To Trust...Or Not to Trust?
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard a heart-broken wife exclaim, “I thought I knew my husband! I just found out that he has been living a total lie our entire married life!” Their words always provoke a wave of empathy in me. These women know me only as a counselor, but I have been in their shoes. I used to feel the same way they do after I first learned of my husband, Jeff’s sexual addiction. And I know that sooner or later these wives will also have to face the difficult issue of beginning to trust their husband again. They’ll turn to me with pleading eyes and ask me, “Is it really safe to trust him? How can I know that he won’t deceive me again?”
Without a doubt, it is very difficult for a wife to know when she can begin trusting her husband again after sexual sin has devastated their marriage. As I worked through this issue years ago, the fruits that I saw manifested in Jeff’s life were the key factor that helped me with trusting him again. I found biblical guidance on what to look for in I John 1:5-9:
"This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
The answer to how a wife can know it is safe to trust her husband again is found in this passage.
One of the ways God began to rebuild trust back into our marriage was to show me the truth of the phrase, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” My focus needed to be on God and who He is, not on what my husband may or may not do. The reality that God is light and that He would expose any darkness in my husband’s life was a comfort to me as I journeyed out into these new uncharted waters. I knew I could go to God in prayer on behalf of my husband and trust that as I saw Jeff seek the Lord every day that He would be faithful to expose any darkness that needed to be brought to the surface in his life. This reality gave me a great sense of peace, especially when my husband felt God was leading him in a certain direction. I could trust God to expose wrong motives or desires of his heart and to bring correction when correction was needed in his life.
Two Qualities to Look for in Your Husband:
1. Is there evidence of sincere Honesty?
Honesty was a key that God used to open the door of my heart to trusting Jeff again. I John 1:6 states, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” As my husband began walking in truth (honesty) with me and with his spiritual leaders, I saw that he was a man who could be trusted. He wasn’t hiding anything from me or others any longer. Although I’m sure it was difficult for him, he was willing to be an open book and let everyone see what was written within.
It’s really amazing how the Lord used my husband’s honesty to rebuild security within my marriage. Jeff shared his struggles–including his sexual temptations—his fears and his insecurities, and that actually made me feel very secure in our marriage. There wasn’t any fear in what I was hearing because for the first time in our married life, I knew who my husband was. I knew all. He no longer held up a facade by trying to be something he was not. No longer in darkness, no longer lying, he was practicing truth, and that was a clear indicator that he was in fellowship with the Father. When a wife sees this kind of transparency in her husband, she can know that they are well on their way to allowing God to re-establish trust in their marriage.
2. Is there evidence of practical Humility?
Humility was the other attribute that the Lord used to build trust back into our marriage. I John 1:9 teaches that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In order to walk in this way, one must humble himself before God and others. When I saw my husband humbly take correction from others and willingly admit when he was wrong, I knew he was a man who could be trusted. This was a major change for a man who had been defensive, argumentative, unwilling to receive correction, protective of himself at all costs and unwilling to admit fault. Although I still had to overcome some of my own fears and anxieties, I knew I could trust the Lord to lead and guide my husband as the spiritual head of our marriage. The new level of honesty and humility I saw in Jeff gave me the confidence to let down my guard and allow the Lord to restore my ability to trust him again.
It is my prayer that wives will be encouraged by these words today. Despite what many may say, it is possible to have trust rebuilt back into a marriage, even one that was utterly destroyed by sexual sin. As a counselor, however, I often have to tell wives, “Be patient. Trust isn’t rebuilt overnight.” As I know well from personal experience, rebuilding trust is a process and it will take some time. However, as you see the above characteristics emerging in your husband’s life, be encouraged. In time, you too will be amazed at how God completely restores trust in your marriage.
Rose Colon is the former Director of Women’s Counseling at Pure Life Ministries, a position she held from 1996 to 2015. Rose has a Masters of Ministry in Biblical Counseling from Master’s Graduate School of Divinity in Evansville, IN and holds certification from the International Association of Biblical Counselors (IABC) in Denver, CO.
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