Do I Trust Him Again? He’s Doing Everything Right

Morning friend,

Whew, we just finished our CONQUER membership invite for this season. The doors are closed for now, and we are all about welcoming and loving on our new members. I’m heading off to Haven House to partner with Lysa Terkeurst for her 3-day intensive retreat. It’s an honor to be part of her team there as our population overlaps so much. I’d appreciate your prayers as we will be doing back-to-back retreats and it’s already been a busy season for me.

Today’s Question: I recently discovered that my husband engaged in a physical affair that began six months after we got married and lasted for a year. Needless to say, I am devastated. Since the affair came to light, he has done everything “right” (ceasing contact with the affair partner, sharing passwords, going to therapy, etc.) however, I still find it extremely difficult to trust him given the length of the affair and the fact that it started so soon after we were married. 

We do not have any children together. Is there any situation in which you would recommend a woman try to reconcile under these circumstances or do you think I would be better off moving on? Please respond, I am desperate for wise guidance.

Answer: I am so sorry. No woman ever wants to discover that her husband has been unfaithful and a very good liar for such a long time. Your question is valid. I cannot make your decision for you, but I think you are very wise to reconsider the character and values of the person you married. You shouldn’t find it easy to trust him again. He has not shown himself trustworthy despite seemingly doing the right things now. 

Here are some things I’d like you to think through: 

As newlyweds, your husband willingly engaged in an extramarital relationship for over a year. He purposefully deceived you about this (and who knows what else). It seems you discovered this affair; he did not willingly disclose it. Once you were suspicious, did he admit it or continue to lie? Once you found out for sure, what happened next? Did he own it or lie some more? How long did he keep up his lying? I’m curious. Did his conscience bother him and once confronted readily confessed? Or did you have to “prove” or “threaten” or drag it out of him in some way for him to come clean? These answers matter. Pay attention. 

Now you say he’s doing everything right? Were these his ideas or yours? How could you possibly know what he’s genuinely doing? He’s good at deception. Right now I think you would find it hard to trust anything he says or does. That’s the consequence of his long-term deception. 

You asked if you should reconcile your marriage or move on. I’d like you to examine your reason for considering reconciliation with someone who has so betrayed you, who is an expert at deception. With someone you can’t trust. If you had children together there may be some external factors to consider but that’s not the case here. 

Yes, God values the sanctity of marriage, and your husband has violated that sanctity. Adultery is biblical grounds for divorce. I think forgiveness is important, but will you ever be able to trust or feel safe with him? Only you can answer that so here are some additional things I’d like you to think about.

What was your dating relationship like? Did you know him well? For how long? Have you noticed him being dishonest in other areas? Money? Time spent? With friends? How he feels? With his job? His family? On the phone with others? If so, even in little areas, it would appear your husband does not hold honesty as a high personal value. If you value honesty and reconcile with him, you will be chronically disappointed because telling the truth is not that important to him. 

Next, look at the history of his prior relationships. Has he shown himself faithful to his commitments or is he more of a player? Does he keep his word to friends? To work deadlines? To money management? Does he generally demonstrate responsibility to his commitments, and integrity with his word? Or have you noticed him not keeping his commitments, disappointing friends, or not following through on doing what he said or promised? Is he more pleasure-oriented or principle-oriented? 

It's been said the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Based on what you know and what you’ve seen, what are his patterns for self-awareness, self-reflection, and honesty with his own self, not to mention with others? 

You mentioned this year-long affair with deception, which itself is deal-breaking. But as you look at the bigger picture and see more of the same character qualities, I think you know that if you decide to reconcile, you’ll be in for more of the same heartache.

On the other hand, if his overall history and character have been honorable, responsible, and trustworthy, and something provoked this “out of character” behavior, then perhaps with counseling, accountability, and hard work, he can rebuild your shattered trust. 

Meanwhile, please take care of you. He’s in counseling, but I’d encourage you to get some help and support for yourself. Give yourself plenty of time to heal and don’t allow yourself to be pressured or guilt-tripped into premature reconciliation. Those would be additional red flags that nothing has changed and it’s still all about him.

Friend, if this woman was your daughter or close friend, what would you advise her and why?

18 Comments

  1. Caroline Abbott on October 18, 2023 at 10:12 am

    How heartbreaking, so sorry you have experienced this. Leslie has given good advice to strongly consider if you could trust this man ever again. While you are deciding, I would recommend being careful not to conceive a child. I can’t imagine having a child with someone who is so deceitful. You would be tied to him for years.

