He says he’s sorry. You still don’t trust him. Now what?

You’ve been betrayed, and you know you have to forgive. But does that mean you also have to trust?  What’s the difference? This is a dilemma I hope we can sort out together.  Let me give you my take on it:

1.  You can decide to forgive your husband. In fact, no matter how deeply he’s hurt you, the Lord’s commandment on this is clear (Mark 11:24-25, 26) and there’s no “escape clause” in these verses for angry, hurting wives. If you read these verses, you’ll see Jesus teaching that unforgiveness stands in the way of answered prayer!  We all want our prayers answered, so please reconsider if you’re holding on stubbornly and refusing to pardon.   Plus, the text goes on to say that if you don’t forgive (him), He won’t forgive you!

2. To forgive doesn’t mean to pretend you’re not angry or hurt, nor does it mean you can’t establish boundaries or terms when necessary. But it does mean you give up the right to punish your husband, retaliate against him, keep bringing his sin up, or “rub his nose in his it.”

3. Forgiveness is ongoing. Sometimes you have to renew the decision to forgive several times a day, I know.  But when you feel you can’t go on, remember that a decision to forgive is an act of faith and trust in God—in His ways, His faithfulness and His promises to you. 

4.  You can’t necessarily decide to trust. Think about it –if the pilot of an airplane crashed the plane you were on, and you survived, you could forgive him. But it wouldn’t be fair to ask you to jump right back onto another plane with him!  You’d be pretty nervous and uneasy.  Forgive him?  Okay.  But that doesn’t mean you’re ready to put yourself in his hands again.

Trust is Not Blind
Trust is not trust if it is placed blindly. God Himself doesn’t demand that of us.  It’s not consistent with His character. He asks us to trust and believe in Him based on His own demonstrated faithfulness and credibility.  And so it is in marriage:  in order to begin to trust again, we have the right to expect that our husbands begin to demonstrate faithfulness and credibility, especially after a betrayal.

So talk this over with your husband. Explain that you will decide to forgive, but trust, once it’s been broken, has to be rebuilt. And that takes time. In the clearest terms possible, tell him what you need to see him do in order for you to begin trusting him again.  This should include him getting some accountability, both of you going to couple’s counseling with a pastor or Christian counselor, and you seeing your husband take his walk with God seriously by building himself up in prayer and in the Word.

It Takes Times and Consistency
My husband often tells his clients that time and consistency are the two elements that rebuild trust. Over a period of time, if you see your husband consistently apply himself to addressing the damage he’s done by putting in place structure and relationships that will keep him accountable, and working towards seeing that it never happens again, you can (and will) trust again.

Key Verse
“He has shown you, O [wo]man :) what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act  justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
-Micah 6:8

Resources
The Game Plan: The Men’s Thirty Day Strategy for Attaining Sexual Integrity
by Joe Dallas

Two-Day Counseling Intensives (Men and Couples)
with Joe Dallas

I Surrender All: Rebuilding a Marriage Broken by Pornography
by Clay and Renee Crosse

Comments

  1. JoDee,
    I feel so bad for you. I can see you’re really sad and hurting – 5 months into this, it’s still really a fresh wound. I suppose if you’re husband asked if you could be friends, that’s his way of saying he wants to try, but he’s not sure what he can promise you. Perhaps you can tell him that if you say yes, your friendship has to be based on the truth from here on out, no more secrets, and you guys will agree to both be respectful and considerate. So, if there’s no sex for now, so be it. But at least it will be tolerable for you. And who knows, it might take some of the pressure off and help you communicate better. I’ll be praying for you, JoDee.

  2. It has been 5 months now since I found his male porn.It is still very painfull but I have lived threw the shock.At this time I am just going threw the motions of living when I am with him. I will not let him touch me since he told me he has had to look at male porn before he can make love to me. I really feel used and I feel like a fool for not seeing it. I am reading threw Psalms and I find comfort there. I am working on accepting that he will always think about men and have to fight the thoughts off.
    He asked me if we could be friends. I do not know if I want a friend who can hurt me again with his secrets. I am praying for wisdom and strength. JoDee

  3. JoDee, Thank you for your honesty. I will be praying for you through this difficult time in your life and marriage. Sue

  4. We saw our couples counselor on Tue. He suggested a “date” and to talk only what we are dong right at that time. Yesterday we went on a small road trip just the two of us. We went to a museum and ate in a train dinner car made into a resteruant. We has a nice time. There was no crying and we just talked about small stuff. I slept therw the night peacefully for the first time in months. We even held hands some.

