When my husband first revealed his secret life of porn addiction and an emotional affair with another woman, my initial reaction was to hide. I didn’t want anyone to know. I felt as though there’s a certain stigma related to the wife of a sex addict…
“She must not satisfy him.”
“What’s wrong with her that he has to look at porn?”
“Maybe she’s just boring.”
(In fact, I’ve even had a random commentator on my blog say “Some guys just look at porn because their wife is boring.” Really!?! Wow. I disagree wholeheartedly. But that’s for another blog, another day…)
So I didn’t want my family to know. I didn’t want my friends to know. And I certainly didn’t want anyone in my church to know! I just wanted to isolate myself and deal with it on my own. I thought I’d just figure out how to deal with the pain by myself. Thankfully, my husband was wise enough to call help on my behalf. We opened up to a couple in our church who had previously shared their testimony about restoring their marriage after lies and porn had wreaked destruction. And it was probably the single best choice we made in our healing process. Getting strong support is crucial to climbing out of the pit of despair that comes when you’ve discovered your husband has been unfaithful to you. This woman came to my house, sat at my dining room table, and listened to me pour my heart out. I didn’t feel any judgment from her. Only sincere empathy. She had been there. It was such a relief to be able to talk to someone who had gone through a similar situation and had felt and thought all those same things I was. Someone who told me I wasn’t crazy, but completely normal! Someone who understood. I really needed that, even though I was convinced I could handle it on my own. She didn’t know it, but God sent her there to be part of my rescue. It was essential to our healing that I began ridding my heart of all the toxic poisons that come from this type of pain – bitterness, shame, hate, rage, despair, fear, resentment – and it began with simply talking to someone.
Through that initial meeting, my husband was encouraged to join a local support group for sex addicts. Initially, the group only offered help to the addicts. They soon realized the wives were in great need of support too and made the meetings available to them as well. So I began attending every week. In the beginning it was just me and one other woman. But that was enough. Having someone to share my weekly struggles, how I’d go from forgiving him one day to hating him the next, was crucial. I needed someone to walk through these difficult emotions with me. To share the Word with me and pray with me. To help me discern the lies of the enemy from God’s truth. Many times women in pain are bombarded by lies from the enemy and sometimes it’s hard to know what’s what. A good support group can help with that too. The group continued to grow and at one point we had five to six women coming every week for support. We quickly became friends and were able to speak genuinely about our struggles and pain. Not only did we share our experiences and Truths from God’s Word at group, but we knew each woman was only a text, email, or phone call away. We called on each other sometimes daily for prayer and understanding. Had I not had the support of other women who were walking through the healing process with me, I believe my heart would have stayed broken for a very long time. But through the Word of God, my husband’s repentance and diligence, prayer, and through the support and counsel of other godly women, my heart was healed quickly and I found restoration with my husband sooner than I thought possible.
Even now, as my husband and I are walking in the freedom of forgiveness and love, I can call on my friends from group for advice, prayer, or just to talk when I’m having a bad day. I am so thankful that we were able to find strong support through our brokenness and that God placed women in my life (and men in my husband’s life) to help rescue us. If you have discovered sexual betrayal in your marriage, it’s essential to get strong support. Each woman is different and has different needs, but I’m including an example of the support you may need during your healing process. Whatever you do, get support. Don’t try to walk through this alone.
- Counseling as a Couple– My husband and I attended counseling together with a certified counselor who offered godly wisdom. I strongly recommend going to counseling with your husband. If he will not go, you should go on your own.
- Weekly Support Group– My husband and I attend a weekly support group that is specifically designed for overcoming addiction. The group meets together for an hour (men and women together) and then the wives separate into another room. This allows for the husbands and wives to discuss their struggles in greater detail and for additional accountability.
- Genuine Friendships with Godly Women– I have a two, close Christian friends who have found healing from betrayal in their marriage that I am extremely honest and open with about my fears, struggles, victories, and defeats. When it comes to this healing process, I know I can call on these women day or night for immediate help with any situation! Please note: the women you seek counsel and support from should be women who are going to impart the Word into your life. Not a random hair stylist or a workout buddy. Be sure that the women you are connecting with are honoring God in their lives before you allow them to speak into your life.
- Books and Blogs– Although books and blogs do not offer face-to-face help, there are many that offer tremendous wisdom for women in the healing process (and men in the recovery process). Blogs like the x3 Church blog for spouses can be extremely helpful, as well as many others such as www.CovenantEyes.com, www.PureLifeMinistries.org, www.PorntoPurity.com, www.MorethanDesire.com, and many more. I have several resources including books and blogs on my website at www.isaiah53ministry.org that you may find extremely helpful during this difficult time.