A common first question to a breach in relational trust is: “What did your spouse do?”. The answer will likely depend on the severity of the action. For instance, when your spouse forgot to pick up the dry cleaning when you clearly asked them to, you may receive a denial in response, such as “you never asked me to get your dry cleaning.” You would probably be able to forgive this more easily than forgiving your spouse when they won’t acknowledge a greater breach, such as infidelity. The adage “pick your battles” correctly applies here. The life of your marriage probably won’t depend on dry cleaning, but infidelity is a much more complex and damaging offense. However, the core issue is the same: A spouse’s unwillingness to take responsibility for their actions and make amends is a major roadblock in trusting relationships.
With something as serious as infidelity, your spouse may fear the demise of your marriage and fool themselves into thinking that if they don’t admit wrong doing, then the incident didn’t really happen. As fallible humans we are masters of denial. Understanding why your spouse won’t admit their mistake is important. Do they disagree that their actions were wrong or are they ashamed and using their denial as a defense mechanism?
If your spouse has a pattern of dishonesty and is unwilling to seek forgiveness, there is probably a deeper issue present that needs to be addressed through professional counseling.
The dilemma for the wronged spouse is, do you forgive them even if they don’t seek your forgiveness? For your spiritual and emotional health, is it best to choose to forgive them? Feeling forgiveness and choosing it are different. We often don’t feel like we want to forgive someone, but we can choose to forgive them. When we consider the grace and mercy of God toward us, it empowers us to extend that same forgiveness to others. Communicating your forgiveness toward your spouse can help them understand how their actions have affected you and encourage them to seek forgiveness.
Infidelity is a complex issue and the forgiveness of such offense is also complex. Christian Family Institute has developed and refined a methodology for helping couples through infidelity. Call us to set up a time to meet with one of our trained and licensed therapists.