Hi. I'm 38 yrs old and my husband is 36 yrs old. We live in Chicago and we have been married for almost 3 yrs. How do we rebuild our marriage after an affair, and having a gambling addiction?" -Keira A.
Although you don't state it, I assume that it was your husband had an affair and has a gambling addiction.
First, let me say that you're correct with the underlying assumption of your question that you can rebuild your marriage after these violations of trust. Many women assume that the relationship is too destroyed after a husband had an affair. So congratulations for looking for ways to rebuild rather than give up and get out.
Second, rebuilding a marriage after an affair is certainly difficult and painful -- but definitely not impossible. I've seen many men change these behaviors and become completely different partners, so hope for a different future is certainly a possibility.
Third, relationship faithfulness in the areas of emotional and physical intimacy, and money is the foundation for a marriage. These are two of the most core areas of a relationship. Violation of trust in these areas is very significant. Be careful not to underestimate the damage that has been done.
Here's where to start to rebuild your marriage after an affair:
- Talk about the facts of what's happened regarding both the marriage affair and gambling addiction. Be aware that you may not be able to do this very well without the assistance of a licensed counselor who can help facilitate the dialogue through these painful events.
- Each of you needs to share your feelings about each violation. You need to tell your husband how each has affected you; he needs to share the feelings that contributed to his making these choices.
- Start rebuilding trust. This can start simply with little things like doing what each of you says you'll do. If you say you'll pick-up some groceries or that you'll be home at 6:30, then be sure to do it.
Marriage after an affair can actually be better with the new level of honesty, transparency, and intimacy that comes with doing the above hard work. I see it every day. Best wishes.
-Kurt Smith, Marriage Counselor
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