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Dr David Christian Marriage Advice

Shopping for Trouble

Shopping for Trouble

We live in a day when we can find whatever we’re looking for on the Internet—and I do mean anything.

In a recent phone call from a woman I’ll call Angie, she had the following to say:

“I just caught my husband shopping for women to hook up with on Craigslist. I didn’t know such things existed, but discovered there is a world out there I know nothing about. The more I confronted my husband, the more disgusted I became. The more I confronted him, the more I caught him in lies. In fact, I have no idea what to believe and what not to believe. I’m swimming in a sea of betrayal and now self-doubt. He says he is through with this kind of behavior and that I can trust him. But, each time I probe deeper, I find more. Can he really ever be trusted?”

This woman said much more, and without a doubt is in serious emotional trouble. She questions how she could be duped by her husband, whom she still loves. She wonders why he has cheated on her in so many ways, when she has been available to him. She questions whether their marriage can be rebuilt and whether or not she can ever trust him again.

Let me answer some of these questions.

First, how can a person be duped? Any of us can be duped. We all have shadow sides, and if we’re not extremely careful, our shadow side can take over and wreak destruction. We may believe we know someone fully, yet if they want to lead a double life, it is possible to do so.

The Apostle James says it this way: “Then, after desire has been conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:15).

This woman’s husband is no different than the rest of us. He had fleshly desires which gave birth to sin. He became addicted (attached) to a lust-filled life, found what he was looking for, and then kept seeking it. Because sin likes to hide, this man concocted many schemes to keep his wife in the dark. He became caught in his own web of ongoing deceit.

Second, how can a good man do such dark things? Again, we are all capable of behaving in dark and sinful ways. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Once we have tasted of the forbidden fruit, it becomes tempting to go back for it again and again. Even having everything, Adam and Eve fell to sin in the Garden of Eden. It is quite likely that this man’s addiction had little to do with his wife, and more to do with his addictive desires. Addiction requires more and more of the substance or activity to get the sought-after high.

Third, can her self-esteem be restored? The actions of her husband have taken a tremendous toll on her self-esteem. Being violated and betrayed is incredibly painful, and she can expect to undergo a difficult grief process. Should her husband refuse to undergo treatment, she will have challenging choices to make. If he fully accepts responsibility for his actions, and the importance of recovery and helping her recover, she can begin the healing process.

Finally, can their marriage be rebuilt and can trust be restored? Yes, their marriage can be rebuilt and trust can be restored, but it will take an intervention and taking full responsibility for his actions. It is likely that he will need in-depth treatment. The danger is that either one of them could believe there is a quick fix. There is no quick fix—and both need to face that reality. Addictions don’t just go away. They don’t disappear because of good intentions. With appropriate treatment, a solid intervention and then accountability for change, it is possible for trust to be restored.

Share your feedback or send a confidential note to me at and read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on my website and You’ll find videos and podcasts on saving a sexual addiction, emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage. Please feel free to request a free, twenty-minute consultation.

Publication date: January 22, 2013