Posted by: Derek Guyer | November 11, 2008

After the Affair


The after-effects of an affair are horrific. The decisions made to abandon your vows, break your spouse’s trust, lie, and cheat are reckless, careless, and selfish in every way. The consequences are horrific for everyone involved, but most especially when you’re on the receiving end of those blows.

The husband or wife who chooses to cheat can’t understand the significance of their choice or the ramifications of it. There is no way for them to understand the weight of their sins nor how many times over it will hurt their spouse, their children, or anyone else who is impacted by it. They’re ignorant and frankly, foolish. Unfortunately, their ignorance and foolishness cause far more damage than you might imagine.

When Lisa came and told me about the affair, I was shocked, horrified, and humiliated. For weeks, I felt sick. But, that wasn’t the worst of it. Lisa was lost in her own world of selfishness. She couldn’t even begin to understand how it was affecting my thoughts. She didn’t understand the significant impact her negligence and heartlessness were causing for me and those around us. All she could see was that she was “happy”. In fact, she constantly talked about how nobody else cared about her happiness. She couldn’t have been further from the truth. What all of us wanted for Lisa was real and lasting happiness, something she was missing.

When you’re lying, cheating, and hiding from all of the consequences you’ve created, it’s impossible to make any kind of lasting happiness. The lies and deceit produce tremendous amounts of pain that go far beyond your immediate personal experiences. While you, as a cheater, may not feel the consequences of them now, your spouse and children will.

Your spouse will wonder about every phone call, email, text message, every late night at the office. There will be no easy sleep for them for months and maybe even years. Every time your eyes wander around the room, they’ll wonder who you’re looking at and why. They’ll always wonder how they might have messed it up and why they weren’t good enough.

If you have children, they’ll know something is wrong. Tension builds when you’re lying and covering up the truth. Something doesn’t feel right, and everyone can see it. Your children can sense that uncomfortable tension and will respond accordingly. The attention you’re giving away to someone else will undoubtedly affect the time you spend with your children and their behavior.

Adulterers focus on themselves. They’re consumed with “me”. In the hype of their sin, they stop seeing others’ needs and begin neglecting them. The excitement of the other person’s touch, words, and sinful appeal outweigh all reason.

About three weeks after Lisa told me about the affair, we sat in a counseling session where she was visually frustrated. The counselor looked at her and asked “What’s wrong?”. She said, “Honestly, I just wish he’d get over it. I wish he’d quit acting like he’s still hurting. Why can’t he just get over it?”. Seriously, three weeks after her affair, the loss of our home, and the twins we were adopting, she wanted me to just “get over it”. She was so steeped in her sin that it was unimaginable that I was still hurting.

If you’re in the position of cheating right now, you have a single focus. You want to be pleased in some shape or form. You want to feel a certain way, whether that’s loved, special, or even powerful. Your ability to see other peoples’ pain and sorrow is skewed because your longing for those things is so out of control. I’m telling you now that the damage you’re doing is irreversible. Stop it now. Stop further damage, and deal with your sin.

If you’ve cheated in the past and moved past the affair and are trying to heal your marriage and home now, be patient. The road to recovery is long and hard. As I said before, your spouse will be up and down over and over again. They will need you to remain penitent and encouraging through the entire process for the healing to be effective and maximized. Your humility will do tremendous amounts of good for your spouse’s healing.

If you’ve been cheated on, don’t lose heart. The pain is awful and very few will ever understand what you’re going through. Find your peace in Jesus. He knows what it’s like to love someone perfectly. As well, he knows what it’s like to be betrayed by those same people. He is acquainted with all of our weaknesses and has humbled Himself through all of it.

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 
 Who, being in very nature God, 
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 
 but made himself nothing, 
      taking the very nature
 of a servant, 
      being made in human likeness. 
 And being found in appearance as a man, 
      he humbled himself 
      and became obedient to death— 
         even death on a cross! 
 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place 
      and gave him the name that is above every name, 
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 
 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
      to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)

If you’ve been cheated, offended, and suffered for your spouse’s sins, remember you’ve done the same thing to Jesus. It was for your sins Jesus suffered and died. Humble yourself, as Jesus did. Take the form of a servant and as he heals you, help show your spouse the same love you’ve been shown.

The pain you feel after an affair is beyond words, but if you’ll take that same attitude as Jesus had, the healing will come.


Responses

  1. As I was reading this all I could think about was how the fast pace we live in today has contributed to the problem. We get so busy all going in different directions that we forget to slow down and see what’s in front of us. We’re so busy looking elsewhere for approval, for validation, security or for someone to fill that need that we haven’t figured out yet. And all the time the answer to all those needs is right beside us. We also get so busy trying to help everyone else that has problems in their life that we are missing the fact that we have problems right at home. We forget to tell each other how we feel and what we need and then get mad when they haven’t figured it out on their own. COMMUNICATE!!! We really need to start at home and that will reach out and affect others more than anything else we can do for them. It will encourage others and think of the example it will be to our children and grandchildren.

  2. […] a few days or hours and then bring me right back down there. I remember specifically, towards the very beginning of finding out about the affair, that I couldn’t even get a job. I walked into an interview and the woman interviewing me […]


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