I feel like I have been hearing more stories lately than I can count of a husband hurting a wife. (I know, I know, it goes both ways; but the majority of my experience is working with women, so…) I have heard too many tales of lies and hidden things and inappropriateness and infidelity. It makes my stomach turn.
And I’ve heard women recount how their husbands would try to make them feel badly about not trusting them, or would try to turn things around on them, or would try to rush them through the grieving and healing process and expect them to trust them again sooner than they were ready to, or sooner than was even healthy because they were trying to get around the actual hard emotional steps of rebuilding trust (which are, basically, doing anything and everything your wife needs you to do to make it up to her, for basically as long as she needs you to…seriously, I’m not kidding).
Having an untrustworthy spouse and being an untrusting person can feel the same to you and can look the same to your partner, but there is a difference, a huge difference.
Let me be super clear, in case you’re being snowed: if your husband has lied to you, if your husband has hidden things from you, if your husband has been inappropriate with another woman, if your husband has been unfaithful to you, if he has kept any or all of the above from you, he has unfortunately shown himself to be untrustworthy, and you therefore, I’m very sad to say, have reason not to trust him, bottomline.
(Sidenote: I do not believe, per Rachel Greene from Friends, that, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” I have absolutely seen men do a complete turnaround after falling into that kind of sin, owning their mistakes, making amends and restitution, and moving forward to have either a stronger relationship with the wife they were unfaithful to or in a new relationship down the road. People can change; people can grow; Jesus can turn anything around.)
On the other hand, if your husband is above board, if he lets you see all of his gadgets and you know all of his passwords and at any time you could read anything on his phone or in his email or in his Facebook messages or what-have-you and there would be not one iffy thing, if he has never been unfaithful or given you any indication that he has, and you find yourself obsessing about these things or stalking him (literally or online), you, sweet girl, might be untrusting.
And, let’s be honest, if we have been in any kind of abusive relationship or one fraught with hidden addiction or secret infidelity, our radars are a bit jacked-up and our hearts are way more vulnerable and our minds are much more susceptible to being triggered.
But regardless of the circumstance – whether you are in a relationship with someone who is untrustworthy or you are untrusting for any manner of reasons – here are a few suggestions on how to move forward.
Ask God to reveal the truth to you, and to give you the strength to handle it. God has been my truth-revealer pretty often, even in situations where there really would have been no way for me to get to the bottom of something on my own.
Ask God to protect your heart. This can be a scary place, to be this vulnerable, to love someone this much, and to have doubts lingering in the back of your mind that your reality might not be what you think it is.
Ask God to convict your husband if he is doing anything inappropriate or sinful, and ask God to nudge him to tell you. We cannot make our partners – or anyone for that matter – change or do something they don’t want to do, but the Spirit has a pretty good shot at bringing a follower of Christ back to truth and shedding his light on it.
Ask God to heal your heart of past wounds. If you are walking around with your old baggage knocking into everything and everyone in your present, if you are making decisions and accusations based off what someone else has done to you, you still have some room to heal (to be clear, we all do). But you absolutely can grow in this area.
Ask God to sharpen your instincts and help you not doubt yourself. If you’ve been lied to in the past, this one will be extremely important.
Share your concerns with a counselor. Being in a relationship with hidden things plays tricks on you. You second-guess yourself and you’re not sure if you can trust yourself let alone your partner. So, bringing your concerns out into the light with a third party can be really helpful to determine if you are reacting appropriately or potentially blowing something completely out of proportion. Either way, I completely believe that change can take place and healing and grace and love can cover over.
Be above reproach yourself. I think it will help if you only ask your partner to do something that you are willing to do. So, be open with sharing your information as well to help model a life of accountability and integrity.
Finally, know this: even if the worst case scenario truly turns out to be your worst case scenario – and I don’t say this lightly – it will not kill you, and Jesus will walk you through it.
Call to me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. –Jeremiah 33:3
“The TRUTH shall set you free.” –Jesus in John 8:32
Great post! This touches on so many areas that I am, and will be, doing hard work in from now own. I don’t have a romantic relationship to deal with at present, but what you speak about in this post is true of ALL relationships. If you’ve been betrayed, the question you raised in this post becomes a lens through which every relationship in our lives must be sifted. We must determine who is trustworthy and whether or not it is our own inability to trust others that is coloring a situation. This has been, without a doubt, the most challenging and difficult part of healing from divorce. The easy thing – to isolate. The hard thing – to take risks, forge new relationships, and ask God to guide you to the truth in each and every situation.
Thanks again, for speaking truth.