Marriage

The Betrayer Hurts, Too

On the heels of my post two days ago on Expected Trust, I thought I’d share something with you that a dear friend wrote to me. You see, she’s the betrayer.  She broke her husband’s heart.  She broke her marriage vows. Yet she is hurting something awful.  She writes:
I guess what I’d love to shout from the mountaintop(but that would be my flesh!) is that the betrayed is not the only one hurting…….and often, especially in the beginning, that’s how it appears.  Until very recently it was not uncommon for him to remind me over and over again of the affair and it’s damage to him/us/our family….i wasn’t looking for him to “get over it,” just live in the same house with me and not verbally mutilate me…..and treat me with some respect as i begged him(literally) to stay/love/give it a chance.
Her comment made me think.  Really think. Can you imagine doing something that literally turned someone’s world upside down?  To know that the pain in their eyes and the chaos in their heart was caused by your action?  To know that if you’d made a different choice, they would still be skipping along their merry way in life? This particular woman confessed her sin, asked for forgiveness and has done everything she knows to do in order to mend her broken marriage.  She regrets her choice, can’t believe she “would ever do such a thing” and wishes she could turn back time. But she can’t. So, she has to deal with the consequences of her actions and how they’ve affected those she loves.  She’d die a hundred deaths if she could remove the hurt she sees in her husband’s eyes. All of that to say:  We all make mistakes.  Some mistakes have far greater consequences than others.  Her mistake is clearly in the devastating category.  But when someone is humble and broken about their mistake and desires to make amends by working like crazy to prove it, show them grace.  They don’t really deserve it, but the last time I checked, neither did we.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8
Something to think about.

15 thoughts on “The Betrayer Hurts, Too”

  1. Thank you, friend. My pride-filled heart needed that. Can’t wait to share it with K. Love…

  2. I think even when they’re not remorseful or humble or broken we still need to try to show them grace. And therein lies my current struggle.

  3. oops, hit enter too soon. I know that I should be showing him grace and forgiveness because the Lord gave those things to me even when I hadn’t done anything to earn them. I just can’t quite seem to get there.

  4. Practicing giving grace would undoubtedly make it an easier habit. Practice on the grocery store clerk, the rude driver on the highway, your child, your spouse, your friends – those you know or don’t know. Great word, Cindy!

  5. Crazy thing is that in either situation, the burden of trust falls on the betrayed and the burden of responsibility falls on the betrayer. We have to choose to trust, because really, there is no formula of what we can ask of the betrayer that will truly make the trust just reappear- their actions consequently now makes the betrayed have to think and choose now to trust or not, where as before, it may have been freely given. If the betrayer acknowledges their part in this, then when the questions arise as the betrayed is trying to choose, then the burden becomes lighter and lighter as they are growing together in the ebb and flow of life and marriage, in oneness again after the heart separation and the restoration of the marriage can begin. Individually, as one may choose and the other does not, at least his/her restoration process isn’t being hampered and they have an opportunity to serve the other through their choices- marriage redeemed or ended- you have to do what the Lord is calling you to, and that is His redemption and restoration.

    We can’t wait for the other to do their part, got to start doing our part today!

  6. Great post, Cindy. I just want to offer a point for consideration or comment. The betrayer is essentially someone who has given in to temptation and has fallen into satan’s trap. Listening to an unrepentant adulterer trying to rationalize and justify their behavior and decisions leaves one baffled. Its understandable why sin has been described by some as insanity. Its as if the betrayer is posessed.

    I agree that they need to come before God broken and humble, but that does not always happen right away. In many instances the trap has too tight a grip for that to occur, the deception being powerful. Sometimes God needs time to do a work in someone’s heart and/or bring them to their knees if they are not ready to surrender. But we know His word promises that He will never stop pursuing them (Luke 15:4-7). God’s grace and forgiveness have no limits. Is it possible for that unconditional grace and forgiveness to flow through us as well? I have my own answer to this question, but realize that many will not agree with it. Thoughts?

