After you’ve disclosed your betrayal to your wife, you probably feel like a load has been lifted off of your chest. Everything should be fine, right? No, not so fast. You need a reality check. Because even though you feel better, she feels worse. Here is why her reality is different than yours.
- He thinks, “I’m becoming a better man.”
Reality check: She thinks, “I’ve been betrayed.” Your prayer should be, “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us…” (Hos. 6:1b, NLT). As you turn away from your shortcomings and toward the Lord, He will begin to restore your marriage.
- He thinks, “I am more in love than ever.”
Reality Check: She thinks, “I’ve never felt more unloved and unworthy as I do now.” Love takes action. You need to show—not just tell—your wife that you love her and can be trusted. 1 John 3:18b says, “…let us show the truth by our actions.”
- He thinks, “I’m beginning to see my marriage in a better light.”
Reality check: She thinks, “I’ve never seen my marriage as bad as it is now.” Doing things your way has led to failure. But becoming humble will help you: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
- He thinks, “I’m finally being honest.”
Reality check: She thinks, “I’ve been so deceived.” Keep in mind James 5:16a which says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Confess daily struggles to God and your accountability partner.
- He thinks, “I’m finished with my recovery.”
Reality check: She thinks, “Will I ever recover?” Recovery is a process—not an event. There’s no magical pill that will cure you. Continue to persevere as the Apostle Paul did: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” (2 Tim. 4:7).
- He thinks: “I feel connected to other men.”
Reality Check: She thinks, “I feel so disconnected from other women.” The writer of Ecclesiastes penned these words: “…three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Ecc. 4:12b). Your wife needs support. Attending our Restore workshop can help her.
- He thinks: “I feel so clean.”
Reality check: She thinks, “I feel so dirty.” Your wife is carrying a huge load of emotional pain. Your words are so powerful to help her heal. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue can bring death or life…” Use your words to tell her she is worthy, valuable, and treasured.
- He thinks: “My life is back on track.”
Reality check: She thinks, “My life is a train wreck.” Your wife has been through trauma—you can’t just ignore it. The Living Bible puts it this way, “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there” (Jer. 6:14b). See a counselor, and do our Sustained Victory phone coaching for as long as you need.
Even if you’re making progress in your recovery, remember, your thoughts are far different than your wife’s—she sees things much differently than you do. Empathizing with your wife and putting yourself in her shoes will go far in helping your marriage heal.