If you’re the victim of infidelity, you’re on an emotional roller coaster. Noted psychologist, marriage counselor, and best-selling author Dr. Willard Harley has counseled many couples through the pain of an affair and provided us with proven step-by-step solutions for surviving an affair and putting a marriage back together. Important practical biblical insight on Surviving an Affair from Dr. Bill Harley and his wife Joyce.
Dr. Harley’s first time working with a couple experiencing an affair was at the age of 21. A pastor sought out his help after the pastor’s wife engaged in an intimate relationship with the choir director. She ended up marrying the choir director, and he too, had an affair with another women – leading her to experiencing a second divorce. This tragedy is among the thousands of couples that he has worked with over the years.
So what defines an affair?
Dr. Harley explains it as any sexual relationship outside of marriage. Other romantic experiences are included, such as; chatting with another person online, being exposed to pornography, or bonding with someone of the opposite sex.
“A man and a women both define an affair” –Dr. Bill Harley
One of the many misconceptions about affairs is that they are generally caused by men. Women deal with very similar temptations, and are just as vulnerable. Dr. Harley and Joyce mention that vulnerability can happen at any time in the marriage, and no marriage is automatically affair-proof.
The question then arises, is it possible for a marriage to survive an affair?
The answer is: Yes. Matthew 19:26 reminds us that with God, all things are possible. God in the center of any marriage can help combat any sin and prevent any that tries to break it apart. The Harley’s also talked about making love deposits into our spouse. If we do things that are loving and kind, we make deposits in their ‘love bank’. Love units can also be withdrawn by becoming selfish and thinking independently; without concern for your spouse. Dr. Harley and Joyce also explain how important prayer is,
“You want people to be praying for the relationship to stay together” – Joyce Harley
Surviving an affair is more than possible with God. He is a God of restoration and can mend any broken marriage by His love and grace. He will allow you and your spouse a second chance to grow deeper in love with His comforting truth and plans for marriage.