  7. I love the way this is written. Beautiful. At the same time for me the struggle is how do you deal with issues without discussing things. But then I feel if I bring up, for example, how are you doing with this issue or such, that it just causes him to remember the pain and such. Then I end up keeping quiet when I feel like we should be talking. Wheres the line of not wanting to cause more pain but being able to address issues or to talk about things. Thats why I wonder if I should be seeing a counselor or something. Its been two years and things are better and we will continue to move forward, but I want things to be the best they can be not just okay~.

  8. Even though we may not give each other grace. God always does. Thanks for the timely posts and comments. Life Church is awesome!

  9. Does the betrayer really hurt? This is an issue I am currently dealing with and have been since 2007. The betrayer seems to think there nothing wrong with the constant infidelity, but on the other hand my heart feels like it has been destroyed beyond repair. The betrayer seemed to enjoy telling me how he constantly had affairs and how he fantasize about being with different women even women in our church (which he ended our marriage for) and doesn’t have any intentions on ending it. As a result he has divorced me and our children has had to learn how to live an unstable life torn between the two of us which is another heart break that’s difficult for me to deal with. In this divorce I not only lost an unfaithful spouse, but I also lost other family members that I love and cherish. This has shown me that the only Being that can be depended on at all times in all situations is JESUS. Family members and in-laws turned away from me when I needed them the most almost making me feel as though I was the betrayer that committed the ultimate sin.

  10. Yes the betrayer does hurt, if they are remorseful. If they don’t see that there is something wrong with the infidelity, its because they aren’t remorseful. There is a huge difference between saying your sorry because you are remorseful, and saying your sorry because you got caught.
    This is just personal opinion, but I believe there are two main types of apology. An apology of Regret, and an apology of Remorse. An apology of regret, acknowledges that something happened, but doesn’t mean that they are sorry it happened, but often shows they are sorry they got caught, or it was brought to light. An apology of remorse, means there is a repentance involved, which literally mean to turn from, and go the other way. Both of these types of Apology will occur. Sometimes together, and sometimes months apart. The important thing, is that they get to the stage of remorse, or things won’t be able to move forward.
    The betrayer hurts more then one would think. Sure they have less to “forgive” in the sense that they were the one who betrayed, but there is a level of forgiveness on their part too, in order to move forward. The betrayer has to forgive the person who they were involved with, so as to not place the blame on them to avoid dealing with the real issues. They have to forgive the betrayed for what ever “issues” they believe may have “pushed” them to cope with their situation in the way that they did. (not to say that the betrayed did anything at all. But these things often arise, because the betrayer feels or “assumes” something about the one they are betraying, and their acting out is how they are “coping” with it.)
    The biggest hurdle, the betrayer has to get over, is forgiving themselves. We all know that the biggest critic we have, is ourselves. If the betrayer is unable to forgive themselves, then it makes it harder to move forward. The most important thing to remember, is that forgiveness does not mean that what happened was right, nor does it excuse the person for doing it. Forgiveness, acknowledges what happened, but releases the people involved from the bondage that will tie them down. It does not mean that you forget about it. It does not even mean that you have to accept it. It means that you acknowledge the fact that you were wronged, but choose to allow God to take it from you. If there is no forgiveness, then you give Satan a strong hold to hold you back, and to torment you with.
    Besides moving past the forgiveness stage, there is the daily reminders all around us, that bring back unwanted memories. Even if the places, and things that would remind the betrayer about those things are avoided, it can’t be removed from your life for ever. The hardest part of every betrayer’s day, is looking that person in the eyes each day, and being reminded of the hurt, and pain that they caused the other person. Seeing the little changes in their life, and the way they talk, and act in your presence, are a constant reminder of the fact that something happened, and there are days you feel like your walking on egg shells.
    How do I know this? Because I’m the betrayer….
    And I can tell you, that more then anything, the part that hurts me most, is not what I thought was the reasons that pushed me to act out. Not even the fact that it happened. It is the fact, that instead of talking to the person who means the most in the world to me, I chose to deal with my hurt, and then cause them to hurt. (coping) I’ve stood at bedsides and watched people pass on into eternity, but nothing, absolutely nothing can compare to watch the life drain from your spouse, when you tell them that you’ve betrayed them. I will remember that for the rest of my life. Every time I do something, that may disappoint them again, I’m reminded of the image of the life draining from them. I ache at the thought of hurting the person that I love, and who has been so giving, and gracious to me.
    I highly, highly, highly recommend a Christian book that we both read by Debra Laaser, called Shattered Vows. It has been a life changing book for both of us. Her husband was a pastor, and counselor who dealt with sexual sin for years. After admitting it, as well as multiple affairs to her, they worked through this process together, and they are now relationship counselors, and have written books about it. This one, is written from her perspective as the betrayed, and how she dealt with it, as well as an explanation of why it happened. We both took a lot from this book. The other one that helped deal with forgivness, and guilt etc., on both sides, was The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson. We can’t give satan a foothold to tear us down, and tear our relationship apart further.
    A couple others on our list to read include : Sacred Marriage – Gary L. Thomas, and
    Emotional Purity: An affair of the heart – Heather Arnel Paulsen

