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Liar Liar - Rebuilding Trust After an Affair

Updated on September 19, 2012

Is it Even Possible?

When people find out that I stayed married to my husband after he had an affair, one of the first questions that they ask is "are you able to trust him again?". It is certainly a challenge, but the answer is yes. Trust takes a long time to build but only a second to destroy. After someone betrays you it takes a very long time to rebuild that trust. When someone hurts you so deeply, it also makes it difficult to trust other people.

With a lot of hard work from both yourself, and your partner, rebuilding trust after an affair is possible.

Demand Total Transparency

One very important step in rebuilding trust is to demand total transparency in your marriage. First of all, you must be honest with one another. Even "small" lies should not be tolerated. If you ask your husband if he likes your dress, do not be offended if he says no. It may seem like little lies that are told simply to avoid hurt feelings or an argument are OK, but they are not. It is so refreshing to come to the agreement in your marriage that you will be completely honest with one another. This seems like a big step after finding out that your spouse has been so dishonest with you in the past. However, if you both want to rebuild your relationship, think of this as an opportunity for a fresh start. Doing things the way you did in the past did not work then and they will not work now.

For more information on steps for recovering from an affair, visit my other hub page

Set Boundaries Within Your Relationship

All couples must decide what is acceptable within their relationship and what is not. This is even more important for couples who are trying to rebuild trust. When I decided that I would try to repair my relationship with my husband after his affair, there were a few boundaries that we set. If he did not agree with my requests, I would not remain in the marriage. Here is a list of the boundaries that we set within our marriage:

  • Canceled his Facebook account. (A few years later, we agreed that he could start a new account; however, we have a few guidelines. We know each others passwords, and have full acess to the others account. We also do not accept friend requests from people of the opposite sex without asking the other for their approval.)
  • Changed his cell phone number and e-mail account and allowed me full access to both.
  • Always call if we are going to be late. In the beginning, my husband would provide proof whenever possible.
  • Always let the other person have full knowledge of your daily schedule. Where you are going to be, who you are going to be with, and what time you will be where.
  • Allow your partner to call and "check up" on you. They should be allowed to call you at any time. If you are unable to answer the phone, you should call them back ASAP.
  • Overnight trips with members of the opposite sex are not acceptable.

These are just examples of a few of the boundaries that my husband and I set in our marriage. You and your spouse will need to set your own boundaries. In the beginning, it is important to have more boundaries. As you rebuild trust, you will be able to loosen up; however, setting boundaries are healthy and important in all marriages.

A Christian Prospective

I struggled for a long time with trusting my husband again after he was unfaithful to me. I spent many nights praying about it and asking God if if was even possible to trust him again. Finally, God revealed a very important truth to me: I don't need to completely trust my husband, nor should I. If that seems really strange to you, believe me, it did to me at first too. After listening to God this concept started to make a lot more sense. No person is worthy of complete trust. After all, humans have and always will sin, make mistakes, and hurt one another. We can see in John 2:24-25 that even Jesus didn't completely trust people. "But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man." The only one who is worthy of our complete trust is God. How wonderful and refreshing to realize that I didn't need to completely trust my husband!

Of course, there needs to be a high level of trust in marriage to have a healthy relationship but it doesn't need to be 100% trust. Your spouse will hurt you again. I pray that it will not be in such a terrible way; however, he/she will do or say something that will hurt you. There is no avoiding it in human relationships. You need to trust that your spouse will be faithful to you, that they love you and will protect you, and that they will not let anything jeopardize your relationship. You do not; however, need to trust that they will never hurt you again.

I don't need to completely trust my husband, I need to completely trust God. If God is telling me to stay in my marriage, I know that I will be fine no matter what my husband does because I can completely trust God. Does that mean that my husband won't cheat on me again? No, it does not. But, if he does, I know that God works all things together for my good. (Romans 8:28) I also do not believe that God would have led me to stay married to my husband if he was going to be unfaithful again.

Please do not misunderstand. Trust is an essential part of marriage. Keep in mind; however, that we live in a world of imperfect human beings (ourselves included). Hurt is a part of all human relationships. Imperfect human beings are not worthy of complete trust. There is only one who is worthy of our complete trust and He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us.

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

"God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you." Hebrews 13:5 (The Message)


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      Mrs.Caldwell 3 years ago

      Hello, I'm not sure if you still respond to comments since this article is a couple years old. But I am dealing with introducing boundaries to my marriage after infidelity. I am a little hesitant to put my foot down as my husband is very hardheaded and has a lot of pride. How do you address boundaries in a way that won't make him storm out of the room? Also, me and my toddler will be going away for Christmas back home in a week. How do I trust he's following the boundaries while I'm gone? Since he has a good history of hiding things. Thank you!

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      encourage7 5 years ago

      Thanks for you comment. I appreciate the feedback!

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      MelisandraMarta 5 years ago

      You have written a great article here. The "boundaries" you set feel spot on and are an excellent way to rebuild trust. These are the same boundaries I set in my previous marriage. They are appropriate and equitable. If more couples would commit to transparency, relationship success rates would be much higher. Terrific advice!