“Did I Push My Spouse Into an Affair?”
We often receive questions like this:
“Do all the faithful spouses play a part? I don’t think that we do. I think that’s a cop out/excuse for the cheater, and it makes the faithful spouse feel worse.”
No. The faithful spouse does not always play a part in why the affair happened.
Why Do People Start Affairs?
It’s hard to definitively know why someone enters into an affair because there are so many different reasons. Some affairs start because of “attachment” issues that stemmed back from childhood. Some start because of “limerence addicts.” Some start because of wrong place wrong time. Some start because a spouse is unhappy in the marriage.
We know that no marriage is perfect. Anyone involved in an affair can take tidbits of the truth about issues in their marriage and use those to justify the affair. Typically though most people whose spouses are in an affair will willingly say that they know that some of their actions might have laid a foundation for the affair to occur.
Whose Fault is the Affair?
Is it the faithful spouse’s fault that the other is involved in an affair? No. Never your fault.
Are there things you could have done better in the marriage? Probably, because every marriage has room for improvement.
Were there some things that could have been done to prevent the affair? Maybe. But you can’t know for sure.
In the end, it doesn’t matter because you can’t change the past. You can use it as a tool to see what you can do better for the future…whether personally or in regard to how to interact with your spouse better during this time.
“But Why Do I Have to Do All the Work?”
At this point, you are probably thinking:
“Okay, I understand that. But why does a standing spouse have to be a “safe place” for the cheating spouse? Isn’t this pretty much saying, “It’s okay. You’re hurting. I’ll make it okay,” even though the faithful spouse is hurting, probably way more than the unfaithful spouse? Like saying “You can hurt me, have your cake, and I’ll be here to catch you when you fall?”
Actually, it’s quite the opposite of this if done correctly.
What To Do and What Not To Do
Here’s the situation: If my spouse is having an affair, and I yell at him, scream at him, cry at him, tell him how terrible he is to do all those things to me, is it really going to put my husband in his right mind? In life, when has becoming defensive and attacking someone else ever led to them changing their mind and seeing your side? Rarely, if ever.
Now, instead, what we ask you to do is the manifestation of true love. If you are a Christian, it is exactly what Jesus does for us. Even though your spouse is doing one of the worst things imaginable, being the kind of person that will stand up for yourself and calmly and confidently express your feelings and also being a safe place when your spouse is around is the manifestation of true love. It is what will ultimately bring your spouse back and not in to the arms of another.
Is it hard? YES. Is it fair? NO. Is it doable? YES. It is doable.
Training for the Marriage Marathon
You quite literally have to save the marriage like you are training for a marathon. It takes work. It takes dedication. It takes changing your lifestyle and doing things that you don’t want to do – but in the end it will be what makes or breaks your efforts.
Does that mean we approve of the wayward spouse’s actions? Absolutely not. But there is a difference in not approving of a person’s actions yet still having unconditional love. Yet again…a great example is how Christ treats us.