While it is true that people who have committed adultery have made the wrong decision to betray their spouses, there are those who are willing to change and try to heal the damage they have caused if they can.
To the unfaithful spouse who has broken the hearts of his family and friends, it is also a difficult time for you. Since all empathy may be directed to the betrayed, it is no surprise that you are left with the blame and harsh labels. You are broken as well. But as to all sinners, the Savior calls to you to come unto Him and know that He can make you whole again. But you need to pay the price.
You Have Offended God
When Alma counseled his son Corianton, he made it clear that adultery is “an abomination in the sight of the Lord… most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost…” (Alma 39:5) Like other sins, infidelity in marriage offends our Heavenly Father. The damage that is caused by this offense is far reaching and, in a way, meddles with the Plan of Salvation. This is so because it is an attack on the family which is the most important unit in Heavenly Father’s Plan. The bitter fruits of infidelity do not only affect the betrayed spouse, but all people that are connected to the couple. The family unit is threatened as well as the structure of a community, a nation, and mankind as a whole. The work and the glory of God is the welfare of mankind. To do something that would endanger that is truly an offense to Him. An offending spouse must realize this truth because, hopefully, this will lead him or her to repentance.
You can Be Forgiven
In the Plan of Salvation, the healing power of the Atonement encompasses all sins and all sorrows. We can always look to the Savior’s great sacrifice so we can be made whole again. The offending spouse can hope for forgiveness. But there is a process. He or she needs to go through the process of repentance. To be forgiven is not easy but it is possible. Take the first step of accepting that your acts have offended God and your fellow beings – your family and the people involved. Once in the path, hold on to the hope that everything will make sense eventually – the pain, the hardships, the sacrifices – all of these things will make your path to forgiveness more meaningful. Most importantly, you needn’t feel that you are all alone in the process. The Savior has promised to succor us in times of need. During this time, He is always there to sustain and help his prodigal children come back home.
Understand What the Betrayed is Feeling
Respect how your spouse feels on the matter. Understand that he or she is probably using a biological response to defend himself or herself from the trauma. He or she may fight, flee, or freeze. Care for your spouse and, however hard it is not to be defensive, try to truly listen. There must be a questioning/communication process wherein you can ask your spouse what you can do to help. Your infidelity may cause your spouse to react violently, to leave you or to just take time to be alone. Respect that. Try hard not to impose your thoughts or your feelings. This is part of the process of making things better. The road you are traveling with your spouse is not going to be easy. There is no specific amount of time this process will take, but know that these things must be endured with patience and an understanding heart.
There is Life after Infidelity
Let’s face it. However hard we hope, we cannot be 100% sure that all offending spouses will be able to keep their marriage intact. Whether the marriage can be saved or not, life must go on. It is sad to know that some marriages do not survive the aftermath of infidelity but it is noteworthy that there are a good number of couples who have gone through the process and are living their lives together, having learned and grown from the experience. All wounds heal in time. It is all up to us if we let the scars pull us down or push us forward. Continue faithfully in the path of repentance and no matter what happens, strive hard to be better every single day. Life is not only limited to our mortal existence so let us keep on moving forward for there is an eternity waiting.
We do not openly talk about the issue of infidelity. Maybe because we don’t feel comfortable talking to the unfaithful spouse or the betrayed spouse. It may even be seen as gossiping by some if we talk about this problem. But it is something we need to address, so that when we know someone who is suffering from these things, whether directly or indirectly, we may know how to help them.
Amid all the brokenness, the Savior offers a bond that can heal things back together again – whether as a family or as an individual. Only He can bind the hearts that have been shattered and the souls that have been torn apart by the sin of infidelity. We cannot expect a perfect world now but we can hope for a bright future where all things will make sense and where everyone will have gained the experience needed to be worthy to be with Heavenly Father again.
To those who have been been betrayed by a cheating spouse, you can take these steps towards healing: