This is Your Issue! "If you weren’t so cold and unloving, I wouldn’t have had the affair,” he yelled. “So now it’s MY fault you cheated and blew up our lives?!” she screamed back at him. It happens time and time again. Almost all of you at some level could finish the dialogue above. It’s pitiful how many blame their affairs on their spouse, and many won’t take any responsibility for the marriage. I love what Rick says: “The marriage is 50% your responsibility, 50% your spouse’s responsibility. The affair is 100% the unfaithful spouse’s responsibility.” I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there was a litany of things I could have done before I had an affair. Forever it will be my fault I had the affair, and forever it will be wrong. There’s just no way to ever excuse, justify or rationalize affairs. Samantha didn’t make the choice for me to betray her, I did. However, I do believe it is possible for both spouses to admit to struggles which may have allowed for the vulnerability of the marriage. It’s about taking responsibility for the state of the marriage. When a spouse says “This is your issue, so you need to be the one who goes and gets help,” I know we are destined for a very long, difficult road that usually doesn’t end well. Both spouse’s need help and care when there has been infidelity. To ultimately find healing and restoration for the marriage, while also preventing relapse, both spouses need to be involved in the process of recovery if it is going to work. Yes, the affair was wrong and will never be justifiable. Yes the betrayed absolutely did not deserve nor cause this pain. But where are we going from here? My wife Samantha displayed humility and grace when she took responsibility for her failures in the marriage. She was rarely intimate, pushed me away and treated me like our fourth kid. Once I began to own my affair though, and completely take responsibility for what I had done without blaming anyone, eventually Samantha would then start to see, hear and understand the struggles I was experiencing. It took time. It took patience. It took me being willing to absolutely let the focus be on me for a while, till Samantha felt safe enough to let her guard down and be vulnerable. Did the weaknesses of our marriage justify an affair on my part? NEVER. It’s not about finding blame all the time. It’s about understanding how we got here, and where we are going from here. Our hope is for restoration. The process to that restoration is filled with incremental steps which need to be taken, yet seem like an eternity. For some, it picks up speed and momentum is gained. For others, it hurts. It stalls. It seems to even flounder due to a spouse refusing to take responsibility, be honest and forthcoming, or pursue recovery. It’s not a process I’d wish on anyone. But it is possible to heal. And it is possible to find restoration; first for yourself, then perhaps for your marriage. It may have been my affair, but recovery for the marriage is about us. I hurt for those of you who have had to pursue recovery on your own. It’s incredibly painful and, although eventually fruitful on a personal level, I know it is gut-wrenching. I’ve met many who, although their spouse was resistant, have found their own new life.