No Trust in your Marriage: 5 Steps to Care for your Heart

No Trust in your Marriage: 5 Steps to Care for your Heart

Your spouse cheated – emotionally or physically. You found pornography on their smartphone. Your spouse abuses alcohol or drugs, is physically or verbally abusive, spends money you don’t have, or flies into a rage or cuts you down verbally without warning. You cannot trust they will do what they say or be where they say they will be. Promises are not kept. There is no trust in your marriage.

How are you supposed to live with someone you cannot trust?

Love is to be given freely, unconditionally. You cannot earn true love, control it, or pay for it.

But trust is different. Trust must be earned. Trust that is given indiscriminately is foolish at best and often destructive. Trust is fragile and can be lost in a moment. Rebuilding trust is enormously difficult, and is much more costly than building it originally. Trust is priceless.

So what are you to do when trust has been broken? Is there any hope? Is it ever possible to move on?

Rebuilding trust in marriage can be done. It takes both partners’ investment to make it work, and it takes time. But this article is especially about your own heart in the process. Here are 5 important steps to take when there is no trust in your marriage.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

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Your Spouse is Emotionally Cheating: 5 Things to Do

Your Spouse is Emotionally Cheating: 5 Things to Do

It might seem simpler, though even more devastating, to walk in and find your spouse in bed with someone else. Emotional cheating is squishier. You – and your spouse – may find it easier to come up with excuses and rationalizations. You may wonder if you’re the problem. You may find it difficult to trust your own intuition or senses. But if your spouse is emotionally cheating ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

Emotional affairs are real, and dangerous. They often lead to physical affairs, but that’s not the point. Both men and women are vulnerable here. Rationalizations are easy; “Our clothes aren’t coming off, so there’s nothing wrong.” “He meets my emotional needs in a way my husband doesn’t.” “We’re helping each other spiritually and praying together.” “She understands and validates me professionally.”

But your heart is drawn away. Whether or not your clothes eventually come off, the damage to your marriage and to your own soul is significant. That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)

The state of your heart matters!

Protecting your own heart from an emotional affair is only possible through God’s grace. But this is especially for husbands and wives who suspect – or know – that your spouse is doing the emotional cheating.

What Is Emotional Cheating?

First, what’s the criteria for emotional cheating? Are all friendships with someone of the opposite sex, other than your spouse, forbidden? What about work colleagues, church friendships, or ministry partners?

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7 Things to Know if your Spouse is a Christian and Abusive

7 Things to Know if your Spouse is a Christian and Abusive

God-talk and violence – physical, sexual, mental, or spiritual – have mixed for centuries. Sadly that same mixture shows up in even “Christian” homes. Let’s agree that abuse of any kind is not what God wanted when He created marriage. But in our broken world too many face the reality that their “Christian” spouse is abusive. What then?

It may seem easy to look on from the outside and say, “God hates divorce, so deal with it.” Or, “Abuse is wrong. Just leave.” But for the person feeling stuck in such a hurtful marriage it’s never really that simple. Shame and guilt are heavy – sometimes almost heavy enough to take you out. You ask yourself questions like, “Can’t prayer fix this?” “What’s wrong with me that I can’t make this work?” “Doesn’t Jesus expect me to forgive?”

Yes, God can – and does – resurrect dead things and turn impossible situations into glorious displays of His grace. Nothing is too hard for Him.

But that – in part – depends on human choices – yours, and your spouse’s. God does not control your spouse’s free will, and you cannot control it either.

God hates divorce not because of some legalistic hierarchy of sin and righteousness, but because it hurts His children. Scripture makes clear that in our broken world there are times marriages are not saved. And God is neither surprised nor absent in your marriage dilemma.

So what do you do if your spouse is a Christian and abusive? Your emotions are certainly heavy and complicated. But putting emotions aside for a moment, here are some important things to know.

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Forgiveness in Marriage: How to Do it Well

Forgiveness in Marriage: How to Do it Well

Your spouse has hurt you. Guaranteed. If you haven’t been hurt by your spouse, you either got married five minutes ago (and you’re not reading this!) or you’re lying. There is absolutely no way you can connect your life that closely with another human being and not get hurt. The question now is, how can you forgive your spouse when they have hurt you?

When you hear the word forgiveness in the context of marriage you likely have one of two reactions.

  • You cannot imagine forgiving your spouse for what they’ve done. You respond to your spouse with the kind of treatment you believe their shortcomings deserve. You internally keep score, and feel justified in your less-than-loving behavior because of what your spouse has done to you. You may manipulate and control, using your spouse’s weakness as a weapon to “keep them in line.”
  • OR You are resigned to suffering as you “forgive.” You feel somehow entitled to your misery because of how your spouse has treated you. You’re determined to follow Jesus’ command to forgive, and that means you’ve chosen to “take it.” Whether the offense is small or large, current or long past, you see your wounds as yours to bear. You think you’re loving your spouse when you put up with their bad behavior.

Neither of those choices is forgiveness. You know deciding to wound your spouse in return for their wrongdoing is not forgiveness. But neither is the second choice – becoming resigned to suffering. Neither option gives any hope for restoration of your relationship.

Forgiveness is This, not That

Forgiveness is not an easy thing to learn, but once you do it opens the door to amazing freedom, connection, and love. I had to learn about forgiveness – as I believe everyone does – the hard way. Thankfully I had learned enough about forgiveness before I got married to make our marriage happy, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. I believe you can learn how to forgive now – even if you’re in the middle of a miserable marriage.

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When You Can’t Let Go after Your Spouse Leaves

When You Can’t Let Go after Your Spouse Leaves

Marriage is supposed to be forever! When you said “I do” you looked forward to joining your lives, building your family, and probably growing old together. And then something happens. Your spouse leaves, and you can’t let go.

Here’s part of a message Gerry (not her real name) wrote to me recently: “I am unable to let go of my husband. He left me a few years ago for another woman. He still relates cordially with me and our kids, but it’s so painful to watch him go home to another woman. It hurts. I desire to have him back but he seems disinterested. I am sexually starved and feel so empty and worthless. I don’t know how to cope.”

It’s difficult to describe the trauma that happens when your relationship breaks apart, and your former spouse acts as if there was never anything between you. In some ways it’s more painful than if that person had died. They’re still out there, but they’re not with you. You can’t get rid of the images in your mind – either real or imagined. The what-if’s won’t leave you alone.

A marriage unites two people together, and there’s no way to separate them from one another without significantly tearing your soul in shreds. God hates divorce not because of some arbitrary directive from on high, but because of the way in which it hurts his children. And it’s especially painful when it appears your former spouse is doing great even though you’re in agony.

It’s bad enough to have to learn how to live single again after being married. But Gerry talked about something much deeper.

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