We recently discussed the 6 Brazen Signs that Your Spouse Might be Stepping Out on You. And, sadly, the article hit home with you. Maybe you discovered your spouse cheated or is cheating. So, now what.
Well, if your choice is to try to save your marriage, healing after losing trust in your spouse is a process, not a one-time “I’m so sorry, I will never do it again” promise.
No more flirting or lying. No more internet sexual encounters of any kind. Healing involves genuine love and respect, both publicly and privately.
There are a series of conscious steps that the spouse who cheated has to take. They must include tangible expressions of the spouse’s determination to fix the marriage that they broke. Here are 5 things that your spouse must do to get your marriage on the road to recovery:
1) Admit to cheating and sincerely apologize for deeply hurting you
They need to let you know that they know how their actions have damaged your relationship and that they have been selfish.
They also need to recognize that cheating is not only a cruel thing to do to one’s spouse, but it is a sin in God’s eyes. If he/she confesses his/her sin to God, it will be easier to start fresh with you.
2) Demonstrate the desire to change
Your spouse must demonstrate a desire to change. They can:
- Talk things out with you
- Share why they started cheating in the first place
- Let you share your feelings too
There may be communication issues or they may have felt that your relationship was unbalanced somehow. It is critical to find out why they felt they had the right to cheat on you.
They then need to tell you the changes they will make from now on. This should include being where they say they will be and not being secretive about their phone usage and/or emails.
No more flirting or lying. No more internet sexual encounters of any kind. They must also stop accusing you of being unfaithful and start showing you genuine love and respect, both publicly and privately.
3) Put in the effort to change
This means actually doing the things they have promised to do and refusing to do the behaviors that have been sabotaging your marriage.
It means not putting themselves in situations where they might be tempted to cheat but rather engage in behavior that builds up your relationship like. So, for instance, instead of going to the bar after work, where he/she might be tempted to cheat, plan to do something fun together with you: take a walk, fix something around the house, watch a movie.
4) Be consistently faithful from that point on
Your spouse needs to realize that they have to start developing new habits that are positive, relationship-building actions. The more they are consistently faithful, the faster your trust in them will grow.
Cheating broke your marriage covenant with each other. Loss of trust is the inevitable consequence of that. Fixing it means starting to get to know each other all over again. Only consistent faithfulness, reinforced by daily actions, can get you over the hump of suspicion and restore trust.
5) Develop a habit of expressing love and commitment
A great step toward healing is in doing activities together that cement the restored relationship. Start creating cherished traditions that strengthen your commitment for each other such as:
- Taking time each night before going to bed to tell the other something you love about each othe
- Once a week, bring up something funny or touching that you two experienced together years ago.
- Tell each other, “I love you” at unexpected times and mean it
- Show your love by doing something that takes pressure off the other—a chore around the house or taking the kids out so that your spouse can rest.
The only way to restore a marriage after cheating is for the person who cheated to decide once and for all that the relationship is worth saving. The repentant spouse has to make up their mind and know in their heart that they will never cheat again because they love their spouse too much.
If you both believe that the relationship you had before the cheating is worth fighting for, then you will do everything possible to restore that relationship.
The wonderful thing that I have learned about confessing and forgiving is that you can both become stronger and wiser because of what you went through. Your relationship will grow richer and more satisfying because you are both willing to sacrifice your own needs for the sake of your spouse.
BMWK, is healing after infidelity possible for your relationship?