Statistics show that one in every four marriages is impacted by infidelity. With these results, it is safe to say that you or someone you know has encountered the traumatic experience of infidelity. Through my experience with working with couples, I’ve found that there are mixed feelings as to whether a marriage can truly be healed from the destructive effects of infidelity. One spouse explains the process this way, “I think it’s just swept under the rug. You never truly heal. We may forgive but never forget. You love that person so much that you are willing to do whatever it takes not to lose them, even sometimes if the infidelity continues.” Another spouse labeled it as a “trauma-filled experience”, and acknowledged the uncertainty of true healing. She explained it this way, “I can make myself get pissed like it just happened. Your trust is never back to 100%. I’ll always stay at 90%. My thing is, was it worth losing the 100%?”
Gary and Mona Shriver experienced the devastation that is caused by adultery and explains how they were able to heal in their book Unfaithful: Hope and Healing After Infidelity. They speak of their difficult journey to healing and eventually creating a marriage that is strong and mutually satisfying. It is often difficult to believe in true healing when you’re dealing with such pain, that at times, you feel incapacitated. The wounds are too deep. Emotionally, spiritually, physically, you are severely damaged. Healing that damage will take time.
There is no easy route to healing, and there is no step by step handbook suited for everyone. Each couple has different circumstances, and require a recovery process that is suitable for them. After the revelation, begins the process of commitment from both spouses. Committing to do everything in your power to heal your marriage. This will involve true repentance, which means active change. Remember that you will be rebuilding a different relationship, a better relationship. Gary and Mona Shriver talk about “never going back to the old habits that helped us make this trip.” Sacrificing your old “normal” to create a new normal will be a part of your journey towards healing.
-Kemba B. Mason