When you first find out about your spouse’s infidelity you may feel as if there is no way to ever truly forgive them. You may feel as if the trust is broken beyond repair. But, the truth is, many people have overcome infidelity and gone on to have an even better, closer, more long lasting, happy and satisfying marriage due to the work they did to overcome infidelity and truly forgive their unfaithful spouse.

Communicate with Your Spouse

One of the most important aspects of your live with your spouse is learning how to communicate. You’d think it would be easy but we all have our own way of communicating. Some of us are straight forward, others are less so. But, you if you have any hope of forgiving your spouse you’ll need to learn to communicate with them in a way that is helpful and not damaging.

For example, yelling accusations without letting your spouse speak is not communication. Communication is a two way street. A person delivers a message, and a person receives it. If you’re the one delivering the message you’re responsible for ensuring that the receiver really understands your message. If you’re receiving the message you should mirror what you think the sender said. This is just basic communication skills and you both need to work on them.

Express Your Feelings

Don’t be afraid of truly expressing your feelings to your spouse. You’re going to have a lot of them. You’re going to be hurt, angry, scared, and sick and so much more as you work through the feelings you have. Don’t hide them. Share them with your spouse as you have them so that they know how this has affected you as well so that you can work through the feelings.

Plus, your spouse’s reaction to your feelings can reveal a lot. A person who wants the marriage to work and deserves forgiveness will listen to your feelings without being angry at you for having these feelings. They’ll take the blame for their own actions and not try to put them onto you. By expressing your feelings you can find out the feelings of your spouse too.

Listen to Your Spouse

As much as you want your spouse to listen to you, you need to also listen to them. What they say may hurt worse, but it will also give you some insight into their frame of mind and whether or not they should even be forgiven in the first place. A spouse who wants forgiveness takes the blame for their choices, but will also express what they feel needs to change in the marriage to make it work long term.

You have to be willing to hear what your spouse is saying to you without feeling judged. They also have feelings surrounding their actions. They probably feel ashamed, horrified and believe it or not their own levels of trust have also been ruined. After all, they’re a nice person; if they could cheat and do this to someone they love as much as they love you, why couldn’t someone else do it. Their own world view has been shattered and changed too.

Make a Commitment

If you want to work through these issues, forgive and trust your spouse again you’ll need to make a commitment to doing it. Both of you can commit to the marriage even if the feelings aren’t flowing yet. Commit not to cheat again, commit not to retaliate, commit to work on the marriage even as you’re working on learning to forgive. Forgiveness might take time, but commitment can start right away.

Set a time limit on wallowing, blaming, raging about the affair. If you really want to get to forgiveness these things can’t go on forever. You have to set up a deadline for yourself that helps you move forward in the act of forgiveness. It doesn’t have to happen overnight but it has to happen eventually.

Get Help Together and Individually

One of the fastest ways to get toward forgiveness of your unfaithful spouse is to bring in outside help. But, not just for the marriage. You should get help together but you should also get individual help. Affairs don’t happen in a vacuum. They happen for a variety of reasons and while it’s always the choice of the unfaithful spouse to take it there, there are usually ways that you can improve your life outside of your spouse to help make your marriage affair proof.

You can get help from counselors or a life coach. It’s up to you how you choose to go about that. It can be helpful to do both. A counselor will delve into the why, but a coach will work with a goal. For example, if your goal is to forgive your spouse by the anniversary date of discovery, your life coach will help you with that.

Know That It’s Not You

One really important thing to learn is that while there are always things you can improve about yourself, which will help improve your marriage; the affair is still not your fault. When someone makes a choice without including you it can never be your fault. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make improvements and create a lifestyle that makes infidelity impossible, or at least less likely.

Just understand that you can’t take all the blame on to yourself for what your spouse did. They need to accept responsibility for the affair before you can forgive them. You need to learn about your ability to forgive and how that looks and feels.

Know Yourself

There is often a fantasy that people have that marriage is something that “completes” people. But, the truth is, you have to be a complete person by yourself before you can truly be in a marriage that thrives and is affair proof. Know who you are, and what makes you happy and how to ask for those things.

Settling for anything less than you deserve will not feel good. But thinking you deserve less than you really do is also a bad thing. You need to learn as much about yourself as you can so that you know what you really want and need in a relationship.

You can work toward forgiveness but there is no reason to do it overnight. It will take time. It may even take years. But, the point is that in any long term marriage there are disillusionments, but there are also joys. If you can learn to focus on the joys and learn from the disappointments then you can find a way to truly forgive your spouse and move on to having a truly happy and fulfilling marriage.

Author's Bio: 

C Mellie Smith knows firsthand the pain of betrayal. At Infidelity Healing her mission is to help couples beat the odds and survive infidelity together. Visit: http://infidelityhealing.com/infidelity-marriage-resources/ to get started.