by Dr. Ray Self
The most difficult and painful issue in couples counseling is infidelity.
Infidelity pierces the soul and creates various emotional and psychological painful issues. Intense emotions are the norm.
Infidelity does not always end in divorce. Many couples survive after infidelity and even become stronger with couples counseling.
One National survey said that 15% of women and 25% of men have cheated in their relationship.
Affairs can occur in happy relationships as well as in troubled ones.
The majority of affairs happen as a result of relational dissatisfaction. They also occur as a result of personal dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.
Healthy relationships have mutual reciprocity. An imbalance of give and take can easily lead to unhappiness and an affair. However, it does not excuse the offender.
Multiple affairs may be a sign of sex addiction.
The perpetrator will pay the cost after the affair with resulting shame condemnation and feeling of worthlessness. However, repeated sin causes the conscience to become numb and hardened.
In the age of social media has caused a new rise in infidelity. Many seemingly innocent platonic relationships turn into harmful soul ties, which can lead to a sexual affair.
An innocent platonic relationship, even among Christians, can create a deep spiritual bond between a man and a woman, which creates feelings of intimacy that should only be reserved for marriage. This feeling of intimacy can result in an affair.
The perpetrator is likely to come up with many justifications for their affair in order to soothe their conscious. They may feel that offering legitimate excuses somehow lessens the crime.
Impact of Initial Discovery
The initial discovery can cause feelings of great loss, depression, suicidal thoughts, and a sense of profound loss and mourning.
In the counseling session, it is normal to have one person dealing with intense anger and the other person dealing with intense shame.
The counselor may have to allow some emotions to be expressed and try to create a safe environment. It may take some prayer to defuse the tension.
It is critical after the stories are told that each person takes responsibility for their behavior. God requires each one of us to confess our sins, not the sins of another person.
The good news, according to. 1 Jn 1:8 -9 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousnes.
God has answers in His word to heal anything. As a Christian counselor, you must understand God's word and what scriptures and promises apply. Help your counselee walk through them with faith and action.
Php 4:6 -7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The above verse works. Many times after a sincere prayer there will be a release and a godly peace.
Mat 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." This scripture requires action. It is a purposeful drawing close to Jesus.
Psa 71:20 You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth. - There is hope that the counselees' life will be restored and happiness will return.
Psa 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
Isa 41:10 'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
Col 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Forgiveness doesn't mean you approve or like what someone did. Forgiveness means you refuse to hold the action against them or punish perpetrator for their crime.
Forgiveness sets you free from the offender. Unforgiveness creates an unhealthy connection with the offender.
Indefility does not mean there is no hope. It is a horrible sin, but with the Lord and wise counsel, a couple can be restored and have a happy and fulfilling marriage.