Andrew G Marshall

Author & Marital Therapist

Does renewing your marriage vows help to move on after an affair?

December 12th, 2012 by Andrew G Marshall in Ask Andrew

What is your opinion on vow renewal after an affair?

Andrew writes:

I can certainly see the appeal, you stand up in front of everybody and say ‘I love you’ and ‘I’ll be faithful’. It draws a line under the past and allow you to start again. I’ve certainly had clients who’ve done just that. However, there is a but….. a big BUT.

It all seems so simple… too simple. In effect, it is one of those magical solutions that you can take down off the shelf and feel better. Unfortunately, it can also prevent you doing the work to recover from an affair – the talking, learning from mistakes and sorting out unresolved issues that you’ve previous shoved under the carpet: Do we have to go back to that again, haven’t we put all that behind us now?

Worse still, in my counselling room, I’ve seen new and important information about the affair (or in one occasion other examples of infidelity) revealled after the vow renewal and the discoverer is left feeling betrayed all over again.

So I’m in two minds, renewing your vows can certainly have a place in your recovery but only if it is truly the end of the process. A celebration of still being together, putting the cherry on the top of the cake. If however, it is a quick fix because the pain is just too great – in effect before you’ve even baked the cake – I think you could be storing up problems for the future.