Learning to rebuild trust after lies & betrayal

Betrayal in marriage is so devastating.  Betrayal takes many forms…adultery, use of pornography, excessive gambling, alcohol or drug abuse, etc.   If your husband betrayed you in some way, you know the resulting heartbreak first-hand.  If your husband has finally repented of this behavior, praise God!  However, there’s almost always a secondary, deep issue that needs to be dealt with…regaining trust.  That’s because betrayal is almost always engulfed in lies.  The husband who has an affair does so in secret and deceives his wife about his whereabouts.  The husband who has an alcohol problem usually drinks secretly and lies about his drinking.

So, how does a wife learn to trust after betrayal?   Well, the first part is up to you.  You must clearly communicate what you need from your husband in order to begin to trust him again.  Here is what I suggest.  Let him know you will only be able to begin trusting again if you see him taking actual steps toward serious accountability and recovery.  I would also let him know that he needs to show that he is willing to do the hard work of recovery over the long haul, not just a few weeks.  This is the essence of Matthew 3:8, which instructs us to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”

You need to see fruit, week after week and month after month.  That “fruit” may involve long-term counseling, a treatment program, long-term involvement with a 12-step group such as AA, etc.  The fruit should also mean willingness on his part to honestly account for his time, money, and computer use.

All that being said, remember to treat your husband with the same kindness, compassion and humility that you would want him to treat you if you were struggling with an addiction or had stumbled in some major way.  Your husband is NOT your enemy!  He needs you to encourage him, while also firmly requesting that he do the hard work to regain your trust.

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