Tag Archives: cheating spouse

My Spouse Cheated and Isn’t Showing Any Remorse!

There-is-no-person-so​There is a pattern that we’ve noticed over the years, one that repeats itself with enough regularity that we believe it would be useful to address it. It is a regular problem in marriages that have suffered the agony of an affair, and one that, if not properly dealt with, causes more problems with recovery than almost any other. One way that it manifests itself in the refusal of the betrayed spouse to forgive. It is rooted in the ideas of forgiveness, in refusing to work on the marriage. It’s many offspring include blaming and the art of tit-for-tat. It usually ends with one or both spouses so full of resentment that the marriage fails.

A recent letter expresses this idea with some clarity, and so it will be used as an example. But this idea is quite common, any number of emails could be selected to show the problem. This particular letter is no more special, or troubling, than any other – it is simply a useful teaching example.

It is entirely possible that this letter is mostly a frustrated “rant”.

We live in a society where feelings are considered more important than facts or even the truth. When ranting, people say whatever their emotional state at the time leads them to say. This, the ranter believes, is ‘the truth’ – because this is what is felt at that particular moment. In a rant, people tend to say things they don’t really mean (we normally this call ‘lying’ – but we tend to gloss over it in the pursuit of what we believe will be cathartic.) When ranting, a person will say deliberately hurtful, mean-spirited, and often false things about their spouse. This should never occur, for such actions are the opposite of love. That is to say, this sort of behavior is hatred. We are to love our spouses. In fact, the Bible tells us to love even our enemies (Matt. 5: 43-48 and Luke 6:27-36).  In a rant things are often stated in a highly emotional way that would never be stated had the ‘ranter’ been thinking about their words rather than instinctively barking out what they ‘feel’.

This means that much of what is written MAY BE far from reality and most likely spoken in haste without forethought. Let us be clear, however, a rant is not a truly acceptable way to address any problem. It is childish, inefficient, and detrimental – especially if it garners any support from other people. At best, a rant should be ignored and the focus returned to the real problems and solutions.

Keep in mind that if something is true, it is so -regardless of how you feel. If you believe something you state in a rant is true – then it is also true regardless of the rant. Keep that in mind when you begin to berate your spouse in a rant. This is either telling everyone how you really view your spouse – or else how often you lie!

By saying what is written “MAY” be far from reality, what we mean is that this rant reveals an underlying problem with the marriage that quite likely brought about the eventuality of an affair in the first place. If this is more than a collection of falsehoods and exaggerations (a rant) then it is an overview of the entire marriage. Affairs rarely occur in a vacuum. It is clear that this marriage is in far more trouble than recovering from an affair. It is a marriage without love.

By love, we do not speak of some obscure emotion. At Affaircare, we do not use the word ‘love’ to mean an emotion at all. It is an ACTION. This marriage lacks this action – and may have for long before the affair.

One further caveat: an affair is usually a stupid, and thoughtless attempt to escape symptoms of a troubled marriage, or to avoid the problems of a troubled marriage altogether. At all times, it is a bad idea, it is the WRONG solution, and it causes more problems than it is trying to solve. When a spouse enters into an affair, what they are doing is wrong, stupid, and harmful. There is no moral excuse for an affair.

Now, let’s examine the letter:

“…I wish I could get the kind of remorse and frequent apologies and asking for forgiveness this article talks about, but none of the sort, we are in counseling and {my spouse] is working on the marriage, by letting me know where s/he is, what s/he is doing but the last time we spoke in therapy about asking for forgiveness it blew my mind:

My spouse did not know they were supposed to ask for forgiveness….”

Note first, the author of the letter states that their spouse “is working on the marriage”. Let’s keep that in mind! The Disloyal in this instance IS doing what is necessary. Maybe not on the timeline imposed by the author, but by their own admission, the Disloyal is doing the work. (Interestingly, the Loyal Spouse claims later that they are actively refusing to do their own part.)

