Aftershock Devotional Series #1: Overarching Principles

In February, we overviewed how to move forward after discovering a spouse’s sexual sin. Maybe that’s your story. Or maybe it’s the journey of a friend or the painful reality for your adult son or daughter, and you want to point them to hope and help.

Whatever the situation, we want to give you knowledge and tools to make choices that have proven effective in restoring and transforming shattered marriages. We also want to help you care for your own heart. So for the next few months, we’ll dig deeper.

We’ll offer specific guidelines to follow, and you’ll learn about yourself, the dynamics of your marriage, and the road to recovery — whether your spouse wants to work toward inner transformation or resists change. We want to walk with you every step of the way.

Right now, you might be tempted to give up. Don’t lose hope! The decision to give your marriage a chance doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s right, and it reflects God’s heart. God wants to repair what’s broken and make it even betterthan before!

The following overarching principles will help frame this devotional series:

Understand that you’re not responsible for your spouse’s behavior or the pain it causes you. No one makes another person act in unfaithful ways. You need compassion, care, and direction. Making your own well-being a priority on this journey is key to helping your marriage.

Keep in mind that, like natural disasters, relational disasters often get worse before they get better. Some people who commit to a recovery process make a full confession quickly and clearly. For most, however, it takes weeks or months to disclose all their secrets. After years of minimizing and suppressing their sexual history, many don’t initially understand or remember everything they need to confess. Or they still try to hide certain behaviors.

Get help as early as possible. Be aware that there may be more to your spouse’s story. That alone can help lessen the shock if additional information is revealed. It’s also why you should stay in touch with a Christian therapist. Objective guidance from a well-trained professional is essential to wade through complex and emotionally charged situations.

Remember that giving someone a second chance is often beyond our human ability. Extending hope and grace and being willing to engage in an honorable “fight” for your marriage is more than a feeling; it’s a God thing. It’s strength that comes from beyond you, strength that you can willfully access as part of Christ’s ongoing work in your life. Right now, while your emotions are raging or numb, hang on. Even if you fear there’s no hope for your marriage, take a deep breath and take it one step at a time.

These principles are drawn from the book Aftershock: Overcoming His Secret Life with Pornography—A Plan for Recovery by Joann Condie and Geremy Keeton.