Marital Issues

“How can I help my husband change his ways?”

I need an advice. I am married for more than three years. My husband has a hobby of lying even with little things. He has also cheated on me several times. I don`t know if he is already like that even before we met or is it me who turned him into the man that he is right now. We already met with a marriage counselor, but I`m not sure if it`s really helping. What can I do to help him break his habitual lying and cheating? I sometimes catch him lying through his body language but I don`t know if my approach with him is right or not.

Icee

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Dear Icee,

I understand how much you want to try to help your husband change and your desire to improve your marriage.

Please do not let yourself believe that you`re the one who caused your husband`s compulsive lying and cheating. I believe that issues like this are rooted in the person`s family. And even if the family looks close and intact, it doesn`t automatically mean that the parenting is emotionally nurturing and healthy. Most of the time, the adult-child doesn`t even know that he`s emotionally/psychologically wounded by his own parents. All of us are actually wounded by our parents in one way or another, simply because they are not perfect. And these wounds we bring in our own marriage (and parenting).

Unfortunately, you as a wife cannot change him.  You can pray for him, encourage him and support him. Those are big things. But at the end of the day, you can only do so much. Especially that your husband`s issue lies on chronic lying and cheating.

You may encourage him to seek individual counseling/psychotherapy, IF he could admit that something is not right in the way he behaves in your marriage. But if he`s a person who thinks he never make any mistake, then seeking professional help could be a real challenge. But you can try and pray for it.

I see that you also met with a marriage counselor. The thing is, marriage counseling is more focused on how you relate with each other. But if your husband is harboring a deep personal issue, which is inevitably affecting your relationship, then it would be better that he address his own wounds first. Although marriage counseling will also be helpful to improve your relationship as wife and husband.

On the event that he agreed to meet with an individual counselor, he must acknowledge that his habit is destructive to you and to your marriage. He must have the willingness to see where his issues are coming from; he must have the willingness to change his ways, even little by little, until he becomes consistent. It’s more work for him than you. It`s the same with a child learning how to walk, you will guide and support him, but the effort of learning to walk and be good at it must all come from the child. You cannot be your husband’s savior.

And even if he is emotionally wounded, it is unacceptable for him to use it as his excuse to continue his lyings and cheatings.

Apart from that, what are your other options? You can let your husband be as he is, and just ensure that you do your own self-care. You can also try to look into the future, say 5 or 10 years from now,  can you imagine him changing his compulsive cheating and lying? If not, what long term self-care can you do for your well-being? Can you see yourself living in this way for a long time, or even for the rest of your life? Those things you can ask yourself.

To reiterate, you can only do your best to help your husband. But in the end, the desire and the effort to change must come from him.

– Nova

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