Adultery – Spouse of Betrayer

Mentoring Tips

Make one-to-one mentoring easier by learning what to do and what not to do.  Click to learn more.

Tip#1 – Find your PLACE

  • Pray: simple yet powerful act
  • Listen: people want to feel heard
  • Ask: good questions foster productive dialogue
  • Consider: think slowly and biblically
  • Encourage: uplift rather than beat down
Tip#2 – Avoid the common mistakes

  • Fixing: this is a person, not a project
  • Preaching: walk alongside, don’t talk at or down to them
  • Carrying: show concern but don’t carry too heavy a burden
  • Blaming: no condemnation in Christ Jesus
  • Rescuing: you are not their savior!
    • How did you find out about your spouse’s unfaithfulness?  Did you discover it yourself or did your spouse confess it you?
    • If you don’t mind me asking, how long did the affair go on before you became aware?
    • I know that you feel very betrayed.  Can you describe some of that to me so that I can help you process those emotions?
    • Is this your first experience with this kind of thing or has it been part of your life before, either in your marriage or in your family growing up?
    • Can you envision yourself moving through this difficult time and toward reconciliation with your spouse, even if that takes a long time?
    • Even if you can’t picture reconciliation right now, will you please consider the importance of forgiveness for your own sake so that bitterness doesn’t grow in your heart?
    • Are you willing to follow God’s plan for you, your marriage, and your family, rather than being led by your feelings?
    • Do you believe God can answer your prayers?  Can I pray with you through this difficult time in your life? 
    • Do you have close friends and family around to support you and point you toward Christ?
    • Tell me about your spouse? What were they like when you first met? What attracted you to them? Why did you choose to marry them? What has changed over time?
    • What do you believe need to be the next steps for you and your spouse?
    • I believe that the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with Jesus Christ. Can you tell me about that?
    • What do you need from me right now to help you get through today?
Deeper Questions
    • Does your spouse have a relationship with Christ?
    • Who besides yourself is aware of your spouse’s infidelity? Who is giving you advice about what to do now? What are they telling you? What do you think about what they are telling you?
    • Do you think your spouse is genuinely repentant or just sorry for getting caught? (2 Corinthians 7:10)
    • How are you dealing with your anger toward your spouse and their partner?
    • Are you tempted to believe that divorce will solve the problems?
    • You are not to blame for the affair, but are you willing to consider the problems in your marriage that contributed to it?
    • Do you believe that God is able to cause “all things to work together for good” even in this difficulty?
    • Where would you hope to be in your personal development one year from now? In your marriage? Spiritually? What do you think that it would take to get there?
    • What is one step you can take in the right direction and how can I help you do that?
Online Helps
Other Ministry Links
  • - Nancy Anderson, Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome, p. 69

    “Men and women have affairs for many different reasons, but a common complaint of both sexes is the lack of praise and the abundance of criticism from their spouses.”

  • - Stormie Omartian, The Power of a Praying Wife, p. 75

    “I know several couples who experienced adultery in their marriages, but because in each case there was a wife who was willing to pray and a husband open to allowing God to change and restore him, the marriages are still intact and successful today.  Only prayer, a submitted heart, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit can work those kinds of miracles.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Staying Close, p. 81

    “Emotional adultery is unfaithfulness of the heart. It starts when two people of the opposite sex begin talking with each other about intimate struggles, doubts, or feelings. They start sharing their souls in a way that God intended exclusively for the marriage relationship. Emotional adultery is friendship with the opposite sex that goes too far.”

  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 76

    “In marriages that have suffered an affair, it is critical during the recovery process for both partners to develop close, same‐sex relationships to supplement the marriage relationship. Those outside relationships can provide much of the nurturance, empathy, mutual support, and affirmation that both individuals need.”

  • - Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, Bold Love, p. 279

    “Adultery or any form of sexual immorality should be viewed as a serious breaking of the covenant of marriage … Few adulterers want to do much more than patch a leaky boat … He should be under the careful and passionate eyes of a mature group of believers and a therapist.”

  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 115

    “It’s a lot easier to trash the marriage and for both parties to flee the difficulty of reconstructing the relationship. Yet to divorce now means that you only take all this unfinished business with you. It will require you to work on this by yourself. Should you refuse and try to bury it, it will contaminate all future relationships you might develop.”