The Loyal Spouse is ‘shocked’ to find that the Disloyal did not know they had to ask for forgiveness. The Loyal  gives no reason why this is shocking, and on top of that, gives no reasons why they think this may have occurred. The Disloyal doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt. Instead, the Loyal has boxed their Disloyal Spouse into an inescapable prison – they are actively arranging the outcome. We are not the spouse – but we can offer a couple of possible reasons! Maybe the Disloyal Spouse assumed that the need for forgiveness for a wrong they committed was so obvious it didn’t need to be asked (especially if they are working to fix the situation.) Perhaps the Disloyal made the mistake of thinking it was implied in the process of beginning to work on the marriage. Perhaps the Disloyal was afraid the Loyal Spouse wouldn’t forgive anyway, so why try? We could come up with many more examples.

Affaircare is a Christian coaching service, we base our replies on what we find in Scripture. So we will point out a couple of passages where people prayed for their enemies to be forgiven, even though their enemies not only did not ask for it – but were actively behaving in a way that brought about the need for forgiveness: Luke 23:34, and Acts 7:60.

The fact that the Loyal Spouse’s mind was ‘blown’ because the Disloyal didn’t know that they were required to actually vocalize the words is more of a revelation that the Loyal Spouse is unforgiving than that the Disloyal needs to make the request. The Loyal Spouse is refusing to forgive unless the Disloyal jumps through THEIR hoops – steps that the Loyal has obviously not vocalized! The Loyal will not forgive the Disloyal unless they somehow manage to perform the actions the Loyal imagines they have to undertake. However – what is good for the goose is good for the gander! If the Loyal expects their spouse to say things out loud, then they ALSO need to say things. Out loud. The Disloyal Spouse’s mind may be blown that their Loyal Spouse needs such actions.

They also may learn things about one another!

The Loyal Spouse continues:

“…No remorse, no emotional breakdown, no guilt– nothing, [my Disloyal Spouse] says they feel numb, They weren’t numb when they were with married asshole who pretended to be my friend and hugged our children in front of their own spouse…”

It’s interesting that the Loyal brings up the need for their Disloyal Spouse to ‘break down’. This assumes a personality trait that not all people share. The Thinkers among us rarely have emotional breakdowns. No clue is given here as to what the Disloyal Spouse’s personality type may be – are they more emotionally oriented? or more of a Thinker? Understanding that aspect may well give a clue as to why this Disloyal Spouse is not acting the way the Loyal demands.

Yet – as the Loyal Spouse writes: the Disloyal IS ‘working on the marriage’! And, as is pointed out, THE LOYAL SPOUSE IS NOT.

The Loyal claims that there is “no guilt–nothing”. We must assume the Loyal Spouse
means that their Disloyal is not ‘acting’ like he or she ‘feels’ guilty. This is an error many people make! Guilt has nothing to do with feelings. A person IS guilty if they have committed some wrong. How each person acts when this is realized varies from person to person. The Loyal claims the Disloyal is ‘working on the marriage’ – which means that the Disloyal has already accepted the guilt – and is doing something about it. Perhaps the Loyal would rather if their spouse made no steps toward working on the marriage and instead sat on the couch weeping while the Loyal relieved their frustrations saying mean things – or worse!

The Loyal Spouse claims the Disloyal shows no remorse. This may well be – but that does not mean they don’t feel remorse – nor regret. In fact, by definition, a person who is remorseful takes steps to rectify the situation. They ‘repent’ – that is, they take steps to change their lives for the better. As the author wrote in the first paragraph: the Disloyal Spouse is working on the marriage.

We think it is safe to say that what the author means by ‘no remorse’ is actually ‘no regret.’ The definition of ‘regret’ is “a feeling of sadness or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.” Their spouse does not appear to feel sad – and from this the author assumes that that Disloyal is not sorry – nor wanting to change. But above all, it simply points out that the author is assigning a fantasy set of standards to which they hold the spouse – which, because they are imaginary – are most likely not possible to attain.

