Infidelity, when you’re in the midst of it, can feel like the end of the world. It definitely feels like the end of your marriage. But, if you really want your marriage to survive you’re going to have to find the emotional fortitude to forgive, let go, and move on. Believe it or not, many marriages not only survive after infidelity, but they thrive. It takes two to make it work and it takes two to make it fail.

The Ingredients of Success

First, it’s important to understand what a successful marriage looks like. People who are in long-term marriages know how to forgive, show respect, trust, and demonstrate love to their partner throughout all the trials and tribulations of married life. No marriage is without issues, faults and problems. But, marriages that stand the test of time do well in these four areas: forgiveness, respect, trust and love.

What Do You Really Want to Happen?

This is a very important question to ask yourself and your spouse. If you aren’t willing to let everything go and move forward after infidelity and if you just simply do not want to start fresh and move past the mistakes that have been made, maybe working it out isn’t for you? If not, then that is something you have to own. If the spouse who made the mistake really wants it to work, and is being completely honest, but you aren’t willing to move on, that’s completely on your shoulders. But, it takes two to make it work.

Are You Willing to Do What It Takes?

To work on a marriage where infidelity has occurred, there are likely many issues that need to be addressed outside of the infidelity. Some of them may be issues that the non-cheating partner has. If you’re not willing to do what it takes to move past this situation then your marriage will not make it. You have to be serious about going forth with a plan of action to move on and heal your marriage.

Can You Identify Underlying Issues That Need Work?

Forget about the infidelity right now and think about other issues in your marriage that may have contributed to the affair. This isn’t to say that it’s your fault your spouse had an affair, but if you and your spouse weren’t close and enjoying a loving, trusting and supportive relationship it opens doors to infidelity. It’s important to identify these issues so that you can work on them as they are the answer to closing the potential for more cheating to happen.

Does the Cheater Want to Change?

It’s very important for the cheater to feel as if he or she can be very honest with their spouse about issues in the marriage that they want to change as well as be able to identify the work they need to do on themselves to work on their character so that they do not commit adultery again. In order to commit adultery the person has to give themselves permission to do a behavior that they know is hurtful, deceitful, and a deal breaker in a marriage.

Does the Offended Party Want to Move Past it?
Also, if you’re the offended party – do you really want to move past it? Do you really want to start with a clean slate, work on your marital issues outside of the affair, and save your marriage? It’s imperative that you want to go through the work required to save your marriage after infidelity otherwise you’ll just be causing more harm than good. You have to really want your marriage to work to go through this.

The Past as a Weapon of Mass Destruction

One downfall in making a marriage work after infidelity, or really any problem, is the temptation to bring up the past during current arguments. This is a very destructive habit that you must break. When you’ve forgiven someone for an action you cannot keep using it against them. If you do it will be the worst WMD you can bring into your marriage, stronger than infidelity in its destructive properties.

Take Personal Responsibility for Your Part

This can be the hardest thing for the wronged party to accomplish but it’s important that you get there if you want your marriage to work. Before the affair there were problems in the marriage, or it would not have happened. Therefore, you must take responsibility for choices that you have made in the marriage. If you have participated in behaviors that pushed your spouse away or made them feel unloved, that is something you must accept.

Keep Open Communication a Priority

Talking to someone after such a hurtful thing happens can be difficult. It’s hard to know what to say, what to ask, or how to act. But, if both parties really want the marriage to work, and love still exists between the two of you, you can do this. You might need professional counseling or coaching to help you learn how to communicate properly, but it’s important that you each have a safe place to talk about issues and that you learn the right way to do so.

Know What Forgiveness Looks Like

When you forgive your spouse of infidelity, and they forgive you for your transgressions it doesn’t mean that you agree to allow it to happen again. Forgiveness within a marriage that is to survive means both parties agree to move on past the event. It means that you agree to start over fresh from that point forward and never throw up the past into the face of the person again no matter what happens in the future. If you aren’t willing or able to do that, then your marriage won’t get past the infidelity. In fact, it can’t even get past other issues without true forgiveness.

If you really want to save your marriage it’s imperative that you understand the consequences of not being truly willing to move on. You cannot keep throwing up the affair, or anything that is in the past, and expect to have a strong, happy, full marriage. And, if truth be known, if you can’t do that when the other spouse is willing, you alone carry the burden of your destroyed marriage.

Is being right really worth losing your marriage?

Author's Bio: 

C Mellie Smith specializes in providing helpful resources to couples torn apart by infidelity. If you feel your marriage is worth saving then visit and find out what you need to do to get started.