Ok, so you’ve been betrayed (or maybe you’ve committed the betrayal); and to get over it, you need to get to the truth. Whose truth? Of course truth involves what is real, steadfast, and unchanging. Who decides what is real? The author of ALL truth is God.
In talking about God, Moses said, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right He is.” (Duet.32:4)
If you must confess the truth or discern what is really true, ask God. I know that sounds simple, but it is true! Earnest prayer – asking God for the truth – is pretty simple. Be Warned! You may not like the answer.
“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” is what Jesus said in John 8:32.
For most of us, author Aldous Huxley hits the nail on the head when he said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.”
You know the truth. You are free and mad. Great! Knowing the truth opens the door to trust. Trust, remember is what we are trying to rebuild. How can you learn to trust again after being betrayed? How can you become trustworthy after destroying trust?
First, confess. There are two parties here: the betrayed and the betrayer. Both must confess the truth to each other. The hurt feelings, the sense of abandonment, the loneliness, the anger, the need for romance and intimacy, the desire to be flattered and adored, the need for acceptance — all must be put on the table. Now we can make room on that table for trust.
Let me prepare you. This is the hardest thing in the world to do because you are trying to rebuild trust with someone you don’t trust! To feel that way is okay. Understand it and work anyway to continually tell the truth and begin to trust. You must CHOOSE to trust and accept the changes in both yourself and your spouse. The relationship between you will never be the same again. That’s a good thing. Whatever the relationship was before obviously was not working — thus the betrayal. You can, however, create a NEW relationship.
Is It Old? Make Something New!
If you have ever broken a teacup, you can appreciate creating something new. You can take those fragmented pieces and superglue them back together. That teacup will never be the same! Sometimes the pieces don’t fit exactly. And, upon close inspection those cracks are still visible. However, it is still a teacup; fully capable of handling the heat of a hot beverage or being submerged in hot soapy water. Your NEW relationship, based on truth and trust, will be able to handle those hot moments and lulls of romance.
You have confessed. Now, if it applies to you – Apologize. Really do it. Say what you did, why you did it and that you will not do it again. That’s it. No excuses. The apology should match the offense. Lisa only has to say, “I’m sorry that you did not like the movie. I thought it was great, but that doesn’t mean you would like it too.” No big deal.
A big offense – lying about that weekend business trip that was a fishing trip or withholding information about a sexual liaison or letting one spouse assume that a child is theirs – will require a bigger and maybe repeated apology. If you have been betrayed and need to hear the apology several times to accept it, say that truthfully to the person who betrayed you.
Five Steps to Restore Trust
Let’s get to some real, everyday techniques. You have confessed. You have apologized. What more must you do to get that feeling of trust back? Realize that trust comes in bits and pieces. There is no law that says you have to restore trust in one fell swoop. It is appropriate to have a limited amount of trust in the beginning and add more and more layers of trust as trustworthiness develops. Here is a checklist for both parties:
1. Don’t Lie – Tell the truth about what groceries you bought, who called on the phone, why you came home so late, what the kids ate for breakfast, why you took extra money out of the bank – every little mundane detail of your life must be based on the truth. Why? You get good at what you practice. If you practice being deceitful, hiding little tidbits no matter how unimportant they seem; you will become a very accomplished liar. Not good. Make it a practice to be so painfully honest that there will never ever be any reason to question what you say. Remember, “For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.” (Pro. 8:7)
2. Put Temptation Behind You – Don’t continue to see or speak to the “other person.” Don’t have a “getting-even” affair, and do be a new person. If you do the same things, in the same place with the same people, you will get the same results.
3. Don’t Be Quick to Take Offense – If you have to answer the same questions over and over, do it. If your trustworthiness is questioned, accept it, answer honestly and move on. Don’t forget that rebuilding trust takes time. If you have to share phone records, emails, bank statements, undergo paternity testing, call home to check in, or exhibit some patience while someone else is working to be trustworthy — do it and stop complaining. Change your thinking about how someone is “always” or “never.”
4. Don’t Walk on Eggshells – If a subject matter needs to be discussed, discuss it. Be careful to do it right. Pick a time and a place. Write down an agenda, yeah, like a meeting! No kids, no yelling, no lying or offense-taking.
5. Do Have Lots of Sex – No, I am not kidding! There is an intimacy and bond found with sex between spouses that all the talking and hand-holding in the world will not achieve. Of course, you are still mad and hurt, you are guilty or ashamed and there is no trust. Take it slow. Have fun. Be nice. No punishment by withholding physical affection – you won’t get sex either when you do that! Let the love and trust build again. If there are insecurities or comparisons, go back to Step #4 — no eggshells!
Take as much time as you need. Work through these steps over and over. Talk to your pastor or a Christian-based marriage counselor and Pray. You can make it. Now that you have some steps to follow on the truth, how can you ever forgive?