Every Tuesday we’ll be posting an article about restoring and strengthening marriages that have been damaged by sexual sin. Hope it helps.
Mrs. Interrogator (“Am I Ever Gonna Be Off the Hot Seat?”)
It happens often – a husband has a secret sin (porn, affair, etc.) that gets exposed, his wife is shattered but forgives him, so they begin rebuilding. But she still can barely wrap her mind around what he’s done, and wonders how he was capable of such a thing, so the questions start. Relentlessly. Frequently. Unpredictably.
“How could you do that? What were you thinking? How many times did it happen? Tell me again why you did it!”
It can get to the point where a man doesn’t want to walk into his own house, since he’s not sure what fresh round of questioning is waiting for him. Sometimes it starts late at night, when he’s trying to sleep and can barely pay attention, much less explain his hurtful actions. Other times he’ll feel ambushed in the middle of dinner, or while watching tv. Regardless, he begins to resent, like a teenage son busted for smoking, sitting on the hot seat while Mom grills him day and night over the wrong he’s done. That resentment is poison, the likes of which cause many a man to eventually view his wife as a negative, overbearing figure who makes life miserable. Predictably, he withdraws further and further from her, she reacts to the withdrawal with more interrogation, and the marriage is now in real danger.
What to do? Let me recommend the three R’s: Responsibility, Reassurance and Resolution
“I Made This Happen, So I Won’t Bail When it Gets Rough”
If you’ve hurt your wife, one of the best gifts you can give her is the gift of patience and fairness when she’s processing the pain you created for her. Imagine striking someone, causing an injury, then saying “I’m sorry. There, I apologized, so get over the injury. Now!”
Of course that’s unreasonable; wildly so. But is it any less reasonable than the man who breaks his wife’s heart, wounds her soul, then expects her to simply “get over it” because he’s apologized? Where there’s real repentance, there’s also a willingness to take responsibility not only for what you’ve done, but for the consequences as well. And your wife’s broken heart is one of those. So put some action behind your apology by hanging in there with her while she’s in pain, thus showing her that your repentance is more than words.
“I’ll Hear Your Concerns, Answer as Best I Can, and Hang In There With You”
When a wife realizes her husband has kept long term secrets from her, she experiences a horror few men can appreciate. One of her primary drives is to be close to her man; bonded to him, aware of his good and bad points; privy to his heart’s secrets. So when she discovers he’s been keeping her in the dark, through lying, covering up and secret sin, she’s usually as outraged over his secrecy and dishonesty as she is over the sexual sin itself. She now needs the reassurance of honest, complete answers, even ones that have been given a hundred times before.
I’ve found that usually, when a wife is repeatedly grilling her man over issues they’ve already discussed, she’s really saying, “Please reassure me that this won’t happen again; that you understand how serious it is; and that you’re not hiding anything else from me!” And who can blame her? Listen carefully, not defensively, and keep your answers to her questions as honest and clear as possible. Above all, make sure she knows that, no matter how uncomfortable you are with her pain, you’ll honor her by hanging in there with her and not running away emotionally or physically.
“I’ll Invest in Time and Consistency While Waiting for This to Resolve”
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” -Galatians 6: 9