Oh, sweet one with a broken heart. I’ve been there and I have felt the sting of hurt like daggers into my heart as I faced a betrayal in my marriage that I never saw coming. My husband broke my heart and I can promise you that it shattered into a gazillion pieces, right along with the vows that were broken.
I know what it feels like. Questioning, how he could do this to me, to our family? Who did I marry? How can I live with the fact that my husband broke my heart? Will I ever be able to respect or trust my husband now? How will I be able to repair my broken heart? And our marriage…Will we ever be able to repair our broken marriage after being betrayed by my husband? Do I even want to salvage it? The questions keep coming.
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Repair a Broken Heart After a Betrayal in Marriage
Do not be fooled into thinking that there is only one step to repair a broken heart after a devastating betrayal in marriage. Unfortunately, there are many steps to take but one of the most important steps to take in order to begin the healing process is to learn how to forgive your husband and live there. It may seem unfathomable right now but I promise there is life after betrayal.
This forgiveness thing is no small feat and by no means, is it easy to do. I get that. To forgive a spouse that betrayed you means to find peace though, for yourself. Forgiveness is for you. Not for him. It does NOT mean accepting the betrayal as okay. Recognizing patterns of behavior and the memories you retain are for your protection. That’s for another post for another day.
BUT forgiving him does mean you are not holding him accountable for repaying a debt that was paid on the cross by Jesus. Remember? Jesus paid for all of our sins. It was not just for yours and mine, but his too. Overcoming offense in marriage begins with me, and it starts at the cross, with forgiveness and grace.
Forms of Betrayal in Relationship
There are many forms of betrayal in marriage that can happen. The most prevalent that typically comes to mind is, of course, infidelity but there are other forms that can place giant cracks in the foundation of a relationship and cause devastation and heartbreak to occur. Oftentimes, these betrayals are viewed as insignificant and therefore the damage isn’t dealt with until there are great chasms of emotional disconnection and you are faced with the need to repair a broken heart as well as a broken marriage.
Betrayal in marriage takes on various forms such as:
- Giving more focus and attention to something or someone more than your spouse (examples include spending more time with friends, excessive work habits, prioritizing extended family)
- Elevating something or someone as a priority above your spouse (examples include prioritizing children above the needs of a spouse, playing video games, social media and staying on your phone or laptop consistently while with your spouse)
- Degrading, disrespecting, or belittling your spouse to family, friends, or co-workers (examples include degrading them personally to them, through text, in front of them and behind their back)
- Engaging in secret activities that erode and undermine the relationship (examples include pornography usage, gambling resources, secret financial engagements, shopping)
- Refusing to deal with known issues or staying quiet to maintain peace (includes responding in defensiveness, sarcasm, or using the silent treatment to punish)
This is by no means an exhaustive list of betrayals as I’m sure there are others that could also be considered as well.
Although betrayal in marriage can take on many forms, one thing stays the same. The breakdown of the marriage vows to love, honor, and cherish a spouse above all else leaves a heart broken and shattered into a million pieces.
How to forgive your partner who has hurt you
Overcoming offense in marriage to repair a broken heart begins with forgiveness. There are some specific steps to forgiveness in a relationship that you can take right now. Understand that if there are multiple offenses you are holding against your husband then you should take these steps for each offense.
- Ask God to help you see clearly the anger and resentment you have been carrying for your husband and the offense you are holding against him.
- Cast your pain onto the Lord and allow Him to minister to your spirit. Take all the time you need for this step.
- It’s important that you speak out loud about the offense along with your husband’s name as the Holy Spirit shows it to you. “I forgive (husband’s name) for (offense/betrayal).” If there is more than one, speak those now too.
- Ask God for forgiveness for holding the unforgiveness from your husband.
- Pray for your spouse in reference to this struggle and speak a blessing over him, every single day if you need to.
- Thank God for His sacrifice and the atonement of our sin (all sin).
- When the offense comes to your mind, actively recall the memories of forgiving him and refocus your attention to the good in your husband. Make a list of the good qualities and characteristics and keep it handy for moments when you are struggling.
Forgiving is not easy
It’s not easy to give and then walk out forgiveness in marriage especially when the hurt and betrayal goes so deep and you are trying to repair a broken heart, but you can absolutely do it. After you go through the steps of forgiveness and make your list of the good in your husband, refer to that list frequently. This is part of the process of replacing those hurtful thoughts with more productive and loving thoughts.
These steps are not meant to invalidate the pain you are experiencing but they are meant to give you a stepping stone to freedom. Forgiveness in marriage is vital so that you can move forward and live in peace, contentment, and joy.
Forgiveness Sets You Free
If you find yourself in a place of having to repair a broken heart after being betrayed by your husband, I want you to know that there is life after betrayal. Yes, it will take a lot of prayer and hard work, but I assure you that you can find joy again. It’s hard to see the steps to take when you are deep in despair and realize you don’t know what to do when your spouse doesn’t complete you the way you thought he did. But I assure you that you can repair your heart and you can rebuild the intimate marriage you desire.
When you are trying to figure out how to forgive your partner who has hurt you, please understand that it can take time and the steps are not all easy. The hope is that over time, instead of remembering the offense, you will remember you chose to forgive and set your thoughts of your husband towards the good rather than the hurt. In essence, forgiveness sets you free and you can cherish and enjoy your husband’s best because you quit stumbling over the hurt.
