Monday, December 14, 2009

Christian Forgiveness NEEDED Here - Could Your Marriage Survive an Affair?

Hey Covenant Groupies,

Today I found an article on that I thought you'd like to read. Not to continue on with the Tiger Woods saga, but more to really open the issue of infidelity up for discussion. (Please know that this article is much longer, but with this opening, you'll get the gist.) We as Christians must face various trials and tribulations, hurts and betrayals in our marriages - How will we deal with them. Statistics say we don't deal with them at all, instead we walk away and unrealistically try to start all over.

Read the article below, watch the video and share your thoughts.

[Editor's note: This article was written prior to the recent events surrounding professional golfer Tiger Woods.]

One night a year ago, Janet* answered the doorbell of her home in Virginia Beach to find her neighbors on her front porch. She didn't know the couple well, and before she could even speak, the husband said, "My wife has something to tell you." His wife mumbled something about text messages. Janet was confused, until the man interrupted. "What she's trying to tell you," he said, "is that she's having an affair with your husband."

Janet, 42, called her husband, Neal, 42, in from the other room, and as the couples stood awkwardly facing one another, Neal confirmed it: Yes, he'd been having an affair. A shaken Janet told him to sleep in the guest room.

At 5:30 the next morning, Janet stood across the living room from Neal, who was slumped on the sofa in his T-shirt and boxers, unable to look at her. For the next few hours, she hammered him with questions: How long had this gone on? Did you have sex with her in our house? Where, exactly? "You just have this insatiable need to know every little detail of this secret life that's gone on behind your back," Janet says.

When everything in your life is turned upside down, it's hard to know what to do next. Those first few volatile weeks and months after discovering marital infidelity are filled with a toxic brew of emotions — rage, guilt, sorrow. "There is an immediate lashing out," says Peggy Vaughan, author of The Monogamy Myth and creator of the extramarital-affairs resource site "Later, there is sadness and hurt and pain. That's when the victim of the affair starts to ask, 'How could I have trusted this person? What did I do wrong to cause this?' Which leads to the most confusing question of all: 'What do I do now?'"

The answer to this question is never simple. For every Jenny Sanford who refuses to stand by her man, there is a Silda Spitzer who appears to forgive, remaining at his side as he confesses all for the cameras. "At a cocktail party, people will talk about all of these politicians who have strayed, and a lot of what you hear is, 'I don't understand how she can stand being with him,'" says Jim Walkup, a New York City couples therapist for more than 35 years. "But it can work."
Indeed, for all of the "I'd throw him out and never let him back in the door" bluster that goes on at various girls' nights out, the truth is that 70 percent of couples who seek counseling after an affair come out of it intact. "When you put time and energy into a marriage, when you have a history and there are children involved, people definitely think long and hard before they walk away," says Lisa Thomas, a marriage counselor in suburban Denver. And some couples who stay together after an affair report that their marriage is more open, more honest, and stronger as a result of committing to ongoing, honest communication.

Janet lived with a constant fear that Neal would stray again. But after a year of obsessing about his whereabouts and whether he would leave her if she didn't shave her legs or if she pushed him too hard during an argument, she finally realized she had to let that fear go — not for her husband, but for herself. And Neal, through counseling and "being willing to answer a million questions," also worked hard to repair their relationship. "I don't think we're at happiness just yet," Janet says. "But we're getting there."

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