There is one question I get asked all the time. Once a wife has discovered that her husband has been unfaithful, she says, “Carol, he has told me that he’s ended the affair, but how can I trust him?”
Quite honestly, the answer is that you can’t. You can’t believe words; you can only believe behaviors and actions. I have found that there are few husbands who will be completely honest about being unfaithful until they have been caught. If they knew what the consequences of their actions would be – their lies, their deception, their infidelity and their cheating – they would have avoided it at all costs.
Usually, husbands will minimize what they’ve done. They’ll say things like:
• “We were just friends.”
• “It was an emotional affair.”
• “It wasn’t sexual.”
• “We only had sex a few times.”
There aren’t many husbands who are honest about disclosing the details of an affair, and there are a few reasons for this.
1. He wants to protect himself. He may tell you that he’s trying to protect you, but that isn’t true at all. He’s trying to protect himself.
2. He wants to avoid any further consequences because of his behavior.
3. He’s very concerned about looking good. That’s why he’s not being honest about what he has done.
Numbers 32:23 says, Be sure, your sin will find you out.
There is so much truth in that verse.
I once had a client, and we had disclosed that there had been an infidelity. The husband assured his wife that he had told her everything there was to tell her. However, as we continued to work together, he became convicted because he had only dribbled the truth out, bit by bit. Finally, he admitted that he hadn’t been totally honest.
Her response was, “You burned the house down once; and now you’ve burned it down again.” What she meant was that they had started to rebuild on a brand new foundation, and because he hadn’t been completely honest with her, they had to start all over again.
Complete openness and honesty are the only solutions for ending an affair and rebuilding your trust in your husband and in your marriage. Ladies, it’s not the honesty that causes us pain. It’s the dishonesty. It’s not the truth that drives you crazy. It’s the deception.
Most husbands think that their wives can’t handle the truth, and beneath that, lies manipulation and disrespect. You have already been victimized by his infidelity, but by not getting the truth about his behaviors, you’re being victimized twice.
God has given you intuition, and once the truth comes out, everything else begins to become clear. This is exactly what happened to me. My husband would come home at night and I knew things weren’t right. Finally, I looked at him and said, “You’re here, but not really.” Once I discovered his infidelity, all the pieces of the puzzle started to fit together. Everything became clear.
Your husband is in no place to bargain; especially if he is serious about wanting to rebuild your trust. This relationship with his lover must end for life, and there is a way to do it.
You end an affair with one, final phone call.
For your phone call, he calls his lover, and he puts you on speakerphone. He lets her know that you’re there. This is his final goodbye to her, and he needs to state that he’s been selfish, and that he cares about you and his family. He needs to tell her that he’s going to do everything he can to protect his family. Then he tells her that he is rebuilding his marriage and he’s ending his relationship with her forever.
There will be no more phone calls, text messages, Facebook messages or face-to-face meetings with her. They will never see each other again. He does not mention anything to her about the hurt this may have caused her or how sorry he is. He ends the phone call at that point.
This phone call begins the process of you believing that he is finished with his lover, and solely focused on working on your marriage. Please understand that this is only the first step. It’s going to take many other steps of consistently and persistently rebuilding your trust, but this is how you can know for sure that he has ended the affair.
Have you recently found out that your husband has been having an affair? My job is to help Christian women heal from broken trust, fulfilling their desire to be valued, secure and fully loved. I would love to help you. Please feel free to contact me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or book a complimentary call to see how I might best support you, and let’s set up a time to talk about the challenges you’re facing.
Discovering that your spouse has had an affair you causes a range of emotions. You’re hurt, you’re confused, and eventually, you become angry. In this situation, you’re right to be angry because of what he has done. However, it’s important to understand that the anger you’re experiencing is only a temporary emotion, and there are right ways and wrong ways to express it, according to God’s Word.
YOUR ANGER AT YOUR SPOUSE’S AFFAIR AND YOUR INITIAL RESPONSES
Once the anger stage sets in, we rarely think rationally about our responses. At that point, we’re basically operating solely on our emotions, and that can be a dangerous place to be. Have you reacted in any of these ways?
Verbally bashing your spouse – Responding verbally can mean calling your spouse names, looking for excuses to get into shouting matches with him, or putting him down any chance you get. These responses only lead to resentment and they don’t do anything to heal your marriage, or your heart.
Non-verbally bashing your spouse – It is possible to bash your spouse in non-verbal ways, and we do this with gestures, with angry looks, or even just purposefully ignoring them.
Suppressing your anger – You feel angry on the inside, but you’re working really hard to hold it in. Maybe you don’t want to give in to it because you’re afraid it will make you appear weak, or it’s possible that you just don’t want to start an argument. This type of response might seem like the right one at first, but it can lead to a host of mental and physical problems for you later on.
