When Your Husband Has an Affair
Discovering that her husband has had an affair is one of the most difficult news any wife has to face. The information can come in different ways. A husband may tell his wife he doesn’t love her anymore and is in a relationship with someone else. Maybe she finds out about it when checking bills, his cell phone or his emails. Sometimes she hears about it through people who have seen him together with the other woman in public, or sometimes she suspects it because he is cold and distant but he continually denies it.
God had a wonderful plan that marriage would be a beautiful experience of friendship, companionship and faithfulness. However, because of sin in our world even Christians fall into the temptation of being unfaithful in their marriage relationship.
Often before an affair happens there may be signs that all is not well in the marriage. It may be that there is a coldness in the relationship, a lack of intimacy, a growing apart and an increase in arguments and disagreements. This change in the relationship may lead to the affair or may be the result of the affair. If the relationship has deteriorated but the husband is not involved with another woman a wife can make a difference at this point by making an effort to show love to her husband, doing her part to rebuild the relationship and by opening the topic of conversation regarding their marriage and how it can be improved. Seeing a counsellor can be helpful if there seems to be a stalemate in the relationship and nothing seems to help. Looking to God for wisdom and help will always bring new life to a struggling marriage.
What does a wife do when she finds out about the affair? If her husband admits to the affair and is sorry about what happened they can embark on the journey of healing and rebuilding the marriage. It is important that he acknowledges that this is sin, that he repents of his actions and is ready to completely break off the relationship. He will have to be ready to answer many questions which will be a part of the healing process for his wife. She must be careful what she wants to know. Asking for many specific details may leave pictures and memories that will stick in her mind for years to come and make it difficult for her to get over the affair.
The healing or rebuilding journey will require a focus on open communication, understanding, forgiveness and rebuilding trust. Some of these aspects of the rebuilding process can take time and be difficult. It will require making a choice to forgive even if the feeling to forgive isn’t there. Rebuilding trust will take place one little step at a time. If God is a part of the relationship His forgiveness and His grace will be an important part of the healing process.
What if her husband admits to the affair but does not want to break off the relationship with the other woman? This puts his wife in a difficult position. Some may think, not saying anything, being patient and loving while hoping he will break it off, may bring him to that point. It will probably only give him freedom to continue. Being critical, judgmental and nagging him about it will cause him to withdraw even more and give him a desire to spend more time with the other woman since that is a safe and friendly place to be. Sometimes wives panic when they think of what this will mean for them and they turn to an approach of begging, pleading, holding on and even blaming themselves. These approaches rarely bring the desired results.
It becomes important for a wife in such a situation to confront her husband on this issue, but how she does it will make all the difference. This confrontation should only come after spending much time in prayer to make sure her attitude is right. An attitude of love and quiet confidence will gain the respect of her husband. Such an attitude can only come as she depends on the Lord for strength. She should also seek the help of a mature Christian to support her during this time. In confronting him she would give him the freedom to leave while showing him that this choice would mean losing his wife, home, family and reputation. Giving him an ultimatum forces him to make a decision resulting in major consequences.
A loving but tough confrontation not only will result in the wife respecting herself but will also cause her husband to respect her for how she is handling the situation. The confidence, inner strength and loving attitude that he will observe in his wife can reawaken the love and respect he once had for her thus making it more likely that it would put him on the path to return to her.
There is hope even when a husband has an affair. Hope comes in turning to the Lord. He is a God of second chances and can bring healing and restoration where there is repentance after an affair. Following God’s leading to offer forgiveness and letting His love fill that broken relationship can bring new life to a marriage. God gives strength and confidence when a wife faces the difficult task of confronting her husband. In Isaiah 30:15 we read,
God also convicts of sin and can make a husband feel empty and miserable as he continues in his unfaithfulness. Should a husband choose not to turn from his wayward ways, God promises to care for that wife as she trusts in Him. He will open new doors for her, give her wisdom to make the right decision, supply strength for every day and will be her companion in times of loneliness. Prayer brings God into every situation and when He comes He brings hope.
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