How to Heal a Betrayed Heart – 5 Steps that can Make Me Whole Again

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How to Heal a Betrayed Heart - 5 Steps that can Make Me Whole Again

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If you’ve ever wondered how to heal a betrayed heart, then you probably already know that betrayal is a vicious monster who seeks to destroy its victims. It demolishes our trust in people, steals every glimmer of hope that keeps us going, and plunges us into the isolation of loneliness. In that darkness we find our senses have both dulled and sharpened. We become like a hunted animal – numb to anything good in the world around us, but acutely aware of every threat lurking in the darkness.

I want you to know that I have been there. I’ve had my world ripped out from under me by the stinging blow of betrayal. In fact, many people in my life have betrayed me, but the one that landed hardest was the infidelity of my husband – the person I love most in this world. But I have learned, to my delight, that there is One who can make me whole again.

As I’ve made my way through four years (at the time I’m writing this) of recovery, I’ve learned a lot! So today I would like to share with you five steps that will show you how to heal a betrayed heart. These are the things God has used to heal my broken heart and make me whole. I share them with you today with the hope that it will encourage you and renew your hope in God’s power to heal you too.

How Can I Ease the Pain of Betrayal?

If you’re anything like I was right after the betrayal hit, you just want the pain to let up, even just a little bit. You probably think, as I did, that the answer to how to heal a betrayed heart could only come if the pain is diminished. But I believe an important part of healing is embracing the pain.

When I look at my own life, I see too many instances when I tried to bury the hurts. I kind of think I’m pretty normal in that. I think that tends to be a pretty common coping mechanism. But the thing is, it doesn’t actually help us at all. The only productive thing that can happen to something that has been buried is that it might grow, and I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want my pain to grow!

On the other hand, when we face our pain, let ourselves feel it, and then figure out how to move forward from it, we’ve taken steps that can actually lead to healing! So if I want my best chance at what will make me whole again, I will give myself the time and space to feel my pain and to make a plan to deal with it. So let’s look at 5 steps that could be used as a plan for how to heal a betrayed heart.

5 Steps that Can Make Me Whole Again

Step One – Give Yourself Time to Mourn

Just as we have to let ourselves feel the pain, we also have to give ourselves the time and space we need to mourn over what has been lost. It is no small thing, and it must be grieved in the same way any other loss would. Mourning is an important part of processing trauma.

The thing is, grief has requirements if it is going to be done well: We need to be safe, we need to have space, and we need to be free to fully process each of the stages. Part of this first step is not just giving yourself the time you need, but doing what you need to do to make sure no one else is standing in your way either.

Unfortunately, that might mean you need to separate yourself from some of the people in your life. At least for a time. Unsafe people will try and rush you through the stages of grief, or even try to convince you that these important phases of healing shouldn’t be given a place in your life at all.

Sometimes, this comes from a genuine place of care for you, and the person just doesn’t understand how to heal a betrayed heart. If that’s the case, take the time to communicate honestly with the person and explain the importance of mourning the loss in order to process the trauma. However, if there are people who refuse to listen or think they know better, it may be necessary to take a little break from those people.

Be respectful, but let them know you are taking your healing seriously, and they have made themselves unsafe to that process. Let them know you love them, and you’ll be back when you’ve had the time you need to process and heal.

For me this came in the form of a 90 day therapeutic separation from my husband. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it was a tool God used greatly to get alone with me and do His work to make me whole once again. When our 90 day separation ended, I was much more equipped to do the hard work of recovery in our marriage because I had taken the time to let God start healing me first.

Step Two – Seek God with Your Whole Heart

Step two is easily the most important step of all. If you want to know how to heal a betrayed heart for real, it’s honestly the only step that truly matters. Because you see, when we are seeking God with our whole hearts, He will lead us to everything else we need to be healed and whole. (Proverbs 3:5-6) After all, He is in the business of restoring what has been broken! (Jeremiah 17:14)

Unfortunately, broken hearts often place blame where it does not belong and in the process alienate themselves from the only source of true healing there is.

