How to fully love again after being hurt

Kimberley Pennington

Heartache. Betrayal. Pain. This is how it feels to be hurt by a loved one. When someone wounds you deeply, how do you learn to fully love them again?

A lot of us assume time heals the pain. But I’m learning that time simply deadens the pain. Time buries our hurts and numbs our senses. Only Jesus can truly heal our hearts, carry our burdens, and set us free. 

Psalm 147:3 says the Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He is the only one who can restore and turn broken into brand new. 

Don’t Miss the Purpose in the Pain

It has been five months since I learned my husband had an affair. I thought we had the perfect marriage. When in reality, we were really on autopilot. We were navigating through life together without being present to one another.

The affair was our wake-up call, one that has changed our marriage forever. The pain of betrayal is still fresh and real. But time is not the healer, Jesus is. When my heart grows cold toward my spouse, I turn to God and ask for help. 

In the aftermath of the affair, I have gently heard God whisper to me, “I will be enough.” 

And He is. God isn’t going to let me fully experience my husband’s love until I can fully experience His love and be satisfied with Him alone. Our God is a jealous God, and He wants to be our everything (Exodus 34:14). He is enough. Period. Until I can fully embrace that, I will never live a life of overflowing abundance with my husband.

Jesus isn’t causing this betrayal to hurt me, but because He loves me. He wants me to grow and deeply grow in Him. He wants my heart to be so anchored in His love, that no matter my husband’s actions, I can still be confident in His great love (Hebrews 6:19). There is so much freedom in that.

Husbands make poor gods. In learning to love again, I realized I have been wanting my husband to reach unreachable standards. 

People will always fall short and let us down. Jesus will not. Putting my faith in Him, instead of my husband, is teaching me what true love really is.

Two Things That Will Help You Through This Time

Whether my husband is truly sorry and changed, that’s between my husband and God. My ability to give love is not dependent on his actions. Love flows from the Father to me, then to those around me, including my husband (1 John 4:19-21). 

If you and your spouse are working your way back from betrayal, two practical steps can make all the difference in learning to love again: 

1. Read your Bible. 

Renew your mind with the truth of the Bible. Give the feelings that cause your heart to grow cold over to God. Let Him speak to you as you read the Bible on your own and together as a couple.

2. Pray.  

Pray for your spouse. Pray that you become the spouse God intends for you to be. Pray together as a couple.

Getting back at your spouse won’t restore the relationship or make you feel better. Only embracing God’s perfect love can heal the pain and drive out fear (1 John 4:18). This is what gives us the courage to love with our whole hearts again.

The past five months have not been easy, but our marriage has grown in ways I never thought was possible. I am more in love with my husband than I have ever been. We serve each other with passion because we know we are serving God by doing so. 

As we have grown closer to God, it has ignited a passion for the love we have for one another. When we start loving others the way God loves us, it changes everything (John 13:34).

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