I love to sit and listen to Marriage stories told by those who are 30, 40 or 50 years along in their journey. It inspires me. Most of those stories are filled with joy and grace. Often the couples stumbled along the way but grew together. But not all stories go that way… do they? What about when Betrayal happens within a marriage? Even within a Christian Marriage? The stories below are anonymous to protect the wives and honor the husbands. I hope they encourage you if you are in this place.
My husband became addicted to pornography long before we met. He confessed his struggles to me before we married and promised to stop. Natively, I thought it was that simple and it wouldn’t be an issue. But of course, it’s not that simple and he didn’t stop.
Every year or two the issue surfaced and every time I would cry and get upset. He would profusely apologize and promise to stop.
Each apology and promise was sincere. He knew what he was doing was wrong and felt disgusted with himself because of it.
But he just couldn’t stop on his own. For a long time I didn’t know how to help him.
Today, by God’s grace, my husband is working hard to walk in purity. He isn’t perfect at it, and it will probably be a lifelong battle, but God is working and it is getting easier for us both.
So the advice I have is for the wife whose husband is trapped in porn even though he wants to get out.
Please know your husband cannot overcome this on his own. He needs you in this fight.
He needs you praying constantly.
- Both of your hearts
- Your husband to have courage to get help
- Wisdom on how he should get it
- The renewing of his mind
- Restoration of your marriage
He needs you to help him get help.
It took me a long time to realize my husband needed this from me. He felt so trapped and hopeless (too many failed attempts to quit) that he was unable to make a plan or see one through.
He was also too ashamed to ask for the help he knew he needed.
But when I sat down and said, “let’s make a plan to overcome this together,” things started to change.
He needs you to set appropriate boundaries that keep him accountable to what he agreed to do.
(Note, this is different than punishment.) When my husband messed up or didn’t follow through, I didn’t allow that to be an excuse for him to back out and give up (like in the past).
He needs you to recognize when he is making progress.
- If you husband agrees to reach out to a godly man about his problem, let him know what a big step that is in your eyes.
- When he actually does reach out, acknowledge how difficult it was for him and let him know you are proud of him.
- We can be such an encouragement and motivation to our husband in this area when we come alongside him in love instead in of anger and judgement.
This isn’t as simple as I’ve made it sound, but it is worth it, so look to God and ask Him to help you.
Prayerfully your sister in this journey!
Lying, Cheating & STD’s
I believed him. Every romantic word and promise seemed too good to be true. We were married within a year of meeting. He swept me off my feet and I was so happy.
Until reality set it.
I remember the first time I suspected he was lying to me about things. He had avoided the issue of a joint checking account since day 1. He would cash his pay checks at the liquor store (or so he told me) and bring cash home to give me.
One week he claimed he had been mugged for his check, another week he claimed the liquor store ruined the check and he couldn’t get a new one printed.
The lies began unraveling.
He wasn’t actually leaving the house some days.
Little things tipped me off – the couch would be a mess or there would be dishes in the sink I left empty. If I confronted him about it he wrote me off as paranoid and accused me of begin a nagging wife. I was always afraid to approach him about the lies. I didn’t know how he would respond and I hated confrontation.
One day I realized I had a problem.
Itching and burning where it should never itch or burn. I went to the doctor who immediately identified an STD. An STD? How was that possible. I did NOT sleep around. I was a married woman.
Betrayal in marriage stings like nothing else.
We were supposed to have each others back. This was supposed to be a forever love. We are both Christians. How could this happen? Does betrayal happen in a Christian Marriage? Can we recover from it?
Forgiveness is a hard word to say in the face of betrayal.
But God… God is able to heal the brokenness. Do you believe that God is able to heal the broken places in your life?
How? Both of us had to want to fix our mess. We had to get professional help. He had to learn to forgive his past and learn how to be a godly man. How do you learn those things in today’s world? Mentoring and motivation. He had to want it -It would never have worked had I demanded it.
As for me… Prayer.
I had to take it all to God. He cares for me – says the Bible. I believed Him. God came in and healed those broken pieces. He is amazing that way.
2 books Helped me:
We have boundaries in place now. Checks and balances to keep us both accountable. Hope & Joy are possible after betrayal when both are willing to work on things… When we allow God to work on things for us.
A Wife’s Betrayal
We celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary this August. I can say that our marriage is a living testimony that you can reclaim hope in a marriage after betrayal.
I know it is unusual for a woman to be writing about the fact that it was her that did the betraying. But that is the reality of our situation. I will be explaining more in my own article, 9/25.
For now, I will say two things:
The person who has to lay down the other relationship. The one they believed would make them happy… That is the only way to concentrate fully on restoring their marriage.
