If you discover that your spouse has been involved in an extramarital affair, you are going to experience almost every emotion there is…sadness, anger, confusion, and disappointment. Your first reaction is going to be a lack of hope and a feeling that your marriage is over…that everything you have worked so hard for within your relationship was a waste of time. More than anything else, you are going to discover that the person you had once trusted with your heart is no longer trustworthy.
Despite your initial reaction, the fact is that marriages do survive affairs. Some marriages become even stronger after an affair. This is because issues within the marriage can no longer be avoided. An affair can bring these issues to the forefront so the couple can deal with them. Before this can happen, however…the couple must regain the trust that was destroyed during the affair. This takes time, patience, and effort on the part of both partners.
Here are 5 ways to learn how to trust your spouse again after an affair:
-Forgive your spouse. Forgiveness does not mean you are condoning the act. Forgiveness is not giving your spouse permission to cheat on you again. Forgiveness is simply saying, “I will let this go, so that I can move forward in my life…with or without you. I refuse to let bitterness consume me.
-Share your feelings with your spouse. This is very important because unless you share your feelings they will become bottled up inside of you. If you are angry, share it. If you are sad, cry on your spouse’s shoulder. It is important for your spouse to know how much pain the affair caused you.
-Give it time. Trust that has been broken is not easily regained. It will take a lot of time and patience on both parts. There will be days when you overreact when your spouse comes home late from work. There will be days when you will be accusatory with no real reason. Your spouse will need to learn to see the situation from your wounded heart, and to do his or her best to be accountable at all times. You will need to learn to apologize when you overreact.
-Seek marriage counseling. Marriages that have been hurt by an affair have the best chance of reconciliation. The re-building of trust is best arrived at when a couple attends marriage counseling together. It often helps to have an unbiased person to talk to. A counselor can help you work through those rough spots, teaching you how to better communicate your feelings to one another.
-Spend more quality time together as a couple. Talk about your hopes and dreams, shared goals. Laugh together. Build positive memories to help replace those that are negative.