Validation Before Forgiveness Talk

Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.

-Job 2:13, NLT

Please do not underestimate how traumatic and disorienting discovering marital infidelity is!

My personal experience as well as with those I have known through running this faithful spouse support site for years is one where validation is key to recovery.

The faithful spouse has just had their reality blown apart by discovery of the cheater’s lies. Before they can even engage in preliminary “forgiveness” work, they need to know what exactly happened.

They need to know what is “real.”

Religious people are known to harangue faithful spouses for not “forgiving” and being bitter. They are quick to categorize faithful spouses as “stuck” in a “victim mentality.”

These blind (and somewhat calloused) individuals fail to realize the difficulty of reconstructing one’s world after it has been blown up by infidelity and lies.

They fail to see how the faithful spouse is struggling to believe what happened actually happened, happened.

And they fail to grasp that a faithful spouse is more than just a victim but is certainly not less than a victim in this matter!

A loving and wise Christian friend validates the faithful spouse’s experience and helps them grasped the ugly reality of this unjust situation.

They are slow to judge as “bitter” and quick to humbly assert that they themselves might need even longer to truly believe their spouse cheated and lied to them if in their friend’s shoes.

Too often, Christians ascribe vice to faithful spouses for being “stuck” on the injustices. The truth is that faithful spouses are still struggling to believe their partner was capable of and actually did the wicked things they did.

This struggle is not a vice. It is a very normal response to traumatic loss.

The faithful spouse needs your validation of reality, not your condemnation. Please lead with humility and not religious pride that you know the faithful spouse “just needs to forgive” the cheater.


1 thought on “Validation Before Forgiveness Talk”

  1. Divorce Minister, I sure do hope your book gets published some day. If so, I will for sure be purchasing a copy for my EX-pastor. Besides him lying to me three times (the pastor) and seemingly taking the cheaters side over and over again even though he said he was “for the marriage” and “not taking sides.” After my ex-husband said he wanted a divorce because I “didn’t trust him”, the pastor right away that very same day said to me that I “needed to forgive him” so I “wouldn’t be bitter.” Seriously?! These pastors have NO CLUE what it feels like to be traumatized and have your whole entire life fall apart. It’s been three years since I caught my ex out with a woman and I still haven’t forgiven him. And I may never forgive him. He’s not sorry! In his mind he hasn’t done anything wrong. He lied to EVERYONE about me behind my back and smeared my good name. I don’t think he’ll ever repent. I know for sure he’ll never ever apologize to me, because in doing so, he’ll have to admit that he was wrong and not “perfect” like he thinks he is. Thank you for you blog. I just wish I knew how to heal from the trauma not only caused by my ex-husband. But from the pastor, some of the church people and all the people who believed my exes lies and was mean to me. Never in a million years did I think that Christians would ever do this to a faithful spouse.

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