“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” ~James 1:2-3 NIV
The word “trials” in these verses is from the Greek word peirasmos, which means a test of a person’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy, etc. We westerners thing of them as “temptations” but it means the things in life that test and prove whether or not you’re really faithful, whether or not you really are virtuous. The tests. And James tells us that the testing (proving) of our faith PRODUCES….
Now that is an interesting word! It means “works out” or “accomplishes” but an even better way of looking at it is that tests “work down to the end-point, to an exact, definite conclusion; bring to decisive finality”–in other words the tests are a guarantee to bring PERSEVERANCE.
Again, there’s another interesting word! What is perseverance? It comes from the Greek word hupomoné and it to “endure under”… so in other words, the ability to endure under the tests that God allots in life. In other words it’s the patient characteristic of a person who is unswerved from their deliberate purpose and their loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest tests and temptations.
So the author is telling us that when we face the various tests of life, we are to consider the test as JOY–the awareness of God’s grace and favor–because proving is guaranteed to result in the ability to patiently endure under the tests and not swerve from our deliberate purpose and loyalty to God and living in His Love.
Now taking this verse to heart while in the middle of dealing with an affair can be TOUGH! I mean, how can you “count it all joy” when you are betrayed by the one you love, right? Bear in mind the verse doesn’t say we have to FEEL joy, but rather that we should be aware that when God sends a test our way, it is evidence of His grace and favor. The aim of the test , even if it is a hard, painful test, is for you to more intimately know His love and how to live in His love…and to grow closer to HIM and more like Him.
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”~John 8:31-32 NKJV
The Greek word for “abide” that Jesus uses here literally means to “remain,” “stay,” or “wait.” So, Jesus is telling believers to remain in God’s Word, letting it soak into their minds and shape their lives. But what is there to wait for? The writer of Hebrews talks about waiting, only he calls it “faith.” “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for,” he writes, “the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The apostle Paul also talks about waiting, only he calls it “hope.” Speaking of the hope of our redemption, and ultimate glorification as sons of God, he says, “Hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:23-25).
So often we humans, in our frailty, will look at the world around us and “abide” in what we see: hurt, pain, death… and our mind isn’t soaked in faith or hope. I think Jesus is telling us here that we we like our minds be soaked in God’s promises and patiently wait, knowing they will come, then we will see the truth that the hurt, pain, and death are temporary and not the salvation God intends for us. We’ll be free from the fear of what we see, and instead the way we live will reflect the truth that we know: God’s promises ARE true.
If you are wrestling with an affair in your marriage, it is critical to “abide” in God, wait patiently for His will, and remember faith and hope. It may not be that your marriage will survive, but if you “abide” God promises to be with you every step. Don’t look at the hurt and pain and loss all around you–instead let God’s word soak into your mind and live your life reflecting what you know is true.
“…that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” ~2 Corinthians 5:19-20 NIV
Did you notice it? I did–these two verses repeat that word ‘reconciliation’ or ‘reconciled’ so it must be important!
The Greek word here is katallassōn, katallagēs, and katallagēte–you can tell all from the same root word, and at its core it means “to change down to an exact point.” That doesn’t sound much like our English definition of reconciliation, does it? Yet this word has a connotation of DECISIVE change, from enmity to friendship, down to even the smallest detail…going from a position of angry to receiving favor. In 2 Cor. 5:20 Paul uses the same word when he describes a woman returning to harmony with her husband.
So…Paul implores us to be the elder diplomats who proclaim the message: return to harmony with God. Now my question is how am I being an elder and living that message? Do my actions and words testify to the message of reconciliation to God?
When there has been an affair, people often throw around that word ‘reconciliation.’ Some will immediately tell you to leave the Disloyal on the spot; others may encourage you to reconcile no matter what abuse has occurred. But looking at this verse, it seems clear to me that whether the marriage is reconciled or not, the first and main reconciliation with which we need to be concerned is a DECISIVE change…from discord with God to harmony. He chooses us, and He reconciles us–we can’t assist in any way–but His love is such that He wants us to be made right with Him.
Thus, focus there first. If your marriage is in disarray due to an affair, I implore you as a messenger to return to harmony with God. Return to living the life He wants you to lead. Return to reading the Bible and prayer, and return to living in a Christ-like way as a response to His love for you.
Whether it’s before an affair, to #affairproof your marriage, or after an affair to reconcile, there are specific actions you can take to problem solve in your marriage.