Which is why the Loyal Spouse writes the next line; this is the crux of the entire letter, and the story of their marriage. It is the most revealing, detrimentally destructive highlight of the letter:

“…My anger and resentment grow each day, I say nothing,… [my Disloyal spouse] thinks that everything is going to be OK and that time is going to take care of this, it will not…”

Note the Loyal Spouse’s claim of omniscience (knowing the future) and declaration of reality: things WILL NOT WORK OUT. Since the Loyal cannot know the future, the only possible way they can say ‘it will not’ is if they have already determined that the marriage is over. Since the Loyal has already determined this, they have cancelled out any work their spouse may do for the marriage. It reveals a person who has no intention of remaining married and is instead dragging their spouse through a pointless succession of tasks. At the end of each task, they can declare it failed, and the Disloyal will need to do something else. Of course this cannot go on indefinitely: at some point the Disloyal Spouse will give up. But in the meantime, the Loyal Spouse will have had the pleasure of seeing them squirm and beg. For nothing. And in the end – the Loyal may well force the Disloyal to leave the marriage – which will then mean that they can claim the divorce ‘wasn’t their fault!’ God sees all things, though!

Since the Loyal Spouse has publicly declared that this WILL NOT WORK OUT, they need to be true to their word, or else be revealed as a liar, and untrustworthy themselves. In other words, if this is over, end it–do not lead the Disloyal Spouse on and give false hope.  Or, as the Bible declares: “let your yes be yes and your no be no.” (Matt 5:37 and James 5:12)  Moreover, since the Loyal Spouse’s declaration is public, they have made a statement in front of witnesses: “… Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth…” Deut. 23:23 (the founding verse of Affaircare)!

Keep in mind that the Bible specifically tells us not to ‘let the sun go down on our anger’ (Eph. 4:26). It means that we must work toward solving the problem immediately – and that involves direct, verbal communication, using the skill of active listening, with the intention of ending the dispute in a loving, God-honoring fashion. No matter how big the problem, the Bible offers solutions, and God promises healing. The Loyal Spouse can not cling to their anger and must actively work to resolve the anger.

“…How can you trust someone who has no remorse, no empathy, no compassion for the hurt they have caused? You can’t, and living with someone you can’t trust sucks in the worse possible way…”

Indeed it does, and living with someone who refuses to work on the marriage (and refuses to forgive, with no remorse for such an action) – also “sucks in the worse possible way.” See Luke 6:42. We have covered the idea of trust elsewhere on our site (for example, HERE), and anyone interested can easily search and find what we have to say on that issue. But note:  searching would be part of the work one must do on the marriage. For someone who has declared that they will not work on the marriage, there isn’t any point to reading up on it.

“…I am doing things for myself now, back to my activities friends and [hobbies], my Disloyal can join or not their choice, I have stopped “working” on this, it was their fuck up, it’s their job to fix it, I am done trying to make things into something they are not…”

Here is a very revealing sentence: “…I am done trying to make things into something they are not…”

Any marriage that goes through the agony of an affair never returns (with any success) to the way things were. Instead, it MUST become something that ‘it was not.’ It is unfortunate that the author of this letter will have nothing to do with this. By declaring that they have stopped ‘working’ on the marriage the Loyal has declared the marriage over.

The affair was a very stupid and destructive choice – but that is not the primary problem. Almost no affair happens in a vacuum. There is almost ALWAYS a prior set of problems that existed before the affair. The affair was a stupid, thoughtless attempt to either fix or escape those problems. And the attitude of the author of this letter reveals a lot more about the marriage than they  would like to admit. The author’s treatment of their spouse creates an environment where an affair is more likely. With this kind of treatment, it is easy to see why this Disloyal Spouse may have blundered into the arms of an unscrupulous pursuer.

Since the Loyal has stopped working on the marriage (the use of quotes around the word working is revealing in itself) – and since the Loyal has declared that it CANNOT work out – our advice is to cut it off NOW and stop trying to punish the Disloyal for their sin. “…Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord…” (Romans 12: 18-20). This Loyal does not love their spouse. “…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Eph. 5:25) and as such, is just as guilty as their Disloyal Spouse is of destroying their marriage. Admit it, repent, go and sin no more.

