Morning friend, Thanks for your prayers for my trip with my granddaughter to Paris. We had an amazing time and created precious memories together. I’m so glad I had this opportunity to be with her and get to know her heart more.
Our CONQUER membership for Christian women in destructive marriages will be opening April 13, and we invite you to come to a free LIVE webinar talking about: How Long do I Keep Trying? And how will I know the changes I see are real? You must sign up in order to attend, and I would love to see you there. If you know any women who might need this, could you please forward them the link to register? It’s at the bottom of this blog post.
Question: Three days after giving birth to our first child, I found out my husband had acquired a gambling addiction while I was pregnant. He hid it from me the entire 9 months and it became severe. So severe, he lost our house, his 401k, and all our savings and put us in a huge credit card debt hold. I stayed by him and tried to get him help. Forgave him and moved in with his parents all while taking care of a newborn and picking up extra shifts in the hospital to increase our saving to rent a house.
To my knowledge, he has not gambled since January. He is finally in therapy and admits he has a problem. When I tried to help him in the past he would only “work the system” to go to therapy to get me off his back. However, now he is going. He is finally open to friends and family about his problems and seems to want to get better.
Here is my problem now… my husband wants me to move back in with him and his parents because he “needs us”. He loves and misses us but I have zero trust for him. I’m afraid if I move back in, I’ll be right back in a situation of loss, financial crisis, and emotional devastation. I want to protect my daughter, but I also want to not have her parents be divorced and have her constantly shifted from home to home between the two of us. Especially with the distance of the two homes. Just this last visit, he has seemed more of the man I married… but still blames me for leaving and seems to blame his actions and hurts he caused in the addiction and not taking full responsibility for the pain it caused me. I’m at a loss. Please help!
Answer: Wow, I’m so sorry. You’ve been through a lot of loss and heartache, and I’m not surprised you have trouble trusting your husband again. He’s been a good liar through the years of his gambling addiction. Your question how to move forward, or even whether you can move forward is causing you anxiety.
Your preference is to repair your marriage and have a stable, loving home to raise your daughter. I’m with you on that. We’d all like that. Whether or not that is possible, time will tell.
Let me help you by starting here: Name the things you need from him to rebuild your broken trust. You mentioned that he needs you to move home because he’s lonely and misses you, but what do you need? Have you given that thought? Has he asked you what you need to begin to trust him again?
One of the things that must shift going forward if you are to have a healthy marriage is that your needs matter too. And if they do not matter to him, it would be important for you to know that now.
Based on what you wrote, one thing you seem to need is for him to validate and show care about the pain he has caused you with his addiction and deception. He’s not done that and seems to still blame his addiction and you for his choices. Another thing you need is for him to stop blaming you (or others) for what he did and take full responsibility for his own choices.
Despite his counseling and whatever good changes you do see, you haven’t seen him take that responsibility. You also need him to be proactive in earning back your trust. Therefore, what kinds of things would you like to see him do? For example, maybe you need him to offer you full access to all financial transactions, credit card statements, and cash spent without any hesitation, guilt trips or excuse-making. What else? Make a list of what you need to feel safe, and to begin to trust him again. Do not make a list of what he has to do. He gets to decide whether he is willing to work hard to meet your needs. If he is unwilling, that gives you important information going forward.
You also said that since he’s been getting some therapy, he seems more of the man you married. Who was that man? Charming, fun, romantic? Reliable, caring, responsible and trustworthy? Did he show care for you? Your feelings and needs? Were there times that he wasn’t honest or trustworthy in any other areas of your relationship besides this gambling problem? It’s easy to confuse charm with character. Your husband needs to develop godly character if he is to win back your trust and have a successful long-term marriage. Charm may make you feel hopeful, but charm is short-lived and shallow.
There are no easy answers but I have given you some starting points to evaluate more clearly if trust can be rebuilt, where your husband is in his own healing journey, and if it is wise to move back together at this time. I believe if you take the steps I’ve outlined and communicate in a non-critical, non-judgmental tone what you need to feel safe and start to trust again, you will get information pretty quickly whether or not your husband has done sufficient work on himself to begin to rebuild trust in your marriage.
Friend, when you’ve desired reconciliation with someone who has shattered your trust, what were some of your needs to feel safe and start to trust again?
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