The #1 topic in our Affaircare Topic Survey was Problem Solving, and today we tackle how to solve those issues that are damaging your marriage.
The first thing that MUST be ascertained
Are you trying to get someone else to solve the problem for you? If you hear yourself saying, “I can’t make my mind up” “I can’t help it” or “What should I do?” those are typical clues that you want someone else to do your job. Ask yourself if you are trying to avoid taking personal responsibility. Do you manipulate things so you can avoid the natural consequences of your choices? In essence if this is the issue, than “the problem” is not the real problem. The REAL problem is that you don’t want to be responsible. The solution is to make a choice, and act. Make the decision and accept the benefits of the choice you made and live with the consequences of the choice you made.
If, on the other hand, you are worried about making the RIGHT decision, then the answer to that is simple.
5 Actions You Can Take to Problem Solve in Your Marriage
1. Secure commitment from both to Christ and His Word as the standard for all that is done and said.
1.a. Study together what the Bible has to say about the problem. Keep an open mind.
2. Foster and establish companionship between the spouses (making sure they have a right understanding of what marriage is)
3. Unity in intimacy
a. United “the two are one”
b. Intimacy: physical/sexual and emotional/mental
4. Growth, which means sanctification. Grow in Christ as a couple because of this issue.
5. Exemplify the relationship between Christ (The Groom) and His Church (The Bride)
If you take these five actions, and there is not a resolution, then it comes down to personal preference. Honestly, discuss it with your spouse and agree to pick one. Do not assume and agree together that you will do nothing until there is earnest, mutual agreement.
Example: Arguing about money–husband bought a “man toy” without speaking to his wife and now they are in more debt than they can afford.
As Christian counselors who have worked with couples for 17 years, we frequently meet couples where one of the spouses just does not think what they are doing is an affair. “It doesn’t seem like an affair to me!” they say. So we thought we’d dedicate an entire episode to discuss some of the most common objections to why their “friendship” could not possibly be an affair.
If that friendship you have with someone at the office or at school is affecting your spouse, in what way is it showing your spouse love? After all:
“the essence of married love, to which each party pledges himself or herself, is to put the other first.” ~Jay Adams
1. “Well they need to get over it”
But that’s not how Scripture deals with those things. In I Corinthians 8:8-12 Paul writes: “But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. …When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” He’s talking about a big controversy they had in Corinth about whether a follower of Christ could eat meat that had been sacrificed to an idol. Further, Paul was Jewish and some in Corinth even said that Christians had to keep kosher! Paul answered all this by saying that there is only one God from whom all things come and for whom we live, thus “where a meat is cooked” does not make the meat sinful or non-sinful. BUT if eating that food causes a brother or sister in Christ to fall into sin, we not only sinned against a fellow Christian, but against Christ! And he goes on to say that if something he does causes someone to fall into sin, he would rather not do it AT ALL then to cause them to fall. This is the way of Christian maturity.
The mature Christian does not put a stumbling block in front of the baby christian, even if it is the baby Christian’s “weakness.” If you’re spouse is stumbling because of your actions, you are not loving them. And if you are not loving your spouse and loving someone else (a “friend” or someone “who needs you”) then that is the very definition of infidelity. You need to end that “friendship” and refocus on your marriage.
It may be it is a weakness, and they need to grow, and there are ways you can help your spouse do that that don’t involve hurting them or the marriage or the family. PUT OFF the sin of causing them to stumble because of your actions, and PUT ON the godly action of helping them to grow in Christ.
2. “Well I wouldn’t be friends with the Other Person if my spouse wasn’t such a grouch!”
Wait a minute! Let’s define right here and now who is responsible for what in your marriage.
Certainly it would be easier if to be faithful if your spouse was loving and pleasant … Certainly it would be easier if they were always what you wanted them to be! But God has told husbands to be loving PERIOD! Ephesians 5:25 and 28, Colossians 3:19, I Peter 3:7 And God has also clearly told us that wives are in submission to their husbands, whether their husband is loving or not! Ephesians . 5:22 and 24 and 33 and Colossians 3:18, I Peter 3:1 You don’t do it in hopes of getting your spouse to do what you want them to do -OR- “only on the condition that…” You do it because God expects you to and has given you the power to do so. PUT OFF the behavior of self-centeredness, and PUT ON the behavior of God-centered obedience.