“…[My Disloyal] needs to make me fall in love with them again or it is time to pack my bags and enjoy life, it is way too short to be miserable, my kids deserve a better example than that….”

The author’s spouse did not “MAKE” them fall ‘in love’ in the first place. They CHOSE to love their spouse; they CHOSE to feel affection, pride, admiration, and a host of other emotions regarding them. Making any other person responsible for their own emotions and actions is just as destructive as any affair. The Disloyal Spouse will fail at some point, and the Loyal will be right back on the throne demanding reparation and dictating punishment.

“… it is time to pack my bags and enjoy life, it is way too short to be miserable, my kids deserve a better example than that….”

It is time to pack your bags because you declared that this WILL NOT WORK OUT. DO IT NOW. Do not abuse your spouse and children any longer. You have that moral option whenever there is an affair – with one caveat: once you commit to working on the marriage, you no longer have that option. You have recommitted and are bound by that promise as surely as you are to your initial marriage commitment.

As for ‘life being too short’ – placing your need to feel comfortable and happy over the word you give to another reveals that your promise was a lie in the first place: your commitment is NOT to the marriage – it is to YOUR HAPPINESS. Such a person cannot be trusted to be there ‘for better or for worse’. And, as the author stated: “…living with someone you can’t trust sucks in the worse possible way…”

As for “my kids deserve a better example” – we have to question the sanity of this statement. The author’s Disloyal Spouse is – by their own admission – ‘working on the marriage.’ What BETTER example can be given than working to repair a problem? Is running away, hating, refusing to forgive, and chasing after happiness in ANY WAY a BETTER example?

In close: a marriage is a partnership encased in commitment, fortified by repentance and growth as a Christian. It requires diligent work from both partners, working together to go the same direction. Picture trying to push a stalled automobile: if one of you takes the front end and pushed, while the other takes the rear end and pushes, nothing happens. Get together and work from the same side!

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Ask Affaircare: I love the Lord but this time I have proof!

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


Our email question today comes from a devastated wife, who writes:

I just heard a message from another married woman specifically meant for my spouse’s ears only telling him how much she enjoyed their <intimate moment>. I told him that because of his infidelity that I am divorcing him. He has had continual affairs in our 30+ years of marriage. Never did I get any form of confirmation; but this time I have proof. I really despise the thought of my husband sleeping with other women and with me too. He’s the only one that I have ever had sex with. It hurts so bad knowing that he’s <putting my health in harm’s way> by sleeping with me and others at the same time.
I love the LORD and I want to do his will.
PLEASE HELP ME!

Dear Devastated Wife,

I am so sorry that we are meeting under circumstances like this.  A marriage of 30+ years is a long time and I’m sure you have been through the “better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness and health” that life over 30+ years gives.  Please do know that you are in our prayers.  Discovering an affair is so painful, and after such a long marriage, I’m sure it’s even worse.

So in your email you pretty much cry out for us to help you, and you do let us know that you love the Lord.  Devastated wife, I want to remind you that we can maybe give you some tips and suggestions, but that your HOPE is in the LORD… not in us.  HE can save you.  All we do is point you to Him.

So what does the Lord say in instances like this?  Well we know that God considers marriage a covenant and He takes covenants VERY seriously.  The bible verse we use here at Affaircare as our foundation verse addresses covenants: “You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised.”  ~Deuteronomy 23:23.  And we’ve all heard that famous verse about God hating divorce (Malachi 2:16) but listen to the whole paragraph that verse is in!  It’s all about breaking covenant through divorce–listen to Malachi 2:10-16:

Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?  …  Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.  You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the Lord Almighty.  So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

So I think we can agree that God does take the marriage covenant very seriously, even if we do not.  And He HATES IT when one of the marriage partners is unfaithful and does violence to the ones s/he should protect!  WOW!

