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Married to a Two Time Cheater:
How Can I Trust My Husband? Wrong Question!

Hi Dr. Matt,
My name is Sally. I'm 36, married, and living in South Carolina. My husband and I have been married for 16 years, and we have three beautiful children.

About three years ago, my husband cheated on me. At that time he swore that he would never do it again, and he said that his brief affair didn't mean anything to him. He told me that he loved me and the children. Then, he did it again.

He tried to hide it from me, but I sensed his guilt—he was not acting normal. I confronted him, and he admitted the truth.

My question for you is . . . how can I trust my husband, now that he as let me down, and let the children down, twice! I don't know if I can ever trust him again?

Thanks for your time,

Related Article: Just as Fish Swim . . . Cheaters Cheat!

Dear Sally:

In some form, in some way, all human beings will let you down, and give you a reason NOT to trust them. This is precisely why the Bible does NOT teach us to trust one another. Instead, the Bible teaches us to "love one another." Read these beautiful words about "love" from the 15th chapter of John:

"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept
my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you,
that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment,
That ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15: 9-12).

So, what of the issue of trusting your husband? (given his infidelity). The Lord has expressly invited all to Trust in Him:

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3: 4-5).

As I explain in my book Changing Your Stripes, that seeking answers to inferior questions is like climbing a ladder than leans against the wrong wall. Though you may climb higher, you will never reach a right destination.

So, instead of answering the question "How can I trust my husband?" . . . I invite you to disappear that question, and keep your focus upon a higher question—the question and focus that Jesus Christ invites: "How can I love my husband?"

Now, this question begs the follow-up question: "What is Love?"

This is a topic that deserves an in depth response; a detailed explanation is given in My Book. For now, here's something that will point you in the right conceptual direction: The Love that Lasts.

When we love as the Lord loves, we will impact others to their long-term benefit. This means that "Lasting Love" does NOT enable others to continue in unproductive behaviors.

Bottom Line: Don't trust your husband! Instead Love him in the way that the Spirit will inspire. Show patience and kindness towards him. As he owns his errors and repents, he can be made a "new creature" through Faith in Christ. And when Christ makes your husband "new," then he will be a very acceptable companion in your continuing marriage to him.

But if your husband is resistant to opening his heart to becoming clean and new, then "Love" requires a different course of action. This is the very scenario I grapple with as I consult with couples in conflict—a topic that also deserves an in depth explanation.


Matt Moody, Ph.D.
Social Psychologist

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