Couples Counseling

Couples Counseling


Carlene Roberts, Licensed Professional Counselor

Coastal Samaritan Counseling Center


It’s complicated. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a pain no couple ever plans to experience.

I work with married couples who’ve been wounded by the traumatic impact of infidelity. Discovering that your partner has had an affair causes intense emotional pain. The loss of trust, the sting of deception, and the deep wound of betrayal can be overwhelming. My heart goes out to you – I understand these emotions, from my work with other couples and from personal experience. These deep emotions can be felt by both the spouse cheated on and in the spouse involved in the affair.

I want to encourage you not to make any quick decisions about ending your marriage. To the spouse who’s been involved in the affair: if you’ve not yet ended it, do so now and cut all ties of communication if you want any chance at saving your marriage. Next step, get into couples counseling – because each of you need to take your time and do the hard work of discovering and understanding what was behind the affair as well as work through the process of healing individually and as a couple. During this time, you’ll need to give each other space – possibly a temporary separation. Because of the deep emotions of betrayal and grief that follow the discovery of an affair, this needed space is part of the opportunity for healing to occur. This may look different for every couple so I encourage you to do so under the guidance of a counselor and with the support of a trusted friend or pastor.

Take the necessary action step  –  get into Couples Counseling:

To each spouse, I encourage you to take care of yourself – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. To function during this challenging and heart-wrenching stage of life it’s essential that you take care of yourself.

1) Be intentional to take care of your basic needs for sleep, food, exercise, and good stress management. Attending to these basic needs are necessary to your health and healing.

2) Seek the support of godly friends and family – people who are willing to help you heal and encourage you to fight for your marriage. Friends who will not judge you for what you’re going through or for whatever decision you make regarding your marriage. You need people to encourage you to take care of yourself, who will pray for you and with you, who will listen and not rush to give you advice, and will be supportive of you as you walk this difficult journey.

3) To the spouse involved in the affair, take 100% responsibility for your choices and actions. You betrayed your spouse’s trust and your marriage vows. Accepting responsibility for what you did and acknowledging that you’ve hurt your husband/wife deeply is vital to moving forward in saving your marriage, and to the emotional healing for both you and your spouse.

4) For the betrayed spouse, it’s OK to ask your spouse questions about the affair and about your marriage relationship – give yourself permission to ask whatever is on your mind, requesting complete honesty and transparency from him/her.

5) You’ll also have questions about your own self worth and value as a husband/wife – these are normal questions triggered by betrayal. If you’re a person of faith, I encourage you to turn to God, and seek His truth about your value and how he sees you.

6) Focus on healing – a huge part of this is forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting what happened or that what happened is OK with you. Simply put, forgiveness is something you choose to do because it’s good for your own heart – and if you want to save your marriage, it’s necessary for getting to the place of experiencing a good marriage relationship. This is a big part of the healing process and where counseling can help you get there.

If you or your partner decides that the marriage is over, you will need to continue counseling for your own healing. Infidelity causes trauma to us emotionally, and many aspects of life will change if divorce is the final outcome.

Infidelity is extremely painful. It takes a lot of hard work to heal emotionally from it’s impact and to save a marriage – but it is possible. You can move beyond this difficult season in your relationship to a marriage that is stronger and healthier than ever before. I’ve experienced it in my own marriage and I’ve also worked with other couples to help them get there.

I offer you hope, encouragement, and support – call me today, and let’s get to work in helping you live “happily-ever-after”, after all!

The helpful tips above are referenced in part from Affair Recovery, which provides useful resources for couples in crisis.