- - -
After 13 years of marriage I wouldn’t say that I am an expert when it comes to marriage, but I do feel like I know awful lot about the subject. I can say this, not because of my ability to perfectly navigate every circumstance that has come our way but because we (I) have made a lot of mistakes along the way in those 13 years. With all of that set aside, I am confident in saying that trust and respect are the foundation on which a good marriage is built. Trust and respect are imperative to any successful relationship but especially in the most intimate relationship humans can have.
So what do you do when you have broken that trust and respect by dishonoring your marriage vows by either seeking out pornography or another relationship? Every situation is different and there will be circumstances that make the rebuilding process more or less difficult but in general I have found these four attitudes to be the most helpful.
Understand, that this process doesn’t happen over night and it will take significant effort and time but rebuilding trust and respect is possible. Here are the four attitudes that have worked for me:
1) Be honest
We’ve all been caught in a lie at some point in our lives and I think we can all recognize that telling more lies only makes things worse. Digging the hole deeper and deeper will do nothing but further tear down what foundation you have left. If you have been caught, the path to rebuilding trust and respect in your marriage is to get honest. As much as it hurts, answer the questions, fully and truthfully. This wound in your marriage can’t start healing until it is exposed, completely and truthfully.
A wise man once told that we should listen twice as much as we talk. For some of us that is more of an issue than others, but it is absolutely the wise thing to do when you are trying to rebuild your marriage. Listen to your spouses’ feelings, take it in. It’s going to hurt and it should. The reality is that if you are the one who brought this problem into your marriage it is on you to fix it. Now I’m not saying that you have to face this alone, but you need to own the fact that you are in the wrong. This is not the time to defend your actions. If you have failed, own it, hear her words, and then start to move forward.
3) Be humble
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, ESV)
It really is that simple. If you are expecting God to help you and your marriage through this rebuild then it is going to take humility. On the contrary, if you remain prideful, God promises to oppose you and your efforts. Is your pride going to take hit through all of this? Absolutely! And I would venture to say that it might be for good reason. The prideful cannot be taught and if you want to learn to be a better partner in your marriage or if you want to learn what it takes to be overcome a porn addiction it is going to take humility. However, if you learn humility and suppress your pride as you rebuild your marriage He also says,
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, (1 Peter 5:6, ESV)
4) Seek Him
I cannot stress this attitude enough if your goal is to rebuild your marriage into what it was intended to be. Seek Jesus, His kingdom, and His will for your marriage. If you haven’t been the Christ centered husband or father that you know your family deserves, then now is the time to make that change. Pour yourself into that goal and all of the recovery, the counseling, or the rebuilding will become that much easier as you realize that the power is not in you to make your marriage or family work. When we humble ourselves, when we lower ourselves to the point that the only thing left is Him, it is then that He can truly work in our lives. Seek Him!
Jesus is the Master Rebuilder. If you are in the process of rebuilding trust and honesty in your marriage, lean on Him, follow Him, trust Him. He will not lead you astray. With His help you can have a marriage that both honors Him and each other.
As I stated before, these are not the end all for rebuilding a Godly marriage, but they are a good starting point. And if you are reading this and your marriage is in desperate need of a rebuild, know that you don’t have to do it alone. Let’s be honest, going solo and doing things your way has got you into this mess. Reach out! That’s what we are here for and know that you are not alone as many men have reached out and have started their journey toward rebuilding trust and respect in their marriages.