Repairing a fractured marriage

Dog-gone it.  Sometimes marriage is so hard.  Sometimes, the imperfections of our spouse end up hurting us…deeply.  Your husband may have wounded you with an anger problem.  He may have cheated on you with porn or a real-life woman.  He may have spent more time with his hobbies than he did with you and the kids, and that really hurt.  Hopefully, he’s no longer doing those things.

However, even if he has made some positive changes, the wounding can be so severe that your heart might feel a little like a cracked egg. It’s kind of like Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and went splat!  Even if your husband repents, how can your heart be put back together again?

Here are two thoughts that may help.  First, ask God to give you the same kind of compassion for your husband that God extends to us when we mess up.  You might want to meditate on Colossians 3:12-14 which says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” 

Second, use this moment to examine your own actions and see if there is something God wants you to learn.  During some of the times in my life when I was most hurt by others, God gently showed me ways I contributed to the mess.  Have you been reacting to your husband’s behavior in disrespectful ways?  Have you avoided conflict and let resentment become toxic?  You and I probably both have some things we should learn.  Let’s commit to being humble and teachable.

How to bounce back

Almost every wife will eventually encounter a tough time in her marriage.  We’re all going to experience heartbreak and challenge in our lives in general.  The question is this.  Why are some people able to bounce back from adversity relatively quickly, and why do others seem to remain stuck?

At the risk of you hating me 🙂 …I’ll be honest and let you know that I tend to be very resilient.  After an initial period of shock and grief, I’m usually able to quickly pick myself up, dust myself off and move forward.  After pondering this ability with God, allow me share a 3-word insight that might help you become more resilient too.

I trust God.  Period. Three little words that mean everything!  I have decided to believe that God is in control and that His ways are perfect.  I have decided to believe that God can and will bring something good out of my hardship.  This is what we learn at the end of Joseph’s painful story in Genesis, where Joseph proclaims in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good...”   I also take heart from Romans 8:28, where God says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I can bounce back because I trust God and because He says He will never leave me nor forsake me.  Do you truly trust God?  It’s a decision you get to make, and it makes all the difference.

Learning to trust husband again

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.