Question: Several years ago my marriage was struggling and as a result I became involved with another woman. Thankfully, my wife has forgiven me and we are back together. But how can I rebuild my relationship with her and with my children?

Answer: Your vulnerability and willingness to share this difficult issue with us represents an important first step toward healing. Your wife is also to be highly commended on the strength and courage she has demonstrated in forgiving you. Many women in her position are never able to take that step. All things considered, you’re in an excellent position to turn this unfortunate experience into a springboard to a better and stronger marriage.

To make the most of this opportunity, you, your wife and your kids need to commit to family counselling. Your first item of business is to work through the issues in your marriage that contributed to these circumstances in the first place. A trained counsellor can help examine your relationship and determine which areas need to be shored up. If you don’t perform this part of the process with great care, unresolved problems will only resurface later. Once you’ve dealt with these marital issues, it’s critical that your children join you in counselling. They too have emotional baggage to unpack, and it’s valuable for this to be done with a qualified Christian family therapist. For referrals we strongly suggest that you contact Focus on the Family Canada’s counselling department. They may be reached Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific time at 1.888.935.3002. You can discuss your situation with one of our caring phone counsellors who will then direct you to a licensed family practitioner in your area.

Bear in mind that it often takes a long time to rebuild trust after an affair has occurred. That’s going to be true for your kids as well as your wife. So be patient. As the process moves forward, you can show your good faith by joining a men’s accountability group at a local church. It’s impossible to overestimate the value of a group of Christian brothers with whom you can be open about your failings and temptations and who will be willing to hold you accountable to your renewed commitment to your family.

As a footnote, we’d like to recommend a great book that will be tremendously helpful to you and your wife during this time of restoring your relationship: Torn Asunder: Recovering from an Extramarital Affair by Dave Carder and Duncan Jaenicke.

© 2010 Focus on the Family. Used by permission.

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