My Grace is NOT perfect, But Gods Grace IS… A process of healing a marriage after infidelity
By HEATHER ROSE
“Learning”: This is the title of my journal…
I started writing a journal 2 weeks after I learned that my husband had been dealing with sexual addiction from the age of 8 yrs old. An addiction I knew nothing about. An addiction that ultimately led to us losing our jobs, our careers and our known “identity”.
How do you survive that betrayal and infidelity?
How do you not only survive, but grow and get better?
Here's part of my story:
Journal Entry - (1 week after confession)
I now have nothing that I have done, or am doing, to boast about or put my trust in. I am not a pastor, worship leader, counselor, successful daughter, or even a trusted friend. But I am a daughter of God and I know my Heavenly Father loves me. I know my Jesus wants what's best for me, and I know that through this "tragedy" he has actually answered my prayers.
Understanding, maturing and grieving is what I'm doing now. Most of all trusting Jesus to continue to love me, to provide for me and to help me through this…
Almost 4 years ago, My Husband Ben, and I were the lead pastors of a new, thriving church plant. We were able to launch our new church with over 200 people in attendance on our first official Sunday. We knew God had called us to this church. We had sold our home in Alaska, and left a position as associate pastors, a job we’d been building for 12 years. We followed the call of God on our life, and then our story began.
God led him to a place of desperation, a place where he had to face who, what and where he was, and get some help. He confessed to a sexual addiction.
Over the next few months he brought EVERY secret thing the devil had hooked into him, and trapped him with, out into the light. He was becoming free…
So where did that leave me?
I was supportive and felt relieved to know the truth, but I was hurt. I had no idea what had been going on in his life. I knew there was a disconnect and a distance between us. But once he confessed, the “blind fold” was removed, I could see clearly. It was a necessary pain to go through, the “truth hurts” kind of pain. For better or worse, this man was my man, my best friend and my partner in life.
I knew it was up to me to choose forgiveness and fight for our freedom together and independently.
Here are three mindsets Holy Spirit graciously gave me:
Bravery t o Communicate.
I embraced the season we were in and chose to believe that God had a purpose for this pain.
1. Grace, keep a sweet spirit.
My husband was in sin and deception. He was all alone stuck in darkness. I knew the sin was not “Ben.”
The devil was trying to take him out with the lies and the lure of pornography and sexual fantasy. My first reaction was shock, my second reaction was empathy. I felt sorry that I didn't know the depth of the torment and bondage he was in. I want to help women(wives) understand that men(husbands) are tempted sexually, and it is part of their make-up, and normal to face temptation. But its what they do with the temptation that can lead to hurt and addiction. My husband and the sin he committed are two very different things.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"
– Galatians 2:20-21
2. Thankfulness, perspective.
I was thankful that puzzle pieces to began to fit.
I had questions as to why he seemed restless, irritable and had such a short fuse. He knew he was living in sin, and he was frustrated with himself and ultimately took it out on his family. We both had to come to an understanding of where each other was at and what we were going through. Just like my husband and the sin he committed are different things, the sexual addiction he had was not because of me.
So, I had a choice: either be insecure, become the victim and say, “Its because I don't measure up, that’s why he looked elsewhere”, or understand that it was a lie and an addiction the enemy was using against my husband and our future.
I had to remember to be thankful for the journey of truth we were on.
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."
– 2 Corinthians 12:9
3. Bravery to communicate, stay in the Light, no secrets.
Ben reached the end of himself; he stopped making excuses and circumnavigating his issues. He submitted to a process of total honesty and humility.
We went to a marriage counselor once a week for a year. Then the second year we went every other week. Two years of counseling and devoting time to facing our “real selves” without defensive walls. We also set up guard rails, like accountability software on all electronic devices.
There was no more shifting blame, just an “end of our rope” gut level honesty, and a desire to grow and learn how to communicate.
I decided to be vulnerable and have real communication and transparency of my thoughts and feelings, with the purpose of bringing lies and secrets into the light. Today I still choose to be a safe place for my husband to talk through any little temptation he encounters, and I choose to be brave, open and honest with him. The enemy wants you to keep your mouth shut and have you process everything on your own; but God designed us to need each other. He designed our audible voice with power to break through the darkness.
"They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death."
– Revelation 12:11
Journal Entry - (3 months after confession)
Had a great day!
I was able to talk through my feelings of insecurities with seeing other beautiful women and wondering if Ben was fantasizing or just thinking, "Man she's hot, I wish my wife would work out..." I realized that it's not fair to view him this way, and those might not even have been his thoughts. My husband is a man of God; Jesus is healing him and it was good to hear Ben say that he wasn't thinking those thoughts when that lady walked by.
It hurt Ben’s feelings to hear me say that stuff, but I do feel better having said it. I know bottling it up would just make me grumpy, and steal my joy, and then the devil would have "won" for the day.
So I'm learning…
Journal Entry - (5 months after confession)
"Let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation."
– 1 Thessalonians 5:4-9. Vs.8
Yes Lord, I am clearheaded and protected by faith, love, and the confidence of my salvation! Jesus you are wonderful.
I have been feeling like I see clearer now that Ben and I are communicating and I'm not stuffing issues. I'm facing fears, worries, irritations all head-on and talking about things. I'm choosing not to be worried. God, You have saved our spirit, soul, and body! Thank you! Help us to be faithful now so that our future is prosperous....