I read an affair recovery forum the other day where a woman was asking for advice about what gift she should buy for her unfaithful husband for Christmas. Their relationship is not yet mended. She was uninspired to buy anything, but she didn’t want to make the kids wonder why she didn’t buy their dad a gift.
Lots of people commented with bland suggestions. Lots of people commented with snarky suggestions. I wonder what she’ll end up buying?
“What does my spouse want for Christmas?” is a question no unfaithful spouse should ever need to ask. The list is very simple and rather obvious. I have written it out for you here. If you’re an unfaithful spouse, I hope you’ll splurge this year and give her the entire list.
Plain and simple. If you’ve wronged your spouse and not yet said you’re sorry, she needs to hear it. You may think saying sorry is just words, but they’re important words. They have a way of soothing the soul a little bit. They put a bit of salve on the wound of her heart. If you haven’t said out loud, “I messed up. I’m sorry. Will you forgive me.” now is the time.
You’ve hurt her. It would be really helpful for her to see that you feel really bad about it. When she married you, she believed you would always have her best interest in mind. Now she’s uncertain about where she stands with you, your affection for her, and your future together.
Showing remorse in the things you say, the way you act, and the things you do to make it up to her helps her believe that there may be hope for the two of you.
Cheating on her was the ultimate deceit. She feels foolish for trusting you. She is hesitant to believe anything you say now. Go out of your way to be honest with her. Give her the passwords to all your devices. Let her know if you will be even five minutes late. Check in with her when you are out and about. She wants to believe that she can trust you again.
You may be tired of all the questions she asks you about the affair. But if she is ever going to heal from your infidelity, you must answer her questions about it. Any time you resist answering her questions you give her further cause to mistrust you. You do further damage to her and to the relationship.
She has been through emotional trauma because of the affair. Her brain is able to process information that you tell her differently at different points in her recovery. So if she asks the same question more than once, it’s because she needs to know. Answering her questions, openly and honestly is one of the best things you can do to help her recover.
Your wife shouldn’t have to beg you to get some affair recovery coaching. Isn’t it obvious that there is a problem that needs solved? Anyone who wants to get to a destination quickly and without detours hires a guide. Any athlete who wants to excel at his sport hires a coach. Any couple who wants to solve their problem without taking one step forward and two steps back should hire a coach to get them there faster, before further damage occurs.
It may assuage your conscience to buy her something fancy or pricey or sparkling. But don’t mistake those things as being gifts that will make it all better and move your relationship forward. It’s in your power to give her the gifts she really needs and wants.