Posted by: Derek Guyer | September 4, 2008

Healing Wounds

Ever cheated on your spouse? Lied to your husband? Abused your wife? Have you ever said something incredibly hurtful to the one you committed your life to? Ever neglected your spouse’s needs to meet your own?

Great or small, we have all sinned. We have all offended or hurt our spouses. We’re humans and given the choice, we screw up. So, let’s start this by being honest that we’re all offenders and offensive from time to time and in some shape or form. We’ve all fallen short of God’s glory, so how do we fix things? How do we heal wounds we’ve created?

During the time of my wife’s affair, there were numerous things that she could have done to help my healing. Unfortunately, she usually wasn’t interested in hearing them from me and as a result, the wounds stayed open and hurting. If you’re serious about healing the wounds you’ve created, then here’s some simple practical advice for you:

  1. Say you’re sorry. I hear many people who have offended, in one way or another, say that their spouse knows they’re sorry and an apology seems stupid and contrived. An apology is necessary. Don’t underestimate the power of those three extremely powerful words; “I am sorry”.
  2. Be patient. The wounds created likely didn’t all happen overnight and even if they did, the healing likely won’t. If you’re truly sorry for what you’ve done and understand the impact of your decisions, you’ll understand the healing could take months and years. Let it happen and don’t try to force it. “Love is patient.”
  3. If there are lingering trust issues and your spouse feels like there are more lies and problems that still haven’t surfaced, then do something about it. Spend the next several days creating a list of every hurtful thing you’ve ever done. List everything you can think of doing. Don’t try to do it all in one sitting. Take your time and uncover everything you can think of. Once you’ve compiled it in the form of an apology, hand it over to your spouse. There are a couple of important reasons why:
    • Many confessions are made in the heat of the moment. As a result, facts get distorted and even forgotten as emotions rise. Taking the time to really think through what you’ve done and confess it openly will go a long way for establishing trust.
    • Get the pressure of your sin off of your back. Confessing your sins, cares, and worries will go a long way for helping you to deal with your problems.
  4. Do everything you can to place Hedges around your marriage to prevent those same mistakes and decisions from happening again. If you did it before, you’re likely to do it again, if you don’t protect yourself and the ones you love. Take this step very seriously and know that another offense of this type, or even some other, will do far more damage than your previous offense(s) has already done.
Now, if you’re the offended, there are several things to recognize and take note of:
  1. As I’m encouraging the offender, know the healing won’t happen overnight. Healing, as with any physical wound, is a process. If you think this will happen overnight, you’re wrong. It will take treatment, care, tenderness, and prayer. Covering up a wound doesn’t make it better. In fact, pretending like it’s not there is only going to cause more negative long term effects. If you are prepared now to go through the necessary stages of healing, you’re much more likely to come out of all of this with a better marriage and a healed heart. Take the steps and deal with the pain now or create tremendous amounts more of the pain later when you haven’t healed and things have gotten worse from your lack of trust and resentment. The wall you begin building now will be very painful to take down later.
  2. If your spouse takes the time to write out a list of offenses, as I’ve encouraged above, it might do you a lot of good to never read it, but in an act of forgiveness, just destroy or burn it. It may in fact be good for you to read through that list and to know that your spouse knows they’ve hurt you in that way. But, it may actually do more harm and cause a lot more damage when you realize they don’t remember something they said or did that has been a point of major pain for you. The point of this exercise is not to relive hurtful moments, but it may take reliving them to ever heal from them.
  3. Make it a routine to practice forgiveness. You will go through a roller coaster of emotions and feelings and it’s absolutely necessary for you to be in the habit and mindset of forgiveness so that forgiveness can be offered in the ups and the downs. I know this was really difficult for me. The slightest thing that Lisa did reminding me of her past offense made my resentment raise so quickly. Being in the habit of forgiveness will do both of you a lot of good as you heal and build a Godly marriage.
  4. Know that you can’t fix the other person. If they’re not sorry for something, you can’t force them to be. Remember that while you were still a sinner and defying God, he was dying for you. He asks us, as His children, to offer that same love to others. Jesus doesn’t just tell us not to judge each other, but goes on to explain that the same judgement we offer to others will be offered to us. Fix you, and when your spouse, through the mercy and grace offered to them, decides to begin making changes and apologies, great. Until then, do your own part.
I want to say again that healing doesn’t happen overnight. Both of you must be patient and allow the healing to happen in God’s timing, rather than your own. Your willingness to see this through will do both of you a ton of good. I’d like to leave you with a passage that gets read an awful lot, but rarely gets applied. Spend some time reading it, praying through it, and applying it. 
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Go heal your wounds through the love of Christ.


  1. I would just like to add that in order for healing to begin, those that have been offended by something their spouse has done has to feel like their spouse understands their pain. Until the offender “gets it” and the offended feels like they “get it” there won’t be much healing. So please take the time to listen to your spouse and truly understand their pain.

  2. Very good suggestions made on understanding each other in married life… Read more on forgiveness:

  3. Great point, Scotia. I couldn’t agree more. There was nothing more offensive to me than when Lisa acted like she got it, but gave me attitude about it. It was obvious she didn’t understand the pain she had caused and the pain became far more difficult to bear.

    I see that very thing with couples all of the time. The offender is usually so caught in his/her sin, that seeing the effects of it are almost impossible for them.

