2019-03-28
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Advice columnist Belladonna Rogers received an email from a man who committed adultery. He asked if he should confess about the infidelity and wanted to have a clean slate. The answer back was unusual.  She explained that an adulterer's need to confess and "Make a clean breast of it is both supremely selfish and monumentally unwise. If the urge to confess is overwhelming, then make your confession to a professional -- religious or secular." The lesser of the two evils will not work in this person's favor as Rogers indicated because it involves inflicting needless pain while not undoing the act. What would be the correct path to take here? This depends on how you deal with the guilt that is being felt and your conscious. In that case, there is no easy way out of this. Maybe you are deciding to confess the sins of infidelity to your spouse and are afraid. The plan is not easily laid out because you're dealing with unknown variable and that's the other person. Think through some ideas on how to confess adultery to your spouse and how to save your marriage. 

Go to the Lord.

You need to confess the matter to the Lord and then take it up with your spouse. They have a right to know what is going on and pretending it didn't happen only delays the truth, especially if you can't live with the guilt. However, if it's just because you feel guilty, then it's still about your wants. "A selfless motivation is about restoring your marriage relationship. And the only way you can truly rebuild your relationship is to create a foundation of honesty," author Greg Smalley shared.

Seek guidance.

God made provisions for divorce when adultery is involved. Yet, He also said, "I hate divorce," says the Lord, the God of Israel. Talk with a professional or a pastor if you are ready to confess. They will offer advice and how to approach your spouse. You have to accept the consequences of your sin and the feedback will be honest. If you want the marriage to survive, you need to be transparent and need to come clean. Having a support system will help with accountability to do the right thing.

Start prepping.

You need to prepare because your spouse will have lots of questions. Here are some of the questions you will face. "How long has this gone on?," "Who is it?" and "Why did you do this?" Experts recommend that you should not embellish and should not offer details if not asked. The sleepless nights and fear will still be present, but preparing yourself ahead of time will cause less anxiety. There are consequences to your actions and this is part of the aftermath. It doesn't mean you can't be free from the turmoil, but you need to walk through the repercussions first.

You need to be honest.

If you don’t tell them who it was, they will suspect everyone. This is torture to another person and every person in the world will be a suspect. Ask them if they are sure they want to know and share with them that it could be even more painful. "Anything you keep secret may very well be revealed later, to your detriment," wrote Joe Beam from marriagehelper.com. Deal with the pain now in order to move forward and to avoid reopening old wounds later on.

Don't focus on their flaws.

When you focus on the flaws of your relationship, it's just a justification for the behavior. Don't zero in on the reasons they caused the indiscretion as this is a cope out. Approach the subject for example with “I need to confess because I want to rebuild your trust,” or “I really made a mistake and will seek therapy if needed." Make the commitment to see a therapist to help the relationship and stick with it.

Things will get tense.

Be aware that the conversation will get tense, but be strong because there will be an ample opportunity for you to start getting mad at them. During a firestorm, take a break from things before they become too heated. Apologize and tell them that you need to step away because they deserve you to be level headed. This could make them even more angry, so offer to stay overnight at a hotel or at a friend's house until things cool off.

Be humble.

Check the blame game and the ego at the door because you can't be confessing such an act with arrogance. You need to own your mistake and you need to communicate this to them as your own sin. "You have sinned against your spouse, and you have broken a trust. Don’t defend yourself. Don’t give excuses or reasons. Let your spouse express the grief and the anger that comes out of this," said Russell Moore, the President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. There are no excuses, take it as such. Work on improving yourself more, not someone else. This helps maturity and will help rebuild character.

There are consequences.

God said "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." There is always backlash from sinning. This could be losing the marriage and this is something you need to face. They may never forgive for what happened and they have a right to feel that way. The only thing that you can control is correcting your mistake, forgiving yourself and allowing God to work on your behalf.

You don't have to agree with Rogers or even want to confess to your spouse that you cheated. This is a matter of your heart and soul, which is so painstaking on the line because of the affair. You are not doomed if you do the right thing, but may lose the relationship. That's the risk that needs to be taken after an affair.
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