Christian men aren’t immune from the decimating plague of infidelity. Yet underneath the hurt and betrayal, often there is still love. Without proper guidance, though, men have little chance of restoring relationship trust. In fact, they frequently make things worse. There is a path of redemption for the men who cheat and a possibility of healing for the women they hurt. Not only can relationships be saved, but they can emerge from the doghouse stronger than ever.

Notice this clear definition of betrayal:

Infidelity (cheating) is the breaking of trust that occurs when you keep intimate, meaningful secrets from your primary romantic partner.

It’s not any specific sexual act that does the most damage to the betrayed partner and the relationship; instead, it’s the constant lying, the emotional distancing, and the loss of relationship trust. In fact, for most cheated-on partners the emotional betrayal associated with sexual infidelity is nearly always more painful and longer lasting than the physical betrayal. Thus, cheating encompasses both online and real-world sexual activity, as well as sexual and romantic activities that stop short of intercourse: everything from looking at porn to kissing another woman to something as simple as flirting. It also covers so-called emotional affairs, which often are the most painful of all when a spouse confides in, relies on, and reaches out to an outside person.

This definition of infidelity deeply resonates with those who have been betrayed, and if unfaithful spouses want to ever rebuild trust, they must accept this truth. The following lists are intended for unfaithful mates, but they also help betrayed partners because they increase the betrayer’s understanding of the pain they have caused, the ways in which they have violated trust, and what they must to do re-earn it.

Seven Ways to Make a Bad Situation Worse:

  1. Continue to cheat
  2. Continue to lie, tell partial truths, and keep secrets
  3. Put the blame on someone or something other than yourself
  4. Apologize and then expect or demand immediate forgiveness
  5. Try to buy forgiveness
  6. Use aggression and threats toward your mate
  7. Try to calm your spouse down

The good news is that there is a way out of the relationship doghouse.

Eight Actions of Restitution and Renewal:

  1. Develop empathy for your spouse
  2. Learn to disagree in healthy and productive ways
  3. Instead of telling her you care, show her you care
  4. Always keep relationship trust in mind
  5. Anticipate and deal with potential hazards before they happen
  6. Don’t forget about your own self-care
  7. Express gratitude to your spouse
  8. View love as a verb

For more explanations and tips for recovery from infidelity, get Out of the Doghouse for Christian Men, which is available as a print and Kindle edition from Amazon.