If only you’d realized where this road would lead. Looking back now, you can clearly see where you should have turned around. Now it’s done. A line has been crossed and you are where you never thought you’d be. It’s empty and filled with guilt. You cheated and want to win your wife back. All you want is for things to be the way they were before. After finding out, your wife furiously screamed at you. Now she is something much scarier. She has shut down—she’s withdrawn. You are on the outside looking in and you’re afraid she’ll never forgive you.
When we cause wounds this deep, there isn’t exactly a roadmap that guarantees success. However, there’s hope for winning your wife back and rebuilding your marriage. After reading countless stories of wives trying to recover from their husbands’ cheating, several needs emerged. In marriages that recovered, and even became stronger in some cases, the offending husband did the following 5 things.
1. Ended the Extramarital Relationship
If you haven’t already, you need to cut off all contact with the other person. This may be difficult if this is someone you work with, but it’s critical. I know this is harder than it sounds, but do what you can to get a new job or get transferred. All your wife will be thinking about at all times is whether the two of you together and what you’re doing. If the other person doesn’t respect your wishes, pursue legal action, like a restraining order.
Don’t let the guy shouting on the street corner discount this word because it’s actually a beautiful one. This is more than apologizing multiple times. You need to understand the gravity of the pain and trauma you have caused. She needs to know, see, and feel that you are fully aware of it. The remorse over it needs to bring you to a place of broken humility. Face it. Face all of it and own it. That’s what a man does.
3. Talked About It
This will be excruciating, but you need to talk about the worst part of you—a lot. Your wife’s going to have many ups and downs. Talk about it when she wants to talk about it and for however long. Even years down the road, something may trigger memories and send her into a spiral. Her insecurities will hit on all cylinders. Her desire to talk about it is not to shame you—she’s looking for reassurance and security. Your honesty and willingness to talk openly about it, even when you have been over it a thousand times, will provide that. The more you talk about it now, the less she will need to talk about it later.
4. Studied and Understood the Root of His Behavior
Seek the advice of experts and read books. Affairs don’t just happen. They emerge from a string of bad decisions driven by an unhealthy heart. Get to know your inner scumbag well. No judgment—we all have that guy living inside, the root of the ugly thoughts and feelings we don’t want anyone to know about. Each might look a little different, but he’s there. When he is brought out of the darkness and into the light, where he can be confronted, he will start to disappear. Then we can be free because we don’t have to worry about being found out.
5. Reassured Her That There Are No More Secrets
Answer all text messages and phone calls right away. Give her access to everything—full transparency. Set up a way for her to see your text messages and give her passwords to your email and social media accounts. Make sure there is nothing private from now on.
Extra factor: These men were given grace.
Ask and pray for your wife to extend grace. Everything above should help her move here, but in the end, it’s in her hands. It may take a long time for her to give it. In the meantime, be patient, steadfast, and faithful.
From her side: Check out this article from iMOM to get an idea of what she may be experiencing: I Caught My Husband Cheating. Now What?
Sound off: What do you think it takes for a couple to survive an affair?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think is the best way to make a broken relationship right?”