    For other women going threw your husbands secret SSA just know you are not alone
    JoDee

  5. JoDee,
    I’m so glad to hear you’re seeing a counselor and things a feeling a little better. But I think you’re right about getting support for yourself, apart from that for exactly the reason you mentioned. Some things are better dealt with in a separate place.

    I’ll be looking forward to getting your registration for the group and getting to know you better during our 12 weeks. Just click on the banner ad on the right hand corner of this site and it will take you to the registration page. If you have any questions about it, please let me know. I’ll be keeping you in my prayers, JoDee. Talk with you soon. -R

  6. Hi Renee, Thank you for your response. I have decided to sign up for the Online Support Group.I know I need some support and I want christian guidence. We are starting to see a couples counselor who attends a church and claimes he is a Christian. His advive for us to start is to start talking about our happy memories about out two children. I am crying less and I am reminding myself that God loves my husband. He is a good man and was a good dad and grandfather. His SSA is not all he is. I know I need some help alone becasue there are things I can not tell my husband. JoDee

  7. Jonathan,
    I am so glad to hear from you, so don’t feel like you’re horning in on our conversation! It is difficult to talk to your wife about your unwanted sexual attractions, and I think it probably is more appropriate to talk to a counselor or get into a support group anyway for this. Your wife should never be your accountability partner, and it seems like you have a sense that this is true.

    I would recommend a couple things for you to start with in getting help. First, I’d recommend getting some books that can educate you – that won’t be expensive and will help you immensely. My husband’s book Desires In Conflict would be a really good one to start with, and then maybe The Game Plan. Just click on the links to find out how to get them.

    Secondly, I’d recommend Exodus International to find out where there is a ministry near you. They are the biggest referral agency for this type of ministry and I think you’ll find alot of information there and most likely a support group that will be accessible.

    As you get the support you need and start into your recovery process, you will have to start having some conversations with your wife about how it’s going and how she is doing with this. I would recommend her getting some support too, as this is not just a one-sided thing when you’re married. I have a support group for wives starting August 25. The WifeBoat 12-Week Online Support Group. Just click the link for more information. If she wants to, she can also email me privately through the contact form on this website.

    Hope all this helps, Jonathan. Please stay in touch and let us know how you’re doing. God Bless and keep you by His power and give you everything you need. -R

  8. JoDee,
    I am so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. As you said, it must be a horrible shock to learn about this after a 43 year marriage. And the questions you ask are valid. The problem is that, as with all traumatic events in our lives, it will take a while to work through all the emotions, and make decisions. So you will need to have support in order to sort things out and determine what steps you’ll need to take. In my experience, that is what people do who best able to work through something like this and arrive at some sort of stability.

    Please check out my online support group, which will be starting late August, and I would also recommend reading my husband’s book When Homosexuality Hits Home which you can get at http://www.joedallas.com. Please also seek support as soon as possible, though, through your pastor or a trusted Christian counselor. If you are unable to find one in your area, please check my husband’s website for information on phone counseling.

    Now is the time to take care of yourself, JoDee. Please stay in touch and let us know how you’re doing. I hope to hear back from you. -R

  9. After 43 years and then finding that my husband has SSA I am still in Shock. I have had a world wind of emotions from hate to love. I want to stay but I am not sure we can ever get back to loving him. Has anyone else lived threw this? What do you tell your family? Or do we keep this a secret and try towork it out.

  10. Jonathan says:

    I am sorry to horn in. But I need some help. I am a married man (30 years) and I have had ssa my entire life, I am 48 years old. My wife knows but I can’t talk to her about it, shame, emberassment, whatever. I have agreed to get help. But my question is this; where do I find someone that I can talk to? Our income is not great and I can’t afford to pay someone. Is there a group or support system for people such as me? I need help, I feel as though I will go nuts. I am frustrated and ashamed. Any information will help. Thank You

