2. Humility. Your attitude when you confess is just as important. If you try and justify yourself and shift the blame to your spouse, you will set up an immediate roadblock to reconciliation.
You need a healthy dose of humility if you ever expect to receive your mate’s forgiveness. You must understand that your arrogance is one of the fundamental reasons your relationship has deteriorated in the first place. Begin by being honest about your haughty heart. You must realize that, “Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility” (Prov. 18:12). Therefore, humble yourself before God and your mate.
If you refuse to humble yourself, you will not experience God’s personal grace in your life, your only hope of change. Peter said, “Be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
Ask God to give you a humble heart. Come to your mate acknowledging only your own faults. If your spouse also needs to confess, God can reveal this to him or her. You must first make your own humble confession and let God take care of the rest.
3. Complete Repentance. Once an honest and humble confession has been made, you must now turn from whatever behavior has destroyed trust. If you’ve been lying, stop. If you have carried on an inappropriate relationship or have actually committed adultery, cut off this relationship immediately.
If you have broken your promises, turn and begin fulfilling them. If you ever hope to restore trust with your spouse you must demonstrate complete and total repentance now. If you commit any further actions or it even appears that you have, your mate will correctly assume that you do not want to truly reconcile the relationship.
This is why Paul insisted that those who sincerely wanted to follow Christ “should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:20). Are you doing the works that confirm your repentance?
4. Re-establish Relationship. When there has been a violation of trust in a marriage it reveals that there is a fundamental weakness in one or both partner’s relationship with Christ as well as in the marriage. Therefore, after you have reconciled the issue that destroyed trust, you must now proceed to re-establish and develop a deeper relationship in both spiritual and marital arenas.
First, I would encourage both husband and wife to personally examine yourself and your own walk with Christ to determine why your relationship has been deficient. Whenever His disciples had a failure Jesus always insisted on asking why.
He asked the disciples “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts” (Luke 24:38)? Jesus also challenged His followers to determine why they weren’t obeying Him.
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say” (Luke 6:46)? Therefore, you must endeavor to understand why you have doubted or disobeyed God and caused this breach of trust. As you determine why you have failed, you will discover exactly how to reverse direction and restore your relationship with Christ.
Second, you must also examine your marital relationship and determine exactly where changes need to be made. For example, if adultery has occurred in your relationship, you should determine the cause. Solomon in his wisdom asked his own son this simple question. “For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress” (Prov. 5:20)?
If you read the entire context of this passage, Solomon instructs that the best safeguard against being enraptured with an immoral woman was to have an intimate and enrapturing relationship with your own wife.
Ask yourself, are you experiencing true intimacy with your mate? Are you developing intimate friendship spiritually, emotionally, communicatively, and physically with your spouse? If you aren’t experiencing this depth of relationship you must determine why? As you develop true intimacy between you it will greatly help you to restore trust in your relationship.
If the violation of trust was a lie or a series of lies, you must determine why this occurred. Were these lies the result of personal weakness in the life of the one who lied or were there other issues that contributed to this behavior?
For example, was there a lack of communication in the relationship or a lack of freedom to express differing opinions? Were these lies aggravated by possessiveness or excessive control, or verbal harshness or mocking within the relationship? These issues and any other contributing factors must be fully addressed before there can be a solution to the overall relationship problems.
Discover Pastor Steve Carr’s advice from the beginning of this encouraging series, Re-establishing Trust in Your Relationship – Part I
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