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How to forgive your Spouse – Rebuilding trust in Marriage

It’s been three months since Sara last saw her husband Jacob. The two decided to have some time apart after continued disagreements and arguments.

Three months ago, Jacob broke Sara’s trust after he was caught watching pornography on his laptop. Sara had lost count of the number of times she’d caught her husband doing this.

Previously, she could tell that Jacob was genuinely sorry for doing this. He’d asked for forgiveness numerous times and she saw guilt and shame in his eyes. In the past, Sara was able to forgive Jacob, because of his willingness to allow Jesus to heal his heart. They walked together in faith and tried numerous approaches to see an end to Jacob’s addiction.

Every time, It looked hopeful, until it happened again.


This time, Jacob had asked for forgiveness, but Sara’s heart was not ready to forgive him yet. She felt betrayed and hurt by Jacob’s actions and words. She didn’t know if she would ever trust him again or what their life together would look like.

Sara had talked with Jesus about her love for Jacob, talked with friends, but her heart was in so much pain. She couldn’t do it anymore. She was done trying, she was done hoping, she was done….

Last week, Sara’s friend invited her to a conference whose main theme was rebuilding trust in marriage. Sara was hopeful that her prayers would finally be answered through this conference. All it takes is a little glimmer of hope to bring a marriage back to life. The Speaker talked of the different steps that couples need to take to rebuild trust in their marriage.

Step I: Being ready and willing to forgive.

This is the most important step because without it, no forgiveness can take place. It’s also the hardest of them all. Most of us have been hurt by loved ones before and can understand how hard it is to be willing to forgive. Sometimes we don’t want to forgive. Instead we want to stay silent, ignore the other person and even get revenge.

Our hearts are hardened, our outlook of the other person is tainted. We have a veil over our eyes that filters what the person says and every time they speak to us, we pick specific words and use the words against them. If they bring us flowers, we see them as flowers coming from a person that hurt us.

This step requires Sara to be gracious towards Jacob. To open her heart once again and hope for the best. It requires her having the desire to forgive Jacob and to let healing taking place in her heart.

Step II: Be ready to Listen (Communication)

When we get hurt our first reaction is always to fight back or attack by the use of words. Most times, we are yelling at the other person. We feel like we’re the ones that need to be heard, which never ends well.

Great communication involves asking questions to better understand a situation and giving answers in a calm manner. This step requires Sara to be ready to listen to Jacob and ask questions if she needs more clarifications. It’s sometimes hard to be calm, but communication is key to solving all marital issues.

When we offend someone and break their trust, we need to know that there’s a difference between saying “I’m sorry and “please forgive me”. Saying “please forgive me” gives the other person a chance to experience healing in their hearts through the act of forgiveness.


 Step III: Share your Feelings

After listening to Jacob and asking him questions to better understand why he keeps going back to pornography, Sarah will be required to share her feelings with Jacob. This will involve letting him know how watching Pornography affects their marriage and what it does to her heart. This will give Sara a chance to cry her heart out and be listened to. She will also be able to express her love for Jacob and her desire to make their marriage work.

Step IV: Accept & Forgive

Forgiveness is freeing. Ephesians 4:32 talks of being kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Sara will need to accept that Jacob struggles with sexual sin, he had hurt her and he needs help to be able to walk out of the bondage he is in. This is the most beautiful step of all. Forgiveness someone is the most beautiful thing ever!


 

Step V: Seek Help

Rebuilding trust in a marriage takes time and dedication. Especially for a couple like Sara and Jacob who have been through the same thing over and over again. It’s like pulling a scab off an old wound, it takes time to heal. In that case, it’s always advisable to seek help.

Seek help from the Lord. You could also  talk with your Pastor or a counselor and get help from a 3rd party.

If you’re in Jacob’s situation and find it hard to not look at sexual content on the internet, feel free to visit Covenant Eyes for internet accountability. They will assist you in breaking free from that bondage as well as help improve trust in your marriage and family.


 

Step VI: Don’t bring up the past

Don’t bring up something they did in the past. Lashing out on your spouse and using something they did 3 years ago is not cool. Do not use your Spouse’s sin against them. That’s their past, they did you wrong, asked for forgiveness and you forgave them. We all know it’s hard to forget an offense and it is okay. It takes time. But using their past sin against them, is like telling them they have never changed. It might even drive them back to engaging in that sin again.

Sara acknowledged that this was the step she needed help with. She remembered using Jacob’s addiction against him several times. She was so glad to know that doing so might not have been building Jacob up, but bringing him down instead.

Sara learnt that Love keeps no record of wrong.

1 Corinthians 13:4:” Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Side note:

If your spouse is continuously abusing you physically and asking for forgiveness, please seek help by either contacting the police or talking to someone close to you. As much as forgiveness in marriage is important, your wellbeing and safety is of key importance as well. PLEASE SPEAK UP, there is someone out there who loves you enough to care about what’s happening to you.

If you have any comments concerning this topic, kindly leave them on the comment box below and I’ll get right back to you 🙂


Essy
Bringing joy to peoples' lives gives me great pleasure. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave them in the comment box below or send me an email at esther@marriagestore.org and I will get back to you :-)
http://marriagestore.org/

8 thoughts on “How to forgive your Spouse – Rebuilding trust in Marriage”

  1. I am always ready to forgive my wife because I love her. we have been together for over ten years and never had an argument lasting more than one day. We talk, listen, give a little, take a little and forgive because we want to.

    1. Hey Stefan, that’s amazing that you’ve been married for 10 years!! Congratulations to you and your wife, you two have something really beautiful going on and I’m grateful each time I meet people like you. It’s always a reminder that marriage only gets more beautiful with time when you’re married to the person you love!!! Thank you.

  2. Hi Esther.
    I really enjoyed your post. I too am married to a wonderful Christian man. And I will bookmark this post for future reference if I ever need to send it to someone in need.
    James 5:20 NLT: you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
    Blessings,
    Suzanne

    1. Hey Suzie, thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article! One of the best things in life is when God blesses women with men that know him, men that love Jesus more than they love their wives. Men that talk with God about their wives 🙂 It’s such a beautiful thing. I get excited every time I meet a happy couple that’s been married for a long time. It reminds me that marriage is like wine, it gets better with age 🙂

  3. If I could turn back time…..

    I wish I had known this back when my first marriage dissolved. It just felt like we grew apart and had two completely different ideas on life.
    Thank you for this information and the smack on the forehead. Which I have done so many times since my divorce!

    1. I’m so sorry you had to go through that Eden. Do not live in regret but instead choose to focus on what made your ex-wife an amazing person and the good times you had together. I’m glad you are open to learning ways to improve your future relationships, sometimes that’s the only way to learn.

      Lift your head high and appreciate the great times. Also, learn as much as you can. We can never have it all figured out Eden, we fall down, dust off ourselves and rise up better than before the fall.
      Thanks 🙂

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