  2. Kay on October 19, 2023 at 8:39 am

    I have a friend who is dealing with chronic adultery in her marriage…and now they have 2 kids together. Her husband didn’t change. Sadly, most people don’t change. Allowing your husband to Face the natural consequences of his actions (losing your relationship) isn’t mean or unloving.

    • Sheri on October 19, 2023 at 9:13 am

      I am so very sorry this has happened to you! I have been married for almost 31 years and five years ago my husband lied about where he was for a weekend of hunting. I don’t believe infidelity was involved, but I still am trying to figure out if I want to be married. I say run for the hills or you will be wondering, unsettled, and unhealthy the rest of your life! I pray for clarity, peace, and God’s closeness to you dear one ❤️

      • Faith on October 20, 2023 at 1:57 am

        I agree. Run for the hills! I profoundly regret not walking away the first time I found out my husband cheated. He seemed remorseful and so I stayed. Now, many years later, I finally left and am upset with myself for wasting so much time staying with him while not being able to trust him.
        About the sharing passwords thing, it’s not helpful because cheaters will have secret phones and/or secret social media profiles that they can just clear the history and cookies for every time they use each secret profile.

    • Eva on October 19, 2023 at 10:52 am

      You are correct Kay, the vast majority of people go not change.

  3. MA on October 19, 2023 at 9:19 am

    I would advise her to leave. So fast. I stayed. We had 4 little girls. If I didn’t have kids I wouldn’t be here. We have a good marriage and he’s getting help but I’m only here because we have kids. He lied again. I stayed again. Again- only because he truly broke this time and changed, and is getting help. But again- if I was younger and had no kids, you would only see taillights. Please get therapy and walk away. ♥️

  4. Pamela Reinhardt on October 19, 2023 at 9:24 am

    He has shown you who he is. You either BELIEVE it or you go into a fantasy of who you wish he was. It sounds as if you desperately want the fantasy. Please work with a therapist to stay in reality. That is the path to take, in my opinion.

    • Eva on October 19, 2023 at 10:57 am

      I wholeheartedly agree. Just because he ended the affair does not mean he has addressed the reasons why he felt the need to go outside of his marriage and have an affair. This usually has nothing to do with the wife, despite many men’s claim that it does. Infidelity can take many forms. In my experience, men that feel the need/compulsion to do this will find other ways of meeting those needs, all of which take place outside of the marriage. All of which will undermine trust and fundamentally, the marriage.

      • Trish on October 19, 2023 at 6:38 pm

        When I read this my heart ached! I haven’t sat and really asked these questions. Married 45 years and he left 2 years ago. Bought secret house then shortly after started 2 year affair with a married woman who’s husband is sick. Befriended him and her family! It’s beyond betrayal, deception and the deepest hurt I yet can articulate! When we first were married he cheated and I was told by his friends.(he’s an athlete) I made mistake by not speaking up as I wanted my marriage and had no one to talk to. I was not saved at the time. I thought I could be thinner, cook , more sex, etc …my list goes on!
        I have had divorce on the table 3 times. It will be 13 chances that I have extended and each time within 24 hours I found out he was still with her!!! Currently we are speaking but he has offered no solutions except forgive and forget. Move on from the past and to future! His one Christian friend says I am prideful and living in past!!! Seriously! He doesn’t think he has to changed. No repentance just sorry. I truly have no idea why I am even engaging with him! I am doing my work! Knowing I am challenging! Any thoughts?

        • Jessica on October 21, 2023 at 9:08 am

          My heart hurts for you. This is time for you to take care of you. If he pressures you he is still only thinking about himself. I know first hand how this feels-like you’re an object to his needs-not a person to be loved. Like Leslie says, it’s like his cell phone-he wants it while it works for him or meets his needs, but if it doesn’t he finds one who will. I’m in a similar situation, just haven’t been married quite as long. There is so much FREEDOM in saying/ being at a place where I will no longer be pressured and I’m going to take as long as God see fits for me to get healthy to make the best decisions for me.
          Also when friends attempt to reconcile couples with/without knowing all the information, I believe it comes from a place of selfishness because it benefits them to have y’all together or they want their friend to have what he wants. Again, just put yourself and your health first. Praying God’s wisdom, clarity and peace for you. I ask God everyday for truth and clarity and He truly gives it!

        • Margery on November 29, 2023 at 12:54 pm

          Hi Trish…
          SORRY!
          Maybe the sorrow comes from being caught…
          not from what has been done.
          That is why forgetting is so harmful to us.
          Trust needs to be built on a rock solid foundation of honesty, not on the sands of deception.