God’s purpose for marriage is to mirror His relationship with us, for spouses to complete each other and offer companionship (Gen. 2:18), and to create a godly legacy (Deut. 6:6)…a place where children could grow up to learn values, character and integrity.  Since we are sinners, we pervert EVERYTHING, and we perverted marriage too.  Rather than our relationships with each other mirroring His perfect love for His Bride (us), our relationships are broken and we are not intimately known by our spouses and instead we desire others.  Rather than our marriages completing each other and offering companionship, our marriages are broken and we hide ourselves from each other and choose spouses based on “what’s in it for me?”  Rather than creating a godly legacy, our families are broken and our children see us living with self-centered values, no morals, and dishonesty.  Clearly we are not meeting God’s purpose for marriage!

It would be nice if we could just end this blog right here and say “There is no reason for divorce ever. Husbands are to love their wives–Wives are to respect their husbands” The End.  Wouldn’t it?  But in real life husbands are sometimes unloving, and wives are disrespectful.  In Matthew 19, Jesus was asked about this and here’s what He said (Matthew 19:1-8):

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They (the Pharisses) asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he (Jesus) replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they (the Pharissees) asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

What can we learn from this passage?  To make it easier to understand, I made the Pharisees’ comments blue, and I made Jesus’ answers red.  The Pharisees were asking Jesus if a married man could divorce his wife for “any and every reason.”  In other words, “He’s having a cranky day and she’s not pleasing him–can he divorce her?  She’s talking back. She lost her looks. She’s critical. Can he divorce her over that?”  What did Jesus say?  He says that the Creator put them together and intended for them to become ONE (very intimate with each other physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually)…so how can you separate what God has put together?  But then the Pharisees asked a pretty good question! They said “Well why did Moses tell us we could get divorced then?”  And look at Jesus’ reply!! He says that Moses PERMITTED (not demanded, not commanded, not required) divorce because the people’s HEARTS WERE HARD!  In other words, Moses “allowed” it because the people were sinful and determined to do what displeased God!!  And then Jesus really makes it clear: “Anyone who divorces EXCEPT FOR SEXUAL IMMORALITY commits adultery.”

So from this passage we can see that if you divorce because your spouse didn’t make you happy–you are committing adultery.  If you divorce because “the two of you grew apart” that’s infidelity.  If you divorce because “sometimes mommies and daddies just stop loving each other” you are unfaithful.  But look closely: the one and only righteous exception is divorcing due to sexual immorality.  Now it does not say that if your spouse is sexually immoral that you MUST divorce them, but rather that you are permitted.  It is allowed.  Make sense?

Further, let’s look at what the Apostle Paul says.  In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t look at just one verse, but rather at the whole paragraph surrounding a verse to make sure to get context.  Okay let’s look at I Corinthians 7: 10-16 (really you could start at verse 1):

“To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.  To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

What can we learn from this passage?  Well, do you know of a couple where one lives in “the city” and the other lives somewhere else, and they are perpetually separated and live as if they are single–dating and sleeping with anyone?  Paul makes it pretty clear that married people are not supposed to separate, unless it’s for a short time of prayer and spiritual growth, and then we are to come back together and be reconciled!  He also makes it clear that a husband isn’t supposed to destroy his marriage and family by divorcing his wife!  Then he goes into this question: “Well what if my spouse isn’t a Christian?” and he says if the non-believer wants to stay married–coolness show them God’s love through witnessing how you live!  But if the non-believer wants to divorce, what does the Apostle Paul say?  “Let it be so. The Christian brother or sister is not bound in that circumstance; God calls us to live in peace.”

So there are two instances where a divorce is “allowed” but not required: sexual immorality and if your spouse is a non-believer and wants to leave.

Now Devastated wife, you have mentioned that YOU love the Lord and want to do His will, but you do not mention if your husband claims to be a Christian, if he says he loves the Lord, or if he wants to do God’s will. I would posit that if your husband has committed adultery multiple times, it doesn’t seem like he is  repentant or acting in a way that is pleasing to God.  So if your husband IS a Christian and you are convinced that he is depending upon Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of his sin, then the first thing you would have to do is to encourage your brother in Christ to do the right thing and stop the adultery. If he has hardened his heart and will not stop doing what he knows is sin, you can use Matthew 18:15-17 for instructions on how to proceed.   We also have two resources for you: the Affaircare “Just Found Out” page and our article “Seven Steps You Can Take to End an Affair.”  You’ve already done Step 1 (Gather Evidence) and you already have proof…so start on Step 2, which matches with the verses in Matthew 18.

