My body fell limp as I hit the floor and my heart dropped into my stomach with a feeling of immense weight. Could this really be happening? Oh, God, this hurts so much! When you find out that your spouse has been unfaithful to you and there is a relationship with pornography that far exceeds your comprehension, your life is instantly turned upside down. All of a sudden you are flooded with emotions and your mind begins to race back to situations, searching for clues that you had overlooked. How could I have missed this?And then it hits again. What is wrong with me?! This question resonates in your mind.If this story sounds familiar, know that you are not alone. So now what?
THREE DON’TS WHEN YOU’RE IN CRISIS
Here are some things you should not do when you are in the crisis mode after finding out about your spouse’s pornography activities. Don’t make any rash decisions. Decisions made during times of emotional turmoil are often not well thought through and can have a huge impact on the next stages of your healing. Don’t turn to alcohol, drugs, other chemicals, or other men to help you deal with the pain. If you start, it will be difficult to refrain from using something to mask the pain while you walk forward in the process of healing.Don’t tell everyone you know to smear your husband’s name and make yourself feel justified in your anger from betrayal.Now that you have a few safety cones in place, here are some things that can help you on your path to healing and freedom from the pain of betrayal.*Know the path will be long and difficult, but that with these approaches, you will be refined.
*KEY STEPS TO NAVIGATING YOUR CRISIS
1. Turn to God. Often when we are in pain, we unconsciously blame God for allowing bad things to happen to us and we turn from him. The things we want to do to ease our pain would not be in his will and knowing that, we don’t include him. THIS IS KEY! Don’t forget that your Heavenly Father is hurting with you and is the ultimate source of healing
2. Educate yourself. I am not specifically speaking about finding out about all the details of your spouse’s addiction, but about addiction itself. There will be a time and place for total disclosure to work toward healing, but to best help yourself and your marriage, you need to know what you are dealing with.
3. Find counseling. If I can’t help you, find someone who will. Don’t get stuck in the trap of thinking this is “his problem.” Don’t let shame and pride keep you from seeking the counsel, safe community, refuge, encouragement, and direction toward helping you recover from this shocking setback in your life.
4. Don’t take the reins in your partner’s process of recovery. Encouraging your spouse is wonderful, but do not be the person who monitors and directs his recovery. True recovery will not be achieved with your coaching. You have to trust God and his work in your spouse’s healing.
5. Check your patience meter. You have entered into a long healing journey. Do not expect that either you or your spouse’s healing with be quick and neat. Try and keep this in mind to be able to show grace to yourself and the person you vowed to spend the rest of your life through ups and downs.
RESOURCES FOR SPOUSES
You may be interested in some of the following resources available to you.
- Shattered Vows by Debra Laaser for beginning to understand the process of addiction and that you are not alone and
- Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall to begin the daily effort of forgiveness.
2. Suggested websites and counseling resources
- Miller Counseling Services,PC offers support groups and individual counseling for spouses. We also have options for care via Skype.
- Faithful and True located in Atlanta, GA offers a spouses group.
- Woman’s Healing Journey offers many resources including a list of spouse groups and a great devotional journal to assist you in the daily processing of your “journey toward wholeness.”
May God’s peace and understanding surround you as you walk with him in your process of grieving.
~Author: Stacy Farris, MS, LCPA, NCC with permission to re-post to Miller Counseling Services, PC.