Q. Some years ago, I had an affair with someone. We discussed divorcing our spouses but didn’t want to hurt anyone. We are not involved romantically any more, but we call each other or have coffee once in a while and there’s still some mutual attraction there. I have tried to reconnect with my spouse but the feeling is gone. I am in a very difficult situation emotionally and don’t know what to do. Can you give me some advice and direction?
A. Love is a verb as well as a feeling. If you want to feel the way you used to feel, you have to do the things you used to do. When you express your love for your spouse the way you used to, you’ll find your feelings returning. One of the things currently preventing that is your ongoing relationship with this other person. It makes you what James called a double minded person who shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord (James 1:7-8).
You’re experiencing something called an alienation of affection. The enemy has used this other person to steal the love you had for your wife and redirect it toward herself. Only you can reverse this action.
If you really want to restore your marriage, the first step is to immediately put an end to all contact with the other person. No more calls, no more meetings, nothing of any kind. Second, have a heartfelt discussion with the Lord, similar to the one David had in Psalm 51. Then take the emotional energy you’ve been investing in this other relationship and begin investing it in your marriage again. Make “contrary-to-feelings” choices to love your wife until your feelings realign with your choices.
This is something the Lord wants for you, so if you pray for help you’ll receive it. But it’s also something the enemy does not want, so you should expect some interference. But greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Therefore, submit yourself to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you (James 4:7-8). As soon as you demonstrate a single minded determination to restore your marriage, He will do everything necessary to make it happen.