IF YOU ARE trying to dig yourself out of the enormity of an affair, and now you desire to fight for your marriage, this article is for you.
But first things first. Can your marriage be saved? The answer is yes!
It is very possible to rebuild your marriage if you are willing to do the work. Experts in relationship breakdown indicate that your ability to save your marriage has less to do with the circumstances of the affair but the responses of both you and your husband towards the affair.
Marriages do not end because of the infidelity; they end because of how infidelity is dealt with. Psychology Today.
Caroline Madden, a marriage therapist, indicates that couples divorce after affairs because the betrayed spouse simply gives up trying when the cheating spouse continues to be shady, selfish and untrustworthy.
In a study, the highest divorce rate was among couples who had secret infidelity at 80%. In contrast in marriages where the affair did come to light, the divorce rate was 43%.
The study had further good news for couples who stayed together after an affair. Both infidelity and non-infidelity couples had similar levels of marital stability, and they were indistinguishable in their relationship satisfaction at the five-year mark.
So, you see, your affair is devastating but it is not necessarily disastrous for the long haul. Your marriage can rise from these ashes and thrive once again.
Take full responsibility for the affair
This seems obvious, but it is not. Many times, wives justify their affair by blaming their husband. ‘He was not meeting all my needs, so I turned to another man'. Here’s the truth; no matter what state your marriage was in when you cheated, you made the decision to be unfaithful.
You had other choices. There were certainly contributing factors in your decision to break your marriage vows. However, you must take full responsibility for your decision.
Do not justify your infidelity! Do not give excuses and flimsy reasons. Do not blame your husband for your actions!
Look your husband in the eye and sincerely apologize; without any Buts! Tell your husband that you will do whatever it takes to fix the situation and help him heal from the pain that you have caused him.
Server your relationship with the other man
The priority right now is to help your husband to recover, which may involve significant life changes. An affair with someone in your social groups means that you may have to change your friends; an affair at work may mean that you find another job.
The bottom line is, do whatever it takes to server all contacts with the third party.
Rebuild your husband’s trust
You must commit to live a transparent life in order to win your husband’s trust.
Prepare to be more open and honest than you have ever been. Your husband will want to know where you are and what you are doing, and obviously with who.
And you're going to have to deal with this until he trusts you again. You did major damage to the trust in your marriage and be willing to do whatever it takes to rebuild that trust:
- Be consistent
- Always be on time
- Do what you say will do
Answer all your husband’s questions
Your husband will want a lot of information: who, what, when, where, why, including the gory details. Your natural inclination will be to lessen the blow by withholding information. Unfortunately, the truth always comes out in time. Withholding information will destroy any hope of rebuilding trust.
According to Caroline Madden, a marriage therapist, earning back your husband’s trust calls for you to be upfront with him about the extent of the affair. Caroline indicates many spouses who have been cheated on leave the marriage not because of the affair, but because of the drip, drip, drip, of the truth.
Just when the spouse is getting used to the facts that have been revealed and is starting to adjust and trust again, more information surfaces. Be completely honest at the very beginning so that your husband can decide if he can forgive you with his eyes wide open.
Bear in mind that your husband’s life has been turned upside down and he needs all the information in order to make sense of it. It is not up to you but up to your husband to determine what he needs to know.
Why talking about it is important
Equally important in answering your husband’s questions is that you should be willing to keep answering them for as long as they need to ask. It is this willingness that demonstrates your commitment to the marriage.
Research by Dr. Peggy Vaughn revealed that couples are likely to save their marriage after infidelity when they thoroughly discuss the whole situation. Her study showed that:
- 55% of a couple who discussed the situation very little was still married
- 78% of couples who addressed the situation a good bit remained married
- 86% of couples who discussed the unfaithfulness a lot remained married.
Thus, the extent to which a couple discussed the affair was significantly associated with the likelihood of saving the marriage.
In addition, Dr. Vaughn’s research revealed that a couple is more likely to remain married when the cheating spouse answered their partner’s questions.
- 59% of those who refused to answer questions remained married.
- 81% of couples whose cheating partner responded to some of their questions remained married
- 86% of couples whose offending partners answered all their partner’s questions remained married
Thus, the extent to which the cheating spouse responded to questions was significantly associated with the degree of success in saving the marriage.
Patience! Patience! Patience!
Patience will be one of your greatest tools in getting through the process of rebuilding your marriage. Just because you feel that you have done all you could to deal with the situation, or think that you have dealt with it long and deeply enough does not mean your husband feels the same way.
Your husband is the one who was betrayed. It is unrealistic for you to decide when the affair should be a closed chapter. Efforts to move on will be futile until your husband feels that he has healed.
Recommit to your husband
Reiterate to your husband that you are all in and you are willing to do whatever it takes to fight for your relationship. Do not be in a hurry to move on. If you want to truly save your marriage, you and your husband should ask yourselves a few essential questions:
- How did you get here? In other words, what are the underlying reasons for the affair? Experts encourage that you both spend a lot of time pondering and reflecting on this question.
- What does your husband need to heal completely? (e.g., he may require that you seek professional counseling)
- What are you doing to ensure that another affair doesn’t happen? You need to learn how to establish boundaries in your other relationships because affairs are essentially boundary violations.
- If you move forward in this marriage what are you committing to? This might be the single most important question you can address as a couple as you move forward. An honest discussion of this question will enable you to reboot your relationship.
Experts say that recovery from infidelity is no different than any other serious life challenge. Contained within its experience are both pain and opportunity. Together with your husband, you can leverage this opportunity to rebuild a fantastic marriage.
You can birth a new marriage from the ashes and debris of the impending divorce and create a legacy of renewal.
Think of what an incredible experience to work through what could be defeat and come out on top. You will be stronger. Your marriage will be stronger, and your family would be stronger.
There is nothing like adversity to make a relationship stronger.
So if you have decided you want to keep your marriage together, it's time to get practical about it
Getting practical about saving your marriage
For instance, how will you deal with these situations…?
- How will you help your husband get over the pain of being cheated on?
- What will you tell the kids about the change in your relationship they have noticed?
- What will your daily routine look like if your husband says he wants some space and decides to move to another room or out of the house?
Although these questions are a little uncomfortable, they are something you need to think of
But you aren't the first person in this situation… and there are resources that can help you along the way
For more in-depth information and advice on repairing a marriage, I recommend watching this short video
It explains how you can save your marriage, even if you are the only one trying
If it feels like he wants to throw in the towel, then this video might be the most important video that you ever watch
If you have any questions or comments relating to this topic you can contact me here
Best of luck,