Making Up For It
Almost every day we get emails from people who are experiencing the pain, loss and devastation of an affair. They are wounded and hurt and don’t know what to do or where to turn. They want their life back; their marriage back; their spouse back. Often as we read through the emails and then begin to correspond with the man or woman that sent it there is a belief that at some point in the future, their spouse will make up for all the pain they caused. When their spouse makes it up to them, then they can move on; then they can forgive; then they an rebuild. This expectation will always leave a void in a persons’ heart. Because if your spouse has a sexual addiction; if your spouse has had an emotional affair; if your spouse has had a physical affair, there is nothing they can ever do to make that up to you. When making up for it is the expectation:
- You will become a suspicious person
- You will become a resentful person
- You will become an insecure person
- You will manipulate and guilt trip to get your way
- You will live out of fear and worry
The bar can never be set high enough for you to find the redemption you are looking for. When you are waiting for your spouse to make it up to you, they will always fail and you will be left searching for one more thing that will make the pain feel better. The redemption you are looking for can only be found in Jesus. You trying to find your own redemption through your spouse’s performance will never give you the marriage you desire.
For as many emails we get from spouses that are devastated, we get just as many from spouses that are broken and desperate. They are the ones that cheated; they are the ones that have a sexual addiction; they are the ones that broke their marriage covenant. They want help; they want their marriage back; they will do anything to make this up to their spouse. If they could just prove to their spouse how sorry they are, then that would make up for all the hurt they have caused. There is only one problem: You can never make up for it. You will never be able to say enough or do enough to make up for it. It isn’t possible. When a spouse starts to live with the mission of making up for it:
- You work really hard to not make your spouse mad
- You walk on egg shells cause you know you were the one that messed up
- You don’t give your opinion or feedback because you don’t feel like you have that right
- You constantly feel guilt and shame for all the mistakes you have made.
Living in a performance based marriage will never build intimacy.
Here is the truth…you can’t make up for it. You can’t redeem yourself. The redemption you desire can only be found in Jesus. When you spend all of your time trying to perform and make up for your mistakes, you rob God of the work that He needs to do in your heart.
The answer is grace. It is grace that provides redemption. For the spouse that is hurting, it is offering forgiveness. It doesn’t mean trusting, but it does mean forgiving. The power that forgiveness has to bring redemption is greater than anything you can demand.
For the one that has done the hurting, it is receiving grace and living out of the forgiveness that Christ offers. It is only in that forgiveness that you can find the freedom you desperately need.