July 25th 2023
#269: Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity
Join us for this heart-felt episode where we explore the arduous journey of rebuilding marital faithfulness after infidelity.
This is a must-hear for those eager to regain a spouse’s trust after being unfaithful.
In this episode, we discuss the importance of focusing first on strengthening your character, rather than prioritizing winning back your spouse’s trust.
In the second half of today’s show, Josh shares a story from Clinton and Charity Munoz, creators of Restored 2 More, about navigating moments when a betrayed spouse is triggered and feeling unsafe.
Clinton’s ability to validate Charity’s feelings of fear and insecurity was pivotal, underscoring the importance of honesty, vulnerability, and empathy in repairing a marriage.
✋ If you enjoyed this episode of Becoming Whole, please head over to Apple Podcasts, leave a rating, write a review, and subscribe.
If you are on the road to sexual integrity and seeking to heal a marriage in the process, you’ll find valuable insights to help you progress towards becoming more whole.
Tune in and embark on an empathy journey with us.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
What We Discuss:
- 0:03 – Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity
- 10:57 – Rebuilding Trust and Safety in Relationships
- 14:52 – Journey Towards Becoming More Whole
- 1. What are some common challenges that couples face when trying to rebuild trust after infidelity?
- 2. How important is empathy in the process of rebuilding trust? How can a partner demonstrate empathy towards the other?
- 3. The podcast emphasizes the need for the unfaithful partner to focus on rebuilding their own character. Why is this important, and how can someone go about doing this?
- 4. How can communication play a role in rebuilding trust? What are some effective ways to foster open and honest communication in a relationship?
- 5. The speaker mentions the importance of being transparent and honest. How can someone actively demonstrate these qualities in their actions and words?
- 6. The podcast suggests engaging in recovery programs, therapy, and coaching. What are some specific resources or approaches that can aid in the process of rebuilding trust?
- 7. The speaker highlights the role of the unfaithful partner in creating a sense of safety for their spouse. What are some concrete steps the unfaithful partner can take to make their spouse feel safe again?
- 8. In what ways can the process of rebuilding trust be a journey towards personal growth and wholeness for both partners?
- 9. The podcast mentions the responsibility of the unfaithful partner to focus on themselves, rather than controlling their partner’s journey towards trust. How can individuals strike a balance between taking personal responsibility and supporting their partner’s healing?
- 10. Why is it important for listeners to leave a review or rating for the podcast? How can positive reviews help others struggling with similar issues find support and guidance?
Transcription: Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity
All right, i’m married and I’ve been unfaithful to my spouse. How do I rebuild trust? We hear that question a lot in our ministry and we’re going to answer that in today’s podcast. How do I rebuild trust after I’ve been unfaithful to my husband or my wife? I know that this goes both ways, but for today’s podcast I’m just going to talk to men about rebuilding trust with your wives. Otherwise, i’ll be going back and forth between husband and wife and wife and husband over and over again. So just for simplicity’s sake. But I recognize if you’re a husband and your wife’s been unfaithful to you, if you’re a wife and you’ve been unfaithful to your husband, you may be listening too, and so I trust that you can make that translation because it all applies. So first thing and this is counterintuitive, but the first thing you need to do if you want to rebuild trust with your wife is to forget about rebuilding trust with your wife. I don’t mean that you don’t want her to trust you, but I mean stop making that your focus, stop making your wife’s trust your focus. Why do I say that? Well, because trust is her job. That’s what she’s working on. Whether or not she’s going to trust you again, that’s up to her. Whether she’s going to, whether she wants to, whether she’s willing to, whether she thinks that she should, whether the people in her life think that she should trust you, that’s up to her. Your job is not about rebuilding her trust. Your job is about you, and that means that you throw out the idea that you want things to get back to normal. It means that you toss the idea that you just want this to go as quickly as you can, and it certainly means that you stop trying to control her own journey towards trusting you. And I’ll explain a little bit more why later in the podcast, but for now, i just want to stress first and foremost that you need to make a mental shift between away from trying to get her to trust you. That’s not going to work for you. So let me share an illustration that may be helpful to kind of set the stage for why.
First, imagine yourself walking to work. Whatever path it is that you walk to work If you don’t walk to work. Imagine yourself driving to work. You probably, if you’ve been there, even for a year or two, or three, or four, you don’t even think about it anymore. Just that’s the way you go, it works, it’s fine, no problem. And then one day, out of the blue, without warning, the road or the sidewalk underneath you collapses and you fall into a sinkhole, 10, 15, 20 feet below the surface, and you’re knocked out. You end up in the hospital. You’re there for three months, then you’re in recovery, Then you’re in physical therapy, on and on and on. Finally, you’re ready to go back to work.
Well, the first question is do you ride? Do you drive the same path? Do you walk the same path? Maybe, maybe not. If you do walk or drive the same path and you find that the sidewalk or the road is actually restored, it looks the way it did before Do you feel good about it?
Do you think about it? Do you? can you go across it mindlessly? Absolutely not. You can’t. Why not?
