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Surviving Infidelity - Can a Marriage be Saved after an Affair

Updated on January 11, 2012

It’s the question most asked when marriages encounter an infidelity. Can this marriage be saved? Celebrity couples are not immune. Being rich and famous doesn’t protect you from affairs. It’s these Hollywood scandals that draw so much attention.

High profile affairs

Tiger Woods admitted to extramarital affairs. Elizabeth Edwards eventually separated from her husband, John Edwards after finding out he fathered a child. And before Elizabeth’s death, she said she put her children first in order to maintain her relationship with their father.

For those in the public eye it is especially difficult. Their hurt and open wounds are exposed to everyone.

Sandra Bullock won an Oscar before losing her husband. After finding out about Jesse James affairs, Sandra walked away. Everyone watches. What will she do? People support the victims of adulterous partners. The person who committed the affair is looked upon as the bad guy.


Arnold and Maria

Arnold Shwarzenegger released this statement, “I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry. I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time," the statement concluded. "While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not."

Others like political figure, Hilary Clinton stood by her husband after finding out about his adulterous affair. Even religious leaders have been caught in scandals. No marriage is safe from temptation. When it ensues, what does a person do? Should a woman stand by her man? Can the marriage be saved?

Arnold has apologized and is working to regain their trust. His relationship scandal is in the public eye. Maria Shriver has said, “As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal.”

One in five men admit to cheating

According to a Today’s Show correspondent, one in five men in America admit to cheating. While some women stay in the marriage and try to deal with it, others choose to walk away. When it becomes more than just an affair and a child is born out of wedlock. The deceptions, the betrayal, and the lies are shocking revelations for all those involved.

Women trust, men trust, and in a marriage the couple hope their marriage will survive everything. Anyone who has suffered from a broken heart can testify healing takes time.

Professional help is needed. Marriage counseling is necessary if the couple chooses to stay together. Biblical counseling can restore a marriage. God’s heart breaks when marriages breakdown. It was never His design for marriages to fail. God’s heart is a heart of compassion. His love has no bounds.

Temptations are lurking

The world promises all kinds of deception. An illicit affair looks promising. It’s an escape from reality, a chance to fill an emptiness a person feels. It is deceiving, it is a lie. The father of all lies, Satan himself, desires to corrupt the heart. He will put ideas, thoughts and situations in front of a person.

A teaser which misguides and misleads a person into things he knows he shouldn’t be doing. It is everywhere, in the media, in movies, in porn and in the portrayal of women as sexual objects. Temptation surrounds every human being and there is no getting away from it. No matter what a person does, temptation will be lurking around the corner. There is a spiritual warfare in this world that desires to break down the love. It is evil with immoral intentions.

A unifying marriage is a constant work in progress. People have a choice. They can give into that temptation or choose to walk, no run, from it.

  • The sanctity of marriage is based upon love.
  • The foundation of marriage is based on love.
  • The strength of a marriage is based on love.
  • There is no love without trust.
  • There is no love with deception.
  • Trust must be earned.
  • Love must be shared.

Love and trust walk side by side in a marriage. When trust has been broken, it will take God’s healing love to bandage the wounds of pain.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." – Proverbs 3:5-6

Can a marriage survive?

Can this marriage be saved, or can any marriage survive after infidelity? The answer lies within each marriage.

The strongest person in a marriage is the one who chooses to stay faithful.

When the communication in a marriage stops and the love between two people are lost, the marriage needs a restoration.

Two people must be working together. Ultimately strength can be found in Christ.

Take this poll

Would you stay in a marriage if your partner was unfaithful?

See results

When sorry is the hardest word.

It will require time to heal. It will require an openness to be heard and a willingness to feel the pain. It will not be easy.

To stay in a marriage after infidelity is the hardest thing to do.

When sorry isn’t enough, when hurt and betrayal feels like a knife in the heart, and when all you can muster is to get out of bed in the morning, that’s when you choose forgiveness.

It is the hardest lesson of life when betrayal and hurt causes so much pain. When the joy of your life has become the revulsion of your life and you feel like giving up. When all the memories and dreams you cherished have just been tossed out to sea and you don’t care about anything.

When you can’t find understanding or reason for such a thing to happen, then look to the Father. God comforts. God heals. God offers dignity and lifts the heart with compassion. He will set the mind at ease. He will embrace the heart with love. He will give back what you lost.

For God will renew your strength on the wings of eagles.

As Isaiah 40:31 states, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Finding support

When a marriage breaks down, the reasons for affairs are numerous. Dealing with shock, sadness, and grief takes time.

Find support. Don’t do anything rash.

For couples to survive the infidelity, they must be willing to do the work. Understand it’s a process.

If they are willing to do the work then a better relationship can evolve.

Growing through the pain, they may find on the other side, after all the hard work is done, a better relationship is possible.

What are the 10 steps to recovery?

  1. Find professional help

  2. Learn the power of effective communication

  3. Agree to disagree

  4. Be prepared to listen without judgment or hostility.

  5. Be committed to saving the marriage. Being willing to work it out means both spouses need to be entirely committed.

  6. Make each other and your marriage a priority.

  7. Work towards restoration and forgiveness

  8. Rebuild trust

  9. Rededicate the love commitment you once made to each other

  10. Find healing

Today Show – Can a web video help save your marriage?


