One of the most painful things that can ever occur in a marriage is when one spouse betrays the other. We often sugar-coat it by calling it “having an affair” or “having a fling” or “having a one-night stand.” But no matter how you phrase it, it comes down to one spouse ripping the emotional heart out of the other spouse. How can you can survive this type of devastation? Perhaps, infidelity counseling can help in some way. But what if your spouse won’t go with you?
We (at Marriage Missions) are contacted about this heart-breaking occurrence more times than I can count. And although we have husbands contacting us about their wives doing this against them, the vast majority have been from women. These women are crying out for anyone to help them in any way possible. They want any practical advice they can get to help survive this horribly traumatic time.
Infidelity Counseling and Help
How much we would love to take this pain away from those who write! We want to bind up their wounds and help them to begin to experience healing, more than I can express —if only! But we can only do what God gives us the calling and the ability to do. Steve and I aren’t marriage counselors —we’re marriage educators. We do what we can as God leads and empowers. But we have to depend upon others who can help these spouses beyond what we can.
Ultimately, we know that God is the best guide on this. We’re told in the Bible that the Holy Spirit is our Wonderful Counselor. He is able to “do all things abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.“ So to Him we bow, put our trust, and look to Him to guide. Yet we know that He often uses others to minister His healing touch, as well.
Before I lead you to some articles that can minister to you, here is what one wife asked us, concerning her husband’s infidelity. My answer will come after her question:
“What do I do after my husband has done this to me and has told me to forget it? He won’t go for counseling and doesn’t want to speak about it. He said the past is the past. And yet I feel like I am stuck suffering this all by myself.”
Let me say at the outset how very sad I am for you that you’ve had to endure this pain. As a woman I can only imagine how deeply you must be hurting over this. God never intended this type of pain to enter a marriage. Marriage is meant to give us a sense of love and belonging as we entrust ourselves to each other. I’m so very sorry for sorrow you must be experiencing.
You asked about what to do if your husband won’t go for counseling even though he’s the one who committed adultery. If it were me I would run, walk, or crawl to get good Godly counseling on my own if my husband wouldn’t go with me. There isn’t a door I wouldn’t open to get the help needed to get past this horrific injury. It’s terribly grievous that your husband won’t consider AT THIS TIME to go together with you, to get help.
However, don’t rule out that he might reconsider his stand in the future. Your counselor may be able to give you the right words and way to approach him so he would be open to it at another time. Your husband obviously doesn’t understand the depth of the injury he’s inflicted upon your spirit and upon your trust level. That is especially grievous.
Tragically, his level of understanding isn’t something you can bridge right now. So leave it at that. For right now YOU need to get the help that is needed. You can deal with this when you are stronger to do so.
Get Help For YOU
There will be a time to deal with your spouse later. But I don’t believe that this is it —just yet. Go by yourself if you have to, with a wide open spirit. Right now it’s up to you to get the help that is needed. Let God deal directly with your husband.
You have been severely emotionally injured. And for that reason you need someone who can help you work through that injury. You also need godly counsel to help put things into place so this type of thing doesn’t occur again in the future.
I hope that you will read everything on our web site that you can on this subject. If you use our search engine and put the word affair into it you’ll have a lot of options that will come up for you to read. Also read what we have concerning Marriage Counseling. This way you can better seek what you need.
We also have other web sites listed that can also help you in your quest. And there are resources we recommend that could help you as well.
I pray you will become a student of this subject. “Seek, knock, and open” every door you can to find the help that is available. Otherwise this horrible tragedy could completely envelop and crush your spirit for the rest of your life.
Deal With It
Now that this has happened in your marriage you need to deal with it. It won’t go away. It’s not just your husband’s problem, it’s now yours too.
This has been thrust upon you so you need to deal with it in ways that are healthy. It’s important not to allow bitterness to take deep root into your spirit. If you allow bitterness to take hold you’ll continue to be injured over and over again by this for the rest of your life. Others around you will be affected, as well. We aren’t an “island unto ourselves” (even though it may seem like it). Whatever hurts us inevitably finds a way of hurting others for generations to come. The same goes concerning that, which helps us.
We have a lot of articles on our web site that deal with bitterness and forgiveness. Please prayerfully read them, asking God to help you to live without bitterness.
