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A Fresh Start: Is it even possible after infidelity?

A Fresh Start: Is it even possible after infidelity?

A brand-new year is typically an opportunity for a fresh start. Most people look forward to cleaning the slate and making a fresh start with new goals and plans for the future. But, what about those of us whose past year included broken trust, betrayal, and infidelity? Is it even possible to start fresh after experiencing such deep wounds? Am I expected to forget the hurt and consequences of infidelity?

I believe it is possible to have a fresh start after infidelity. In fact, my husband and I are living proof that infidelity does not have to stop you from experiencing a new marriage with your current spouse. 

Yes, a fresh start is available to you.

What is a fresh start?

Here are some images of a fresh start:
  • Crumpling up a piece of paper and starting again with a fresh piece
  • Erasing the whiteboard of all its markings and beginning again
  • Gathering scraps of dough and making a new ball to roll out
I like the last image the best–the scraps of dough being gathered up and blended together to create a new ball of dough. If you’ve ever made cut-out Christmas cookies, you know what I’m talking about.
After I roll out some dough and cut out a batch of cookies, I am left with scraps of dough. They seem rather useless and ugly on their own–the broken pieces. But when I gather them, soften them in my hands, and allow them to blend together, they become another new ball of dough ready to create gorgeous cut-out cookies.
They have been transformed from nearly worthless to something of great worth.
This is the image of a fresh start. A fresh start, many times, includes the ugly parts and the broken pieces.
A fresh start is a transformation.

Yes, sometimes it requires crumpling up the old and starting with the new. Oftentimes though, you don’t have to remove what is already there. In fact, in many situations where we desire a fresh start, it’s impossible to remove the ugly parts. The only option for a fresh start is to use the broken pieces to create something new.

When our marriage was falling apart, I prayed a lot. But one prayer stands out to me the most, especially when I think of my piece of our fresh start:

Dear God, please give my husband a new wife, and let it be me. Amen.

(I found this prayer in the book, The Power of a Praying Wife.)

For the first several years of our marriage, I was a self-centered, bossy, easily-irritated wife. This way of life never actually satisfied me, and it was one of the factors that divided me and my husband. So, when I was faced with the demise of my marriage, I had a choice to make: create a fresh start with the broken pieces or believe the only way to a fresh start was through the removal of my marriage.

For me, God revealed that I had the opportunity for a fresh start in my marriage. Removing my circumstances–or removing my husband–was not the path God had for me. (For some people, God may lead them on a different path. The most important thing is that we follow God’s clear direction.)

How do I make a fresh start?

Do you want to know how my husband and I were able to create a fresh start for our marriage after several years of betrayal and infidelity?

Everyone loves a good “how-to.” In this age of information, we have access to a “how-to” article or video on just about anything. But there is only one source we can count on to provide exact, unchanging, true directions for all things in life. That source is God’s Word, the Bible.

For me and my husband, the truth revealed in God’s Word changed everything for us.

In fact, there are several bible passages that helped to guide us toward a beautiful fresh start for ourselves and our marriage. But the one verse that most clearly defines a fresh start for us is 1 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.

1 Corinthians 5:17

When we chose to live our lives surrendered to Christ, our fresh start began! As soon as I began to follow God’s guidance in the Bible on how to be a servant-hearted person, our dying marriage began to show signs of life. Once my husband committed his life to Christ, he was amazed at God’s forgiveness and, with new eyes, turned his attention toward our marriage and away from temptation.

Could it really be this simple? If you choose to believe in Jesus then a fresh start will begin?


And no.

Let me explain. Remember how I said that sometimes a fresh start includes the ugly parts? Choosing to live the life God has planned for me doesn’t mean I live a pain-free life. It doesn’t mean that the hurts of the past are somehow magically forgotten. But, following Jesus does mean that I began to see the world–and my own circumstances–through his eyes, with a godly perspective. I am a new creation, which means I view everything differently! The difficulties may still be in the not-too-distant past, but they do not define me, and they are most certainly not more powerful than God. 

Why should I make a fresh start?

Why Jesus? What does faith have to do with a failing marriage? What about the other options for a fresh start, like divorce?

First, this is a life-or-death decision. I am not trying to be dramatic. I’m being real. Choosing to follow Christ is choosing eternal life. Do you know where you will go when you die? If not, please consider this fresh start as your only option. (If you’ve never accepted Christ as your Savior, please check this out)

The success of your marriage is dependent on the depth of your faith.

We believe this wholeheartedly. As you grow closer to God, you will grow closer to your spouse. (see image below)

Yes, even your spouse who hurt you, cheated on you and lied to you. If they–and you–are willing to do marriage God’s way, the betrayal and broken trust will be redeemed.

Are there other choices for a fresh start? Of course. Life is full of options.

For some people–especially if a spouse has repeatedly broken trust or is deemed unsafe–dissolving the union is the only option. (If you are not safe, please get help!)

Sadly, many marriages are ending in divorce long before one of these two presents itself. In other words, ‘irreconcilable differences’ is not a quality reason for a fresh start outside of your marriage. After all, God hates divorce, (Malachi 2:16) even though he allows it in the case of infidelity (Matthew 5:32).

Here’s something we ask the couple we serve guide: Have you done everything you can possibly do to save your marriage?

In other words, have you surrendered your life to Christ, asked God for help, searched your own heart, admitted your own mistakes, turned away from temptation, loved your spouse well (even when they are not love-able), sought out godly counsel to guide you toward healing, and trusted the outcomes to your Creator?

If not, will you consider making a fresh start with God as your guide?

When should I make a fresh start?

Now. Now is the time.

Infidelity is extremely painful for both spouses and their families. It can feel impossible to imagine a fresh start for your marriage. But, friend, hear this: With God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26) Your fresh start begins with Him.

So, gather up the ugly parts, the broken pieces, and all the hurts. Allow God to soften them and mold them into a new creation. May 2023 be the year you have a fresh start–for you and your marriage.

Has your marriage been divided by infidelity? 


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Side By Side

Side By Side Music, Inc is registered as a 501(c)3 Non-profit organization by the IRS.

Side By Side guides marriages divided by infidelity to journey from hurt to hope.


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