There is a lot of misinformation and controversy around couples staying together after infidelity. Most of the time the articles on Hope Joy in Christ are How To style, giving practical biblical marriage principles you can use right now. Today, however, I will not tell you how to save marriage after infidelity and lies. No, instead I invited Claire Musters to share her story – A wife’s true story of rebuilding marriage after infidelity.
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A Wife’s True Story of Rebuilding Marriage After Infidelity
Lonely, scared, angry, bitter, distraught, hopeless, self-absorbed, desperate…
Those words all described me (Claire Musters) twenty years ago.
I married my teenage sweetheart, so excited about the life we would have together. I can still remember how it was when we started dating. Then Marriage… He worked ridiculously long hours in a recording studio. Our marriage soon lost its newly wedded bliss shine.
We got into a rut of just getting through each week. Distance in Marriage is hard. I was mainly on my own and he was totally wrung out. Once or twice a year I would have a meltdown and say I couldn’t carry on. Neither of us could see an alternative so that moment would pass and we would just put our heads down and plod on… and on… and on…
Proverbs 13:12 Hope Deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
I didn’t realize what effect that had all had on me until years later. In my mind (and to many around me) I became the victim, the abandoned one
Taking on that identity fed everything I did, everything I was, everything I felt.
I continued to be really involved in church life, and enjoyed much of what I was doing, but every so often it would hit me that I was doing it all mainly without my husband.
Something inside of me ached… but still I never imagined I would need to learn about rebuilding marriage after infidelity.
How do I rebuild my marriage when it’s filled with loneliness?
The problem initially was loneliness. How do I rebuild my marriage when it’s filled with loneliness?
I longed for that deeper connection. Longed to work with the person I had agreed to spend the rest of my life with. When God tried to heal my hurting heart with His love, I turned away as it was too painful. Can you relate?
Another man, also married and part of our church, started listening to me. He was engaging with me and extending friendship towards me. I lapped up the attention – never realizing it was a step toward ruin – never realizing one day it would lead to needing to learn about rebuilding marriage after infidelity.
To begin with it was all so innocent – we were all friends: he and his wife and me and my husband.
Of course, my husband didn’t get to socialize with us that often, but I felt accepted by this other couple.
A heart turned from God is open to sin
Then things began to develop one on one via email.
One day he told me he was leaving his wife the following week, with or without me. He needed to know if I would go too. I was shocked. It had come somewhat out of the blue, but, after a night wrestling with the idea, I said “yes”.
I jumped at what I thought would be a way to find happiness, a way to find someone who really cared enough for me.
Yes, I am the spouse who cheated… If you are a wife asking about ‘successful relationships after cheating’ or ‘how to fix a marriage after infidelity’… know that I was there with you.
After two very bizarre weeks, in which I swung from feeling loved and accepted to experiencing stinging loneliness and fear that I’d made the biggest mistake of my life, he told me he needed to go back to his wife.
How do you fix your marriage after you cheated?
I was left reeling, afraid and unable to really process what had happened. He had the courage to do what needed to be done, but it left me feeling like a worthless worm – and I kept telling myself I deserved it all.
All our friends knew I cheated, so what would they say now?! What would my life become? How do you fix your marriage after you cheated? Did I even want to fix my marriage?
I was staying at a friend’s house, totally in limbo…
I actually rang my husband without even thinking of the effect it would have on him – he had always been my go-to person (before all this had started) and my knee jerk reaction was to involve him.
The grace, care, and love I received from him were what saved our marriage – truly began rebuilding marriage after infidelity.
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Can a Marriage Survive Cheating?
He dropped everything. Told his boss what was going on. He left the recording session he was running and came straight to me. Picked me up, grabbed my belongings, and took me home. Then the very next day he drove me to my parent’s house, leaving me there.
It must have been so hard for him to leave me to return back to our home, not knowing if our marriage would survive or not. He must have asked God ‘Can a Marriage survive cheating?’.