Passive-aggressive behavior – Some become masters at passive aggressive anger, and maybe you have too. You may “forget” to complete a task your spouse has asked you to do, or you might begin being chronically late, or respond to them with sarcasm.
Complaining about your spouse – We often refer to this as “venting” and everyone feels as though they have the right to vent at some point. However, what you’re really doing is complaining, and you’re only feeding into the anger you already feel, instead of helping to heal it.
Physical aggression – Some act out in physically aggressive ways, and while they might not hit their spouse they will hit walls, throw objects across the room, or break things. It might feel good in the moment to react in this way, but it’s certainly not healthy.
ANGER ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD
It may feel right for you to respond with emotional anger, but that kind of response never really helps you find a solution. God knew that we were all going to struggle with anger at some point in our lives, but in His wisdom, He provided us with self-control. If you’re not careful, anger can drag you into sin, and that’s something you want to avoid. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “When you’re angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no room or foothold for the devil.”
Is your anger over your spouse’s affair righteous? Yes, it is. However, as Christians, we want to be sure we’re responding in ways that are righteous too.
Working with a Christian Marriage Coach can help you understand the root of your anger so that you can deal with it in ways that will help you, and not harm you. If you would like to talk with me about your personal situation, please contact me at 843-379-0288. You can also make an appointment through my online scheduler. Together, I’m confident that we can work through the source of your anger and help you find the healing you need.
It’s fairly common to hear couples say that they refuse to forgive their spouses because for them, forgiveness means that the wrong behavior is OK. I think it’s important for us to remember that the world has a false idea of what forgiveness is, and in order to properly define it, we need to go back to God’s Word. Is forgiveness the same as reconciliation?
In Romans 13:8, it says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.”
The world believes that forgiveness isn’t a necessary part of life, nor should it be a necessary part of marriage. Worldly experts are constantly advising people to hang onto their anger as a way to protect themselves from getting hurt again. However, some actually advise the opposite. They tell people who have been hurt that they can’t trust their emotions, and they need to push those negative thoughts out of their minds and continually forgive, regardless of how they feel. Many experts even believe that as long as you pray, all of your resentments will be healed and gone.
As you can see, the so-called “expert” opinions on forgiveness vary so much that it’s hard to know what you should believe. While some of these opinions might sound OK on the surface, they are wrong. The truth is that unforgiveness and resentment has a tendency to fester. It can and will eat at you, and eventually it will kill your love for the person you’re refusing to forgive. However, forgiveness cannot be done overnight. It’s a process that does take time.
In addition, it’s important to understand the differences between forgiveness and reconciliation.
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IS FORGIVENESS THE SAME AS RECONCILIATION?
Perhaps you’ve been holding onto some type of hurt because you don’t want to be reconciled with your spouse; at least not yet. As a result, you’re refusing to forgive. You don’t have to reconcile with your spouse the moment you forgive him or her, and the two things are really very different.
Forgiveness is about you extending mercy and grace to the person who hurt you. Remember, mercy is when you get something you don’t deserve to get, while grace is when you don’t get what you do deserve. When you forgive, you’re setting your offender free, and you’re placing that person on God’s “hook” instead on yours. You’re not denying the fact that you were hurt because that would not be possible. Instead, you’re giving yourself permission to feel the hurt and then you’re releasing it so that it doesn’t have power over you any longer. Furthermore, forgiveness only takes one person – you. Reconciliation takes two people.
THE 3 STAGES OF FORGIVENESS
Forgiveness generally happens in stages, and it’s not something that can occur all at once. It’s essential to go through the stages of forgiveness before you can actually forgive. Those stages are:
#1. Facing the Offense: You have to face the reality of the negative effect the offense has had on your life. You also need to realize that being treated that way is not something that’s OK with you.
#2. Feeling the Offense: If you refuse to feel the pain you’re in, you’re actually denying that pain. Denial is not something you want to live in.
#3. Forgiving the Offender: Choosing to forgive is often the hardest thing to do, but it can also be the most rewarding, even if you never get an apology. Remember, forgiveness is not about forgetting what happened, but it is about releasing the debt of the person who caused the pain.
Are you struggling with unforgiveness? I’ve worked with many women over the years who were trapped by unforgiveness. If you’re waging this battle, I’d like to help you find the healing you need to forgive and move on.
If you’d like to talk with a Christian marriage coach about working toward forgiveness, I’d love to help you. Please contact me at 843-379-0288. You can also contact me through my online scheduler for a free complimentary call. I’m available face to face, over the phone or via video call. When you hold onto unforgiveness, the only person who truly suffers is you. With the right kind of professional help, you can embrace forgiveness and freedom from those heavy chains.