    Thanks for the comment and the link, Amala. We appreciate you stopping by.

  4. I agree that in order for healing to begin the offending spouse has to recognize the pain that they have caused their spouse. My Christian husband has struggled with the use of drugs and alcohol on and off for years. He would go for months being ok, attending church, being a loving husband, working and taking care of our family. Each time he turns around and goes back to using. He will get up and tell me that he is going to get something to eat and won’t show up at home until the next morning. He needs to see the pain that he has caused his family through all of his behavior. If I knew that he understood the pain I would feel so much better. But when I try to tell him I haven’t been succesfful in getting him to see the pain that his behavior is causing. Regardless of why he uses, he medicates his pain, my pain never gets medicated. Which means I have now felt that it is unwise to continue to invest any more in this marriage when it has become just cycle of abuse. We have been together for many years, I have believed him everytime that he has repented and vowed to get help. I have believed God to change him and restore our marriage. But he has to to choose to stop using, something that I or God cannot make him do.

  5. I’m not disagreeing in anyway; however I am confused a little…

    If we ‘need’ the other person to ‘get it’ or understand they have hurt us – doesn’t that take away from the awe-ness of Christ-like forgiveness? Isn’t forgiveness a choice?

    To me it seems much more important for a person to repent (to the Lord) and seek the Lord in changing. The person himself cannot do change. Only God can – through petition from the offended or the offender.

    Wouldn’t it then be the offended person’s job to – humbly accept the issues at hand and understand that Jesus will give them everything they need – including the ability to forgive – which could help lead the offender to seeking forgiveness from the person.

    I personally feel that if we let our emotions run things – then yes – our emotions need to feel like the offender has humbled themselves enough to apologize… but Godly forgiveness – the Amish parents who forgave the man who killed their children… – the person who gives his shirt to the man who stole his jacket… did the offender say sorry first?

    Accepting life as ‘all have fallen short’ and understanding that sin is in the world and that it will affect me has really helped. Everyone will hurt you at some point (repeatedly) – everyone except Jesus.

    Why do we think if we trust Jesus to much – He will let us down?

    Please respond – I’d like the Lord to teach me through this.

  6. ==…Jesus will give them everything they need – including the ability to forgive…==

    Why is everybody waitng for God, through Christ, to do something, to do what He has already done? He’s waiting for us to receive what He has already done.

    When we receive what He has already done, we will get the benefits.

  7. ==…sin is in the world and that it will affect me …==

    Wht did Jesus teach in Matthew 4:1-11?

    When accosted by the Devil He did what, have a nice conversation with him? NO!

    He went to the Word of God. He didn’t have filthy conversation with “circumstances.” They wanted conversation with Him.

    He didn’t engage in discussions with circumstances. They wanted discussions with Him, in order to claim inroads into His heart.

    ==He didn’t try to persuade circumstances.==

    Circumstances won’t listen and won’t be persuaded. They wanna persuad YOU.

    Circumstances have no Right to control your life, as Jesus showed.

    Now, He didn’t promise that there would be no circumstances. He promised to see you through them, and He has already given you the Tool to use. So, use Him as He taught you to do in Matthew 4:1-11! Guard you gate!

  8. ==Why do we think if we trust Jesus to much – He will let us down?==

    Cuz those who think so are still worldly. That’s bottom line. They don’t really accept and receive the offer of Reconciliation God sent in His Son.

    They apply worldly standards, not Jesus standards. They got one foot in and one foot out. They are lukewarm.

    It’s not as though God, through Christ, has not performed what He said He would. So, it is up to us to receive it, not try to get Him to do it again. It’s all there, for the asking and receiving. Accept it, as a child receives a gift. The child doesn’t overthink it.

  9. OOPS!

    This thing,

    ==He didn’t try to persuade circumstances.==

    is MY words, not somebody else’s, and I inadvertently put the marks in there to indicate a quote that is not a quote, rather MY words. MY mistake.

  10. ==…sin is in the world and that it will affect me …==

    It depends.

    If you confess, for example, that you are depressed, and you go around in that depression, continuing that confession, yes, it will affect you.

    Then, of course, you gotta get somebody else to confess your depression so that you can feel better about feeling depressed [The Word of God says that supporter is guilty, too; negligent, in fact].

    However, we are supposed to know by now, after a couple-a thousand years, that God gave us a Way out. First, as I say, you gotta receive Him, and not half way, either.

  11. If I can add here…

    (Gen 4:7) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.

    Now, doesn’t “do well” sound like “dwell”?

    So, “do well” can be compared to

    (Psa 23:6) …and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

    Or, “do well” in the House of the LORD…

    Therefore, “doing well” means doing Righteousness, as the Lord means it.

    Thus, if you do well — or, dwell in the House of the LORD — you will be acepted, no?

    If you do not, you-know-who waits outside the door, and you will open it unless you get back in the Word and He in you.

    THAT means

    (Rev 3:20) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

    He is also at the door, and, if you hear HIS voice and don’t listen to the other one, AND you open the door to HIM….and so on.

    So, if you do not do well and sin is at the door and you hear sin’s voice, DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR! Wait to hear His voice, and, then, open the door to Him. He will help you bar the door to sin cuz, as we should all know by now, we cannot do it by ourselves!

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