Is it Possible to Rebuild Trust after Unfaithfulness?
- Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from Gary and Mona Shriver's recenlty released book Unfaithful: Hope and Healing After Infidelity (David C. Cook, 2009). Gary's opening story takes place 6 months after revealing to his wife, Mona, that he'd been unfaithful to her by engaging in a long-term affair with a close friend as well as a one-night "fling" with another woman.
When I pulled into the driveway, I noticed Mona looking out the kitchen window. As I walked in and made my way into the kitchen I could tell she had been crying. "What's wrong?" I asked.
"Nothing!" she snapped.
"Come on, I can tell something is bothering you."
"If you don't know …"
"If I don't know what? What happened?"
My mind raced, taking a mental inventory of the day. When I left this morning, she was fine. She seemed even a little bit happy. I called at least three times throughout the day and hadn't picked up on anything being wrong.
"I really don't know what you are talking about."
She looked up at me with a hard, cold stare. "Where have you been?"
"I've been at work. I haven't been anywhere else. I swear to you."
"I have been trying to call you for over twenty minutes. They said you left a half hour ago." She was obviously working to control herself. Her words were deliberately paced and her tone even. "And it doesn't take a half hour to drive the three miles to home. Where have you been?"
The light came on in my head. Radio Shack. Brian. Just how long had I been there? I rushed to explain. "I stopped by Radio Shack and got some solder for my ham radio kit. Brian was working tonight and we got into a conversation about the new radio station."
She slowly got up from the table and walked back into our bedroom, closing the door behind her, her face a confusing twist of emotions. I could see the battle waging within her trying to find truth.
Trust. Something I'd never appreciated having until I lost it completely. Back before revelation, a half hour spent with a friend "shooting the breeze" would not have been a big deal. But in the light of our current situation, it was a huge issue.
Mona was hypersensitive to every minute I was outside her radar. I supposed I could get defensive and say that I couldn't live like this for the rest of my life, but quite frankly I didn't blame her at all. It wasn't like I'd had massive amounts of time unaccounted for while I was involved in an affair.
But how was she ever going to trust me again? In fact if I thought about it too much I had to wonder if I'd be able to trust myself ever again.
But I'd changed. I'd truly repented. And I was doing everything I could think of to heal this marriage.
I knew she would also have a hard time trusting herself. She'd told me her instincts, her "woman's intuition," had failed her miserably. I knew neither one of us could live like this for the rest of our lives. The good day I'd had began to fade with the closing of the bedroom door.
The Story on Rebuilding trust
Rebuilding trust is an essential part of healing after infidelity because a healthy marriage requires trust. We can facilitate the rebuilding of trust, which is not easy. Or we can tear down the fragile beginnings of that process, which is far too easy.
We chose to rebuild the trust.
Mona had to redefine what trust looked like in a healthy marriage. After much soul-searching she came to realize she had trusted Gary partially because she believed she'd be able to "know" when or if he was no longer trustworthy. That meant she felt safe trusting him more because of herself rather than whether or not he was trustworthy. She didn't understand that trusting him really meant putting herself at risk. Her sense of safety rested within a power she actually did not have.
Recently on Marriage
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content