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow. I'm a betrayed wife trying to mend our marriage (he's remorseful, transparent and committed) and I have to say one of the biggest things against me is the judgement that I must be a doormat if I stay. Maybe he was sick (just like an alcoholic) and is now recovered. What if he was just naïve? No it's no excuse and I don't think I'll ever forgive as I see forgiveness as saying its ok now...but I think there is hope for reform and healing.

      Why should I lose everything as well as fidelity?

    • Midianite profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Great hub, you raise many, many interesting points which are all food for thought.

      Personally, I never wish to get married/nor have children.

      Keep up the great work.

    • FaithDream profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thank you Casey. You are so right. No one knows what goes on inside the closed doors of another's home and marriage. God knows the condition of the heart and He never wants to see a marriage end.

      That is why I say that only in faith can a marriage broken by trust can be saved. He offers second chances to any who will accept Him. He partners with each individual as they seek Him.

      We are not to judge what we see from the outside looking in and yet we do. It is the sinful nature of man.

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts Casey. Marriages fail all the time. In my opinion, divorce is the easy way out and fighting for a marriage is the hard choice. But nothing is impossible with God.

    • profile image

      Casey Michigan 

      8 years ago

      One should never say never. It bothers me that people are so quick to judge others - when they haven't walked in their shoes. People change, I am not one who believes that a couple should stay in a dead marriage for the sake of their children. Children should be able to see what a loving marriage is TRULY suppose to be like. I have learned never to say never because you never know when the person you judge ends up being yourself. God looks at the heart. He knows the full story. We only know what we see with people on the outside. There are so many hurting Christians in the church who cannot even go through a healing because they are afraid to share their stories with their own brethern for fear that they will be ostracized. We need to build each other up in truth and love. We should want to come to the body of Christ for healing. I get sick and tired of seeing these type of news stories on tv because what happened between the couple needs to be dealt with and handled according to their individual situations. Its not for us to point fingers at. Even Jesus asked "who of you are without sin?" I'm too busy trying to get the plank out of my own eye to criticize the stye in yours. Just my honest opinion. (Casey -

    • FaithDream profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thanks for all the great comments. It's so interesting to get all these perspectives. I appreciate everyone's comments. All good points raised here. It is an individual choice and each person would need to evaluate their situation.

      One point, without God's help it's nearly impossible to forgive. It does take great strength and prayer and faith to stay in a marriage with an unfaithful partner. True remorse must be on the table and defined boundaries need to be established.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Fossillady, C-Bless, Pamela, WillStarr, Hyphenbird!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      8 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Some marriages do survive and the wronged spouse even learns to trust again. Some cheaters discover they have an incredible partner and are truly remorseful and never cheat again. I suppose it all depends on the people involved and their spiritual strength and commitment to their vows. In any regard many people are hurt and it is never worth the cost.

    • WillStarr profile image


      8 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      As Pamela points out, sometimes it's about sex and sometimes it's about a relationship.

      Cheating men can have sex with a woman they don't even like, and there's no relationship at all.

      Women seem to cheat more for the relationship, and the sex is incidental to it.

      Either way, the trust is destroyed, and usually forever. Anytime the cheater is away after being once found out, the cheated spouse cannot help but wonder.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I think most marriages don't survive especially if there were multiple partners or a long term relationship. If it was truly a one night stand that could be more easily forgiven. It is very difficult to regain trust after adultery occurs. Very interesting article, rated up.

    • C-Bless profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      I have a healthy dose of respect for a spouse who adhere to the vow of 'til death do us part' by forgiving an unfaithful partner. I watch a program called "It's a New Day". I watched the day the co-hosts shared their story. I was both amazed and awed:

    • Fossillady profile image


      8 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      I don't know about saving a marriage after the trust is broken. I was betrayed during a six year relationship which was as close to a marriage as can be. It was never the same after that even though we tried to work it out. The disillusionment, anger and hurt was too much to bare. Maybe we were both too young. Good subject and food for thought!

    • FaithDream profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thanks for commenting Ashantina. This is a personal choice however with God all things are possible. It will take work, hard work but people do change. This is a decision between both parties and as you say, "why would you want to after an affair," the door is open to walk away. It becomes a personal decision. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, appreciate it.

      Thank you WillStarr for sharing your comments. I appreciate your contribution and I agree with you, once trust is broken, the original relationship has been destroyed. Perhaps a new relationship will work, it is possible. I believe that only in faith will it truly work. This is my personal belief for God works out all things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • WillStarr profile image


      8 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Most marriages cannot survive the breach of trust because the original relationship has been destroyed.

      If a new relationship can be created on the ashes of the old, perhaps it will work, but it usually does not.

    • Ashantina profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes some marriages can be saved. But why would you want to after an affair? Or after that Trust is broken..? I've always told partners that if they meet someone they're attracted to and wanna take it further, leave me!! At least have the courage to do that. Why is that so hard for some folks to do? No man and I repeat NO MAN is worth staying around for after a deceit. NEXT! :)


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