God has not betrayed you my friend! He never will – because He can’t! God is completely faithful and good. He didn’t do this, sin did, and God has absolutely nothing to do with sin. (James 1:12-18) Do not mistake His decision to allow us the freedom of choice as complicity in the betrayal.

There are many things we can do to seek God: Read the Bible, pray, listen to worship music, meditate on Scripture, go to church, listen to sermons, and more. But at this stage of healing, I believe the two most important are reading the Bible and prayer. You see, we need a lot of wisdom to help us navigate through this time. Asking God to show us how to heal a betrayed heart through specific answers to specific questions, and then looking for those answer in Scripture is a surefire way to find that wisdom!

James 1:5-6 – If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

But even beyond looking for wisdom about how to deal with this specific situation, when we seek God with our whole hearts, we begin to learn about who He is and there is great comfort there! It is because of the fundamental truths about the character of our God that we find the things we need to face the heartache and trials of this life.

I’ve found that in knowing there is a good God who has made it His business to make me whole, I find a source of identity that can not be touched by anything any human can do to me. I find the strength to face life and flourish, living in the victory that only He can give!

Seek God, my friend, and find your identity in Him. He will heal what has been broken.

Step Three – Learn to Set and Keep Boundaries

As my husband and I have spent the last few years walking alongside other couples dealing with the aftermath of infidelity, we’ve found that one of the most common obstacles to healing is a lot of misinformation and a lack of understanding about what boundaries are and why they are SO important in our lives. It’s no surprise to us, because when we started this journey we were in the same boat.

The thing is, it’s pretty tough to figure out how to heal a betrayed heart without good, God-honoring boundaries. Biblical boundaries help define who we are and communicate to the people in our lives where we are and are not willing to go. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not about controlling another person, but rather they’re all about staying in control of our own choices and actions.

I can not control another person. No one can. But I can take responsibility for the fact that I will one day answer to God for every decision I make – every action, every inaction, every word out of my mouth, every meditation of my heart – I am accountable to God for all of it. And just as I can’t control anyone else, neither can anyone else control me.

When I take the time to really define my borders and set my parameters, it helps give me clarity about who I am and gives me a plan to protect the integrity of that identity.

If you’re feeling a little confused, don’t worry. We don’t have the space to fully deal with this subject in this post, but we’ve spent a lot of time developing resources about boundaries. You can just type the word “boundaries” into the search bar in the sidebar and it will take you to all the content here on the site, but another great place to start is with our book. Just click the affiliate link below to check it out!

Biblical Boundaries book blog post advertisement

Step Four – Find Your People

As we’ve already discussed, not everyone in our lives is going to be safe when we’re learning how to heal a betrayed heart. But that doesn’t mean we should try to do this alone. In fact, we definitely shouldn’t do it alone. We all need support and encouragement. If we want to give ourselves the best chance at healing, we’re going to need to be intentional about finding a support network.

This group can include people like a counselor (preferably one who has been trained to deal with betrayal trauma), a coach or mentor, a recovery program, or a support group. I believe it is also extremely important that this group include a local church with a pastor you can trust. Safe and supportive friends and family will also be important for you to find.

The truth is, you CAN do this even if you can’t find anyone safe to help you. If you have God on your side, you have everything you need. But God created us for community and relationship, and whether it feels like it or not, there ARE safe people out there who will stand in your corner and cheer you on to victory. Take a little time to find them. Ask God to help lead you to fellow believers who will sharpen you on this journey.

There was a time when I really believed I was alone in this world. My broken heart refused to trust anyone. But God has been so gracious in bringing amazing, supportive people into my life and He has used them greatly to heal my heart and make me whole! So go find your people!

Romans 8:37-38 - Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.

Step Five – Choose Victory

This step probably sounds silly, but I promise you, it’s extremely important. I have found there are many people in this world who simply don’t want to be healed or whole. They want to be victims. Somehow, that is where they feel safe, or at least it’s where they find their identity.

