Nobody is superhuman or perfect. We are all susceptible to failure or fall, which includes having an extramarital affair. However, being susceptible is not a license for infidelity and doesn’t mean you can’t remain completely faithful to your spouse. Nevertheless, shit happens sometimes.
Here is the truth: it’s not an extramarital affair that breaks up marriages but the inability of the unfaithful spouse to be remorseful and honest about what happened, disclose the affair, and leave the affair behind – an extramarital affair is a mistake…if you are remorseful and don’t go on to be a repeat offender.
Disclosing and working through your extramarital affair will make your marriage stronger than before. If you’ve just cheated on your partner and thinking if your marriage can’t be saved following the affair or if divorce is inevitable, I can tell you that saving your marriage is possible.
Though it’s messy, emotional, and hard, you can still save your marriage by taking these crucial steps (note: considering the character of your spouse and the nature of the event, it may take a lot of work, patience, and “prayer”):
Come Clean to Yourself
The first step you must take after an affair is to get real with yourself. Acknowledge that you’ve committed an act that is damaging to you, your spouse, and your marriage. Stop seeing the other person you had the affairs with immediately – try as much as possible to severe all contact online, in person, or elsewhere. Change your routine to ensure that you don’t run into each other.
And if possible, change your phone number and shut down your social media accounts to ensure you won’t be contacted or be tempted to reach the other person. If not possible, block him or her out.
The next step to coming clean to yourself is to go to God for repentance. Ask “God” to forgive you for being unfaithful and to help you refocus on your faithfulness and commitment to your spouse. Also, ask God for the strength to confess. God is our Healer, Sustainer, and the Restorer of our souls and He can do this for your marriage as well no matter how ugly and awful the truth may seem.
Come Clean to Your Spouse
The next step to take is to come clean to your spouse. You’ve sought God’s forgiveness so you must seek your spouse’s forgiveness too.
This step is undoubtedly heartbreaking, emotional, and gut-wrenching but you must confess to save your marriage and allow healing and peace to take place. Mind you, no matter how ugly and awful the truth is, it’s only when it is brought to light that the healing process begins.
And, the sooner you end the adulterous affair, repent, and disclose the affair, the better. However, this is not always a smooth journey.
Coming clean to your spouse means you must be completely honest and open with your spouse about everything. Though you may not need to tell your spouse the nitty-gritty (all the step-by-step details) of the affair, but you must be willing to give answers to all questions your spouse may ask you.
The extramarital affair has broken the marital trust. So, you shouldn’t expect the process of regaining the trust to be a speedy one. Aside from being a slow process, regaining trust also requires full transparency.
You must be ready to sever all contact, link, or connection with this person involved and do anything it takes to avoid being around the person with whom you had the affair. Until you do so, you are not willing to give up your life or immoral act with this other person for the sake of your marriage and you’re not ready to move toward saving your marriage.
However, once you can willingly and honestly do these, then you can move on to the next step.
Patiently Wait For Your Spouse’s Willingness to Forgive and Trust You
As stated above, you have already betrayed your spouse’s trust with the extramarital affair. So, the fact that you have disclosed the truth and seek for forgiveness from your spouse doesn’t mean he or she would instantly forgive and trust you again – this most times depends on the nature and character of your spouse and God’s intervention.
Hence, you have to be patient for your spouse’s willingness to forgive you and rebuild his or her trust for you. While you wait, pray to God to touch the heart of your spouse, heal his or her heart. And speed up the forgiveness and trust process.
Stay Committed To Saving Your Marriage Even When It Feels Ugly and Uncomfortable
Disclosing the truth about your extramarital affair is the best but always comes with ugly, shameful, and uncomfortable feelings (it sometimes breaks the commitment of the partner). However, if you want to save your marriage, you must put in your best to be fully and completely committed to your marriage.
Since true love will not last without commitment, commitment is required from both partners (the offender and the offended). Although commitment has been broken, divorce must not be contemplated. Instead, you and your spouse must be recommitted to one another.
To earn your spouse’s trust and commitment, you must be the one to take the first step by showing your spouse how committed you are now to do anything it takes to regain his or her trust and save your marriage. This will not only encourage your spouse’s commitment but also give him or her the chance to heal up.
Saving your marriage after an affair is hard but it’s possible. Following the steps above carefully will help you to expedite the process and save your marriage. Note that, following the steps are not easy and requires everything you have to fight for it. Remember, an extramarital affair is a mistake “only” if you are remorseful and don’t go on to be a repeat offender. May God bless you and keep your marriage strong as you do everything to cultivate a healthy, thriving marriage!