Oh, thanks, Tad, I should read that! Sheila, A couple of things I would like to add to your points. Actions do speak louder than words, but there are a lot of words that will be needed. They have to open their very soul to the one that they betrayed. They have to show the betrayed through words and deeds that they are different. Time to grieve, yes.
Reader Question: I Cheated on My Husband–How Do We Rebuild?
The betrayer needs to feel what they have done to the one they betrayed. They also have to understand the power of flashbacks for the one they betrayed. But they are there whether we want them or not. We live their betrayal over and over. True repentance can not be underestimated and should probably be first on the list.
Without true repentance on the part of the betrayer, the rest of it is impossible. Nice things are good and they are needed, but only doing nice things is not good. Without repentance, without humility, without accountability, without real change, being nice, buy itself, quickly becomes emotional abuse. When the betrayer is only nice, and there is an absence of all the other things needed to heal a marriage, it tells the betrayed that their feelings, their pain, their very personhood is not important.
Everyone is capable of being nice to anyone. In fact, we as believers are called to be kind to everyone but that does not mean that we are intimate with everyone. Being nice, in the absence of all the other things needed to reconcile, is actually selfish because it is just trying to avoid bad things happening to yourself without doing the very hard work of repentance, and reconciliation. And, it is crazy-making for the betrayed. AND I deserve an award for it!
Yes, avoid being defensive because at this point it will probably come across as blame shifting. Answering questions and being specific. I think this really depends on the personalities and circumstances involved. But other peoples personalities need specifics and without them they will make up their own, which may be worse than what actually happens. I think it is Dr Glass that says in her book that some peoples personalities need to have the specifics to be able to heal. In my own situation, she refuses to tell me anything. I do need specifics to heal, but is is for a different reason.
I need for her to voluntarily tell me specifics that make her look really bad because I need to see evidence that she is convicted about her sin. I need to see that she can confess sin and work to make it right. I need to see that she can feel how much she has hurt me. I need to see that she has learned humility. Yes, the kids need to know in an age appropriate way. This shows them and the betrayed spouse that they are taking full responsibility for their actions even if there are hard consequences because of it. It tells the kids know that the betrayed spouse is having a hard time depression, moodiness, spontaneous weeping BECAUSE of the actions of the betrayer.
It shows the betrayed that the betrayer accepts responsibility and consequences for what happened. To me it sounds like this marriage was a mess before she cheated on him, and they BOTH have a lot of work to do. She may be trying to give Sheila a bigger look at their situation. And I left my husband a few months ago after he repeatedly cheated on me with no repentance, so I know what it feels like to be betrayed. Her cheating is not his fault.
But he has fault too: Ashley, Absolutely, they both have work to do and both are totally responsible for their own sin and actions. It is interesting that she points out more of his faults than her own. All she says about her own faults is that she cheated, and she dropped her friends. I would also be curious to know if she confessed, or if she got caught. There is a difference. I would agree that many times there is plenty of blame to go around when a marriage breaks down. But that is not always the case.
It does not always take two to destroy a marriage, all it takes is one selfish person. From your own situation, I am so sorry for that I would say that it was your husband that destroyed your marriage, not you! Were you a perfect wife? There are no perfect spouses. But now, the responsibility of reconciliation belongs to him. Because of his violation of the marriage covenant, he is the one that is responsible to start the reconciliation process. If you were to reconcile, would there be things you both have to deal with? Most likely, but his is the elephant in the room that has to be dealt with first.
Without that, there is no reconciliation. Taking full responsibility, no excuses, blame shifting or denials. Total honesty in ALL areas of life. Vulnerability, a willingness to share those things that make her look bad. Extreme accountability, full acceptance that she has lost the right to privacy, at least for awhile. A realization and acceptance that she has broken the marriage covenant, and that biblically he is not required to reconcile with her. It might be nice for her to tell him how much she appreciates it that he has not divorced her and that he is showing mercy to her and that he is willing to give her and the marriage another chance.
