Q: “How can I be sure my husband will never cheat again? We have been through counseling after infidelity. We both agreed we would keep our marriage intact. We have four children who are depending on us to make this work. It was extremely difficult on them during our separation. Neither of us desire to put them through any more anguish. We want to see them graduate and get married. However, I’m feeling terribly insecure about whether this is the last time something like this would ever happen, especially since our relationship has not improved.”
A: A sure way to keep getting the same results is to never change the way you’re doing things.
I applaud you both for desiring to preserve your legacy. It does concern me that your relationship is status quo. At the end of the day, your children would rather have a legacy of love they can boast of and feel secure in future “historical” moments.
What happens after graduation and beyond weddings? There will be grandchildren. Those grandchildren would love to come to a home where their grandparents would share a home of love, as well. That begs the question: How do we get love back into your marriage? Quite frankly, I’m not hearing the tone of love at all.
1. Decide to love again. It’s difficult after infidelity to reignite those feelings. While I cannot empathize with you, I can sympathize that the effort might be exhausting emotionally and taxing physically. However, the alternative is something that will leave you in a constant state of not only insecurity but an icy environment in your own home. Both of you must make a conscious decision that you will find reasons to love the other. Many of the ones for which you fell in love are still in place; they’re simply clouded by pain. The decision will call for a tender and willing heart. Talk it out. Time and time again if necessary. But agree to love. Without it, your efforts will be futile.
2. Immerse yourselves in marriage encounter workshops. These workshops are designed to walk you through difficulties with the end result of discovering why you still love one another. I understand you’ve been through counseling, but getting away for weekends with other folks struggling with issues in their marriages makes you feel less isolated in your problems. Hearing testimonies of couples who have walked the path and come out victoriously offers hope that tends to be elusive when love is stale.
3. Faith. You must not only have faith in yourselves to see this through, you must depend on faith to get you there. Commit yourselves to prayer, both individually and as a couple. Devote yourselves to believing that this battle needs a center to yoke you together as one. Without a unifying force that speaks truth into your lifestyle, neither of you will be content with yourselves, much less your spouse.
4. Act your way into a better way of feeling. It’s an old concept that brings new revelations. Love is an action. It can’t happen when you’re merely going through the motions of being husband and wife. You have a choice to either live in your house or love in your home. I lived in a house without love as a child. I’m delighted to tell you that love brings a home to life. I had to decide how life would look — living only or loving greatly. The latter has defined who I am today. I would encourage you to let it define your tomorrow.
5. Give him a chance. Perhaps you have heard me say: “Love is on loan. It’s only yours until someone takes it back.” Your husband took trust back from you, I understand. But remember — he chose you over her. He chose your legacy over creating a new one. Make the most of this time. You have a limited window of time to reclaim the love that slipped away. Believe in yourself, what you have to offer, and the woman who initially won his heart. You can do this. Yes, it is going to take time for him to rebuild the trust he breached, but give him an opportunity to do so. And by all means, give him reason enough to never break it again. Is it a fail-proof formula? Absolutely not. But do your part. His part will bear its own cross.