This week’s author interview is with Michael Gembola. He is the author of After an Affair: Pursuing Restoration in our 31-Day Devotionals for Life series.


  • Question #1 — Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

I grew up in South Carolina, lived in Philadelphia for a decade or so, and then made it partway home by landing in Virginia. My time outside of work largely goes to my family – Kelly and I have two little boys who keep our house loud and fun. We try to get outside, see the mountains nearby, take walks, and drop into coffee shops and farmer’s markets, but more often we’re around the house playing basketball or sitting by the firepit.


  • Question #2 — When did you first want to write a book?

In high school I started writing a book of poetry, but I look back and cringe at all of it. In college I was an English major and went to a journalism school briefly after college, so writing has always been a part of the picture. Becoming a counselor led me to write in order to figure out how to understand new ideas for myself, but the only books I have the motivation to write are ones that I hope will fill a gap for people I’m caring for.


  • Question #3 — Which writers inspire you?

Some ancient and modern favorites who consistently inspire me are George Herbert, Augustine, Gregory the Great, John Perkins, David Powlison, and Diane Langberg.


  • Question #4 — What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

I got advice early on as a professional counselor that I should find my focus area and build expertise. I certainly never planned for that to be adultery. But in those early years I found myself frustrated in trying to offer help. I didn’t feel that I was communicating well to people on this issue, and there were so many people wanting to be restored after affairs. I had an idea of what needed to happen to help put a marriage back together, but I was sobered by the challenge of how the person being restored can make the necessary transitions, from hiding and resentment to openness and care.

This challenge was further complicated by the fact that the people I met with frequently felt misunderstood by their spouses, and perhaps also by me. I hadn’t lived their experience. And though I figured I could get inside their perspective reasonably well, I knew that their perspective had to change in key ways if they were to going to speak healing words to their spouses. There had to be some kind of educational piece, and I became aware that it wasn’t likely to happen on its own.

So I wrote a short, informal workbook that I never intended to publish, just to print and let people use. P&R invited me to revise the material in the context of a devotional, which was exciting to me, since it made the material decidedly more oriented to the person’s relationship with God. It took my workbook and shifted the focus to spiritual growth, though not necessarily away from personal and marital growth.This shift was a perfect fit for what the people I counsel are looking for. The believers I’ve met with after adultery who want to restore their marriages are eager to reconnect with God. Sometimes they say they feel clueless as to what needs to change in their perspective or in their manner of engaging their spouses. But they have known they want to come back to God. My hope is that a topical devotional can meet them where they are and invite them to places they aren’t yet aware they need to go.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?