If you are considering divorce, I suggest that you seek God, pray about it, and take your time reaching your decision. Read God’s word and be sure to look for what GOD wants and not what you want.  I pray that my reply here has been a blessing to you.

Steps to End an Affair: Consequences – Legal Separation [Podcast]

You’ve found evidence that proves there is an affair. You’ve confronted your spouse, disclosed it to a trusted mentor, and exposed the affair. You’ve dangled the tempting carrot and applied the stick….NOW what should you do?

Today we are finishing the Steps to End an Affair portion of our Basic Concepts. There are specific steps you can take if you have reason to believe your spouse may be unfaithful. There is no guarantee your marriage will recover, but these steps will give you the best opportunity to recover after the affair ends.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmDMmbU5TJg&feature=youtu.be]

In today’s episode we discuss the Consequences Phase and the last option: Legal Separation. Use the Sample Consequences Letters that you can find here: https://affaircare.com/articles/sample-consequences-letters/ and end all contact with your disloyal spouse as long as they continue their affair. Let them have a good taste of what the cost of divorce will be and what it will be like to not have you in their life. Also, don’t give them the opportunity to blame you for their own choices and thus deflect responsibility. If they STILL harden their heart and will not end the affair, the best you can do is protect the marital assets and the marital home legally and try to wait it out. Make sure that a court of law enforces things like supporting the children and visitation and custody so that you are not “the bad guy.” There’s still hope, and time is on your side if you can be patient.

Our new program, “90 Days to Save Your Marriage and Save You” will teach you and how your spouse how to recover after infidelity. To introduce our new program, I’m reviewing our Basic Concepts all month!

 

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/Consequences-LegalSeparation.mp4]

Steps to End an Affair: Carrot and Stick [Podcast]

You’ve found evidence that proves there is an affair. You’ve confronted your spouse, disclosed it to a trusted mentor, and exposed the affair… NOW what should you do?

Today we are continuing the new portion of our Basic Concepts: Steps to End an Affair. There are specific steps you can take if you have reason to believe your spouse may be unfaithful. There is no guarantee your marriage will recover, but these steps will give you the best opportunity to recover after the affair ends.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HJm5GYxexA&feature=youtu.be]

In today’s episode we discuss the Carrot and Stick Phase. Using Matt. 7:1-5 and II Tim 3:16 as our biblical foundations, we suggest that the loyal spouse establish a period of time during which they dangle ‘The Carrot’ of looking at the log in their own eye and working on themselves. Stop doing Love Extinguishers and start doing Love Kindlers to demonstrate you are the MORAL alternative to the affair partner. At the same time, during this established period of time, the loyal spouse would also apply ‘The Stick’ of stepping out of the way and allowing the disloyal spouse to experience the NATURAL consequences of their choice to continue committing adultery. It’s not our job to punish, but it is our job to step out of God’s way and stop covering up and enabling the affair.

Our new program, “90 Days to Save Your Marriage and Save You” will teach you and how your spouse how to recover after infidelity. To introduce our new program, I’m reviewing our Basic Concepts all month!

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/Carrot-and-Stick.mp4]

Before you cheat… 14 things you need to know.

This article is so good, I am reblogging it here, word for word.  The original author is Rod Arters, and his blog is “The Official blog of Rod Arters.”  Catchy name, hey?  😀   So enjoy–here it is exactly as written:
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It seems that every 3 months or so we learn of another celebrity caught cheating on his or her spouse.  To say adultery is an epidemic in our current culture is an understatement.  And it doesn’t seem to be a respecter of position.  Regardless of what we do for a living, (Politicians, Pastors, teachers, athletes, actors, musicians, etc) cheaters are in our midst.   It seems to be so prevalent today that the question isn’t who is cheating but rather – who isn’t?