3. “But this is just the way I am! I’m friendly!”
Doubtless that is the way you WERE as a non-Christian, and being friendly is not the problem. But allowing the guise of friendliness to corrupt your good character IS! It’s not the way God wants you to be and with His power it’s not the way you will be in the future, so continuing to use that as a reason to keep sinning is not valid–you’re still harming your spouse! Scripture is full of warnings to keep away from outside influences that lead to occasions to stumble. In I Corinthians 15:33 Paul writes: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.‘“Proverbs 12:26: “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 13:20 “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” (There are so many in the book of Proverbs we could go on and on.) Psalm 1! Keep away from all whose lives are displeasing to God; otherwise, you are likely to be influenced by them…and being pleasing to God would be building your marriage relationship and honoring your commitment! PUT OFF the rationalizing of “that’s just the way I am” and PUT ON the confidence that in God you are a new creation, as promised in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
4. You may just be in outright denial that it’s an affair.
The examples above are ALL affairs, and I bet the disloyal spouse in those scenarios didn’t think they were! If you have convinced yourself that what you’re doing is justified even though you know it’s harming your marriage, in that case, you obviously need to stop. If you are the only person in the world Other Person has to lean on, then you have an inappropriate relationship–you’ve given a third person the support that’s due only to your spouse. If you have told yourself “I deserve better” or “Love shouldn’t be this hard” and crossed the line of honoring your vow to forsake all others, then you have been unfaithful. Stop using euphemisms! PUT OFF the denial and justification, and PUT ON admittance and repentance.
The end result is the same in all instance: the relationship outside the marriage needs to stop forever. There needs to be a rebuilding of your primary commitment–your marriage. Whether your spouse is weak, there’s a flaw in your spouse, you don’t want to change, or you are in denial, all of those instances indicate a deep issue in your marriage that needs to be addressed.
Our site is about helping people recover their marriage after an affair. But how can we talk about adultery without first knowing what marriage IS?
This series will focus on erroneous views of marriage that lead to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices. Many bible-believing Christians go wrong because their concept of marriage is an illusion. So we’re going to spending the next weeks studying the blueprint of marriage: 1) the origin of marriage, 2) the purpose of marriage, 3) the obligation of marriage, and 4) the commitment of marriage.
We talked two weeks ago about the Origin of Marriage–it began with God, who instituted it even before businesses and churches, as a foundation of society.
Our last podcast post discussed another common misunderstanding: the Purpose of Marriage. Many couples, even Christians, think of marriage as legalized sex or procreation, but the true purpose is a COVENANT of COMPANIONSHIP.
This week we talk about the one erroneous belief about marriage that leads to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices: the Obligation of Marriage.
The Duties of Marriage
There are many “marital duties” mentioned in the Bible:
a) Sexual duties
In I Corinthians chapter 7, Paul gives us some clear instruction about married life and sexuality. We can glean from these verses that sex should only be between covenant-committed, married husband and wife. Please note that the couple yields there bodies to each other, rather than seeking their own sexual pleasure. Finally–we are not to deprive each other of regular, healthy, lively, enjoyable sex!
1 Corinthians 7:2b-5
…each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
b) Duties for wives
Again the Apostle Paul teaches us about marriage in the fifth chapter of Ephesians. In these verses, addressed to wives, we learn that wives are directed to submit to their husbands the same way that we submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
c) Duties for husbands
The Apostle Paul continues this chapter addressing the husbands, and here we learn that husbands are COMMANDED to love their wives the way that Jesus Christ loved the Church–sacrificially. Paul even points out that a husband who loves his wife, loves himself!
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
d) Duties for parents
King David teaches us that one of the duties of marriage is the produce and raise godly offspring, who can be “shot out into the world.”
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
The ONE Obligation of Marriage
So there are many duties relating to marriage–but the ONE UNDERLYING OBLIGATION is the promise to provide lifelong companionship to your spouse. When a couple takes marriage vows, whether you know it or not (and most often people don’t know) you are promising to spend your life meeting THEIR needs–not the other way around!
Today’s society has told us that “love” is about YOU: you’ll never be alone, you’ll get regular sex, you’ll have someone who is “there for you,” and you’ll have your needs met! But as usual the world got it 100% backward!
THE obligation of marriage is that “love” is about GIVING and not RECEIVING.