    One of the things that I have learned, is that we can’t look to others for our love an acceptance. People are people, and because of our fallen nature, they will inevitably fail us at some time in our life. Maybe not in big ways, but we’ve all felt a sense of failure at some point in our lives towards those we love, and even have the greatest respect for. Only God can fill our every longing to feel loved, and accepted. Its once we allow him to fill us with his love, that we can in turn love other properly. His love will flow out of us to those around us, and will help us love the ones who mean the most to us properly.
    Everyone deals with things, in different ways. And I know for me, that I never thought I would ever in my life, find myself in this situation. I’ve never felt so scared and vulnerable in my life. I don’t want to deal with this, but this is where I’m at, and I want to make it better. I enjoy learning from others, so this ministry is a blessing to me. I cried when I found it, because Cindy and Chris’ situation, is very similar to ours. We’ve come a long way in 6 months, and I never in my wildest dreams thought we would be were we are today, but its only because we are leaning on God, and allowing him to teach us to love each other, on a deeper level. I pray every day, not only for my family, but for other families who may be dealing with these types of attacks. In my healing, I’ve done a lot of reading, and have become very aware of the many attacks that satan throws at families. This is not just people making poor choices. This is warfare.
    To those who have been betrayed. If no one has told you, let me be the first to tell you. It wasn’t your fault!!

  11. I learned of this blog through a Streaming Faith daily devotional. What drew me here was the mention of “past experiences, including the near death of her marriage.” Right now my marriage is on life support and my husband’s hand is poised to pull the plug. To make a long story short, I’m the betrayer; I had numerous liaisons throughout our 16 year marriage. He’s found out each time but stayed; the last time was two years ago. I found a 12-step program and started going to back to God for healing; now I’m seeing a counselor and connecting the dots from childhood abuse. Although my husband has been here, he checked out of the marriage many years ago. I felt like I had been walking on eggshells for many, many years. Sure, we had some good times, but we never really dealt with my betrayal together – with God. He moved out and wants a divorce, I don’t want to give up. I try to believe and have faith that God will put us back together; but then look at my husbands treatment of me and think there’s no hope. He’s praying for his freedom and has moved on with his life; whose prayer does God answer? I identify so much with what Kirk wrote and I’m thankful for the chance to see I’m not alone in my thinking.
    I can also understand if God doesn’t allow me to keep my husband as I’ve trampled and stumped on his heart throughout our marriage. Not to make excuses for my behavior, but he has faults as well; those weren’t addresssed either. I’m just confused as to what I do while I’m waiting for an answer from God? Okay since I’m rambling I’ll close…

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