That would be equally sinful on his part. I would like to encourage the writer to work on saving her marriage.
It is devastating to children, no matter their age. Begin praying the Divine Mercy chaplet. On your own and then hopefully together, learn about the Theology of the Body. ToB is a recipe for marriage success. Grief and anger are very heavy and very time-consuming. When a marriage is already in jeopardy, the hurting partner may feel like adding anger and grief will only destabilize things further not to mention how hard it is emotionally to share your heart in the wake of betrayal.
Space and counseling are crucial, but having the offending partner take an interest in the pain — in spite of the discomfort it may cause — is also an accelerator to healing and forgiveness. That being said, the wounded spouse will at some point need to confront the reality that even the sincerest and best repentance will never really be able to cover the pain of adultery. At some point you have to make a decision about whether your spouse is trying their best, and if they are, whether you can extend the grace to bridge the gap and there will be a gap.
This is where you need the help of a master builder and grace-giver, so stay close to the word and stay in prayer. I hope there will be some women who have been through this situation and seen restoration who can jump on the comments…. Sheep…my heart aches for you…In my opinion there is only one thing worse than a women in an abusive relationship and thats a man. The isolation and shame is doubled.. Your wife is just bluntly arrogant! I had an emotional affair, never a physical affair. This does however not make it right, but after almost 4 years, should one still be punished?
He found out and he was so angered that he started to physically abused me, yet I stayed because I as wrong and I caused this to happen. After some time, when he would start up an argument, this would anger me and we would argue and physically fight with each other. We love each other but hate each other in the same sentence if that even makes sense.
At that stage we only had one child and he saw everything. I still feel like the worst mother ever and sometimes feel as if they would be better off without me. I am to coward to do anything about it but that is how I feel.
My husband cannot say that I have never tried making our marriage better. Our marriage took a big dip but we are trying. Praying and having faith that God will restore our marriage. He still needs to forgive, he is still carrying that hate in his heart. He obviously thinks that I will do it again but he will never be right again. I will not do it again, it hurt to much. Bled enough, had enough bruises and enough heart ache for an eternity. From now on I will do all I can to further our marriage. It sounds like there is a lot of violence in your marriage—that he is physically abusive towards you, and that you are also physically abusive towards him.
This is NOT healthy, for your or your children. If you are in danger, or your kids are in danger, please call the police. If you both tend towards violence to solve problems, please seek out counselling and learn to stop. Your children must not grow up in this, and you must find better ways to deal with things. God does not give us the right to punish another person. That is reserved for Himself and for governments. There is no excuse for him becoming violent or abusive toward you. Biblically, he is to forgive you whether or not you are repentant.
But reconciliation is going to depend on both of you working your tails off to make that happen. There is one thing you said that I would ask you to think about and pray about. These are the consequences that your sin caused you. After enough time, those pains and memories will fade. Repentance and change cant be based on you and the pain you felt. Repentance has to be based on the knowledge of how offensive our sin is to our holy God and how much our sin hurts the one who gave his very life for ME knowing full well how much we would sin against him.
To a lesser extent, our repentance must hold an element of knowing how much our sin hurt those we love the most. When our dedication to not doing it again is based on our own pain, it is far to easy to block that out and find an excuse to do it again. My husband confessed to using porn and every time we talked about it there was more and more he had left out of the initial confession.
It got to the point where he was thinking of leaving and even having a semi inappropriate connection with a woman at his work and watching really bad stuff in his hotel room while traveling with work. He even admitted to regularly looking at stuff in front of me in the house on his phone. We went through three years of extreme hardship.
We moved across the country. He broke his back in an accident. Had to get medically released from the military. My dad died with messy affairs we had to deal with, the people who sold us our house lied and concealed , of damages on our house. Our one daughter was severely depressed and the other was in rebellion. Add another move across the country all in three years. We went through this together. I thought we were a team. Yes it was a lot. It made his so angry, distant, critical and I felt something was off.