Your marriage vows state that your spouse will never be alone, because you will be their companion. You promise to provide regular, lively, loving sex for your spouse. Your pledge is that you will “be there” for them! And together the two of you covenant to spend your lives getting to know each other so that you know how to meet their needs.
That means that when one spouse comes to us and says “I’m not getting my needs met” it is nonsensical. We do not have counselees fill out the Love Kindlers questionnaire so they can present it to their spouse and DEMAND that their needs be met! NO! The reason for filling out and sharing the questionnaires is so you can learn what would meed the needs of your spouse and then begin to plan how to meet that need! In other words, the work in the questionnaire is TO LISTEN and LEARN, not to demand.
Thus we help our counselees see that the primary question is “How can I please God and my spouse?” not “How can I please myself?” If the focus is taken off of pleasing The Self, then selfish actions such as “I’m not not getting my needs met” or continuing in infidelity will not make any sense.
Our site is about helping people recover their marriage after an affair. But how can we talk about adultery without first knowing what marriage IS?
This series will focus on erroneous views of marriage that lead to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices. Many bible-believing Christians go wrong because their concept of marriage is an illusion. So we’re going to spending the month of September studying the blueprint of marriage: 1) the origin of marriage, 2) the purpose of marriage, 3) the obligation of marriage, and 4) the commitment of marriage.
We talked last week about the Origin of Marriage–it began with God, who instituted it even before businesses and churches, as a foundation of society.
This week we talk about another common misunderstanding: the PURPOSE of marriage.
Many people think it is for procreation–or to raise godly offspring–and still others believe it is a moral sanction for sex–in other words, the purpose of marriage is so we can have sex in a way that is acceptable to God! But both of these purposes are too narrow. Sex doesn’t start a marriage and sex doesn’t end a marriage–so marriage is not “for sex”! Likewise, people can and do procreate inside, outside, along side and upside down of marriage! Mating and making babies does not equal “marriage”!
So what IS the purpose of marriage? Let’s look in a couple verses!
It is Not Good to be Alone
Genesis 2: 18
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
God made Eve, not only as Adam’s HELPER, although help is one dimension of companionship, but also as his COMPANION.
The reason God instituted marriage was to meet the need for intimate companionship. Marriage was designed to defeat loneliness. The essence of marriage is a COVENANT of companionship–and both parts are important: the COVENANT part…and the COMPANIONSHIP part. This same emphasis on companionship is stressed elsewhere.
A Companion Who Was Formerly WILD-Now Willing to be Close!
Proverbs 2: 16-17
“So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;”
Hebrew word for “companion” here is אַלּ֣וּף transliterated: ‘al-lūp̄ from the root word alluwph. This word means a friend, an intimate, someone who is familiar and gentle from the knowing. The funny thing about this word is that it also has an aspect that has to do with wild animals. The concept is “one who is turned” and it means a wild animal that has been tamed and is not familiar and gentle. So this so someone who had WILD attitudes and actions, who is now tamed–warm and willing to be close.
A Companion of Like Character, Rank and Calling.
“You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “covers his garment with violence,” says the Lord of hosts. “So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
Hebrew word for “companion” here is חֲבֶרְתְּךָ֖ transliterated ḥă-ḇer-tə-ḵā from the root word chabereth. That is a word that means your fellows–your associates who are of like character. These are the people of your society who are of like rank and like calling. In other words–YOUR BUDDIES. The guys you grew up with and went to school with. The girl across the street. Someone CLOSE.
Marriage is a Covenant of Companionship
In both of these verses we are being warned about adultery and being faithless, and both verses indicate that abandoning the Covenant of Companionship is infidelity! Together the two Hebrew words speak of a relationship in which there is constant commitment (the covenant part) and intimacy (the companionship part). The two passages make it clear that entrance into marriage should mean the desire to meet each other’s need for companionship. Love, in marriage, focuses on GIVING one’s spouse the companionship s/he needs to eliminate loneliness! In practical terms that means finding out what makes your spouse feel lonely and giving them what they need so they don’t feel lonely!!
Intimacy apart from commitment is not adequate; commitment to remain together apart from intimacy is equally deficient. BOTH elements are necessary!
Now we’re not saying that raising godly offspring is wrong–it’s just not the purpose of marriage. It is PART of the purpose. It is an aspect of marriage, as is mating. The intimacy of biblical companionship extends beyond the physical (sex), to every aspect of human nature.
