It feels like the end of your world. You just found out that your spouse, whom you’ve committed so much love to, has been involved in an emotional affair. They have willingly broken the honor of your marriage. How are you supposed to get through this?
An emotional affair happens when a partner put more of their energy into someone outside of their marriage, and seeks the other person out for emotional support and companionship. They typically start as innocent friendships; however it grows into a more intense bond. Some people believe emotional affairs are harmless, but most marriage experts agree that you can still cheat on your partner without a sexual relationship. They also often are gateways into physical relations.
Emotional affairs are painful and destructive. As a Christian, you can lean on God during these confusing and trying times. The Bible is full of encouraging pieces of scripture that will give you the peace you need when you need it most. He will guide you back on the right path and help you grow from the experience.
God will help you get your confidence back.
The most painful part of an emotional affair is feelings of being betrayed and lied too. Trust is quickly broken because a huge part of one spouse’s life was kept hidden from the other. You might start asking yourself why your partner would do this to you; was it that you weren’t good enough? How could you have been a better spouse? Was the other person better at listening and caring for your spouse in ways you didn’t know how to?
When you ask yourself these questions you rip apart all self-confidence you have. It can feel justified because your spouse did cheat on you, and you really want to find the reason why. At the end of the day, though, your partner is the one who made that choice to divert from the marriage, not you. You cannot continue to blame yourself for the choices that they decided to make. First Corinthians 7:15-17 says “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O man, whether you will save your wife? But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk…” You cannot control what your partner does, no matter how hard you try. Accept that they created their own destiny and will have to suffer the consequences.
It also can be overwhelming to speak to anyone about what your marriage is going through. Will you be judged? What will your church friends say? This, again, is something you simply have to let go which you can do with God’s help. What other people think of your marriage is none of their business. That is between you and God only. Find trusted friends and therapists you can rely on as needed, but do not give stock to the gossip and rumors that may spur from the infidelity.
God will take the negative emotions you have towards yourself and transform them into hope. He has confidence in you and sees you exactly for who you are. He chose to give you the specific qualities that make you unique, yet wonderfully perfect, in His eyes. First Corinthians 3:16 says "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?"
It can be hard to see yourself the way that God sees you. When you feel unworthy of love, He is wrapping His arms around you. Lean into Him, and what He has to say about your strengths, instead of accepting what you tell yourself.
God will be your support system.
Proverbs 3:3-5 says “Trust in the lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” God knows what lies ahead for you during this difficult time. When you trust in His plan and His plan only, you will find happiness on the other side.
There will be times when you want to scream at your spouse, or weep for hours like a baby. God wants to hear your emotions and have you place that heaviness on Him. God doesn’t mind if you blame Him, scream at Him, or simply say “Why?” Even Jesus expressed these emotions when He was sitting on the cross (Mark 15:34). We should feel comfortable in doing the same.
How you decide to move forward with your spouse is up to you, but God will be there for you through whatever move you take. Understand that this will not be something that is easily forgiven or forgotten. It will be a long journey that will have many ups and downs. In James 1:2-5, it says “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete needing nothing.” As you get through this with Him, you will grow and become a better person.
God will help you forgive.
You will be called to forgive not only you spouse, but the other person who interfered with the marriage and even yourself. You might think that this is simply impossible, but it’s a necessary step. The weight of the anger, bitterness and sadness that is bringing down your heart will not end unless you extend forgiveness to all parties. God teaches us the importance of forgiveness, as He forgave us for all of our sins by sacrificing His one and only Son.
Proverbs 19:11 says "Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs”. Despite not wanting reconciliation in the beginning, the more you speak with God about the affair the more you will come to terms with the idea. You will be able to let the pain go and look forward to the future.
Finding out that your spouse has an emotional affair is just as damaging as finding out they had a physical affair. It still betrays your trust and ruins the sanctity of your marriage. With God’s help, you will be able to move through the experience with grace and honor. He will not let this tear you apart and break you down, but instead let it be an opportunity for growth and rebirth.