Thanks for all your kind responses last week. Most of us have some trouble creating a new normal to our daily routines and rhythms. This is expected during the crisis, but our body and mind feel it. You may feel disoriented, disorganized, and distracted. It’s hard to focus. It’s challenging to get things done. Uncertainty reigns and we’re caught in indecision, even about what to do next or simply what to make for dinner.
I find it’s helpful if I turn off the television and social media for most of the day. Also establishing some basic routines of eating and exercising, making my bed, cleaning up my messes and sleeping normal rhythms help with this regulation. Social distancing is necessary but getting outside for a hike or long walk with my dog is also important. I would love to hear from you about what you are doing to stay positive and present.
This week’s question: I left my husband because of his many years of adultery. He said he stopped the adultery even before I left but I don’t believe him. He also said he’s been going to counseling and he opened up to me a few months ago that he was sexually abused by a neighbor for 1 1/2 years when he was 8. I don’t know if I believe him. I want to save my marriage and I’m in counseling. I’m wondering if he’s telling me the truth that he was abused. What’s the next step I need to do to save my marriage?
Answer: You asked what’s your next step in order to save your marriage. Yet in your short question, you mentioned three times that you don’t believe him. So first you have to ask yourself a question. Do you want to have a relationship with someone you don’t believe or can’t trust? Because from what you wrote, that’s what your marriage has been like.
Sometimes I sense that there is a hidden expectation for a wife to excuse or erase the consequences of her husband’s sin once she learns of his past abuse. It’s horrible when children are sexually abused (or abused in any way). And that abuse impacts a child’s life, but it doesn’t necessarily turn him or her into an abuser, cheater or liar. Those are personal choices and character issues. You can have compassion for what happened to him as a child and even forgive what he’s done to you as his wife. However, that does not mean you can make a marriage work. A healthy marriage depends on trust and safety. You will need time to see what he does to heal, to grow, to change, and to rebuild your shattered trust.
From what you wrote, both of you are in individual counseling. I hope you are doing your own work to get healthier and to grow into the woman you are proud of and want to be. However, you can’t save your marriage alone. So my advice to you would be to continue to do your own work and observe whether he is doing his. Over time, if you see that he is healing, growing, and becoming more trustworthy, then perhaps your marriage can have a chance to heal too. If not, then you can stay legally married, even live together, but you will not have a good marriage. That is not something you can control or make happen alone.
I will be doing a free workshop on April 14th on How Long Should You Keep Trying and When Do You Know The Change is Real. I invite you to sign up to participate. Click here to register. I think it will help you see the proper signs of his and your healing and whether or not your marriage can be rebuilt or needs to be released.
Friends, what has helped you either rebuild broken trust or release a broken marriage?