A marriage survival guide
When we are out in a new town or city, the most practical thing to do is to pick up a survival guide. In a marriage the best survival guide you can find is the Bible itself. So what does the bible say of a Christian marriage surviving an affair? Every individual whatever religion he may belong to or whatever background he comes from, of whichever family he is a part of, is a very vulnerable human being. His weaknesses and human desires make him vulnerable to every kind of sin. The only way to regain strength is by relying completely like a child does, on his father.
Is there any hope of marriages surviving an affair?
· Statistics show that approximately 3000 divorces take place every day in the US.
· Out of these, 50% of the divorced couples have children aged below 18.
· 80% of those who divorce due to extra marital relationships regret their decision later.
· Less than 10% of these extra marital affairs result in both the partners marrying each other.
Despite such dismal statistics, there are still couples who have survived through their marriages and been able to reconcile. They have all faced anger, hatred, unforgiveness, betrayal, depression, bitterness, distrust, embarrassment, retaliation, and grief. But by attending Christian marriage counseling and Christian marriage retreats they have been able to condone and forgive and relate to each other and their families in a better fashion than they had ever done before.
How does sin delude?
A sin is an act where we suppress God and his love to an extent that we step away and out of it and expose ourselves to something more hideous lurking to devour us.
Sin when committed has the power to delude and blur one’s clarity of thought. It can be compared to a person who is so tired that he falls into a deep sleep. However if he is disturbed out of it, he wakes up completely disoriented. Similarly when a person is bogged down by sin, it deludes him completely. His knowledge of right and wrong become warped. A person having an affair finds himself in similar clutches.
How does a Christian marriage survive an affair
A Christian’s guide to surviving an affair starts by understanding that all God needs from the worst of sinners is true repentance. By looking at the following biblical referencesand applying the principles into our own lives and marraiges, we would gain a clearer understanding of God’s purpose for every spouse:
Marriage- an eternal bond
Ephesians- Chapter 5:21 onwards
Marriage has a very profound concept in the Christian faith. In the bible, Christ compared the people (his church) to be his bride whom he protects and ultimately saves, by his death on the cross; for without the cross there would be no salvation. Similarly a marriage must have the husband willing to sacrifice his needs and desires for the sake of his wife and vice versa. This was the will of God in a marriage in order to bring about the perfection of his love in the midst of their human weaknesses and inequities. Through a relationship based on faith, prayer, hope, love and forgiveness, the divine nature of God’s love could be felt in a human relationship between two people.
When people find this kind of a self giving lacking in a relationship, they look out of their marriage to find it elsewhere. Just as sin has the power of making a person feel disoriented and cloudy about the difference between right and wrong, a person who steps out of a marriage into an affair loses clarity of thinking. Although they can never feel happy and guilt eats into them, they succumb every time to the lures of the same sin until it has destroyed the entire family or families.
Christ’s love and grace alone can fuel every marriage
John’s Gospel- Chapter 2
The first miracle of Jesus occurred at Cana at a wedding reception. The importance that Jesus gives to a marriage is seen here where he performs his first miracle to restore the wine (marital love) that had run out. Marriages that survive the storm of an affair are the ones that decide to abandon everything and turn to God. And when one spouse prays for the other, the power of God can heal every broken bond.
He chose to save the most hardened sinners.
John’s Gospel – Chapter 4
The Samaritan woman whom Jesus meets at the well is one who has lived with several men and married many times. When he tells her that the thirst she has is one which cannot be quenched by anything else but by the water (holy spirit) he could offer if she is willing to drink it, she is at first amazed at his knowledge of her past life. But soon she realizes who he really is and this realization makes her change her life completely. She later goes about proclaiming to all, how Jesus had saved her. Samaritans in those days were looked down upon by the Jews. But Jesus accepts everyone who is willing to accept him.
True repentance- No sin is too great for God not to forgive
John’s Gospel- Chapter 8:4-11
Remember what Jesus told the woman caught in adultery? ‘If no one has condemned you, neither will I. So go and sin no more.’ The first thing he proved, to every person who had brought her to him to accuse and stone her to death, was that just like adultery was a sin, everything wrong they had done was also considered a sin in God’s eyes. There may be lesser sins and greater sins but a sin is an act of refusing God’s love and indulging in self love. But when one draws closer to God’s love, the penalty of sin is not so much to face the anger of Jesus but to see the heartbreak in his eyes.
In married life, troubles are inevitable as in any other relationship. Faith in each other and faith in God helps keep a marriage together. But many things go wrong. In the first letter of James we see that every man is tempted by his own desires. And men of faith are tempted more. It is their spiritual strength that helps them overcome every temptation.
It is in our brokenness that we draw closer to the love and mercy of Christ. For a Christian marriage to survive an affair, spiritual counseling based on prayer and a deeper understanding of the scriptures, can lead the couple to experience forgiveness and a renewed sense of love that would help mend broken hearts and heal the bond of marriage.