You suspected it long before you knew it for sure.

Your spouse changed but you couldn't quite explain the changes in a way that seemed to make sense to anyone else. You thought that you were imagining things, being insecure. Then you began to vacillate, worrying that you must be right but telling yourself that surely you aren't. When you asked questions, the answers seemed a little too slick, too rehearsed.

Sometimes your questions hit harder and your spouse reacted with anger or sarcasm, telling you that you're paranoid. If you suspected a particular person, your spouse reassured you that there was nothing going on and that this person is a friend…maybe even your friend…and it wasn't fair to think that about them.

Finally, you made the discovery. Maybe you checked the cell phone bill, read emails, found a note or letter in a pocket or purse, or, even worse, someone saw them and told you about it. When you confronted, denial reigned.

But not forever.

Eventually, your mate told you that it's over between the two of you. He or she is in love with the other person. Prepare for divorce. Cooperate and they will make things easy for you. Refuse to cooperate and you will find yourself in a bloody legal battle. Maybe your spouse cajoled, or threatened, in a concerted effort to keep you from telling anyone what was happening. He or she did everything possible to keep you from going to your church leaders, their boss, your family, your in-laws, and maybe even your best friend. Secrecy helped them, not you, but because you thought there might be a chance to keep him or her calm and possibly stop this nightmare, you allowed yourself to be manipulated.

Maybe your abandoning spouse had a period of hesitation. He or she tried to end the affair, and told you that they were willing to work on the marriage. Maybe the paramour found a way to get to him or her, rekindled the passion and convinced your spouse that he or she will never be happy without them. If your spouse went back to the affair the second time, it seemed to have much more power over them than in the beginning.

By the time you broke your silence, things had evolved to an almost impossible situation. Your church leaders tried, but had no success in righting the wrong behavior of your spouse. They found themselves listening to how terrible it is to be married to you, or how hypocritical they were to tell someone else to do right. They might even have heard the startling news that God Himself sent the lover and that He wants them to be together. Or, they might have heard that your spouse no longer believes what they once believed, so the church folks may as well go bother someone who buys into their malarkey.  

Hopeless?

No.

The fact is that even in these situations a possibility exists that the marriage can be saved and, with time, made good again. That may sound Pollyannaish, but I've personally witnessed it repeatedly over the last sixteen years. My faith in God tells me through His power anything can be done. My faith in people has been strengthened by experiencing God intervening in lives even when a person wanted God to leave him or her alone to do what they wanted to do.

A straying partner who has convinced herself that life will be wonderful with the new person seldom decides that before he or she leaves they should take one more run at saving the marriage. It's much more likely that the abandoning spouse will avoid anything that might convince him or her to stop the new relationship and heal the marriage. However, I've witnessed case after case in which those marriages were saved, sometimes even after the divorce took place. One couple remarried after being divorced ten years!

I don't mean to give false hope. There are marriages that are doomed and no matter what happens, it will end and never be healed. On the other hand, for many years I've seen the salvaging of marriages that seemingly everyone else has given up on.