I remember thinking that. “Is it worth it? Is my marriage worth working through all this pain and rebuilding our relationship?” Hit with the pain of betrayal, it was difficult to imagine a positive outcome. I knew it couldn’t stay the way it was; it would have to be a new thing, a new marriage.
That was 13 years ago. And today, wonder of wonders, I am celebrating my 36th wedding anniversary. Is it a perfect marriage? Absolutely not. Is it a better, healthier marriage? Absolutely! Taking the risk to see what would happen- what God could do with our commitment to try- has paid off. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.
If you are in a place where you don’t know if your marriage can be salvaged or if your heart can be healed, I don’t offer promises. I do want to offer an encouragement to try. You can do your part to allow healing to occur. Here are a few things you can do:
- Put off permanent decisions about the relationship long enough to allow you to think as clearly as possible, rather than reacting emotionally. There is nothing wrong with your emotional reaction, don’t get me wrong, but it is most likely not the time to make big decisions.
- Find supportive people who will encourage you and will pray with and for you. They are a life line.
- Find and regularly attend a group of others with similar experiences. A group is a healing community.
- Communicate to your spouse that you are taking time to watch and wait- to see if they truly choose recovery and put into practice necessary changes. These changes are not just changes in their sexual behavior, but are also changes in attitude, initiation of healing, and an ongoing increase in trustworthiness. These changes take time before they are visible in a consistent way.
- Focus on your own needs and growth. Times of crisis and pain are often the times of life where we evaluate….we evaluate where we are, where we want to be, how we’d like to grow or change. Take this opportunity to attend to your own needs.
- Turn your focus off of your spouse as your main source of safety and find a firm foundation in things that have not changed. This includes God, His love and promises, strong friends, and your own ability to make choices to affect your life in positive ways.
- Remember that you can only do your part. You cannot do his, nor can you make him change. Invite him to join you in believing restoration is possible.
- Work with a helper/counselor to determine what this new marriage needs to look like for you. What are your essentials? Under what conditions will you work toward forgiveness and reconciliation? Under what conditions will you work toward forgiveness but are unable to reconcile? These are not easy answers to find, but they are important.
- Pray. Pray for healing, for a glimpse of hope, for knowledge and wisdom, for compassion, and for courage. This is a journey that takes great courage.
My prayer for each of you is that God will enable you to walk in courage and enlighten you as to His hope for you. Allow Him to walk with you through this process as you consider for yourself, is it worth it?