Q. What do you do, how do you repair your feelings for your spouse, when you have been unfaithful in your thoughts with another person?
A. This is a valuable question and a not uncommon situation for many of us.
Where do you start ?
- Ask God for forgiveness – seems obvious but often not actually done.
- Accept that he will forgive us unconditionally and give a fresh start.
- Don’t go visiting that situation in your mind from time to time. You will need to ask God for help with this (many times perhaps) and to ask God to erase the memory completely.
- Ask God to give you feelings for your spouse again and believe that God will do just that……you will have to be part of this process. If you believe there are issues between you then resolve to deal with those and not just expect it will all go away. You may need help with this from a good counsellor.
- Consciously build up your good feelings towards your spouse. This can be done by remembering the early days of your being together when hopefully things were happier and more compatible.
- Write a list of his/her admirable points then tell him/her what you like about him/her and his/her behaviour (not all at once!) There must be some nice things about your spouse! Most people respond to genuine love and praise…not flattery. Speak the truth in love.
It’s a matter of putting your attention and affection where it belongs. It’s about “taking every thought captive” – guarding your mind and thinking of things which are good, wholesome and conducive to pleasing God. Reading the Psalms will help as you discover how others coped with their own failures and how God helped them as they cried out to him.
NOTE: In answering all these questions, I am coming from the perspective of marriage being the blending of two people into one – where each prefers the other over themselves and puts the other’s welfare before their own. In other words, it is the highest form of being “one in Christ” which we can witness.
However….in our experience of church life, very few married people experience true one-ness and resort to role-playing and accomodating each other’s sinfulness rather than working at “provoking one another to love and good works”
If only one person in the marriage is a Christian then obviously one-ness cannot apply in spiritual issues but it is still something which can be achieved.