Well, because what you thought you knew wasn’t real before. So you had lived as though something was real all along and you didn’t know there was a sinkhole hiding beneath the surface. Well, the same thing is true for your wife. For however long it’s been, she thought that things were good between you. She thought the marriage was healthy maybe not perfect, but healthy enough. And then she’s discovered that you’ve been unfaithful, that you’ve been looking at porn for the last 20 years, or that you’ve had an affair for the last six months. So what she thought she knew she didn’t know, and so now she’s in a place of not not being able to trust herself to her own perception of what’s real. Reality itself is something that doesn’t feel solid underneath her feet anymore, and she’s in a place of desperately needing things to be solid again.
So again all this to say stop trying to rebuild trust. You have other, more important work to do, because your wife has been traumatized and she needs to heal from that trauma. So you want to support her in that journey Now. So what can you do? I’ll offer you two ideas, two things that are better, more worth your focus than trying to rebuild her trust. First thing you want to rebuild your own character. Your own character. Focus on rebuilding your character, or maybe building your character for the first time. Maybe there are ways that you were not a man of character and you need to become a man of character, man of integrity, a man of virtue in ways that you’ve never been before. Focus on rebuilding your character. In other words, instead of trying to focus on rebuilding trust, work on becoming trustworthy. That’s one of the most important things you can do for her. In the same way, a builder is not worried about the people on the street trusting the street again as much as they’re concerned about making sure the street is actually reliable and firm and filled and solid and trustworthy. So that’s your number one job focusing on becoming trustworthy, becoming a man of character.
Well, how do you do that? Well, first and foremost is you get honest. You get honest with yourself and with other people about the truth, about what you’ve been doing. You don’t keep secrets anymore. Secrets are a sinkhole underneath the surface, just waiting for things to collapse into them. And I know that’s scary and I know that’s hard. But to be a person of character, to be trustworthy, one of the first steps is you get honest with yourself. There’s no such thing as being trustworthy if you’re not willing to tell the truth. Trustworthy people are truthful people Hard stop No possibility of that being. Otherwise. If you’re not willing to be truthful, you will never be trustworthy. So get honest about the good, the bad and the ugly from your life, including if there are things that your spouse doesn’t yet know, she needs to know And you can get help in how to disclose those things to her. But that’s an important part of becoming trustworthy and becoming a man of character.
Secondly, it means simple things like letting your yes be yes and your no be no. You tell the truth in all matters. If you’re working late and it’s your own fault because you’re procrastinating and you work earlier in the day, you didn’t manage your time well, or you got distracted with You know emails or watching soccer on on your computer, you don’t. You don’t tell your wife Sorry, you know I gotta work late. There’s too much to do you. You be honest with her about everything that happened in there. Hey, everybody, do me two big favors, would you? first of all, if there’s a topic you’d like me to be talking about on this podcast, shoot me an email at podcast at regeneration ministries, oh RG. Secondly, would you rate and review this podcast by going to regeneration ministries dot. Org. Slash rate When you leave a five-star review, it actually helps other people find the show. Thanks so much now back to it.
It also means that if you can’t do something for your wife, you got to tell her I can’t do it. I can’t do that right now. Don’t make empty promises. So I hope you see, you hear the theme and all of this is to become a trustworthy person. Focus on your own character And, lastly, it’s focused focusing on your own character. Because you had a sexual infidelity, you need to focus on your sexual recovery. So get into some type of recovery community. Get involved in one of regeneration’s groups or another ministry’s groups. See a Christian therapist, come see a regeneration coach. We’d be happy to walk with you. We’ve got 40 plus years of experience helping people to become people of character men and women of character After they’ve been sexually unfaithful. So we’d love to help you in that journey, if we can help you.
Next, the next thing you can do so you’ve you’re not trying to rebuild trust. Instead, you’re trying to become a person who’s trustworthy by rebuilding your own character. Next thing you do and you do this with your spouse and for your spouse, as you want to rebuild safety for your spouse. What I mean by that? well, again, they just walked along a path. They’ve walked for a long time and it collapsed under their feet. They weren’t safe. They thought they were safe and they weren’t safe.
Now You’re gonna be working on making things safe for them. You’re doing that through trying to build your character, but it also means and how you relate with them. You’re relating with them differently So they can begin to feel more safe, to be more safe and to feel more safe. So that means, like I said, you can be honest about how your journey is going. You might even think about it this way More than wanting them to stick with you, you want to make them safe right. So even if in the areas where you feel like man, i’m not trustworthy I’m, i don’t think I’m safe You let them know that, not to push them away, but to be honest with them.
Why? because you’re concerned about their safety, not them trusting you. That’s secondary. You’re worried about them actually being safe. So if you have a sexual fall while you’re in recovery, you tell them that. Why? because you want them to be safe. You’re putting their safety over your desire that everything work out the way that you want it to work out. Now, as you do that, you’re actually Rebuilding your marriage and you’re helping them to feel safer. Now You’ll help them to feel even more safe if you’re not acting out. So please don’t act out. Get the help you need so that you’re growing in character, but if you do fall, you’re telling them the truth.
