Should You Save Your Marriage?

I really don’t know if you should save your marriage. It’s not uncommon I’ll hear from betrayed spouses who feel shamed, manipulated or almost pushed into reconciliation due to some religious belief or traditional thought about forgiveness, reconciliation and ‘obeying God.’

The fact is, I wouldn’t tell you to “Go save your marriage.”

If you talk to the staff of Affair Recovery long enough, as well as me, you’ll hear all of them say it’s about “Seeing if the marriage can be saved.” Right now, you probably just don’t know. At the onset of my exposure, I wanted to save the marriage for sure, but mostly for the kids. Samantha genuinely wasn’t sure at all if she wanted to save the marriage, and she was a pastor’s wife. She was obviously torn due to 10 years of marriage, three kids, and the youngest that was five weeks old. Talk about a difficult situation, it was excruciating for her.

Time and time again, spouses (both betrayed and unfaithful) just aren’t sure what they want to do. One of the best ways to scare away a betrayed spouse and cause them to retreat and refuse any form of recovery help at all is to say “Let’s go and save our marriage.” It implies that the unfaithful is not in touch with the enormity of what they have done and they want to ‘rush’ recovery and ‘expedite the healing process and get after it, though the betrayed has barely had time to come to grips with it all.

The betrayed many times just isn’t sure yet, and that’s OK. It’s not OK to NOT get help, though you’re unsure what you ultimately want to do. If you get help from an expert, they will still be able to help you process the trauma of it all, without forcing you to make a decision, and focus on the process this will require. The best time to get help was yesterday. The second best time to get help is now, despite the uncertainty of it all.   

A better suggestion to approach is as follows. I would suggest moving forward, (if the spouse will) with a “Let’s go see if the marriage can be saved.” It implies that you’re not going to rush, manipulate or shame them into recovery or restoration. It implies and expresses a freedom and security to the betrayed, as well as the unfaithful sometimes, which makes allotment for the spouse’s willingness to comply, not be made to do something. This helps to take the pressure off and creates a simply openness to get help for the process, rather than immediately come to some forced or rushed decision.

Side note: In times where both spouses are very sure they want to pursue restoration, I would highly suggest both spouses refrain from any mind games and very boldly communicate and affirm to one another that you do in fact, want to save the marriage. There is little time for mind games, playing hard to get, or a ‘you first’ mentality when both spouses are sure they want restoration. 

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I'm the hurt spouse.

My D-day was 5 months ago, he confessed to 3 one nite stands with married women, during a 3-5 month period about 3 years ago. He was on the fence and I was very willing to save my marriage. He couldn't understand my willing to forgive, and kept saying "I'm a monster, how can you still want me?" We've finally separated about 6 weeks ago and as I continued to push he stopped speaking to me for 4 days and he told me he wants a divorce, because that's what God wants him to do and he's at peace. I'm devastated and as I read your blog, I made the very mistake of trying to rush forward. He's told me he wasn't going to file papers anytime soon and I shouldn't either because he feels his income for the last 2 years was insufficient (he suffered an Achilles' tendon injury and was out for an extended period of time) and I wouldn't get the money I deserved in alimony and child support. I know he's turned back to God and has been praying a lot but he refuses help, yet I still want to save my marriage. We rarely speak except about our kids. He went by my mom's the other day cuz he was in the area, just to say hi. My mom told me to he's hurting too, he's just not showing me. Now what? I'm so confused.


LvJava, thanks for the comment. I'm sorry for the confusion and the pain. While I don't know what exactly to do in all cases, some helpful guides would be to not continue to push him or it, as he's obviously confused on what he wants to do. At some level, you may pull back and allow him to do what he's doing, and allow him to set the tone a bit. I'd continue to love your kids and love yourself and care for yourself, and see how it goes for the next couple weeks with you not pursuing him at all, and allowing him to be where he needs to be. when the time is right, maybe in a couple weeks, or sooner should the opportunity arise, I would ask him if he would be simply open to a hail mary type approach, like our ems weekend. to merely SEE if the marriage can be saved, and if not, then to go just to get help for YOU and maybe for HIM as well. perhaps when you pull back, he may then pursue you a bit.....and then a moment may arise where you can approach him about the weekend, or some other viable alternative? you may also read this article on the site called How To Get Your Mate To Cooperate: I know you'll have to wait till the moment comes, and i think you will, but I'd use this article as a help to get him to consider one last effort at personal healing, or to come with you as you need this for your own healing to move forward in life. it just may work, as i've seen it happen several times over the years. his ambivalence hurts like hell i'm sure, and at some level, its a sense of control he uses over you and the situation i bet. though it hurts, I'd encourage this article as well called going it alone in recovery:

let's see what you think of the articles as well as my thoughts and we'll dialogue again when you have time. I'll be praying for you as well.

He disclosed again.

My husband admitted to a full affair, which I had found evidence to support before admittance. He noticed another man interested in me and was. " jealous, " and admitted he didn't like it. We then got along well for about a week and was even intimate (I know big mistake on my part.). He only returned to his coldness, but this time with a vengeance. I made a mistake and won't again. I feel like I took 10 steps back, especially after we were intimate and 2 days later I received a notice that the house foreclosed. It triggered a wave of emotions in me and I lost it as you can imagine we got into a huge fight , which quickly turned to his unfaithfulness, of course brought upon by me. He also for me for information on the Hope for Healing course 3 times within these last 2 weeks, most recently yesterday. I don't see our marriage being restored but I'm hoping and praying he gets the help he needs. I will admit I'm Leary because we've been "warring" lately and I feel he's still hiding even though we're separated and he's asked for a divorce. When does this pain and BS end? Why do I feel I went back to the beginning of disclosure?

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