Too many treat their most important relationships casually and their commitments to them as optional.  Our microwave society mentality (quick and easy) has infiltrated our most sacred institution, marriage.  Many cheaters try to justify their reasons for infidelity.  To a cheater, their reasons make sense.  Perfect sense.  To those who have never strayed they just don’t understand why.

Our thirst for affairs has become so accepted and normal in our culture that most shows on television mention an infidelity reference somewhere throughout the episode.  Not to be outdone, we even have a reality show (called Cheaters) that is designed to reveal an indiscretion and exploit the humiliation on national television.  Honestly, I’m not sure which is worse – the immoral action of the cheater or the people who produce the show.  The fact that the series is in its 12th season is an indictment against us.  I’m not sure which is more devastating – discovering your lover’s unfaithfulness or discovering the crushing news at the same time as the train-wreck watching public.   We live in a very sad day and age.

I have seen first-hand the destruction of adultery.  Cheating devastates relationships and shatters dreams.  If you have entertained the idea of cheating on your spouse or significant other, let this serve as your official warning.   Your handsome boss, cute office secretary or sultry neighbor down the street comes with a price tag that you cannot afford.   Before you cheat here are 14 things you really need to know.

  1. You will become a liar.   It’s bad enough to bear the title of “Cheater,” but if you cheat, you will also wear the hat of “Liar.”   Cheating cannot occur without deceit on some level and normally the white lies in the beginning become full-fledged lies at the end.  “I’m working late at the office tonight” may be a half-truth but you’ll need to redefine the word “working” to silence your compromised conscience.  Cheating and lying go hand in hand.  (For more about the lies that cheaters tell, click here.)
  2. You will get caught.  It may not be today.  It may not be tomorrow.  But eventually, your affair will come to light.   Your world will come crashing down on you.  If you are fortunate, the story of your indiscretion may avoid the evening news or the front page of your local paper, but your circle of friends will know your deeds.  And everyone likes to share juicy news.  Your poor decision will become as public as a billboard.  It’s not a matter of if but when.  As Pastor Rick Warren tweeted recently, “If the Director of the CIA can’t hide and cover up an affair, no one can.”  As the Chinese proverb goes, “If you don’t want anyone to know it, don’t do it.”
  3. You will disappoint everyone.   Everyone.  Your spouse.  Your friends.  Your co-workers.   Your God.  Your parents.   Your nephew.  Your children.  Yourself.  The disappointment you cause will be like the stench of skunks and it will take a long time to remove the smell.
  4. You will be a bad example.   Everyone is either a good example or a bad example in all things that we do.  Cheating is a not only a very bad example in relationships but brings with it a cloud of doubt that hovers over you in other areas of your life.  If you cheated in one area, would you cheat in another?  Cheating communicates to everyone that you took the easy road.   It tells others that you were willing to cut corners in your most primary relationship.  It reveals that you were not willing to do the hard work and get the help you needed.  No one ever admires a cheater.  No one looks up to an adulterer.  Even if you did a lifetime of good, this one bad deed can erase it all.
  5. You will lose your moral authority.  It’s hard to tell your children (or others) to do the right thing when they know you didn’t.  Saying “Do as I say, not as I do” is the fastest way to lose the respect of others.  Not only will you lose their respect, you’ll lose yours.  Every moral judgment you make in the future will be weighed against your adulterous action of the past.   It doesn’t mean you can’t speak the truth in the future, it just means that few will listen to you.
  6. You will create trust issues for your spouse.  Forever.  You will single-handedly damage the precious self-esteem of the one you promised to love.  Every relationship they have after you will be one that they struggle to trust.  If that were not enough, you will rock the world of children and cause them to question the stability of every meaningful relationship they have.   For children, their parents relationship is their anchor and cheating cuts the line.
  7. You will lose your standard of living.  Depending on what you do for a living, you may lose your job.  Many lose their home.  Most end up with enormous court fees since cheating is usually the precursor to divorce.  Betrayed spouses have a way of making you pay and that payment is always expensive.  Every check you write is a constant reminder of your foolishness.
  8. You will spend years trying to rebuild your life.   Literally years.   Even if you somehow weathered the storm financially, you will find it takes years for you to recover emotionally.  It takes years for you to restore certain friendships, if you even do.  It takes years for you to rebuild your character.  It takes years to rebuild trust.  It takes years to truly forgive yourself.
  9. You will lose relationships.   You will lose a LOT of relationships.  Lifelong friends will walk away.  Close friends that you have helped countless times will not be around to help you.  Even some family members who are supposed to love you no matter what will vanish.   A cheater can end up living a very lonely life.  It’s hard for many people who used to call you friend to get past that skunk smell of disappointment.
  10. You will increase your chances of getting an STD.   Sexually transmitted diseases run rampant among promiscuous people.   But your paramour is “clean,” right?   After all, they told you so.  And if there is one thing we all know – we can trust a cheater and their word.  As the saying goes, “There is honor among thieves.”   One helpful thought may be to assume that everyone but your spouse has an STD.  That should curb your appetite for destruction.
  11. The grass is not greener on the other side.   The “grass is greener” idea is a common misconception.  Because we have never been on that grass, we assume it must be better than where we currently stand.  It’s not.  In fact, though it may look greener from a distance – once you get there and make yourself comfortable, something interesting happens – the grass changes color.  This usually happens soon after you get caught.  You will then see that patch of land differently.  You will also have a strange desire for the green grass you left… except now it is burned and won’t let you back.   The best way to enjoy green grass is to water your own yard.
  12. Would you want this done to you?   Thieves like to steal wallets but hate when it’s done to them.  If we all lived by the Golden Rule (“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”) most of life’s problems would be solved overnight.   Think about this action as if it were being done to you.  The problem is that it requires thought and thinking is often the last thing a cheater has on his/her mind.
  13. You will eventually regret this decision.  In the heat of the moment, cheating appears to make sense.  It feels good and sometimes even feels right.  Feelings are deceitful.  Soon afterward, your eyes will be opened and you will regret that you ever partook of the forbidden fruit.   Don’t we all have enough regrets in our lives?   Why add another one – particularly one that can only destroy everything you have worked so hard to build?  Your home may not be perfect but it sure beats living in a tent.
  14. The pain outweighs the gain.  No one ever says from their deathbed, I wish I would have had an affair.  No one ever leaves their lawyer’s office with a smile on their face – grateful for the experience.  No one loses dear friends and is glad they have one less Christmas card to receive this year.   The loss is immeasurable.  The pain can be unbearable.   Entire kingdoms can be lost for a few minutes of pleasure.  It is just not worth it.

