It wasn't burning; it was incinerated.
That's what I want to do with the memory of my affair.
I don't want to merely move past my wicked actions -- I want to utterly destroy them. If there was any price I could pay to right my wrongs, I'd pay it, but this is a debt I can't afford. How can anyone who has stumbled so profoundly overcome their past? Maybe we can't erase our mistakes, but we can certainly respond with urgency to the wounds we've caused. No one can truly take back their own deeds, but we can work endlessly to undo their unjust repercussions.
Over the past few years, Hannah and I have talked to a lot of couples who have struggled with the cumbersome weight of infidelity, and each marriage handles it differently. One thing's for sure -- many couples don't survive this. I don't mean this as a condemnation, it's simply a statement of statistical fact. I believe that couples can overcome this tragedy, but it's a matter of how. Those who survive the initial trauma of an affair often lose traction in the following months and years. There must be a better way to move forward.
There's more to recovery than staying together. Once you withstand the initial fallout that comes with an affair, there is a great deal of work to be done, especially for the one who strayed. For the transgressor, this means toiling tirelessly to help heal the wounds you've created. Every person who cheats has a choice to either act with urgency or fall into stagnation. How a person responds to their affair can make all the difference in the journey to recovery.
Step back for a moment and take an earnest look at your past. What have you done to radically combat your mistakes? There's more that can be done. Do not settle for a life of silent, married misery. If your former lover is in your life, sever them from it completely. If your spouse feels disgusting and ugly because of your wayward affections, tell them that you adore them every. single. day. until they believe it. Examine the issue and torch it. Do not settle for hanging by a thread.
If your spouse has agreed to stay, do not stop in your efforts to make things right. Your spouse's grace is not the end -- you can do so much more. Honor the mercy of your partner by tearing down the idols and monuments that your affair has constructed.
For me, part of incinerating my affair is this blog. Through this website, Hannah and I get to make an effigy of my affair. Unfaithfulness was supposed to conquer us, but instead, we are using it to heal and encourage countless people. We are taking our trauma and turning it into a weapon instead. It's beautiful and ironic. If you are the victim of infidelity, evaluate the state of your marriage and honestly tell your spouse what you need. More quality time? Alright. Do you need them to change jobs because the affair started there? That's a reasonable price to pay. Tell them what you need, as difficult and painful as it may be.
Finally, if you are the transgressor, examine your actions, your inner self, and your marriage. Discover the places where your affair still stands tall, and find a way to burn it to the ground. As long as your spouse is still around, you have the beautiful opportunity to counteract this dreadful error. More than ever, we want to encourage you all to contact us if you need help -- we're here for you and we pray for you. There is hope.
You are reading The Meaning of Repentance. Connect with us on our facebook page and check out our new nonprofit initiative -- The Marriage Mission. Lastly, take a look at our Summer Fund Drive and considering donating so we can reach more marriages!