Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Can a Marriage Survive Infidelity

The answer to the question is absolutely, but it will require a fair amount of work on the part of the one who was unfaithful and the one who feels like the victim. To me, repentance is the first indicator as to whether or not a marriage can be salvaged. Does the one who was unfaithful seek to restore his/her relationship with God? Next the one who has been unfaithful has to ask the one he/she hurt for forgiveness. Ultimately forgiveness must be given if the marriage is to move forward but it may not come immediately.

Unfortunately when it is the man who has been unfaithful he tends to treat the healing process as a task to be completed. “I repented, I asked for forgiveness, now can’t we just move on?” Or he might say, “It has been six months, why does she keep bringing it up?” Men tend to underestimate the importance of trust in a marriage relationship and just how long it will take to re-establish the trust. Men don’t seem to understand the emotional roller coaster that his wife will most likely experience. She might go from crying hysterically one moment to wanting to gouge out his eyes the next. She feels among other things degraded, deeply hurt, embarrassed, ashamed and betrayed.

If the wife has been unfaithful the man’s pride tends to take over, it is a blow to his ego. Husbands, as a rule, are less willing to forgive.

In most cases the attraction to the other party did not begin as something sexual. The other person most likely filled an emotional void.

Counseling can be helpful, but here is what I have found. The focus during the sessions tends to be on the “guilty” partner and initially, rightly so. The sticky part is when you need to discuss what led up to the infidelity. At this point the victim often gets defensive. Nothing excuses the infidelity. It is always a conscious decision which is wrong in the eyes of God. And most likely the wounded partner will take a long time to get over the affair, if they ever do. All that said, the couple needs to be able to come to grips with what has brought them to this point in their marriage. Most likely one or both have neglected their relationship and their relationship with God. There is an excellent chance that the love and respect that is so crucial to a Godly marriage has long since vacated the marriage.

Can a marriage survive infidelity? With God’s help all things are possible, particularly since He wants you to have a marriage that will glorify him. As a couple turns their marriage over to God and begins to re-build their relationship by applying Biblical principles they can have a stronger marriage than they ever dreamed possible.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Marital Intimacy

David Powlison, author and faculty member of the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation gets up close and personal.

David is brutally honest as he depicts many marriages. He likens the couples to cars on a highway. In some cases the couples are headed toward one another, driving down the center lane, a crash is imminent. Other couples are driving in complete opposite directions, away from one another. Still other couples are driving on the same side of the highway but constantly passing one another.

Among other things, 1Corinthians 13 tells us that love is to be patient and kind; instead all too often it is destructive. We are quick to justify our own behavior and blame our husband/wife for their failings.

Here is the key –it is not that we don’t love our spouse enough; it is that we love God too little. The Parable of the Sower (the Book of Luke 8: 5-8) reminds us that our relationship with the Lord parallels our relationship with our husband/wife.

If someone’s heart is hard it is like the seed sown by the farmer that lands on the hard path, the seed will not grow. We will be embittered toward our spouse and there is no vertical relationship. Seed that falls on the rocky soil is likened to a marriage where disappointment reigns. The relationship with the Lord is shallow and superficial. Seed that fell among the weeds and thistles manifests itself as a marriage which is overcome by distractions. The couple keeps busy doing and running. They are distracted by the trappings of the world. These things choke out the relationship with the Lord. Where there is good soil the husband/wife exhibit humility, and a contrite and repentant heart. They look to the Lord as their source of strength and recognize that it is they that need to change not their spouse.