Secrets to healing a marriage after an affair - Recorded on May 27, 2015
A focus for couples who wish to restore their marriage after an affair.
Brian Bercht: The thing that is not a secret is that it will take some work and effort to heal a marriage after an affair. In any recovery process sincere effort is required. It’s also not a secret that being willing to participate in the recovery work is necessary. Being willing to engage in the process doesn’t mean you have to be 100% committed, but it does mean you have an open heart, regardless of which side of the affair equation you are on – betrayed or betrayer.
One of the overlooked things, that is quite essential to healing is the aspect of compassion. The ability to look at our spouse with some compassion, which of course, is more difficult for the betrayed spouse, because of the intense hurt and violation they’ve suffered.
For the unfaithful, being compassionate can also be difficult, because when the question, “why did you do what you did?” gets asked, there is a tendency to want to blame the betrayed for the state of the marriage.
Anne Bercht: The secret to any marriage is compassion. There is a wide range (spectrum) of betrayers, on one extreme you have people who’ve had an affair who are extremely remorseful, want to make amends, are willing to look at themselves, and go to counseling or seminars, and actively participate in the healing. On the other end of the spectrum there are unfaithful spouses who are unwilling to change, not sorry, not willing to own anything, or to take responsibility. And there is everybody in-between!
On the other side, the side of the betrayed spouses, there is also a big spectrum. There are those who are looking for ways to deal with their pain in healthy ways, those who want to deal with their anger, and their sadness, and all of their emotions in healthy ways – to not be mean back in response to the betrayal.
And then there are the betrayed who become the abusers in their anger – sometimes the unfaithful spouse is doing their best to do the right things after their affair, but the betrayed is responding with more and more abusive behavior back. And that doesn’t work to bring healing to the marriage either.
Therefore, sadly, not every marriage is salvageable, because you can’t change your spouse if they are not willing to do the changing. In some marriages, you as the betrayed can do everything right, and still the unfaithful may not chose healing. In other marriages, you as the one who had the affair, can do everything right in the aftermath of an affair, and your betrayed partner may still not chose to stay in the marriage. We do not control our spouses choices.
That said, we cannot overemphasize the difference good help can make in recovery. Going it alone is generally not a good idea. An investment in the Healing from Affairs seminar, we continually hear from couples who attend, is one of the best investments they will ever make. Many marriages that could be saved, are not, because couples simply do not have the right tools.
To listen to this audio seminar by Brian and Anne Bercht, including some thought provoking situations presented by listeners and responses by Brian and Anne, click on the audio link above. (You can click on the embedded link or the text link.)