I prayed for him so much not even knowing what it was I was so burdened for. Hardship is not an excuse to sin. What angers me is I have confessed when tempted in my life and we pray together and it leaves. He was clean for seven years. The first time he confessed it was revealed to me in a dream and I shared it not understanding it. He then confessed it was him He walked through therapy, accountability, and many things staying clean for years.
A slip up in The early days of the army. Again worked through with pastors, counselling etc. He always confesses to me. The slip up were brief. This one he hid and allowed to essicalate for a year. I know we have an enemy who prowls looking for prey. In the past it was all about him and his sin issue. This time I feel more violated than ever.
Seriously if you are repentant then give no excuse other than you were lead by your own evil desires. Then you have a real beginning to rebuild your relationship. Then after peace is made with that can you go and repair the cracks in the wall that lead to this invasion of evil into your marriage.
By the way do we even share this with our kids? They are teens and young adults. I think one of the key things to moving forward in these kinds of situations-especially affairs-is to realize that the person cheating is trying to fill a void in themselves. Therapists usually point out the fact that the person cheating is chasing a fantasy version of their lives. Do you have any unresolved trauma from childhood or past relationships?
Do you have low self-esteem or low self-worth? Do you love yourself? In November of last year, my wife of 18 years told me she had lost all her feelings for me. That woke me from a long rut of depression and opened my eyes. I had to become a better man.
“If I start getting attached I get scared of being hurt again”
She said she would start seeing a counselor this week, and I hope that helps, but if anyone out there has hope to offer me, I am losing my grip. Jesus really can do the impossible. And if you cling to Him during this, He will carry you. And no matter what happens, He will still have you. I know this hurts terribly. But keep reading the Bible, if you can. Find verses to cling to and repeat during the day. The fact that she admitted it, though, and that she is going to counseling is a good sign.
This can be rebuilt. And in the meantime, you just have to get through it. Lots of good advise. As a wife who committed adultry 2 years in and still married 15 years later. It will take another of time to heal. We are still not fully healed but while we have had some marrital hell there has been a lot of good too. Pray, pray, pray, and pray some more.
“I knew he cheated on me, so I started revenge cheating”
I honestly would have left my marriage but always knew God was telling me to stay. There was a time I stayed our of obedience to the Lord, not because I wanted to. We started chatting, and it was just friendly; I would talk about my husband, and he would talk about his girlfriend. There was no flirting, just deep, interesting conversations. He lived two hours away from where I was, and my best friend happened to move about five minutes away from him. I was planning on visiting her one afternoon and asked the new guy if he wanted to go for brunch.
When we met up, sparks flew. I knew I was in trouble. My marriage was still doing fine, except that I kept thinking about the new guy when I was home. We started seeing each other every few weeks, and the discussions were so profound, the passion was so strong. This lasted five months. Then, one morning, I was sitting in the living room with my husband and we were just having a discussion when it occurred to me to ask him, completely out of the blue, if he had met someone else.
He had been seeing her for two months, and he loved her. Our whole break-up discussion lasted 20 minutes. I asked if he had a place to say and if I could keep the house. He went to take a shower, I packed some clothes for him and made him a lunch, we shared a very long hug, and he left. And that was it — the end of our marriage. Seven years later, I am happily living with the new guy and my ex is still with the woman he met while we were together.
Things could be really passionate because we were infatuated with each other, but when it was bad, it was really bad. I knew he had cheated on me and suspected that he continued to do so — I once found an earring in my room from a girl he had brought home the night before — so I started revenge-cheating back.
He told me every time he kissed another girl at the club or something, and I pretended not to be bothered. Then I would cheat on him out of anger. I had zero qualms about kissing other boys or even seeing other guys. I liked the attention from men who actually made me feel good about myself, and I liked that the attention I got made my boyfriend jealous. The person I cheated with the most often was an ex-boyfriend who had actually asked me to marry him years before, but I had said no.
I knew he adored me and would do anything for me, so I really exploited that. We went out for dinner, fooled around, and then I would ask him to drop me off at home… where my boyfriend also lived.