Can Marriages Survive Infidelity?

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When most couples say “I do”, in that moment, it appears that they may really want to honor their vows to one another, however the reality of what marriage really is emerges and most couples are not prepared to deal with the struggles, the sacrifices, or the idea that their spouse is capable of committing the ultimate betrayal of infidelity!

The structure of marriage is designed for two individuals to become dependant upon each other to meet each other’s needs. However, when infidelity is introduced into the marriage, the healing process requires a structure that is independent of each other in the beginning due to the feeling of loneliness and the anger of being betrayed. As a result, it may appear that a marriage is unable to survive such betrayal, but with hard work, introspection, and making changes in the relationship, an individual can obtain the marriage that is desired.

What must first be realized in the healing process is if the marriage is worth fighting for as evidenced by the couple’s commitment to each other!  The couple has to decide independently of each other whether the marriage is still a beneficial partnership.  A common mistake that is made in most relationships is that love will conquer all and as long as two people love each other, the marriage will survive. There are lots of divorced couples that still love each other, but struggled in managing their marriage. Marriage requires more than just love! Commitment to each other is the glue that maintains a marriage.

When infidelity takes place in most marriages, it is just the symptom of an underlying root cause that has manifested in the marriage. More often the inability to communicate effectively about needs and desires in a relationship is the true culprit of infidelity! Most people think that they are communicating with their spouse if they simply just say what is bothering them, however if their partner is not actively listening, comprehending, and understanding their partners needs, then the message has fallen on deaf ears.

Often times, the couple may be more concerned about getting their point understood that they completely ignore the needs of the partner and frustration and resentment has now become a part of the marriage. It is not that the person that the spouse chooses to cheat with ( better known as the home wrecker or “jump off”) is better than the current spouse, it is more so that the “jump off”  strives to be more attentive to the spouse’s needs, as that is the only purpose that they may serve for the spouse! Their level of energy to meet the spouse’s need is attractive and manipulates the spouse into thinking that the grass may be greener with someone else, as opposed to their spouse.

As a result, it is important to learn how to communicate effectively to divorce proof the marriage. Actively listen to your spouse, try to understand the spouse’s needs, and work to meet those needs. It is always important to look at the role one plays in the infidelity betrayal. To clarify, a person’s choice to cheat is their own choice and they must own that, however it helps to introspect to see how one can function better in the marriage.

It is possible to trust the cheating spouse again! However, the offending spouse has to be willing to be an open book and meet the requests of the offended spouse for as long as that individual needs it to heal. This may take years, but if the marriage is worth the fight, then this inconvenience of being completely open is worth the burden. If the offending spouse has made a commitment not to cheat again, then it should be no problem to allow the offended spouse all access to the personal belongings ( i.e. phone, email account, etc) to help restore security back in to the marriage. If the cheating spouse is not willing to be open with the spouse, it is a clear indication of the level of commitment to working on the marriage!

Not all is lost in trying to revive a marriage after infidelity, however assessing the level of commitment to the marriage, effective communication, and a willingness to be open and honest are necessary requirements to getting the marriage back on track. Moreover, one must be willing to heal from the betrayal and actively forgive their spouse by doing the necessary work of figuring out what the underlying root causes are and making the changes needed. While infidelity is the ultimate betrayal, it can also be the catalyst that a relationship needs to function in a more appropriate manner and for the couple to obtain the relationship that they both deserve.

Dr. Roselyn V. Aker-Black has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a freelance writer, life coach, psychological consultant, relationship expert, and owner of www.tildeathinfo.com, An interactive website dedicated to providing realistic relationship advice. If you would like to comment on this article or ask Dr. Roz a question, she can be reached at askdrroz@gmail.com

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