“One Flesh” Is Not All About Sex!
Finally, let’s discuss one phrase that is very commonly misunderstood as it relates to marriage: “One flesh” (as found in Gen. 2:24, Matt. 19:6, Mark 10:8, etc.) Almost everyone thinks that is referring to sex! The words used are closer to the word we use in English when we say “everybody.” Do we mean “each physical body”? No–we mean “everyone” or “each person”–and the Hebrew and Greek words here are similar.
The marriage union is meant to be the closest, mose intimate of all human relationships. Two persons may begin to think, feel, and act as one. They function as one unit. So when God speaks of “one flesh” He’s talking about union:
one body — sexual union, a close physical union
one flesh — the marriage union, an even closer union of companionship
one spirit — the union with Christ, the closest union of all!
God’s revealed goal is for a husband and wife to become one in all areas of their relationship–intellectually, emotionally, physically. The Covenant of Companionship fills this need.
People who enter marriage with the idea that marriage is pretty much legalized sex also have a grossly unbiblical idea of the next important concept about marriage that we’ll discuss next week: The OBLIGATION of marriage.
Our site is about helping people recover their marriage after an affair. But how can we talk about adultery without first knowing the origin of marriage?
This series will focus on erroneous views of marriage that lead to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices. Many bible-believing Christians go wrong because their concept of marriage is an illusion. So we’re going to spend the next four weeks studying the blueprint of marriage: 1) the origin of marriage, 2) the purpose of marriage, 3) the obligation of marriage, and 4) the commitment of marriage.
Most Christians have a simple understanding of the origin of marriage. “Adam and Eve–Garden of Eden” is a typical response. But many are unaware of the significance of that origin. So here is one of the basic concepts in the blueprint of marriage: MARRIAGE IS OF DIVINE ORIGIN! The practical relevance of this basic concept must be considered!
1) God designed marriage as the foundational element of all human society.
God formally instituted marriage before there was a church, a school, or a business. If marriage were of human origin, then humans could change or alter the terms for whatever reason they wish! However, if marriage is of divine origin, then marriage should last until God ordains otherwise. The rules and ideals of marriage are to be those which HE sets forth. Marriage must not be redesigned by political correctness. Individuals may marry, divorce, and remarry without sin only if, when and how God says.
2) Marriage is a foundational institution.
It was first to be instituted formally as a sphere of human society (before schools, business, even religion). Society in all its forms depends on marriage. Marriage is the foundation upon which the Church, as God’s family, rests. The covenant community is weakened as marriages are weakened. It is a group of individuals living under one roof, under one human head, and is a separate decision-making unit.
3) Marriage is not “for the propagation of the species”
Humans (like gerbils, rabbits, monkeys and other mammals) can propogate outside the bounds of marriage by mating. While it is true that God ordained that righteous procreation must be one duty of marriage, it is not the FUNDAMENTAL feature of marriage. Marriage is not “mating.”
4) Marriage must not be equated with sexual relations.
People can and do have sinful sex before marriage, but their sex does not translate into a marriage! Furthermore, the first sexual act of the honeymoon does not solemnize the marriage. Marriage AUTHORIZES moral sexual relations. Thus, adultery, while exerting tremendous strain on the marriage, does not DISSOLVE it. Marriage is bigger than and inclusive of sexual union. Sex doesn’t CREATE a marriage and sex doesn’t dissolve a marriage. Divorce, following adultery as a consequence, is not merely an outward formalization of an inward reality, but a new and further step beyond the adultery.
So if marriage is not sexual union, and if marriage is bigger than and distinct from “sex”–we have to ask: “What IS marriage?” Tune in next week as we examine the PURPOSE of marriage!
Affaircare is REFRESHING the website this month with a new look and updated info! We thought it would be a good month to have a Refresh Series to refresh everyone on our fundamental concepts. We are going to refresh YOU with our straightforward, Christian guidance!
This week we continue our Refresh Series by talking about “What to Do If You Just Found Out.” Next week we will conclude the series with “The Steps You Can Take to Save Your Marriage.”
A Parable about finding out
You have known that something is wrong in your marriage, and now you have in your hands the proof you don’t want: your spouse is having an affair. You instinct is to do something FAST, and most likely your gut reaction will not be helpful toward saving your marriage and reconciling. So this podcast refreshes you with what to do if you just found out.
