Coping with broken marriage vows

Picture of sad woman staring at her wedding ring by candlelight.jpg

Sadly, things just won’t ever be the same now that you’ve discovered his infidelity. You may be able to save your marriage after the affair, but learning to trust again can take a lifetime.

A vow is a sacred promise; a commitment, a deep pledge of trustworthiness. Your cheating spouse pretty much destroyed that, along with your life. So is it even possible to regain the trust and move past your shattered dreams of ‘happily ever after’? If so, how?

Unfortunately, if he lied once, he will probably lie again. While some studies (especially feedback from church-founded support functions) indicate that a truly remorseful spouse who has cheated once may indeed be rehabilitated, if he’s a chronic (serial) adulterer, chances are it’s a sort of addiction. Meaning, he (or she) may not be able to stop cheating or lying to you about it, because the entire adulterous cycle is entrenched in his makeup. With sincere effort he might be able to change, but most people, unfortunately, aren’t able to.

This is where your inner voice and your personal wisdom come in. You might well decide you value the marriage (or your spouse) enough to endure. Some marriages do survive until death, despite a spouse cheating. In other cases, though, your best option may be to move on with your life. That is a very complex and deeply personal choice that no one can make (or judge) except you.

One thing to try (perhaps with professional or spiritual help) is to talk about it together. If your cheating partner is open and willing, talk about what he or she needs to do to prove to you he can be trusted again. Seek out a support group or maybe a couple’s retreat sponsored by your local church. Keep talking, stay calm and maintain your dignity.

Your marriage might ‘survive’ by burying your head in the sand (not dealing with the crisis directly), but is this good for you and your physical/emotional/psychological health? What you need most right now is a staunch support system and some sort of help to help you face things and sort it all out. Many take comfort in prayer and find that talking to their higher power lends not just reassurance but actual guidance. No matter what else you decide to do, turn inward and listen to that quiet, still, small and supremely wise voice that knows your truth.