When trust in a marriage is broken, it’s one of the hardest things in the world to move past. When you’re faced with the harsh reality that your spouse has made the decision to look elsewhere for their satisfaction, it can leave you feeling inadequate, angry, jealous, broken, and any other number of emotions.
Is there hope for a marriage when trust is broken? Can you restore the trust that once held you together? Yes, but it won’t be easy.
On the day that you and your spouse stood in front of your friends and family and took a vow to love, honor, and cherish one another until death separated you, neither of you were planning on infidelity.
In that moment, the thought of breaking the bonds of matrimony was probably a laughable concept, as neither of you would ever want to do anything to damage the love that you were declaring in that moment. But then, something happened, and the trust was broken.
In fact, it wasn’t just broken, it was completely obliterated.
Maybe you were the one who broke the trust of your partner. Or perhaps you just found out that your spouse has been unfaithful.
This study isn’t about placing blame or identifying who is the one that broke the trust in the marriage. You and your spouse are already aware of who did that. Instead, we’re going to look to God’s Word to determine whether or not trust can be rebuilt in your marriage.
There are a few things to be cleared up before we jump in. If you and your spouse are going to try to rebuild your marriage, simply applying the teachings of this study probably won’t be enough on its own.
Instead, you should immediately contact your pastor or a Christian marriage counselor. In some cases, you should probably contact both. Working with someone who is trained in counseling, and can provide unbiased, Scriptural advice is an important part of rebuilding your marriage.
Secondly, it’s important that you and your spouse commit yourselves to the process. If the partner who cheated continues the flirtatious behavior the led to the infidelity during the rebuilding process, this is not going to work.
In the same vein, if the spouse who was a victim of infidelity spends all day every day verbally tearing down the offending party because of what they did, the rebuilding process becomes much less likely.
Finally, before we get into this study, let’s clear up one thing: this is not a “get fixed quick” thing. The process of rebuilding trust in a marriage where trust has been broken will not be quick or easy. Instead, this process can take months or even years.
There is hope for a marriage where trust has been broken, but it takes both partners committing to a lengthy process. This study can provide a healthy starting point, but you should certainly seek the counsel of Godly professionals.
The Grieving Process
Isaiah 43:2 (ESV)
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
There’s no doubt about it, facing adultery in your marriage presents a grieving experience. If you’re the spouse who was cheated on, you are left to grieve the fact that the marriage that you thought you were going to have has died.
That sounds like a brutally harsh statement, but it’s true. That doesn’t mean that God can’t resurrect it, but you will face a grieving process associated with the loss of something that you had believed in.
If you’re the spouse who broke the trust of your partner, you have your own grieving process to deal with. Not only do you have to grieve the fact that things may never be exactly like they were before, but you also have to face the grief associated with the sin that you committed.
Undoubtedly, you’re dealing with the same of the hurt that you caused your spouse, but you also have to face the fact that you sinned against God.
The important thing to remember about your grieving process is that you’re not in it alone. The partner who broke the trust in the marriage doesn’t understand the pain that the victim of the infidelity is facing.
Similarly, the partner who was victimized doesn’t understand the shame that the offending party is dealing with. In that sense, the two of you may not be able to grieve together. However, you can allow the Holy Spirit to minister to both of you during this time as God walks with you in your grief.
Watch Your Words
Proverbs 18:21 (ESV)
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
It’s important to remember that the emotions that are raging at this point in your marriage are very real and very raw. The temptation to say hurtful words to your spouse will be strong during this season of your marriage.
One of the reasons that it’s a good idea to work with a Christian marriage counselor if you’re trying to rebuild your marriage is found in the fact that he or she will be able to help you find ways to “fight fairly.”
It’s important that you share how you’re feeling in the middle of your pain, but the Bible is clear about the importance of the words that we use, even when we’re hurting.
If you’re dealing with the pain of being cheated on, it may be tempting to say words like, “I’ll never forgive you!” In the moment, there’s a good chance that you truly believe that. However, the Bible speaks at length about forgiveness and the importance of extending it as freely as we want it.
Similarly, if you’re the offending party, you may find yourself tempted to place blame on your spouse for pushing you to infidelity. That’s also unscriptural, as the Bible teaches us that people sin when they’re drawn away by their own lusts (James 1:14). Watch your words with your spouse.
Being Picky About Advice
Proverbs 13:10 (ESV)
By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.
Finally, the importance of being choosy about who you share your journey with cannot be overstated. As we’ve said multiple times, it’s important that you work with your pastor or a Christian marriage counselor during this season in your marriage. However, there are other things that you’ll need to consider.
Things are obviously going to be a bit different while you work to rebuild your marriage. You will probably need to spend more time working on your marriage than you spend going out with the couples that you have been friends with. While this can open up the possibility of some people asking questions, it’s important that you are selective about what you share and who you share it with.
As the spouse who has suffered the pain of infidelity, there will be people in your life who tell you that you should immediately divorce your partner. However, if you’ve committed to rebuilding your marriage, it’s clear that you’re trying to avoid that.
As the spouse who broke your marriage vows, you may have people in your life who try to condone what you did and put the blame on your spouse. That’s not Godly counsel, as there is no Biblical support for committing adultery.
Be careful about who you open yourself and your marriage up to. If there are people in your life who are not supportive of your decision to rebuild, you will need to decide how you want to handle those relationships. Your counselor and most importantly, the Holy Spirit can guide you in this area.
A Closing Prayer:
Father, I know that my marriage has been broken by infidelity. While it doesn’t seem like trust can be rebuilt, I know that You are a God of resurrections and restoration. Help us take the steps necessary to rebuild this union. In Christ’s name, Amen