  11. My husband of 43 years admmits to SSA , but only after I found his porn. He claims he has not always been this way. We have started seeing a councler. He told me he doesn’t get excited when I am naked; but he doesn’t get excited when he sees men either. He said he has to be touched. Will I ever be able to let him touch me again? I cry a lot and I am depressed. I can hardly look in his eyes. I have known for 3 months but I still cry a lot. I do not want him to see me dress or undress so I asked him to sleep in the spare room. I feel like I lost my husband,lover,best friend, and our dreams of our retirment. Can I ever trust him again? JoDee

  12. Kathy:

    Please take a look at the posts under SSA topics to get more of other women’s feedback and comments. I hope this will be helpful to you. Stay in touch. -R

  13. Kathy Gill says:

    Thank you for all of your stories. I do not feel alone but I wonder still if anybody understands my plight is very different. My husband was at a very low point in his life an considered suicide because he didn’t think I cared about him. He said he had SSA before but thought that he might could find a friend that would understand him more. He now has a gay friend whom I feel they have been physical with each other. He says he wants to work on our marriage but cannot trust me about caring for him and refusses to give up the friendship with the gay guy. I don’t want a divorce but I am having trouble excepting a friendship between the 2 of them. I don’t have the courage yet to tell him he has to do anything.

  14. Cynthia says:

    You are not alone, Macie. This is a fantastic network of ladies who are here for you, praying for you. So glad your husband will be getting some help. You will need it too!

  15. I am so glad to not feel alone. I too recently found out about my husband’s SSA. He swears that it has never gotten physical. He has admitted to internet porn. I am struggling with the “why me?” I had no signs, it just finally came out. We have always had a good relationship, a good sex life, a deep friendship – I am still in shock. Do the questions ever go away??? I want to keep asking him the same ones over and over. and to God I want to ask, why me? I am a nice girl from a great Christian home. We have 2 yong children. He is already starting counseling so that is a step in the ight direction. He also is going to go a men’s healing retreat in a few weeks. I am hopeful that he is see some healing, but do his desires ever go away? I am also not interested in divorce, that seems a worse option at the moment. Thank you for allowing me to vent. I hope to see more replies soon. All you women and your stories are truly a blessing to me.

  16. Cynthia says:

    Karen, I feel your frustration.I have suspected for over three years that my husband has SSA, especially since he finally admitted that he had been in homosexuality before he met me.It has been awful for us too and the way I would describe my feelings would be feelings of panic at times, flight, and being caged with no way of escape. I, like you, don’t want a divorce. After all, I’ve invested 23 years into this, and I don’t want our kids to come from a broken home. I don’t know if your husband is willing to go to counseling but it would be a big help if he were. My husband refuses and says he has rehabilitated himself so he doesn’t need it. Renee wrote above about trust and forgiveness and it has been a big help to me. Find a counselor and go, even if it’s every other week. Things can become clearer when you can talk to someone you trust. Get a support for yourself. I’ll be praying for you.

  17. Karen,
    I’m so sorry to hear about the rough time you have been having in your marriage. If you’ve asked your husband and he denies he’s having SSA, are you able to talk more with him about your feelings? Or is the communcation just shut down? You don’t mention the specifics of why you can’t take much more, but I suspect that lack of communication is part of it. Have you suggested counseling to him?

    If he does not want to go, perhaps you should consider getting some for yourself. The buden you’re carrying is too much, and you need someone to help you sort out things and to comfort you. Talking with someone can give your perspective and help you get a sense of control that you may not be feeling right now. I think that’s when we get most depressed — when we don’t feel like we have any options, and we have no one to understand us and grieve with us. I hope you’ll look into counseling with your pastor or women’s minstry leaders, or even a trusted friend. If you haven’t already done so, please check out my WifeBoat Just for Today list, because I think that will help give you some things to do to help you get through this situation. Here’s the link to it — you can print out the pdf version and keep it onhand. WifeBoat Just for Today List

    Karen, I hope you’ll check back with us here to let us know how you’re doing… the women on this blog have responded to each other in a very caring way and I know they would like to know how you’re doing, and so would I. Please take good care of yourself. -R

  18. Karen Rawlings says:

    I have recently come to believe that my husband struggles with SSA. It’s been 3 years since I first suspected. He still denies it adamantly.We have gone thru some awful times in those 3 years.I love him and do not want a divorce but I’m not sure I can take much more.I believe in Jesus Christ with all my heart and I want to do his will.Where do I go from here? -Karen

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