1. Stop the affair.
2. Disclose the details and tell the truth. "You can't have trust again until everything comes out in the open," says Paul A. Tieman, a licensed marriage and family therapist and ELCA pastor.
3. Quit blaming and shaming. Start empathizing. You each contributed somehow to this crisis, so try to understand the other's feelings. "Re-create love by connecting with each other and giving to each other," Tieman says. "Then you'll have more going on between you than just conflict."
4. Say you're sorry. "The partner having the affair has to show remorse, and the other partner has to receive that apology," Tieman says. "Some partners keep ranting and raving, but they sabotage themselves in the long run."
5. Get into therapy. The feelings you both are experiencing are volatile and intense. You need a safe place to express them and professional guidance to get past the pain.
6. Find solid support. "Our society doesn't always support commitment, but congregations can," says L.W. McCallum, professor of family life at Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill.
7. Forgive each other. "You don't forget. You never will," McCallum says. "This event will always be part of your relationship. The trick is to get past it and build something new together."
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers