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Rebuilding Trust in Your Marriage After Infidelity (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
May 20, 2021 6:00 am

Rebuilding Trust in Your Marriage After Infidelity (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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May 20, 2021 6:00 am

Mark and Jill Savage share their own personal story of rebuilding trust in their own marriage after infidelity.

Get Jill Savages' book "Your Next Steps: What to do When Your Spouse is Unfaithful" with your donation of any amount:

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Jim Daly
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Kinsman's a lot of time away from home working on the pipeline in Alaska, but our podcasting has become his wife, one on the family who help my marriage by leaps and bounds so much to think about people's ground. The ground I Jim Daly together we can bring real hope to marriages like kids gift families. Imagine finding out that your spouse has been unfaithful. You just discovered here she is cheating on you. Here's Jill Savage recalling just such a moment. I was on my living room floor home alone just bawling my eyes out, begging God to tell me what and I heard one thing one thing I heard him saying I want 11.

We can hear the pain and anger and uncertain. We have hopefully today because Jill did grab onto God and walk faithfully with him and she and her husband Mark are here today with us on Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller your hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly word of caution for our parents in the audience.

If you have young kids really probably shouldn't be listening to this program will be touching on some really tender topics John. All I can say for those who are joining us today and didn't hear the program last time did it because that really sets the emotional credibility for what were to talk about today and Mark and Jill were so open about and transparent about their circumstances back then. I think it's worth going back to the smart phone app if you haven't already done that and you can listen to the program from last time or you go to the website and download it that way but it really was powerful and in fact we just didn't cover the content we want to cover so I've asked Mark and Jill to rejoin us for today so we can talk about the help in the hope for your marriage especially if you're going through something or suspecting that your spouse may not be honest with you right now and maybe in a relationship with someone else. It's far more common than we want to admit and again we want to give you the hope that is found in Christ, and Jill has captured a lot of the lessons that? You've learned in a little booklet called your next steps what to do when your spouse is unfaithful with copies of that here. Click the link in the episode notes or call 800 K in the word family. Jill and Mark welcome back to focus yes thinking I was so good to have you back and I mean that.

And thank you for extending our time together of the broadcast. As I mentioned we spoke last time about that brokenness, what was going on in your relationship Mark. For those just joining today are in and out of this affair, seven, eight times over the period of just over six months trying to figure out what to do.

You separated your living in an apartment have five children and Juliet is hanging on by a thread. I can imagine that you express some of that last time you begin to develop hope, not trust you and hope that God could heal your marriage and it took Mark a little longer to get there. That's kind of the background as to where right now and I do want to concentrate on those common barriers that couples have to overcome that you overcame to fix your marriage and move in a healthy direction. A Christ centered direction so how can a couple successfully avoid the blame game which is one of those barriers and we were into that a bit last time but you each having a list Jill we can expand on this a little bit again. I'm so proud of women and again this is a generalization. I know it's not everybody women have this incredible capacity to look at themselves. I mean as a man you know it gives me tears because you're so quick to say what have I done whereby fallen short was my problem in Mark you typified the man got a list on you and it's really your fault that I'm in this mess. We like little boys you made me eat it right me to do it right and I mean it just it's who we are were made up that way back to Adam. It does this woman you gave me and so and I'm glad we can laugh about it now, but I know people listening or maybe in that pitch of pain right and you guys can laugh today but you had to go through the valley of pit. So Jill, let me come your way again. Let's frame that a little bit what are these barriers one obviously is the blame game speak to it let you know when the things that was still very helpful and I do write about it in your next steps is I was able to look at Mark through eyes of compassion and that kept me there was plenty of blame at times don't hear me wrong on that. But when I was able to see that he was acting out of his own hurt and his own confusion. That really helped me to resist blaming more than where I already was just naturally going on because I realized he was. He was personally struggling. This was an identity challenge this wise him feeling lost from leaving ministry for 20 years and said that was really helpful for me wise to see him through eyes of compassion and that The blame at least at a lower level. Okay, I get that that's how evil some women are saying you're crazy. I mean seriously, because were operating out of our flesh. I would say in that moment in their justifying their own un-Christlike responses right hard to love it. It will tell you I can remember one particular night after Mark laughed. The toilet overflowed on the second floor of our home and the water came down onto the main level and down into the basement lot blaming at night. I'm sure I will work not trapped there. He had laughed in and I was home with two teenage boys and I don't how to fix the plumbing and I was really angry and there is a lot of blame that went on that night so without a doubt you know there was a fair share of me throwing blame his way him throwing blame my way. When asked Mark to jump in on the blame game well. My reality was I was led by my flesh and I didn't understand that then I totally get that now, but I was led by my flesh. I was following my flash and what was powerful from Jill is I saw a it was not an easy transformation for her, but it was an intentional decision on her part to love me well and to love me in a way that she had never done so now the spirit led the kind leads to the mismatched emotions. I think in this way. Once the affairs confessed the guilty spouse begins to feel better, you got it off your chest, so to speak. It's out in the open that part of the hard road is done and I'm feeling lighter.

If I can save that way, but the victim spouse that's you know been betrayed there just starting into that massive. How do I figure this out. And what do I do. Where do I go did you experience that dynamic messy part like you are feeling better and you're feeling like I don't know what I should do with you at this moment when arrogance and confidence rose off the charts yet. I would agree with that which is I've never really seen that side of you because I think the other dynamic that happened wise, you were passive. Passive. Passive.

Passive. Passive Intel you said I'm done and I'm out here and then I saw this side with there was no more passivity and I didn't even know what to do with that which we see that in a lot of the couples that we coach and we encourage and we helpful. You know in what we do now let me because I understand that you described that the mark what why do men behave that way we we cocooned we hide emotionally.

Yes, and we just let everything go okay that's fine and then the monster comes out the kind of monster right.

I think it does. I think that goes back to Genesis that we when a man doesn't know what to do.

He does nothing and that's not a good decision on his part and so we cowered and we hide and we think that we need to be silent, and it's really important that a man find his voice and not wait until that blowup. That's a dynamic I've seen in couples where there is a strong woman. Joanne you are a strong woman yes. Does that make it harder for a guy to express his voice yes absolutely. I rhetorical question really and that with you because you were you would try and she would shoot you down or shut you off. Absolutely I would try to voice my thoughts are my opinions and then finally you go. Forget it and said that was a place where I had to focus on my own growth I realized I'd misused my strength and I needed to learn how to leverage it in a way that honored my husband in a way that didn't minimize his voice and member only talked yesterday about that.

We went to lunches together right well I was beginning to change the way that I was using my place at those lunches also technically he would make a statement and instead of squashing that statement and telling them what I would think I would ask a question and ask further and sailor highways drawing him out. I was using reflective listening. So what I hear you saying is this, did you know to do that was that formulaic or was it coming. Naturally I was that I had actually read a book that lays them very powerful for me is called the got empowered wife and it was a book for strong women and how strong women can. The funny thing is the subtitle I think is how strong women can help their husbands become godly leaders which is very dated me to help you is not our whole draw that strong woman in and want to read the book, she addresses that in the same totally that so I'm reading it and I'm applying an ongoing I'm starting to use my strength in a different way. And so week after week. I'm making changes which at first he goes and your manipulating me but I'm really I'm realizing now. I have to change this again whether our marriage makes it or not, will have to change this. I have misused my strength and that is so good for people to hear and I think again today we want to concentrate on equipping the people that are, were you used to be in that context Mark yesterday you mentioned kind of your mentality.

At the moment was over. Get this done with Slutsky move and Moores let's figure out what the kids now it's almost like typical male problem-solving. No figure out who gets kids when something pulled back from that site was the Lord right but explain why couples who have gone through this and are willing to at least have hope. Maybe again we know trust is broken but for that guilty spouse to commit to a long-term recovery and not just go into problem-solving mode and to relieve the pain by going through divorce so often, the data shows that when a divorce occurs special ed see this date in light of men know they then remarry in the very same problems crop up again because you're not dealing with the core issues you write wasn't yours. Your first spouse and I got same problems in your second marriage or marriage right and those typically don't go well either suspected that long-term commitment. That's really the question that transition that you made from what just in this in the pain about this other thing going. It's far better right now right right but you pulled back and I give you, you know, kudos for that you did pull back some of commit to a long-term process. Obviously if I could say I bald eyeball to you. Jill deserves a lot of credit in this whole absolutely because she was faithful she was vague and that she stayed faithful to so man-to-man. I mean, that's part of it, but you deserve credit for pulling back a lot of men wouldn't do that. No, they keep going for me the process of a long-term commitment was more 1 foot in front of the other commitment one day to time one day at a time and my first huge decision was surrender. I had made such a mess and as a man were fixers and I realize there was not one thing I could do to fix this, which was a beautiful moment for me because it was the moment that God became so real that the only hope I had which was abundant was a God would fix this. That was his promise to me that and then the picture I had in fact on my phone.

I have a picture of of the road with the yellow line down the middle that I would take the hand of God. My dad and walk on that yellow line.

Dad where are we going what you want me to do and part of my commitment to my family and to Jill was, I met with every person who I knew I'd hurt. I asked forgiveness and I worked to make it right with my family being in ministry. Hundreds of people.

I spent the whole next year just really working to clean up the mess that I had made as God led me into that situation.

That was that's powerful really is. Yeah.

And one thing I would add email back to your question a little bit ago about the if there is now out in the open. It's off his chest, but the other spouse is now like revealing your just beginning the process readily and I think that is something that is not understood in a fair recovery all the time and that is that he knew what was going on for. In essence, it was a year total. Because so much of it started even before the physical affair. I didn't and so what happens is now you have to go back and you have to read live and you have to reframe it.

So I give you a specific example this summer that he started the emotional affair with my parents 50th wedding anniversary and they wanted to gather the entire family at a beautiful place up in the Wisconsin Dells.

So were all there and were all enjoying this time and he excuses himself every once in a while and I think that he is taking care of his construction business back home but I later learned he's having conversations with this person and I learned that nine months later. Right now I have to go back and I have to go all the way to wait a minute, and I have to recognize you mean this is what was happening that happens over and over again when you're recovering from infidelity and to Mark's credit.

He stayed steady through that because that is a lot to have to wade through will.

This is your turn. It is if I say it feels dark but it's your turn to start.

Yes, emotional response and I had a lady steady and stable and not reactive does lead to the next question I had, which are the questions that the offended spouse needs answers to write. How do you determine where to go with that because that can be a bottomless pit can be a warming up of the offended spouse so they can know whale back the one who had the affair.

And you know again were always balancing our fleshly response from our spiritual response in world war within ourselves, but how did you guys manage the questions you touching on the drill that when was enough enough well and I think I get asked that question a lot. I think it depends on your personal wiring. One of the things I talked about in the last program is that I'm a thinker. That means I deal in facts ideal and data I can gather data and not get his emotional about it. If there is a woman who is a feeler should be careful about how much she asks, because that's going up really that can there's lies there and that's I guess the key point. You gotta be wise enough to know please. You need some reconciliation on data need some reconciliation, but there may come a point where you need to feel. I know enough. I don't need to know more than I actually would say to myself do I really need to know this?

Like I would think about it and sometimes you ask questions from slightly different angles to yet understand that and that's why think some couples go wrong in rebuilding trust is the offending spouse will go when you stop asking. You've Artie asked me that question will you trial constantly trigger the set of real estate quarterly to move along. That sounds horrible were the offender right but Eldon my I think as a surrendered man. You don't my commitment as a surrendered man was to answer every question and to stay steady and to learn to love Jill through my answers and responses and not to get angry. Yeah, I mean you guys are both growing in this us with amazing, spiritually, and that the awesome gift of God leads. This is so much better off where you used to be you and your relationship with Christ in your relationship with each other.

That's the beauty of this portrayed.

It's not the offense that's ugly. Yes, horrible right but God picks up the pieces and creates a masterpiece marriage arena. Yet it's awesome you speak to this idea of the gift of accountability.

So let's move through that you guys you know you're in a better place.

What is the gift of accountability now.

Well I think an unhealthy view of accountability is that someone is there to police another person's life and that's incredibly unhealthy.

The gift of accountability is that I would stay I would push information to Jill about where I was going what I was doing, not out of defensiveness but out of love that is big. That's huge. It was totally a brain changer for me. I had to make trips back to our home where both of our families lived and where this person that I had the affair with live and I would first ask Jill to go with me like I had to help my mom on the house. Would you go with me, and if she couldn't go then. I always had in my back pocket. Somebody who go with me and Carl.

He was my go to guy and he was all around good friend and for him.

I did, I did that so that for my family security but also for myself that I didn't want to have to answer questions about where I was. I wanted to create a safety for my family and for me and never had to ask him to write in another good sign of change yeah, and that's good. Jill speak to that. It was huge because I didn't.

He opened his phone up. He said here's my phone. You have access to it and I was different yeah oh yeah well yeah because it was locked down after special after I found that the first chatters were locked down.

Everything is locked down and gave me a master key to his life and said I have no more secrets that was very trust building.

It takes time, because to rebuild trust.

It's changed behavior over time, and so it weighs a consistent opening and that made all the difference in the world. Jill you know we've got only a few minutes left and I want to come back to both of you on some really important aspects of this and that is forgiveness. I mean we've touched on it, but we really got to hear from you, particularly Jill. Obviously, the depth of that forgiveness. How do you find it.

Where did you go and visit deep and real, trying to just live.

You know what you're supposed to do. Here's what I learned Jen about forgiveness and I think it is something that is not as widely understood as it needs to be. Forgiveness is at once and done, I didn't just forgive the affair and we moved on. I had to forgive dozens, hundreds of things are getting example I drove my hotel that I learned that they had met at okay I drive by that hotel and I am grieved to dagger yeah and I am grieved and grieved at the deception I'm grieved at the betrayal and plot day as I drive by there I have to go I need to deal with this in my heart and I have to forgive the deception in the betrayal as it relates to that hotel, but the next day I drive by the hotel again and that day I am grieved at the financial mess that this made in our lives. And so I have to forgive the financial and so I think a lot of times we think that it's just this one time thing is you have to forgive layers and layers and layers and layers so when those things raise up you got a deal with them in your heart then and there and sometimes I would communicate that forgiveness to market symptoms. I was just between me and God sure of Cornell Mark, let me ask you to pray for those come yes right here at the end give that word the Lord to use this program to use the story, God is given you in Jill touch lives father I pray right now on my heart is the couple that aren't even together and maybe there in this program and their weeping and angry and confused.

Father reached into their mass and the hand of a loving father just help lead them out of the Madison Lord pour out hope uses program to breathe life redemption direction guide you, your grace, your love is abundant. Your mercy is endless. Lord pour it out today. In Jesus name amen market Jill again, thank you for laying it out there. I mean this is hard to do in your moving down the road and the Lords given to this message and I gotta keep coming back to the biggest trauma you've ever experienced that talking about it so thank you for doing it you for helping others see the better way to go in. Jill, thanks for capturing it in this little book your next steps. If you need a copy get a hold of us will get it to you if you can help support the ministry so we can touch more lives do that but we don't want to know a gift to be in the way. Just get a hold of us so we can get this booklet in your hands to help save your marriage if you're at the end of your rope and you can say from your heart that you do believe God can work a miracle in your marriage. Give us a call.

There's a place that we can begin to restore together. Yeah, last time I we mentioned hope restored where we provide intensive counseling over several days to hurting couples. Maybe there's been infidelity her so much conflict. You just can't handle it anymore.

Or maybe you've just drifted apart.

Learn how hope restored can transform your relationship and I get in touch when you do will also tell you about Jill's book next steps what to do when your spouse is unfaithful, our number here 800 K 800-232-6459 four by the episode notes and you find the links there and coming up next time Deborah Begay offers some great encouragement to women in leadership side shall cultural already selling culture dictate your values and your priorities. You can have a career you can have it all is what God wants.

On behalf of Jim Daly, and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back.

As we once were, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

When a woman discovers her husband struggled with photography. She needs a practical plan. The least book for Focus on the Family aftershock but professional counselor Joanne Conti will help you through the seven steps of self-care and learn how to deal with the emotions involved in the discovery of your husband's addiction doing Conti's timeless wisdom. If you hope, even while you're in your whole season of aftershock.

Learn more about aftershock

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