  5. Maria on October 19, 2023 at 9:31 am

    Those are excellent questions to reflect on and ask one’s self.. I so wish I would have had that kind of guidance. Perhaps I would not have gotten married to my ex-husband to begin with.

  6. Melissa on October 19, 2023 at 10:32 am

    Anyone can give the appearance of doing the right thing, especially someone practiced in deceit. It might be a good idea to separate while you process and decide your next steps.

  7. Char on October 19, 2023 at 1:55 pm

    As someone who lived through a very similar situation, my biggest piece of advice is to take the time and space you need to answer the questions you have and that Leslie brought up. After a year of marriage, I found myself in the same place and didn’t have anyone to turn to to give me the support, encouragement, or wisdom that I needed. Regardless of what you decide, you will need time and space to heal. And only you will know what that looks like. One resource that I found through Leslie is Faithful and True. I also found Dr. Sherri Keffer’s material helpful. I wish that I had access to these resources as well as the wealth of knowledge and insight that Leslie provides to navigate the waters of infidelity. Also, don’t try to manage this alone. You need to surround yourself with wise others who can advocate for you, listen to you, ask difficult questions, and will love you regardless of the path you choose.

  8. Mary on October 19, 2023 at 5:15 pm

    Believe who people are the first time time they show you. It is sad but true that people very rarely change. You have been fortunate enough to see the true colors and how much damage that can do to you and to a marriage. It is scary to one day be okay in your marriage and the next day consider what life would be like without this other person no matter how bad the marriage is….. But trust me when I say if you place your trust in the Lord he will walk you through it one day at a time and when you get to the other side you will be healthy and it will be oh so worth it. You don’t have to have all the answers right now you just have to take care of you and your future.

  9. Michelle on October 19, 2023 at 10:56 pm

    This was me forty years ago. Newly married, found out about my husband and a coworker. I will say there will always be an elephant in the room. Trust will always be lacking and you will fear the day it happens again. I went to an SA meeting after the divorce after 27 years of marriage. They stayed and lived with the “fear of happening again.” I was glad that I no longer had to fear that feeling again. I wish that I had been stronger and not in denial. Our heart sometimes complicates the situation. It also makes them think that you will tolerate it again and it is a form of disrespect for you. Cheating is about them. Please seek counseling alone and sort out your path with a clear head. Cheater’s are very good at manipulating the truth. I pray for your journey.

  10. Hope on October 20, 2023 at 2:33 am

    A lying tongue hates those it crushes (Proverbs 26:28). And lying, deceiving me man lacks character. He has no integrity. Immaturity and instability characterize him. He doesn’t have faithfulness. He doesn’t have love.

    You are so fortunate to know now. After the first lie was exposed, i stayed; we already had children. but there were many more lies ahead. I sought help at church in marriage counseling, but I was told to forgive him, which reinforced his entitlement.

    Now we’re nearly old and leaving would be more difficult, I think, than staying in this false marriage with this false man. So we keep house and help our kids and grandkids and host big holiday meals. But I am lonely and am in trauma counseling to heal from betrayal by husband and church.

  11. Terri Lisenbe on November 28, 2023 at 9:49 pm

    Love yourself enough to take care of you and have a good life. Get free and get to a place you can receive love from God and from others. This is not love. You have one life to live- live it with joy and those you can trust. You will be glad you did. Having a child will not change the situation but will just make it more emotionally entangled and hard. Speaking from experience. Let God strengthen you to walk forward and out and to heal any hurt. It takes courage and you are well worth it!!!!

Leave a Comment





Ask Your Question

Have a blog question you'd like to submit?

Read More

I’m A Missionary And Dont Want To Damage Our Impact By Telling The Truth

Morning friend, Thanks so much for your prayers for my family and me. It was a long, hard 3 weeks of dying but my mother is with Jesus now and that is what she wanted. My dad misses her and it will take him time to create a new normal, so if you think of…

Read More...

Scared To Death, Fear Formula Pt.1, [Guest Blogger]

Morning Friends, I’m still in Germany (home tomorrow). Today we have another guest who is going to talk about our problem with fear. After the huge snowstorm in January of 2016 here on the East Coast, she told me the sad story about an elderly woman who died. As we processed what happened and how…

Read More...

Does God Want Me to Submit to Mistreatment According to 1 Peter 3?

Morning Friends, Today, Wednesday, March 5 is the day of the live webinar at RBC on The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.  If you haven’t already signed up, it’s not too late. https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4458076903969650690 Last week I received a response to an earlier blog post titled, “Lesson’s from Sarah’s Story”. The writer asked a question regarding that well-known…

Read More...