Previously, my wife and I both shared about my struggles and past addiction. Many men may find it difficult to prove that they are not wrapped up in sin any longer. It’s hard to “prove” that you’re no longer doing the things that lead you into sin and that you’re no longer involved in the sin. Men that have changed look for their wives’ recognition. However, it is virtually impossible to prove that you’ve turned from that sin and are no longer participating in it. It is much easier to let your actions speak for themselves after you’ve turned from the addiction. If you are, indeed, a changed man, she will notice!
The following steps in the amends process will help give you insight: (It’s kind of like a tool to help your wife see your behavior has changed for the better.)
Trace The Touch Point
This is where you identify and connect what is taking place now in the present that has a connection point with her to the past. It can be a trigger of pain in experiences, emotions, hurt, shame, disappointment, mistrust, or just plain fear. Also, If YOU offer to bring it up it also takes the burden off of her shoulders. Women and men are so beautifully designed to be different. Men tend to have different compartments of events and feelings and women are more wired together with all parts interconnected.
Tap Into The Past
Although this is, at times, very difficult for men, this is where you try to open your mouth about how you caused harm in the relationship in any way. All EGO must not be present, and you can’t think of it as rehashing the past as in a woman’s eyes it is NOT in the past if it still bothers her. It sits just below the surface and is very much in the present. There is an opportunity for healing here.
Learn The Why Behind The What
This step involves you being a MAN! You need to try to explain the reasons why you messed up with meaningful explanations. At this point there can NOT be any blaming or fault finding directed at your wife. If you feel this way, you cannot achieve any level of amends in your heart or hers. Men generally compartmentalize. So, this may even mean that you men need to dump those compartments out of your cave all onto the floor to see how your feelings all had pieces in different boxes. This will allow you to see it more clearly as MEN, just as women see it.
Presence In The Pain
With this step, you need to learn first what empathy is and how to use it to be present in the pain. In establishing any level of trust in a relationship you need to develop this. If you have ever said, “I know how you feel” … that is just imagining what YOU would do or how you would feel if YOU were in their situation. Empathy is much deeper and involves seeing HER world through HER eyes and experiences. You need to take into account all the context, what made up that pain, and how it effected HER. Walk a mile in HER shoes.
How Do You Want Her To Feel Now?
For this step, you can cast a positive vision as to what you want the future to look like for you both. You can discuss or explain how you both wish or desire a cherished, loving relationship with honor, dignity, and respect.
It is possible to make amends!
Note from Shirley: While you do have to begin to trust your partner again, trust is earned. It is not to be demanded. Due to actions of the past, the trust was lost. It is a gradual process to earning it back. But, if you turn from the sin in your life that was taking the focus off of your wife and the intimacy in your marriage, she will notice. There will be a vast improvement in communication between you both, as well as a new found admiration for the other. She will feel that you’ve turned away from the sin because you will focus on her like you’ve never done before. She will be amazed at the attention that you give her now and the affections that you display openly with her and for her. There will be deeper intimacy than ever before in your marriage, and I’m not just talking about sexual intimacy; emotionally and even spiritually as you grow together in your faith now. I am thankful that Dusty has turned from his sin and is making amends. I see it, feel it, and know he is a changed man! Oh how I thank God for equipping and strengthening Dusty to make a lasting change, for restoring our marriage, and saving our family!