While my wife was in the hospital, I looked through her phone and found photos of her cousin that she loved when she was a teenager. I asked her about it, and she said that it was nothing…. I lost trust, so I started spying on her. I downloaded an app on her phone to monitor her calls. She then warned him that I was watching her, and not to contact her until she managed to get another phone.

I am still living with her…. She says that she loves me, but I don’t know how she could…. She says that I didn’t pay any attention to her. I never took her out, and I didn’t talk to her except on weekends when I would see her. All of that is true. I showed no concern for her. Not even an “I love you.” I was cold with her.

Dear Friend,

It is certainly distressing to believe that your wife is deceiving you. Deception of any kind undermines the trust that a good marriage is built on.

Contrary to God’s law in the Ten Commandments, it is unfortunately very common in some cultures for one spouse or the other to believe that certain lies are justified. We all know of the men who deceive their wives with another woman, or with multiple women, and who think it is acceptable to do so. Those other women agree to the arrangements because they too believe it is acceptable, and their unfortunate children grow up without fathers.

However, men are not the only ones who are doing the deceiving. Although it is looked upon less favorably in most cultures, many women are unfaithful to their husbands and convince themselves that it’s justified because their husbands mistreat them or ignore them. That is what may have happened with your wife. However, although you have presented a case for possible deception, you have not presented any evidence of infidelity.

You don’t say whether there were pictures of other family members on your wife’s phone. You just mention photos of the one cousin, when there could have also been photos of many other cousins, along with aunts and uncles. It is possible that your wife loves her cousin in the same way that all of us love our relatives. And you may have only noticed the photo of the one who you consider to be a threat to your marriage.

You admit that you treated your wife badly. That kind of behavior doesn’t seem to be consistent with a man who really loves his wife. But it doesn’t give your wife an excuse to deceive you, if she has.

We recommend that you seek professional marriage counseling to sort this out and to save your marriage. Of course, it will require time, effort, and money, but it will be well worth it in order to keep your marriage from falling apart.

It’s not too late,