So rebuilding a sense of safety Includes having some regular times where you are talking about how your journey is going, the good about the ugly. It also means and this is vital, guys, it’s vital You need to grow in empathy for what your spouse is going through. You need to grow in empathy. That means you’re not just sympathizing from afar, you’re trying to meet them where they are. You’re trying to understand and even feel what they’re feeling. So I’ll share an illustration I shared with a brother in recovery recently. He was having a real hard time Feeling for his wife when she would be triggered by the trauma She’s experienced. And so, say they’re, they’re out to eat, which is typically been a time where, where he’s really wrestling with lust and she’s being triggered He’s not lusting, but she’s triggered and she’s angry and she’s pushing him away or she’s Biting at him, or she’s wanting to leave and he’s like, look, i’m not doing anything wrong, like just relax, just relax.
Well, what I, what I tried to frame a form is this illustration I want you to imagine for a moment that you are in a crowded room and Your wife and your new baby are across the room. They’re, you know, 20 feet away And it’s so crowded you can’t even get to them. And it’s crowded with people who are dangerous people. They got guns, they got knives, they’re doing drugs. They don’t care about you, they don’t care about her, they don’t care about your baby, and you can’t get to them.
And so you pick up your phone and you and you call your wife and and she says everything’s fine. Why are you so worried? stop worrying, we’re fine. And she seems oblivious to the danger around her. I That doesn’t make you feel, do you feel, like okay, whoo, whoo, everything’s better? No, actually, her lack of empathy with your concern increases your sense that things are not okay, because not only are you surrounded by danger, she’s not aware of it or she refuses to accept it.
So, in a similar way, when your wife is triggered because of the trauma that she’s been through, the harm that you’ve caused through your infidelity in the past, instead of combating her and saying you’re safe, you’re safe, you don’t need to worry, i’m trustworthy, i’m trustworthy. Instead of going that route, you want to come alongside her and try to see and feel what she is seeing and feeling. In other words, so when you’re making that metaphorical phone call or she’s making that metaphorical phone call to you and saying, do you see this? How are you doing? You say I do see it And you know what. I can understand how this feels scary for you. What can I do to help you feel safe? How can I come alongside you to help you feel safe in this moment? Here’s what I’m doing already. So I’m trying to make you safe, but I want to really come alongside you to help you feel safe in this moment, because I know that in the past I’ve not done that for you.
Clinton and Charity Munoz, who run a ministry called Restored to More, shared this story And I think it’s just a great example of this. They were well into the recovery. Clinton was doing very well in his own recovery journey, including learning to take better care of his emotional, physical health so that he could be so he wouldn’t be as tempted to act out. And so one night he was out playing tennis with some good friends, getting some exercise, healthy activity, connecting with some other men bonding with them all good stuff to do in recovery. But Charity had expected him home earlier than he came home, and so she was texting and calling him and not reaching him. And his phone was in there in his back So he was not seeing the text in the calls. So he came home just on high. He was excited about having spent his night the way he had. He hadn’t acted out like he had in the past. But Charity was triggered. She was just over. She was losing it. She was so angry at him.
When he got home, instead of saying honey, i was doing good stuff, you knew where I was, why are you so worried? Instead that’s what he said to her He said I see that you’re triggered. I see that you’re upset. This is where I was. What can I do? How can I help you to feel safe? I’m for you. You tell me how I can help you feel safe and I’ll do it.
She thought about it. She said you can get one of the friends that you’re playing tennis with on the phone right now. And so he pulled up his phone, didn’t leave and text them or anything like that. He just picked up the phone right then. And there He said you bet. He called me and said hey, could you just let Charity know that I was with you. She’s feeling concerned? Handed the phone to her and Charity said was he with you? And the friend was able to verify Yep, he was with me from this time to this time. We were playing tennis. This is what happened And this is when we left. So he should have gotten home around this time confirming for her all that he had said.
He helped her to feel safe because he was willing to empathize with her where she was, as opposed to demanding that she see where he was. He was willing to come alongside her and empathize. So those two things, those three things really First, forget about trying to build trust for your spouse. That’s her job to do as she sees fit with the people in her network, in her community, but you instead. Secondly, you instead work on becoming a person of character, becoming trustworthy. And then, third, you seek to help her to feel safe. You work on rebuilding safety for your spouse through doing your own journey, being honest and vulnerable with her and through empathizing with her position. Now, so much more could be said about this.
This is a brief podcast, but that’s a great place to begin. We would love to walk with you on the journey. If you need help, just reach out to us at RegenerationMinistries.org. Thanks for listening in. If you find the content of this podcast helpful, make sure to leave a review on Apple Podcasts. That helps other people find the show. And if you’d like to check out more resources to help you in your journey towards becoming more whole, go to RegenerationMinistries.org. Again, i’m Josh Glazier and we’ll see you next time.