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.
Don’t you sometimes wish you could silence the voices in your head? You may hear the voice that runs you down and reminds you of your failures…or conversely, you may hear a voice that tells you your husband is a loser and you’re doomed to a life of misery. Either kind of thought is from the pit of hell!
We MUST examine every thought rolling around in our heads and determine whether it’s true or whether it’s a twisting of the truth that’s inspired by Satan. Remember, Satan’s mission is “to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). He wants to slowly crush you with the weight of his lies about your value, your future and your husband.
2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to “take every thought captive” and we really need to do that. The next time a self-deprecating thought enters your mind, stop and ask God if this is really true. (I bet it won’t be!) The next time a hopeless thought enters your mind, ask God if it’s true. (I know it won’t be!). The next time you have the thought that your husband is beyond redemption, ask God if that’s true. (Absolutely not!). It’s time we stopped believing every thought that pops into our minds! We must intentionally pause and ask God whether that thought is true or from the devil. Here’s a simple, but hugely clarifying, question to ask yourself in that moment: “Does this sound like something God would say?”
I am on the war path…against the devil! I will not stand idly by while he tries to destroy the marriages of beautiful Christian wives who fall for his diabolical schemes. I should know all about his schemes because I fell into them in my first marriage. So heed my warning. I know from first-hand experience that Satan wants to lure your thinking down the wrong path.
You’ve probably heard the verse in John 10:10 where Jesus reveals Satan’s mission to “steal, kill and destroy”. Well, a primary tool of Satan is big, fat, rotten lies! Jesus reveals this in John 8:44 where, referring to the devil, he says, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Be on high alert for the devil to whisper lies that might sound something like this: “Your husband is a total jerk”, “Your marriage is hopeless”, “You deserve a different husband”, “You should file for divorce”, “Your kids would be better off if you divorce”, “You don’t need to listen to advice from your church friends who think you should work on your marriage.”, etc. These are big, fat, rotten lies from the pit of hell. Don’t be impulsive. Don’t rush into a divorce. Give God time to work on your husband…and on you!