The Purpose of No Contact
Proverbs 5: 3-8
For the lips of an adulteress drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;
but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.
Now then, my sons, listen to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.
Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house
If you have had an affair, and the time to face up to it has arrived, you are faced with many choices. An affair is an imaginary life that exists in two worlds. You build a joyful relationship with another person, usually based upon some stretching of the facts – if not outright lies – about your present existence. And you live in your present world, with your family, spouse, and children. Where you are in your affair can no longer exist the way it was before your spouse found out about it. You have reached a crossroads. One choice you have is to leave your marriage. Another is to remain. Each choice brings up new challenges and choices. If you have chosen to stay with your spouse, you then must choose what kind of relationship you intend to have with them. Will you simply remain ‘because of the children’? Will you remain as a roommate? Are you willing to work at bringing your marriage back to life?
It is our opinion that remaining with your spouse must include bringing your marriage back to life. Not only is this an honoring of your original commitment to your spouse, but this is also the right way to bring up your children. It teaches them the proper way to commit to something. Your marriage is a commitment you made to a specific person, and your affair has been a breach of that contract, causing pain and sadness for your spouse and children. You have the oppostunity to demonstrate just what the word ‘committed’ means. This is not an easy step. Your decision to become unfaithful to your spouse has created an immense amount of damage and pain in your marriage. It has torn the original commitment to shreds, and you and your spouse must rebuild what you once had. The good news is that the end result could be far better than what you ever had in the first place.
This step involves committing to some painful and difficult decisions and processes. One of the steps is to end all contact with your lover, and the environment in which your affair evolved. This article is written to explain the concept of ‘No Contact.’ This choice must be immediate, absolute and permanent.
It must be immediate because your affair is causing continuous damage in your relationship with your spouse. An analogy might be if you are striking yourself on the hand with a hammer, the first thing to do is stop – don’t keep doing it. Don’t start doing it again. Contact with the other person in your affair is the hammer blows that are striking your marriage ‘hand.’ When your affair is first discovered, the pain can be almost insurmountable to your spouse. It can be fatal to the marriage. Regardless, in the mind of your betrayed spouse, there is still the love that you shared with one another. There is the hope that it can be regained. Your choice to immediately cut off contact with your lover is the first step toward this goal, and it can be of immense relief to your spouse. It demonstrates to your spouse that you are prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to rebuild your shared love.
However, if you do not cut off this contact immediately – that is, if you continue to find yourself in the arms of your lover, you are adding great amounts of damage to an already severely harmed relationship. Continuing the contact is the single greatest weapon that can be used to remove love deposits you have made in your spouse’s love bank. Keep it up, and your spouse will lose all the love they had for you. Your contact with your lover cannot taper off. No contact must be immediate because this is the first signal to your spouse that you are willing to work toward saving your relationship.
It must also be absolute. It cannot taper off. Every instance of contact you have with your lover, once your spouse has discovered your affair, empties their love bank at an increasingly fast rate. That love is not infinite - it will disappear completely. No contact must be absolute because even the slightest contact does immense harm. It passes several messages to your spouse. One important one is that you are not committed to the marriage. Another is that your spouse is not worth the effort of staying away from the arms of other people. You are telling your spouse that he or she takes second place to someone else. It is a subtle (and perhaps unconscious) revelation that you do not respect your spouse enough to think them worthy of your vow to ‘forsake all others.” To the degree you are willing to keep your word with someone – to that degree you reveal your respect for that person. Breaking the ‘no contact’ rule is a statement of disrespect that can truly hurt your spouse.
This ‘no contact’ must also be permanent. You cannot ever converse with, do lunch with, visit, drop a line to, or ‘check up’ on ever again. This is the first step toward returning to the commitment that you made. When you vowed ‘to forsake all others,’ when you married your spouse ‘for better or worse,’ you made a commitment to avoid the exact thing you have just been doing. Returning to your lover is an abandonment of your marriage each and every time you participate in it. How many times can you be unfaithful before your spouse will have had enough? Even the soggiest milquetoast will eventually give up.
Cutting off contact also means cutting off contact with relatives, friends and acquaintances of your lover. All of these people are the means of keeping a hidden connection to the thing that is destroying your marriage. It is a subtle ‘back-door’ means of staying in contact.
To the extent that you are willing to take these steps you reveal how committed to your marriage you really are. They reveal how much you respect your spouse. You are demonstrating to your spouse that you are willing to work at your relationship again. To the extent that you are NOT willing to take these steps, you reveal how little your spouse means to you. You are also causing inestimable amounts of damage, pain and sadness to your spouse, family, and real friends.
‘No contact’ is just that important.