Right from the time I had told him I was leaving, he had fought for our marriage in prayer. Now he was showing me in a very practical way that he meant it. He was committed to rebuilding marriage after infidelity.
Time for healing
It took me a good few months:
- Wrestling with God
- Crying over the pain of loss of someone I had actually grown to love dearly
- I had to get to a place of working through
- Then letting go of all the hurt from the early years of our marriage
I had some well-meaning people tell me:
Get back to your marriage and everything would sort itself out.
I found that so unhelpful.
Eventually, we did counseling (and renewed our vows) with a couple. The woman said to me,
‘You’ve experienced so much hurt. You need to deal with that before you can decide whether your marriage can be saved’.
Finally, I felt heard. Validated. Given Hope.
Someone realized I was still a hurting young child inside, who had been full of romantic notions of what marriage would be like. That was part of what lead up to this need to rebuild marriage after infidelity.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.
I had to piece my life back together, hand in hand with God.
I had to admit I had been foolish. Admit I went my own way not listening to Him when He first spoke into the emotions of this situation. Admit I was wrong.
Hope for Marriage after infidelity
Then I had to get to a place of allowing God to place Hope back into my heart.
- Hope for my relationship with God
- That it could get to that place of intimacy He had laid out for me years before.
- Hope for my marriage
- That I could feel such deep love for my husband, Steve, again.
God’s perspective when we sin in Marriage
Steve was so patient, so gentle, so kind to me. I have learned so much during the years since this time. Steve revealed Jesus’ love for me in a way I’d never experienced before. That is what began to work in my heart, to stir in me a desire to begin rebuilding marriage after infidelity.
I knew that God had drawn us together from a young age. God had great purposes for us as a couple – I’d just lost hope in that over the years.
I saw other couples split up and wondered, ‘Why won’t God allow our marriage to end?’ I certainly wrestled with that question, but, deep down, I knew He had placed Steve and I together for a reason. He had a bigger plan for our lives.
Hope Found: Now I can see the way God has weaved His tapestry of grace in our lives.
My husband leads the church we are in. I am in leadership roles and work alongside him often. We are privileged to come alongside couples who are struggling in their marriages. He definitely does work all things together for good!
God can use our sin – even infidelity – to help others
We have found that being real immediately gives others permission to admit their own struggles.
Too often the (sometimes unintentional) message our churches can give off is that Christian marriage is perfect, and there should never be any struggles.
But the reality is marriage is hard! Living with someone who has many differences to us is one of the ways that God hones our characters – but the process isn’t easy!
It is okay to voice our problems when marriage is hard – to ourselves, to each other and to third parties who are supportive, prayerful and non-judgmental – allows us to keep hope alive! It gives us the courage to face and deal with difficulties. We just need to be real about life when Marriage is hard.
For us, it meant a long journey, of repentance, forgiveness and learning to put God and our relationship first. We had to make many practical changes too.
Steve has been so gracious in allowing me to share our story in a book, Taking Off the Mask
An Ongoing Journey of Rebuilding Marriage After Infidelity
The challenges of keeping ‘the main thing the main thing’ is difficult even now, even though we see a lot more of each other, and minister together regularly. But we are not completely floored by the pressures anymore. We’ve learned that God stands with us, holding us together.
We may have to regroup, go through the process of repentance and forgiveness again, but we know we don’t have to do it all in our strength.
God provides the wisdom, love, grace, courage, hope, and energy that we need to make our marriage a successful relationship after cheating – in His eyes. And He has fresh supplies for us daily! Through God’s grace, we continue rebuilding Marriage after infidelity.
Claire Musters is a UK-based author, speaker and editor, mum to two gorgeous children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s passion is to help others draw closer to God and be all that they can be in Him. Her latest books include: Cover to Cover: Ezekiel and Taking Off the Mask. Find out more about her at www.clairemusters.com
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