October 26, 2020
Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant. 1 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth – Malachi 2:14-16
Infidelity is brutal.
There are very few acts that can cause you to feel pain, anger, rejection, bitterness, shame, and rage at the same time. Infidelity will cause you to question your own value and worth. It will make you question your sanity and intelligence. As I said at the beginning, it’s brutal. But it is also indiscriminate. It happens to the rich and the poor, the business owner and the employee, the most polished and those who have no frills.
This is why I’m writing to encourage those of you who have experienced this great pain. I know it personally, and I have had the privilege of walking others through and seeing great victory. You can absolutely recover from it. You can come out on the other side better. I know because I did.
Maybe you have just found out about it, or maybe it happened a long time ago and you still struggle to move past it. Either way, it is my hope that these few suggestions will assist you as you walk through it.
So what do you do after you’ve found out that he cheated?
Take the time you need – Processing emotions takes time. Initially, your emotions will feel like they are on a rollercoaster – okay one minute and crashing down into sadness the next. You can fluctuate between hope, despair, and numbness in a matter of hours. It is hard to make a rational decision while feeling so many things at once. So, take your time. Don’t give in to the pressure to make a decision in the moment. No one can dictate how much time you need to work through this, and the truth is that there can be so many layers to uncover that the process lasts much longer than we would like. You will need to make some decisions, but you don’t have a time limit on when those decisions need to be made. Take your time and make sure that you are as clear and rational as possible.
It’s not your fault – Infidelity is a choice. Whatever the conditions of your marriage, a person has to make a conscious choice to commit adultery. Actually, they make several choices before the act is consummated. Your spouse made those choices. You didn’t. It’s not your fault. No matter how many times you need to remind yourself of that fact, do it.
You are not what happened to you. – Your husband’s act has nothing to do with your worth or your value. God settled those things when He created you in his image. It can be tempting to think that you are not enough or that there is something wrong with you, but neither of those things are true. You are right now exactly who you were before you found out about the infidelity. Don’t allow his bad choice to compromise your identity in Christ. Don’t allow this one act to define you or your life.
Let go of the shame – You didn’t commit this act. Don’t carry the shame for your husband’s actions. Shame will make you isolate yourself and avoid the very people who could help you through this. Shame is based in fear – fear that someone will find out, fear that people will talk about you, fear that you won’t make it through. You will make it through, and people always have something to say. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
Seek help – You do not have to walk through this alone. Find a friend that you can share this with – one that will let you have your moment but will also not allow you to stay there. You may also need to seek the help of a professional (with or without your spouse). With emotions running high, a clear-headed voice of truth may save you from making rash decisions.
At some point, you will need to make a decision about whether to stay or go, but I believe these few steps will put you in a better position to make that choice.
I’ve also put together a four-part teaching on this topic that will help walk you through this process, and here is a video that gives you a little more insight.
I’m here for you!
Debra Cheek, The Believing Wife