This will mean working through a lot of hurt and forgiveness. It requires being open to God helping them fall back in love with their spouse.
I certainly had to ask God for help to do that.
Obviously the betrayed spouse has to do an enormous amount of forgiving. It is important for them not to hold on to bitterness or a sense of ‘I have a right to be angry’.
Both parties need to give the energy and focus to work on the marriage or the bitterness simply eats that all up.
It takes time to build trust back up after betrayal.
So a lot of patience and gentle care is needed from both sides.
There also needs to be space, prayer, grace, fun etc too!
Seeing a counsellor is a great idea, as they can help with this process (and having a third party who can be objective without being emotionally involved is helpful too).
Never lose heart. This is hope even after betrayal!
Gambling & Alcoholism
When I got married I was hurting from a lot of trauma in the past.
As a divorced woman, I was running from God and anything holy and righteous. I ran right into the arms of a lost man.
He was a gambling alcoholic to boot. I didn’t know how hard it would be back then. All I knew was he seemed honest and made me laugh. That’s what I thought would make life easier.
I was wrong.
How does a Christian woman end up married to a Lost alcoholic with a gambling problem? I still ask myself that question when I look back.
I always imagined marriage brought security, safety, companionship and happiness. Does that seem like a childish thought?
As the years went by I saw that he was irresponsible, impulsive and incapable of connecting emotionally.
I was miserable and ready to divorce… again.
But I didn’t want the hurt of a 2nd divorce. So I began to pray instead.
Now, my prayers were anything but righteous or holy. They went like this.
“God I know I chose Him, but I didn’t know how hard this would be.”
A faint echo of His voice “Do not be unequally yoked” whispered in my mind.
“But I thought that was talking about racial inequality, not spiritual inequality.”
Silence met my ridiculous justification.
The prayers changed over time. I began to plead the blood of Christ over him. His name went on every prayer list I could find.
God is so gracious.
The day this man was saved I was the happiest wife alive. Now surely everything else will fall into place… right?!?!
No, it didn’t happen that way.
He still drank to excess and gambled whenever he could -regardless of our financial struggles. Check’s would vanish. I would sell things to make up the difference, or work longer hours to “Fix” it -suffering in silence.
It took an accident for him to set the alcohol down. Now, I can’t say God “caused” the accident, but He used it to get through to this man.
I have had to forgive much betrayal.
I want so much to honor him, but help you as well. Let me just say that Alcoholics are numb to the world. I couldn’t get to his heart and he didn’t want to touch mine. He would say thing… things that hurt so much… and not remember the next day. How do you forgive that? Can you trust him to reform and change?
To clarify he never hit me. But verbal abuse is abuse. I should have gotten help but I didn’t. If I were face to face with you I would tell you to be safe and get help. Abuse is Never Ok.
But God. That is my favorite phrase. But God… can be a new beginning. It has been for us. He is still growing and learning how to “Feel” things in life.
It is like a child learning not to yell to get their way.
He lived in that numb place for so long he lost the skill to love others well.
And the gambling… it still rears it’s head from time to time. It affects us badly. I am not okay with gambling when our finances are a mess.
I sin too.
My sin looks different than his sin.
I chose to forgive him and pray that God will teach him in His time and in His way.
I have Hope that there will come a day we are both doing this Christian Marriage thing better together.
Joy lives in me as I watch God change this fellow brother in Christ of mine. God is so good! He has this. I just have to keep my eyes fixed on Him.
I pray you are encouraged by these stories of Hope and Joy even after Betrayal in a Christian Marriage.
What a picture of Biblical Wifehood! I heard the word Forgive in each story… did you? That is hard. Can I offer you a Free e-book to walk through a pathway to Forgiveness. In it I share some of my story of having to forgive horrendous betrayal. It is possible. It is hard.
I’d love to share that story with you.
We are in a Series called Reclaiming Hope & Joy in Your Marriage
Reclaiming Hope and Joy in your Christian Marriage
Three Ways God Works Through Hard Seasons of Marriage
What Submission Looks Like in a Christian Marriage
How To Be a Biblical Wife To an Ungodly Husband
How to Create an Abundantly Fruitful Marriage
The Best Kept Secret Piece of the Marriage Puzzle
The Greatest Gift I Gave My Man
Moving from Lost to Found in Marriage
Perspective in Marriage: Give Us Eyes to See (Part 1)
Finding Joy in Being a HelpMeet to Your Husband
Perspective in Marriage: from Surviving to Thriving (Part 2)
Keep up with all the posts on the Main Biblical Wifehood Page
And Don’t forget to Enter the Ultimate Reclaiming Hope & Joy in Your Marriage Giveaway!