If you tell these people they need to take time to mourn, they’ll eagerly latch on to their grief and use it as an excuse to mourn for the rest of their lives. But if you tell them they need to seek God they’ll tell you why He can’t be trusted or how He isn’t interested in helping them. If you tell them to set boundaries they’ll fill you in on all the reasons their situation is unique and how they simply can’t. And if you tell them to find their people, they’ll assure you there is no one in their lives who is safe and no way for them to change that reality.

People like that have decided victory is unattainable, and for that reason alone, it is. But this is not the message God has given us. We may have been hurt, someone may have victimized us, but we are under no obligation to stay broken. We don’t have to be victims forever. Through the power of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives, we CAN choose victory!

Romans 8:31-39 – What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one – for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one – for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.

Do you want to know how to heal a betrayed heart? Choose to believe that a betrayed heart can be healed, then make a plan to pursue that healing, and move forward in victory!

My friend I promise you, as someone who has been broken by betrayal, there is hope! I have found so much peace and joy in what Christ has done in my life since the betrayal. He has even used it to make me whole in a way I don’t think I ever would have been without that tragedy! I honestly thank God for the trial because as I have learned how to heal a betrayed heart, I have found my identity in the God who will never forsake me.

Today, my life is filled with the victory of a life restored! And the same God who did the work to make me whole can do the same for you! Choose victory friend!

Quick Review – How to Heal a Betrayed Heart

So, real quick, let’s wrap this up in a pretty bow. If you want to know how to heal a betrayed heart, start by seeking God with all your heart. Trust His leading as you take the time to mourn your losses from a place of safety, learn to set boundaries and then keep them, and find and surround yourself with the people who will cheer you on to seek God as you heal. Finally, choose victory. With God’s help, you’ve got this, and He’s got you!

Cherith Peters

Cherith Peters

I am a wife, mother, and passionate follower of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. After the realities of my husband's sexual addiction and infidelities finally came to a head, I began blogging about our journey to healing. God has worked many miracles in our life and marriage since then, and grown a ministry committed to helping others find the healing in Christ that changed our story forever!

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12 Responses

  1. God bless you! I would like to thank you! I was betrayed back in October and then thrown out of my home by my husband. He now shares our home with the other woman and I have been left in shambles. I still love him and have been asking God if he will restore my marriage again. I have been blessed by God since I ran right to him from the moment this happened. I need guidance in this devastating time in my life.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear this Gisel. I will pray for you right this minute. May God comfort you, heal you, and give you an abundance of wisdom as you navigate the process of dealing with it all.

  2. Dear Cherith,
    My name is Anna. I’ve been praying and asking GOD to change me to heal me from the bondage of betrayal. I have been told I suffer from PTSD because of my life. MANY have betrayed me over the years, but the ones that hurt the most are my two ex-husbands. BOTH were liars, cheaters,and abusers. The second was worse than the first. It has crippled me in ways I hate. I am a believer, I gave my heart to the LORD on January 20th,1987. I have a close relationship with the LORD, yet sometimes I find myself slipping away because of the constant betrayal by people in my life. It hurts me deeply. I constantly give love unconditionally only to have them cut me deep. I’ve met a wonderful man, who I am building a life with. I struggle hard with trust. When things seem like a familiar event I’ve already endured I’m traumatized all over again and feel like it’s happening again. You understand what I am saying. the betrayal is so real I feel like I’m reliving it. It makes me sick deeply inside, I get panic attacks from it and can’t function. I cry out to GOD and plead for truths. I just happened upon your web site today, after praying for answers. I don’t believe it was a mistake. I believe I’m supposed to learn something huge, life changing. Thank you for your bold honesty and care for others hearts. I pray this journey together will bring the healing I seek. In Jesus Name Amen.

    1. Hi Anna. I’m sorry for all the pain you’ve been through. I know for sure, though, that God can heal what it has broken. I will pray for you right now. That old patterns can be broken by steadfast obedience to God and His standards as His grace covers and heals and puts back together all the broken pieces.

