Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity

Growthtrac Marriagec Medic

Q

My wife cheated on me and I don’t feel like I can ever trust her again. There are days when I still love her and other days when she repulses me. My emotions are all over the place. Some have even told me that I have grounds for divorce. I’m not sure what to do.

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A

When you married, you expected — and deserved – complete faithfulness. Trust is a foundational building block of any relationship. No wonder most couples establish and secure emotional and sexual fidelity before entering into a long-term commitment to each other. They expect this trust to never be broken. They live their lives assuming their trust will not be violated.

The statistics on infidelity, however, are sobering; nearly 50 percent of men and women have cheated at some point in their marriage. Unfaithfulness shatters the sanctity of marriage. It is no wonder Scripture speaks emphatically on this issue: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).

Since you shared your heart and soul with your wife, and expected complete faithfulness, it is no wonder your relationship was utterly shattered by her infidelity. Rebuilding trust after infidelity is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks any couple can accomplish. Once trust has been broken, especially in this way, it is incredibly challenging to rebuild it. Because your pain is so deep and severe, no wonder you question whether you can ever fully trust her again. Infidelity is unbearable and unspeakable, and recovery seems distant and nearly impossible. However, the good news is, you can work toward rebuilding that trust. Let’s explore how you can choose to rebuild your marriage and make it stronger than before.

Prepare for a long journey. While your trust was shattered in a moment, your journey to rebuild it will be arduous. Just as one makes effective plans when undertaking a difficult journey, so too must you prepare for a path with many ups and downs. You will have good days and bad days. Progress will be slow but sure.

Prepare for a journey together. Research indicates that the couple who “locks arms” in undertaking an emotional journey will do better than those who do not. Specifically, this means you and your wife must vow that with the Lord’s help, you’ll overcome all obstacles together. This begins with assuring her affair is completely over, and with setting healthy boundaries to ensure a sense of safety in your relationship.

Prepare for a journey shared with others. While it’s tempting to go into hiding, don’t. Find a few other couples who will encourage you. If possible, find a couple who has experienced infidelity and has grown through it. Lean on them. Allow others to uphold you in prayer and support.

Prepare to learn about each other. Your healing will take you into places you never were prepared to travel. You’ll experience pain you’ve never experienced before. You’ll have an opportunity to learn much about each other, especially why the affair happened. Explore the weaknesses within yourselves and your marriage. Perhaps with a trained specialist in marriage counseling, embrace the challenges you face together, discovering each other as if for the first time. Determine times when you will, and will not, talk about the affair.

Prepare to grow stronger together. As you discover why the affair occurred, seek to become healthier as a couple. Strengthen areas of intimacy and create a renewed excitement in your marriage. Find the weak areas of your marriage and strengthen them, reassuring each other that this will never happen again. You do not have to simply “go” through this ordeal, but can choose to “grow” through it.

Prepare to share your story with others. God tells us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Many who travel this incredible journey get to the other side ready to share about the miraculous healing with others who are doubtful. You may be that couple.

In summary, while your initial pain is unavoidable, ongoing suffering is optional. Choose to be overcomers, being one of the many couples who face this challenge with courage and tenacity. You really can grow through this experience and come out the other side stronger than ever.

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