Forsaking all others, keep yourself only for him (or her).” You said that, or something similar, in your marriage vows, didn’t you? Now perhaps that dream has become a nightmare. If you are facing infidelity in your marriage, you know how devastating that nightmare can be.
Adultery almost never begins with a physical act. It begins in the heart. It begins with a lingering glance, a flirtatious comment, a fantasy of connection. It grows with a search to fulfill something one feels is missing – perhaps adventure, emotional intimacy, or sexual contact. The heart finds a way to rationalize, and you cross that line. Sooner or later the pain, loss, and trauma of broken vows catch up with you – and those you love or loved.
If you are married and NOT facing infidelity right now, let me encourage you to do these things:
- Make the commitment to be faithful to your spouse no matter what. Without that strong commitment you certainly will not be successful.
- Guard your heart. You know when you are vulnerable. Don’t lie to yourself: take the necessary steps to protect your heart.
- Treasure God’s involvement in your marriage. With Him as your partner you CAN be successful for the long haul.
For those of you have experienced infidelity – either as the one who has been unfaithful, or the one who has been betrayed, you are not alone. Keep these things in mind:
- Do not let anyone else tell you whether you should leave the marriage, or stay. Some in Christian circles may try to convince you that staying is the only right thing. Some of your friends may try to convince you that you have to leave. This is a decision only YOU can make – and only after a great deal of thought, time, and prayer.
- Don’t take forgiveness lightly. Receiving forgiveness does not give you license to behave badly in the future. And giving forgiveness does not mean you must place yourself in a position to be hurt again. Forgiveness can only come through God’s grace, and is an important part of healing.
- Remember that not everything is under your control. For a marriage to work it takes a commitment from both husband and wife. You can work on your own heart, and you are responsible for your own behavior. But your spouse must also do the same. It takes TWO!
The heart is a fragile, precious thing. If yours has been broken, treat yourself with grace. God does! Something as valuable as your heart deserves to be protected, and only opened with care. God is the only One who can be trusted completely to never harm you. You can trust Him with your heart.
We talk about dealing with infidelity on the most recent Dr Carol Show. The full archive is available here.
Your Turn: What do you find necessary to do in order to guard your heart? If you’ve been hurt by infidelity, what has helped you get through it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.