Usually when people just find out, their reaction is one of two things: 1) revenge or 2) pleading. If your inclination is toward revenge, you may have an overwhelming urge to rage, scream or “hurt them back.” If your tendency is less self-assured, you may beg them to love you, plead with them to stay, ask for another chance, and promise them you’ll change!
Both of these compulsions are counter-productive, and both of these reactions are sinful. Since biblically saving your marriage IS so counter-intuitive, and since our Christian worldview is even more counter-intuitive to the world view, we want to give you four things you CAN do that will help immensely.
First, in the podcast we shared a parable about what it feels like to discover that your spouse is cheating. We shared this parable because language is usually insufficient to convey the full depth of the emotions. Until we heard this example, nothing had really come close to describing it–and yet this parable does come close. Therefore, this parable is shared with hope: hope that Loyal Spouses will now have a tool to “describe” it in word pictures…and hope that Disloyal Spouses will have an image that will reveal the crisis of just finding out. If you’d like to read the parable more fully, click on our blog “How it Feels to Discover Your Spouse is Cheating.”
Four Things You Can Do If You Just Found Out
1) Don’t be in a rush
The first thing you need to do calm down and don’t do anything rash. There will be plenty of time for making decisions, deciding what to do, when and how. Unless you are in the right state of mind, you will experience even more confusion and pain.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor.–You are going to need an STD test and it is a wise idea to have your personal physician informed on the things that could be affecting your health. If your doctor tries to prescribe anti-depressants, don’t use pills as a crutch.
Open your Bible –You have a Source of undending strength, compassion, and healing at your fingertips. God promises to be there, and what God promises, He does. Right now you need comfort, in the upcoming days you will need support and truth. This is all found in God’s word. Start with the Psalms.
2) Take responsibility for your part of what has occurred
Taking responsibility is not accepting Disloyal excuses or blame! But it is saying “I could have chosen this or that, and I made this choice.” Just be honest with yourself about any areas in which you need to repent and change! What things did you stop doing that were kindling the fire of love? What things did you start doing that were purring out the fire?
3) Do a U-turn from what you’ve been doing
Your marriage is in a crisis. Your family is in a crisis. What you’ve been doing is NOT WORKING; thus it would be foolishness to return to “the way things were.” We recommend that you do a complete “about face” in the way you view marriage, in the way you think about your spouse, and in the way you ACT.
4) Get advice from an expert
Get some help and support, privately and confidentially, from someone you trust who is wise and who will give you wise counsel in getting through this. Your expert could be a pastor, parent or grandparent, sibling, coach or counselor. But the idea is to find someone who will encourage and support you in doing the right thing (even when it’s hard) and who will tell you the truth to your face.
Affaircare is REFRESHING the website this month, so we thought it would be a good month to have a Refresh Series to refresh everyone on our fundamental concepts. We are going to refresh YOU with our straightforward, Christian guidance while we refresh the look of the site and refresh the podcast.
This week we continue our Refresh Series by talking about what is and is not “an affair” and how affairs start. Next weeks we’ll keep going with “What to Do If You’ve Just Found Out: , and then the final week of August we’ll conclude with “The Steps You Can Take to Save Your Marriage.”
You know me, I love to define! We are REFRESHING this definition!
“Infidelity is giving less than 100% of your affection, loyalty, and companionship to your spouse; in other words, giving any percentage or portion to someone other than your spouse.”
Let’s first talk about what IS and IS NOT a marriage. I’m not going into this too deeply because we’re doing a series on what marriage is next month. But for now, God defines marriage as: a man and a woman who covenant a lifetime of giving love before God. Marriage is not the same as “living together” nor “a serious relationship.” Those relationships may have an expectation of exclusivity. However, marriage is a covenant promise before God to love someone else for life! Thus has legally and morally binding implications that other relationships do not.
Another common question we get asked is “Wait! What about giving some affection to children and relatives? You don’t mean we shouldn’t give our affection to our family, do you?” This is not the intent of the definition. Marriage vows promise used to include the terms “forsaking all others.” The two in the marriage KNOW and are known in a way that is unique. It is true intimacy–physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Finally, we are not defining an affair so you can find out “How far can I go and still get away with it?” It is emotional infidelity if you give even a little affection to another person. If you give someone your loyalty over and above your spouse, it’s an emotional affair.. You are more than “just friends” if you are a companion to someone (or something) else other than your spouse–think “football widows”.