What’s Love Without Trust

The walls seemed to be closing in on Pat as she tried to open up to Coach Reni with tears streaming down her face. Her world was crashing, no one could understand!. “Have a glass of water and breeeeeathe”, Coach Reni said. “It’s going to be alright, I’m here to help, please talk to me”.

Pat dabbed her eyes and tried to control the emotions. She took a deep breath but felt a deepening hole in her heart. Pat’s husband of 4 years, Micheal, was cheating on her. And not just once, or a temporary fling. He seemed to be addicted to this girl we will call “Fran”, for the sake of this story. From the pictures and conversations Pat saw on Michael’s phone, Fran was a young babe, attractive, but truly nothing compared with Pat’s beauty and brains. Pat was perplexed!

Not that Pat went snooping… Michael mistakenly took her phone to work one Tuesday morning and left his – they both had no password locks and looked alike at first glance. By Tuesday afternoon, Pat’s perfect life, as she knew it, had disintegrated. What? Why? When? Where did she go wrong with Michael?

Unusually so, Michael came home early from work, obviously realizing his fatal error. He must have raced to beat the rush-hour traffic from Lekki, Pat smiled sarcastically. “Reni, I didn’t even know what to say or how to feel! I was angry, furious, sad, felt betrayed, shocked, all at the same time! Who the hell was Fran???”

What did Michael think would happen to their marriage? Did he plan to leave her for that slut? All these questions and more, Pat spat out to Michael in anger as she started throwing things violently at him. It took all of 30 minutes for Michael to calm Pat down, she was having none of his cock and bull stories and excuses. “Michael, you CANNOT tell me that NOTHING has happened between you two”. Half-naked pictures, suggestive and sensual texts, late night phone calls… How did she not notice that this had been going on for months? “Michael, you betrayed me”, she screamed.

Coach Reni allowed Pat to express herself and thought of the best possible way to advise her without sounding too ‘spirikoko’. Reni was a faith-based counselor. “Pat, while I do not approve of or excuse what Michael has done, I need you to think like a victor in this marriage. It’s a war against your peace and joy, but you have already won. You took the right first step by coming to me, after all that happened in your home last night. Michael is human and has made a very grave mistake, but please, I need you to call him after our meeting and ask him to move back in. Yes, you need some space but not THAT much space!” Coach Reni advised Pat.

Pat remembers how, around 2am, Michael woke her up from her deep but emotionally drained sleep to apologize, claiming that he was truly sorry for breaking her trust. Reni asked Pat if she was willing to fight for her marriage, as it was obvious, from Michael’s heartfelt apology last night that he was too. Hesitantly, Pat said yes. Pat wonders if she can ever, ever, really trust Michael. “He betrayed me. What happened to our vows? Did he not fear God?” These were the questions plaguing Pat as she confided in Coach Reni.

“Yes, trust can be rebuilt again, if both parties are willing to work at it patiently. Trust is not built overnight”, Reni warned. “But first, some concrete steps needed to be taken. Pat, you both must confront the situation head on. Talk about it. But not just you, as a monologue of how you feel. Michael must freely express himself about every little detail. What happened, when, where and how. You may both feel safer doing this in the presence of an intermediary or a professional counselor. Be sure to pick a neutral and experienced person that you trust to be non-judgmental but with the interests of a healthy marriage as the goal. Once all the details are exposed, forgiveness can commence, with no more secrets or lies. Forgive him and make the effort to reconnect, gradually. You will cry, shout, be distant, irritated, etc. It’s part of the process. I believe Michael will do all it takes to earn your trust again and save his marriage (even if it means quitting that financially profitable project that kept him connected with Fran). It’s a sacrifice that is worth every effort.”

“Trust, unlike love, is not given unconditionally. It has to be earned through consistent actions of love that speaks of reliability, truth and ability” says Chris Chukwunyere. “I agree with him”, said Coach Reni. Coach Reni whispered to Pat, while giving her a warm hug: “Girl, you can do this. You must, with God’s help and in partnership with Michael, stick to your marital ministry and give no room to the devil. I’m also here to support you”.

Who’s ever been in Pat’s shoes? Turning the tables, have any of us cheated on our men and had to work really hard at regaining his trust?

You can share anonymously or email nojudgment@whiteolive.org

Have a great #WomanWednesday!

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