If you’re heartbroken, can you get a pass on the Christmas festivities?
If your marriage is far from jolly, are you wondering if you can get through this Christmas?
I wasn’t so sure about that Christmas over ten years ago. That Christmas stunk.
THAT Christmas meant endurance, some strained smiles, uncomfortable moments, quiet, and minimal effort. It had to be. The depression and Dave’s addiction confession knocked me off my feet. Things between Dave and me were improving, but we had a long way to go. Our son came home from overseas with his questions about our relationship. His coming home was the highlight of Christmas that year. I missed my son! But I couldn’t provide all the answers he expected.
The season of good wishes, beautiful music, festivities, and presents felt gray.
No red and green or twinkling lights. But, hearing the Christmas music soothed my battered soul somewhat even though joy floated beyond my fingertips.
I knew our marriage had hope. Thankful for that rope to grasp, it kept me stable as I struggled to keep my head above the sucking waters of depression.
Life felt shattered and lackluster.
I could have skipped Christmas THAT year. And based on how few memories I have of it, I pretty much did.
Can you relate?
If your marriage struggles with the pain of addiction or betrayal, Christmas probably feels overwhelming.
The festive spirit of your friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors might even grate on you a bit. That’s okay.
During a recent morning devotion and journaling session, I read a familiar verse that leaped off the page at me. One phrase captured my thoughts: while we were still sinners. The Message says it this way:
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. [emphasis mine]
God provided for our salvation when we weren’t aware we needed it, weren’t looking for it, couldn’t have cared less, and were stubbornly doing our thing.
In THAT Christmas season, I struggled to forgive Dave for his porn addiction. I wanted him to change before I forgave.
But that isn’t Jesus’ way. He died to pay for our sins BEFORE we even knew our sin. We were and are a mess; He forgives. Repeatedly. And that’s what I needed to work through then and now.
If I want to be more like Jesus, the Holy Spirit works on me to extend grace, love, and mercy in the mess and heartbreak.
He teaches me to let go of preconceived notions about how someone should behave. He asks me to extend the same grace to others I wish given to me. It’s a lesson I’m still learning every day.
It’s a lesson I will never master apart from My Heavenly Master. A lesson I must learn through prayer.
Here are 4 prayers for someone to navigate this Christmas season when you’re heartbroken:
A Cry For Help Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I don’t like my husband right now. He’s been looking at porn! Why? How could he trade me for something fake and false? My heart hurts like it’s been pierced with a dagger. I feel tossed out like an old rag. Help me, Father, to breathe.
Read Psalm 102:
God, listen! Listen to my prayer,
listen to the pain in my cries.
Don’t turn your back on me
just when I need you so desperately.
Pay attention! This is a cry for help!
And hurry—this can’t wait!
Father, I know you love me, and you can work miracles. Please hear my prayer. Amen
A Prayer When I Feel Angry:
Jesus, you tell me to forgive. I don’t know if I can do that. I’m so angry. So, Holy Spirit, please help me forgive this hurt and pain. Help me to run to you every time I want to lash out at him in anger. Without your help, I can’t forgive. I’d never do it on my own. Would you work on my husband’s heart to desire healing from this addiction? Would you work on my heart, too? And, when I want to lash out again, please give me the courage to turn to you with my hurt and pain and trust that you are working on my husband. Please give me some small evidence that my husband’s promise to leave pornography alone is true.
Read Ephesians 4:26-27
Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
Father, I know you gave me my emotions. Please help me to understand them better and take them to you when they feel overpowering. Amen.
Who Will Help Me Prayer:
Help me, Jesus. Things can’t go back to the way they used to be. There’s a part of me that wants to forget all this, but I can’t. I know that’s what my husband wants. But, I know the truth. I can’t go back because that’s how we got into this mess. But how do I trust my husband again? I can’t. I struggle to forgive him, let alone trust him. How could the one I trusted to love and protect me do this? I feel lost and abandoned. Alone. Please show me how to learn to trust again. You promise you will never leave me or abandon me. I need to cling to that promise today. Help me do that.
Read: Psalm 9
God’s a safe-house for the battered,
a sanctuary during bad times.
The moment you arrive, you relax;
you’re never sorry you knocked.
Father, please protect me. Please remind me of your strong arms and far-reaching love for me. Amen.
A Prayer When I’m Heartbroken and Can’t Trust:
Father, I need you today to show me the truth. There have been so many lies. I feel like I don’t know this man I married. I thought he was one person; now I discovered he lied to me. I have so many questions, Father. You promised to answer me when I call. I need you to do that right now. Will I know the truth? If I find out more about this addiction, will I survive? Can I trust you to keep your promises? I don’t know who I can trust anymore. Why did you let this happen? You could have prevented it, but you didn’t. Do you care?
Read: Psalm 4
When I call, give me answers. God, take my side!
Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!
Father, please help me to keep my word and to trust in you. Amen.
When you suffer a breach of trust, such as that caused by porn addiction, God hears your heartbroken cries and answers them.
He understands your pain. Run to Him. Pray. He alone is worthy of your trust. How do I know? Because He answered every prayer of mine. He took my anguished, confused cries, and met me in my pain.
Take these four prayers and write them out. Expand on them. Add your specific, valid heart cries to them. Another great place to turn in times of pain is the Psalms. Read them and allow God’s words to heal your hurt. Go ahead and tell God how badly you feel. He can handle it and won’t walk away from you. He didn’t walk away from me.
Oh, and THAT Christmas that stunk? While I don’t remember much, it was good to be with my family. Yes, I felt awkward at times. But, even in that, God gave small moments to treasure like hugs from our son who’d been overseas, our first grandbaby on the way, more honest communication with Dave, and a sense of peace in the midst of the mess.
God knew my heartbroken heart needed Christmas, and He didn’t make me earn it.
That’s what a gift is! He loved me and forgave me in advance.
One of the greatest gifts Dave and I gave to each other was the financial commitment to get healthy. We paid for counseling and coaches. We bought the resources we needed to start a new life together and tossed the old normal out with the wrapping paper scraps. Even though the outcome was uncertain, we invested in our relationship. Now, thirteen years later, I look back at that “gift” as priceless. Our marriage and family intact are the greatest of gifts.
If you want to invest in your marriage and your personal healing from the pain of betrayal, I’d be honored to help. My gift to you: a free consultation. I’d love for you to have a Merry Year and a Merry Marriage.