Now that it is February many out there turn their attention from the holidays and new resolutions to the world of romance and intimacy. Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day season. Also known as the time of year when ill-prepared men scramble to find that perfect card and gift that says, “I love you.” Or at least, something that will keep them from having to sleep on the couch.
Ok, all jokes aside…
While Valentine’s Day may symbolize the celebration of romance, for many, it serves as a painful reminder of love and intimacy lost due to the realities of sexual betrayal. Not that sexual betrayal isn’t painful in and of itself. But constantly being reminded by endless marketing campaigns for greeting cards that love should be celebrated only adds salt to an already sore and burning wound.
And while I can’t tell you anything that may ease that pain today, I can tell you that there is hope. Not only can a marriage scarred by betrayal be redeemed, but it can be elevated. I say that with confidence as a man who’s walked down that road with his wife and has seen their marriage thrive in ways never imagined.
Around 7 years ago, my wife and I filmed a video for a series called “Resentment” by XXXchurch. I was working for Fireproof Ministries at that time, before XXXchurch was acquired by Live Free Ministries. In it, we talk about our experience and some of the realizations we both faced as I walked out my recovery with her support. Maybe some of you can identify with our story.
The truth is betrayal is extremely painful and can lead to great resentment and a loss of hope. But, it is something a couple can heal from if both partners put in some hard work.
For the man, it means committing to the path of recovery, leading with honesty, staying accountable to his wife regarding his commitments, and remaining empathetic and patient throughout the process, understanding that it was his actions that led to his wife’s pain and anger.
For the woman, it means investing in her own healing and letting go of the things she can’t control. It also means holding her husband accountable for his promises and understanding that his actions are not a reflection of his feelings for her, but rather a result of his past trauma, abandonment, and rejection. This also require her to be honest about her feelings without the fear of rejection or anger.
Don’t get me wrong. Recovery from sex or porn addiction and betrayal is a long process and requires great commitment. There will be up’s and down’s, high and low moments. But if both partners stay focused on healing and rebuilding trust, their marriage can be restored. Intimacy can be rekindled.
And hope can be reborn.
So this month we are going to be focused on betrayal. We are going to be talking about the possibility of restoration, and we are going to try to offer many out there hope that all is not lost in their marriage.
That someday they can enjoy this time of year, or at least roll their eyes together not because they are stuck in a loveless relationship but because they realize they don’t need some lame holiday to remind them of how special each one is to the other.