My sweet friend, Ester Hosea shares about The Importance of Forgiveness and Humility in Marriage following a betrayal. Research shows us that FORGIVENESS IS TRULY TRANSFORMATIVE! It has the ability to completely change the dynamic in our marriage. When you choose the path of forgiveness, it will indeed set you free.
Betrayal in marriage is such a hard subject to talk about, but you do it in a tactful and loving way. I love the CS Lewis quote. It definitely keeps things in perspective!
Thank you, Heather. What a nice compliment! Betrayal is devastating but there is hope and life after betrayal. I’m evidence of that! And on a side note, C.S. Lewis is one of my favorites. He has so many thought-provoking quotes.
This is one I”ve lived out… over and over it seems like. I love your practical steps to work through forgiveness and can say I really got stuck on step 7 for a lot of years. “When the offense comes to your mind, actively recall the memories of forgiving him…” When the offense comes to mind or when the offense is repeated it can be so hard to focus on the good.
Something God taught me was to reframe how I tell myself the story. You know that mental battle of dwelling on the bad and focusing on the hurt… I had to rework it through Philippians 4:8 and begin to tell the story of the hurt as the victor instead of the victim. I didn’t even realize that was part of the problem until one day in my prayer time (as I was whining to God about this pattern of hurt in our marriage) God called me out about it.
We are called more than overcomers – victorious in all things – yet I was stuck feeling like a victim. God was already changing us both and healing this and I needed to get out of my own way and claim the victory in Jesus.
There are still days one or both of us slip back into the pattern… forgiveness is such a process. I am thankful for people like you reminding me to keep at it and glorify God.
Thank you for sharing your experience and what the Lord showed you! Forgiveness is so hard sometimes and such a process too. But it does come easier over time as we go through that process. I really appreciate your sweet compliment.
Christie, You’ve done a great job laying out the steps needed for forgiveness, not only in betrayal in marriage but every time one needs to forgive. What a great marriage resource you are!
Thank you, Wendy! I appreciate that encouragement. You are so right though! These steps for forgiveness are appropriate for any time that forgiveness is needed. I especially love the idea of praying a blessing over the other person. It challenges me to do so and it creates a new memory if I’m authentic in that prayer, which is also helpful.
What a beautiful, hope-filled approach to healing after a betrayal in marriage. Betrayal can mean so much more than infidelity, and I am so grateful that you discussed those things. And thank you for the practicals, as well as the hope that with Jesus, we can overcome.
Christie, You did an AMAZING job laying out the steps needed for forgiveness. If we want Forgiveness extended to us then we must be willing to extend it to others as well! I had a really abusive first marriage and its taken a long time to Forgive him in all areas. I was betrayed over and over but I realized once a let go the prisoner that was set FREE was ME! Betrayal in Marriage is difficult but if you want your marriage to work it takes forgiveness.
You are gonna help many women find the healing they need in your posts
Wow, Angie! That must have been such a difficult road to walk! Praise God for your willingness to open your heart up to forgiveness, especially knowing that in the end, you gained freedom for yourself. I’m so grateful that we were given a pathway to repair our brokenness in the sacrifice of Jesus.
You are so right though. Marriage requires a heart of forgiveness if we want our marriage to work. It can be a challenging path, but well worth it.
Thank you for your sweet compliment.
Great message on forgiveness. The first time I was told I had to forgive the man who molested me as a child, I was angry. No one explained that forgiveness was meant to set me free from what had happened. It took years before I understood that. Thank you for your honesty,
What a difficult message to consider for you, or anyone who has suffered in such a horrifying way. It’s hard to imagine forgiving someone that hurt you so deeply. The Bible is clear that vengeance is His though. It doesn’t belong to us. It’s not ours to carry. He fights for us. That isn’t to discount your anger in any way. Anger is absolutely justified, wholeheartedly and without question.
Forgiveness takes us back to the root of our relationship with God, as the Creator of the Universe, and accepting the free gift, the sacrifice of His only son, so that I may be forgiven. It’s about handing God the rights and responsibilities that go along with the offense that happened, as well as accepting and trusting His will for our lives.
The Bible is also clear when it says that the wages of sin is death and we will all face God on judgment day.
I’m so glad you were able to come to a place of understanding that forgiveness was for you to live in freedom and not for the one that had hurt you.
Thank you for such an honest comment.
Beautiful post on a difficult topic. Loved the in depth explanation of the forgiveness aspect. (I got it wrong for years!) Also loved the 7 steps you gave!
Thank you. I’m pretty sure I got it wrong too, and still do sometimes. 😉
Wow, it takes so much heart and courage to forgive our husbands when they betray us. Thank you for such an anointed post, I felt Jesus’ heart all over it. I love how you didn’t just ask the reader to forgive, but you whole heartedly explained the step by step process to get there. Many blessings to you … ❤
I appreciate that Donna. Forgiveness isn’t easy at all, especially when the betrayal goes so deep from the person that was supposed to have our backs. But with the help of the Lord, all things are possible. Sometimes we have to go through several steps to gain freedom over deep hurt, and sometimes it takes a minute to get our hearts and heads there. But… it can be done.
These 7 steps to forgive after a betrayal in marriage are so helpful! It is SO hard to forgive when the most precious aspects of our marriage have been violated. Overcoming the the terrible cycle of negative thoughts seems impossible. But with the help of God, we really can do it, and you’ve given some great, practical advise on how to get started and allow God to repair our broken hearts!
Thank you, Cherith! It is so hard but you are absolutely right. With God’s help, all things are possible. That includes forgiving our husbands.