  3. Hello Cherish,
    I just found out a week ago that my husband of 30 years has been addicted to porn and chat sites for the last 10 years. He has developed or maybe has always had a compulsion to lie about any painful subject and an excessive drinking problem. We were married at Me 18 and him 20 years of age and had our first daughter 5 months later. We had 2 more children a son and another daughter who are all grown and out of the house. I am so broken in what I have found in the last week I feel sick to my stomach constantly. The words, pictures and time he spent with these other women have shown my husband to be some I don’t even recognize. The chats I found by chance and read on his phone were a whole other person i have never met and really don’t want to. I find that person disgusting and perverted. My life has been ripped away from me never to return. I am lost and hurting. My husband is baffled by his behavior and wants to reconcile and I do to but the chasm between us is vast. His lies and deceit have been an issue all our marriage. He has severe intimacy issues and his verbal communication with me is slow, calculating and painful. I want to heal from this. I love him. I know he has childhood trauma he needs to work through but my hope is weak. I am so hurt and scared I can’t imagine a happy fulfilled life again. Thank you so much for this encouragement.

    1. I am so sorry Rachel. I know that pain well. I am praying for you right now, that you will find the strength and healing you need in Christ. That He will mend the broken places in your heart and give you confidence in HIS deep, abiding, faithful, unconditional, eternal love for you! And I also pray that your husband will come to full repentance and turn toward God. I pray he finds the freedom from sin and healing he needs at the foot of the cross, which is the only hope he has. May God bless you both and your marriage!

  4. Thank you for this resource, it has so many answers to questions I have. It’s like it was written by a future me asking and answering all the questions I have in my agony at the moment. Thank you thank you. I know I’m not alone!

    1. Vanessa, praise God that it could be helpful. Having been through betrayal myself, that is exactly what I have asked God to do through me – use my experience to help others see through the debilitating fog of early betrayal trauma and find HIM! Because He is the only answer, the only comfort, the only healing that will matter!

  5. Thank you for your wisdom and for telling your story and how you recovered. I am in such pain I am very close to God. I have been told by my sister to just move on although she hasn’t been betrayed and I have been betrayed twice by my 1st and now my 2nd spouse. We are divorced. I just didn’t think that the actions of another could hurt so much and so deeply. I find it hard to function. When does God provide peace for such a deep loss. When I seek answers to why I was divorced I get stuck on this betrayal, its like a barrier to my healing.

    1. Hi Julie, I am sorry for the pain you have experienced! I can’t tell you what God is going to do in your story, but I can tell you how it worked for me. In my situation, the peace came when my heart shifted from finding my joy and my security and even my sense of self from the relationships in my life and roles I filled like mother and wife to finding those things from my relationship with God. When He became my security, when He became my joy, when He became the source of who I was then I found myself at peace with the difficult circumstances in my life. Then I was able to find purpose in the pain and able to take what the enemy intended for evil and allow God to make it into something magnificent and very very good. Don’t hear me saying that the pain went away, because it didn’t. It still hasn’t. But I was able to find peace in the pain because I can see how God is using it for my good and His glory.

  6. Estoy pasando por segunda infidelidad de mi esposo y hoy con una bebé de ese pecado busco siempre a Dios en oración q sane y q pueda aceptar ese error de mi esposo el está arrepentido de lo q hizo y quiere que Dios cambie su corazón para no hacerlo mas pero yo trato de aceptar todo lo q el hizo pero no puedo solo le pido a Dios que sane y me de paz a mi corazón y pueda perdonarlo y que mi matrimonio comience mejor q como estabamos quiero q ore por mi y mi esposo que haya un cambio genuino en el bendiciónes

    1. Hi Brenda, yes, I will pray for you and your marriage. Continue to pursue God, for sure. But also, you need some good boundaries as you navigate this time of healing.

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At Broken Vows, Restored Hearts, we believe that when two people surrender to God there is no marital brokenness He can’t redeem. Our God is a chain breaker and a heart healer. We only need to believe, repent, and obey! So let’s turn to Him and be healed.

“Oh Lord, if You heal me, I will be truly healed; if You save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for You alone.”
Jeremiah 17:14

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