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Everyone Knows Someone Who Has Cheated or Has Been Cheated On

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I came across Sarah Markley’s story of adultery (www.sarahmarkley.com) and her advice on how friends can be supportive.  I thought it worth sharing.

“It’s almost like a cancer. It seems as if we can’t walk through life without knowing someone who dies of it. Like cancer, adultery seems to touch everyone too. Everyone knows someone who has cheated or has been cheated on.

As a close friend of someone in a marital crisis, you have been invited into confidence or into the healing process by one of the people in the situation. This does NOT mean that you have simply heard about someone who has committed adultery, or that you know about someone elses’ situation because a random person told you. However, it does mean that you have been trusted, in love and because of your friendship with a couple or a person, with some difficult information.

That said, I have a few thoughts and tips for those of you who are support people in situations like this.

1. Be Human.

Years ago I called one of my mentors because one of my friends had confessed some sexual sin to me. I didn’t know what to say to my friend, so I called my mentor for advice. Her first words to me were, ‘I can give her a great book’.

A book? I’m gonna tell you right now that the LAST THING my friend, in the state she was in, would have responded to was a book. I know that books serve their purposes {for the right people in the right place, especially those who are already searching for answers} but in a lot of situations a book should not be the first line of defense.

What couples, those in crisis, and those in pain or in sin, need are other people most of all. Real people who listen. People who love. People who hold hands. People who can say hard things if they need to be said. In essence, it’s simply being human. And being human is doing what might be the most the difficult.

My friend needed me as a friend. If she needed a book she’d have gone to Barnes and Nobles.

2. Be a Pointer.

Most couples or people in sexual crisis need to be pointed in the right direction. They are confused or shell-shocked. They are in pain and for many, their world has just been upended. Or maybe they are still in the sexually sinful lifestyle and don’t know how to get out.

There are very few of us equipped to deal with the intricate issues that should and must be addressed in situations like these. But we can be pointers. Do some research and point them to a good licensed Christian therapist in your area. If they ask, point them to resources that might help. And by all means, point them to Jesus, our ultimate Healer and the Knower of our hearts.

And it’s okay if you don’t know the answer to questions. Free yourself up to say, “I don’t know.” I think that means more to people than a false confidence in untested answers.

3. Be a Steel Trap.

If you have been invited into the confidence of a couple or an individual who is in a situation like this, be a steel trap. Assuming that all the necessary parties are aware of the things that should be brought into the light, you, as a support person, should NEVER be the leak.

Don’t call your women’s board director. Don’t call your sister {who doesn’t even know the couple}. Don’t even update your Facebook status with hard-to-decipher things like; ‘Pray for me, I’m counselling a friend and I’m exhausted.’

You should be an entirely safe place for your friend or the couple to land and they should know that nothing they say to you will leave your lips.

4. Be Grace.

Couples who are in crisis, especially if they are grieving a loss of an old relationship, if there is anger, if there is pain, need grace and room to heal more than they need anything else perhaps.

You have the opportunity to be grace to your friend(s). Embody grace. Let it flow through you. BE grace because grace has been given you.

About 2 years after my own confession a friend of mine called me in a time of crisis. At the time, still journeying on my own pathway of grace, I was unable to give her any. At all.

I paid dearly for it. And I believe she paid dearly for it too.

Several years later we’ve repaired our friendship, God giving me my single most largest lesson in grace to date, but it isn’t the same.

If I could go back, I would have been grace to her.”