about with her?” “Where did the two of you have sex?” “What was your favorite website?” or “What did you like about her physically?” will only make you upset and more frustrated. Instead, stick to the important questions, such as:
· “Have you ever met any of the women you were talking with online?”
· “Have you had unprotected sex during your affair?”
· “Did you have sex with anyone I know?”
· “How much money was spent on sex?”
FINDING HELP TRUSTING GOD
As a professional, Christian marriage coach and counselor I can help you through the process of talking through your husband’s disclosure with methods that are based on Biblical truths. It is highly recommended that you plan a formal time of disclosure with the safety of a trained marriage coach or counselor. Your goal is to remove the ruins of your old marriage, which was destroyed as a result of his betrayal so that you can build a new relationship that’s based on truth. Maybe right now you’re not in a place where you feel you can trust God with knowing more about your husband’s affair. If you’re not, professional marriage coaching and counseling can help you get there.
If you would like to make an appointment to talk with me, please contact me at 843-379-0288. We can work together over the phone or via Skype if you do not live in the Beaufort, SC area. You can also set up an appointment using our online scheduler.
Remember, you don’t have to face your husband’s sexual addiction alone. God is always with you, and Christian marriage coaching is a wonderful option that can help.
If you’ve recently found out that your spouse has had an affair, (or if you’ve known for some time) your response is likely to be one of shock, disbelief and anger. It’s completely normal for you to feel as though you want to talk to someone about what you’ve discovered. However, the problem is that we tend to want to talk to too many of the wrong people. Who are safe people to talk to after an affair.
Sexual sin is incredibly debilitating to a marriage relationship. You are hurt and once the shock wears off, you’re probably going to feel furious and as though you need to vent. Even so, it’s important to be sure you’re talking about the situation to the right type of people so that you can get the help you really need. You need to identify the difference between safe people and unsafe people.
It might come as a surprise that many of the people you might naturally gravitate to for the purpose of discussing your spouse’s affair are unsafe people. Family members and friends often fall into this category simply because they may directly or indirectly blame you for what happened or assume that something is wrong with you that caused the betrayal. They may encourage you to run away from the problem or get a divorce, which is not always the answer when one spouse has cheated on another.
As a matter of fact, you even need to be very wise about whom you talk within your church. Their intentions are usually good, and they want what’s best for you, but sometimes those in the church community give advice that’s more harmful than good. For example, if you’re a wife whose husband has been unfaithful, they may tell you to seek out Scripture that directs you to submit to his sexual desires, which is advice that doesn’t take into consideration the root of the problem that caused the betrayal. It also minimizes the depth of your spouse’s sexual problems.
Simply put, unsafe people will give you unwanted advice. They will try to fix the situation simply because they are not comfortable with your grief and anger.
An individual is a safe person to talk to if you already know this person will love you and accept you unconditionally. It’s natural for you to want to vent to someone who listens, but you need to be sure that the information you share is safe with him or her. You don’t need to talk with anyone who will gossip about you or your situation. Also, it’s not necessary for that person to attempt to fix anything. What is necessary is Biblical encouragement and prayer. The person you choose to vent to should be very sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and should not be taken aback by your angry emotions.
CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE COACHING
The best person for you to talk to is a professional, Christian marriage coach who has training in the area of pornography and sexual addictions and there are a lot of reasons for this. Your counselor or coach will talk with you in depth about the situation you’re in and he or she will pray for you as well about what you should do next. You’ll find nothing but direction, acceptance and love as you work through the issues facing your marriage.
If you would like to make an appointment to talk with a Christian marriage coach, we’d love to hear from you. Your location is no problem. Aside from meeting face-to-face, we work via video call and phone. You can contact us at 843-379-0288, or feel free to schedule your appointment using our online scheduler
The issues you’re facing right now are difficult, and they require a lot of prayer and wise counsel before you proceed. We would love to help you. And, if you have been faced with unsafe people in your healing journey, we’d love to hear your story. Send us a reply!