10 Jan The Marital Affair
A marital affair, also referred to as extra-marital affair, or cheating, all describe the same scenario: the marriage vow between a husband and wife is broken.
Unfortunately, the marriage affair is such a common occurrence that it is assumed to be a fact-of-nature. Often, they lead to disintegration of the relationship and end the marriage in divorce.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
Types of Affairs *
* These types are adapted from an article by Rick Reynolds, of the Affair Recovery Centre.
In this scenario, the unfaithful partner is in a compromising, tempting situation and gives in to bad choices and poor character. In many instances, this is not necessarily indicative of a bad marriage but of poor boundaries and lack of integrity.
Usually, the unfaithful partner wants to continue in the marriage, and hopes to hide the truth of their affair from his or her spouse.
The Lonely Hearts Club
Here the unfaithful partner falls in love with someone else and is willing to divorce, leave the marriage, and attempt to find a new happiness in life. This type of cheating may not necessarily be based on sex—but on emotional love from a growing romance. This often stems from two individuals who have had a long term relationship before the affair.
The Obsessive Compulsive
In this scenario, the unfaithful partner is driven by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Dr. Reynolds of the Affair Recovery Centre, states, “These affairs are committed by those have an ongoing pattern of sexual betrayal such as frequenting topless bars and/or adult bookstores, viewing pornography, compulsive masturbation, prostitution, repetitive encounters with sexual partners, and other behaviours that are destructive to both the individual and to the marital relationship.”
Strangely, this behaviour is not because of a poor marriage; it is due to sexual bondages in the life of the unfaithful partner.
The Lonely and Confused Hearts Club!
This scenario is basically the same as The Lonely Hearts Club—except it is characterized by the unfaithful partner vacillating back and forth from a marriage he feels guilty leaving and an affair that excites him, though he can’t fully enjoy it because he is racked with guilt.
Often the unfaithful partner and his new “soulmate” have common interests not shared with his wife.
The Best Friends
Cheating on a spouse is usually characterized by sex outside of marriage. In this scenario, though, there need not be a sexual relationship for an affair to take place! These emotional affairs may not include sex, but they include the widest definition of an extra marital affair: sharing of intimacy. Although sex is one aspect of intimacy—emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy are other dimensions as well. Sharing intimate secrets and emotions with someone other than your spouse is infidelity of the emotional type!
The Answer for a Marital Affair
Marital affairs are devastating! The degree of this devastation demands deep healing in the lives of both the betrayed and offending spouse involved in the affair—but recovery from this devastation is possible. Although the pathway to recovery is beyond the scope of this article, we’d like to provide some simple ingredients:
- Seek professional help.
- Authentic repentance and acknowledgment of wrong-doing is the first step. Regardless of the factors contributing to the infidelity, a marriage vow was broken. Let that be the reference point!
- Forgiveness and grace are critical. True forgiveness comes from God’s grace working in our lives.
- Establishment of boundaries and the rebuilding of trust must occur. Trust must be earned over time—and it is this trust that is the basis of restored relationships. Accountability to an outside counselor or friend will be necessary.
- Pursue genuine intimacy: intellectual, emotional, spiritual, as well as sexual. Read over the many articles in this site that will assist you to understand God’s wonderful design for every marriage.