In November 2008, I looked in the mirror and did not like what I saw.  I did not like who I had become.  I was finally at the point where I was willing to admit the dark side of my soul.   The Dark Knight within me had risen indeed.  Days later, I confessed to my wife, children and church that I had been unfaithful during my marriage.  Needless to say, it was the most difficult series of conversations I have ever had in my life.  There is no pain like watching people you love sob in tears because of your selfish actions.  Within one year, I had lost everything dear and precious to me.

The 14 points above come from an extremely painful personal experience.  I know what it’s like to fall and not be able to get up.  Over the last four years, I have had to learn how to tear down my emotional walls – walls that assisted me in getting in trouble in the first place.  I have come to understand the problem with pedastals, especially in the church, and have wrestled with the mechanics of forgiveness, even forgiving me.  As difficult as it is, I now embrace my past and appreciate the many regrets.  They have become precious to me.  As a result of my actions, I have accumulated many scars and now try to learn from each and everyone of them.  I have hit “rock bottom” and realized something amazing in the process.  God is still here, even if others are not.

That’s my story.  Chapters are still being written.  It’s not easy to share but it’s mine nonetheless and I finally accept it as part of HIStory.  As I read the Bible with a humble set of eyes these days, I see that the Book is filled with great men and women who have fallen in some pretty huge ways.  God picks them up and uses them in spite of their past.   I’ve come to learn that we all fall, just in different ways.

If I can help any of you get up from a fall, let me know.  I’m merely one beggar telling other beggars where to find Bread.