Please know that God can redeem that, which is used by the enemy of our faith to harm us. It’s just like it was with Joseph in the Bible who had others who hurt him. He eventually got to a place where he recognized that God was able to turn evil into good to help not only him, but many others. (See Genesis 50:19-20.)
But sometimes you need additional help by professionals to work through it. This is a complicated, fallen world that we live in, which requires our getting more sophisticated help in dealing with complex issues. Pray about what you ultimately need to get past this.
It’s Not Fair
Is this fair that you’re the one who has to seek the counsel alone when this has been inflicted upon you by your spouse? No! It most definitely is not! And it’s especially unfair that your husband doesn’t see this. But nothing this side of heaven is fair. We have to deal with that, which comes into our lives. And this is one of those horrific events that has to be dealt with. I pray you’ll get the help that you need. The Lord wants to comfort and work with you on this. Please allow Him to do it through others that He wants to use for this purpose.
Two articles posted on the Beyond Affairs web site may be beneficial for you to prayerfully read as well. This is because you are experiencing resistance from your spouse in helping you to heal. Please prayerfully:
I’ve seen marriages completely turn around for the good, stronger than ever before, which have experienced the type of betrayal that you are living through. My own parent’s marriage is one of them. But without some outside help there may be deeper scarring that may occur. This can cause the healing process to take longer and be more painful than it needs to be.
Needing a Skilled Surgeon
It’s kind of like performing surgery on yourself. You are trying to figure your own way of doing it rather than going to a skilled surgeon when you need the help. As much as it hurts when a surgeon does it, it can sometimes hurt more when we try to do it on our own.
There are some things that happen to us in life that takes more expertise in dealing with than we have the ability to handle on our own. Just make sure that you go to someone who will invest themselves in trying to help you deal with this in a godly, scripturally sound way who is pro-marriage —not just neutral.
Sometimes what appears to be an easier route for us to take really isn’t the best. The Bible tells us, “Everything is permissible —but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.“ (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)
There are a lot of counselors —even Christians, who have the “bail out” mentality when the “mountain may appear to be too difficult to climb.” A good, godly counselor truly knows the difference. They know what you need to so that you come out on the other side with a testimony on your lips of the sovereignty and sufficiency of His grace and power.
The Bible (in 2 Corinthians 4) says, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” I pray that God will shine His light upon you during this dark time in your life.
May You Find Strength
I also pray that you will find the strength that the apostle Paul was able to draw from in Christ. He said, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed. We are perplexed, but not in despair; struck down, but not destroyed.“
He drew his strength from the Lord and that is my prayer for you. I pray that you will eventually (with help both from God and from others) be able to turn your focus off of your pain and onto that, which Christ will use to bring healing and wholeness out of the suffering and brokenness that you are experiencing.
Can’t Afford a Counselor
You may say that you can’t afford a counselor. I’ve heard that so many times in so many ways. I’ve even said it so many times myself —to my shame. But I’ve learned so much by observing life through my own experiences and the experiences of others. I’ve learned that it’s not just what you’ve lived through that’s as important as what you grow through.
I’ve learned that as costly as professional counseling may get, it’s less costly than all of the hidden costs of divorce. It’s less costly than the bitterness that’s able to take root upon your heart and your spirit. Please take full advantage of the help someone “with skin on” can give you. The Bible says, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy. Without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.“ (Hebrews 12:14)
I hope you know of a counselor or pastor who can be lead of God to walk you through this difficult situation. But if you don’t know of someone the ministry of Focus on the Family is wonderful in referring people, here in the continental United States, to guide you in getting help such as you would need. They’re a very helpful and compassionate ministry that has so many ways of helping people. You can contact them by calling 1-800-232-6459 or on their web site at Focusonthefamily.com.
Don’t Delay in Getting Help
I truly pray that you will reach out for this help without delay. You have been injured deeply enough already. I pray you won’t prolong the pain that you’re already experiencing by waiting. Sometimes by delaying we make the recovery experience more difficult because the injury is able to deepen so that what it takes to get on the other side of healing becomes more painful and difficult.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions wrote this article.
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Filed under: Emotional & Physical Affair