  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 120

    “At discovery, the spouse’s emotions are usually intense. The anger, hurt, bewilderment, betrayal, and numbing shock are almost overwhelming. … If denied, that anger goes underground and eats away at the innermost spirit of the person. It is very important for the violated spouse to be free to express the rage that he or she feels.”

  • - Nancy Anderson, Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome, p. 120

    “Hedges will protect your marriage from the intrusion of external temptations as well as provide internal support structures, keeping the bad things out and the good things in. ‘A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it’ (Mark 12:1).”

  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 204

    “As you and your mate restructure the intimacy in your marriage, realize that it’s going to be two‐steps‐forward, one‐step‐backward progress. … It won’t happen overnight; in an ultimate sense you’ll never be completely over the affair. Trauma always changes people, and it should.”

  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 261

    “Because an affair produces so much turmoil, it is difficult to spell out an ideal process that works for every family. The bottom line is that you are trying to make the best decision in a very bad situation. … It’s easy for the well‐intentioned but emotionally uninvolved people around you to provide simplistic answers. There is no perfect solution to every lousy situation.”

  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 151

    “The initial revelation of the affair produces a crisis experience. The natural response—indeed the healthy response—is anger. There are both positive and negative aspects of this anger.”

  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 89

    “The infidelity itself changes the way members of the family relate to each other; they begin to keep secrets from each other or develop unbalanced relationships … Overall, with affairs, no one in the family is left untouched—that’s how devastating the breaking of the marriage vow is.”

  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 106

    “In most cases it will take the spouse as long to recover as it took the infidel to get into and out of the affair.”

  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 121

    “If you are going to live together in harmony in the future, you need to live together differently. It’s time to start over. … The most sacred aspects of this marriage have already been violated. Now you both have to begin to rebuild.”

  • - Robert D. Jones, After Adultery, p. 2

    “No matter how well you know your Bible, in the coming days you will need fresh servings of daily bread. Don’t rest on past grace. Believe that God wants to meet with you now in new ways.”

  • - Robert D. Jones, After Adultery, p. 13

    “While the type or extent of the adultery may vary—the one‐night stand versus the entangled, emotional relationship versus the sexual addict or predator—the bottom line is the same: You have been sinned against. You are suffering.”

  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 243

    “It is inevitable that conflict will arise between the two of you in the future, regardless of what happens to the marriage. The less able the two of you are to resolve your own differences, the more fractured your children will be. Unresolved parental conflict causes children to take sides, a destructive pattern.”

  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 93

    “Getting in touch with true feelings and being able to communicate them to the spouse is a key to recovery and comprehensive restoration of the relationship.”

Next Steps
    • Esteem them for coming to you, admitting their pain, and seeking help
    • Encourage your mentee to get involved in a local, bible‐believing church for spiritual growth and encouragement
    • Encourage them with Scriptures of hope and help—God’s comfort, God’s hope, God’s purpose, and God’s plan
    • Let them know that while not every marriage that is challenged by adultery does survive, many do. If appropriate, encourage them with examples you are personally aware of where a marriage has been restored.
    • Let them know that restoration of a marriage following an adulterous relationship is hard work, but there are steps they can take to move in that direction
    • Let them know that it is normal for the offended spouse to take a very long time to heal, possibly as long as or longer than the affair itself. Encourage them to be patient as this process may take much longer than they thought it would.
    • Assure them that you care about them and plan to be with them to find solutions together
    • Encourage them to be completely open with their spouse regarding their fears and their need for evidence of trustworthiness
    • Encourage them that it’s okay not to feel like trusting right now… trust has been broken and will return on its own timetable.  Trust is a by-product of lasting change and continued, proven fidelity.
    • Encourage them to consider attending a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage getaway
    • Encourage them to seek a same sex friend who will hold them accountable for the steps they need to make toward forgiveness and changes they need to make to reconcile their marriage
    • Encourage them to invite God into their relationship with their spouse by praying together daily
    • Encourage them to read appropriate Online Helps from within this Mentor Guide and discuss these with you
    • Encourage them to do the hard work of forgiveness and to take the risk of rebuilding trust with their repentant spouse again
    • Encourage them to seek biblical counsel where necessary to guide them in fully restoring their marriage over time
    • Remind them that the goal is not just to speak the right words of forgiveness but to offer true grace toward their spouse