How do you process the pain of betrayal from your husband’s porn usage or addiction?
Such a great question!
Most people wouldn’t choose deep, heart-wrenching pain. We spend our lives avoiding this kind of pain as much as possible. But sometimes you can’t avoid it.
I remember the days before my dad’s death. He’d been failing for years, so I had a while to prepare myself. Yet, when the actual time arrived, I plummeted into deep pain. While I know I will see him again in eternity because of Jesus, the separation here hurts. It’s been over 15 years, and I long to have a conversation with him, hear his laughter, and feel his warm hug.
I thought I was prepared to process the pain and grief, but I wasn’t. And I knew this pain was coming.
Discovering your husband’s betrayal often comes without warning.
Here are three exercises to process:
1. Say out loud what has happened and how you feel.
I grew up believing I had to stoically keep going even when my heart felt shattered. No matter what happened, I stuffed the emotions down and moved on. Until I couldn’t any longer. Out of sheer desperation, one day, I yelled at God. Alone and in a safe space, I finally confronted what I’d hidden all those years. In those pain-soaked words, I vocalized my pain, fears, frustrations, and even anger in my wounded heart.
Guess what? God heard my cries, and he listened. And then he brought several Bible verses to mind. As I read them and then read them out loud back to God, I found peace and comfort. Click here to download a free list of some Bible passages to help you voice what you feel.
I also discovered that Satan backed away when I recited these verses out loud. I felt a sense of calm where there’d been craziness in my head. Understanding the power of God’s word to fight off the enemy encouraged me to try again. I continue this practice today.
Listen to my prayer, O God.
Do not ignore my cry for help!
Please listen and answer me,
for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
When Satan tries to fill my thoughts with lies and doubt, I follow Jesus’ example in Luke 4—fight the lies with what God says. Use direct quotes. Hearing these verses while I quote them or read them from the Bible also encourages my heart, mind, and spirit. I repeat these truths as often as necessary.
2. Capture your thoughts.
God created our powerful minds. We can use them for our benefit or trash them. I discovered how important it was to guard my thoughts. So when I’d start the spin cycle of crazy thoughts, I again turned to Bible verses.
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
I’d grab my journal and start writing everything swirling in my head. I didn’t worry if it made sense; I just wrote until I couldn’t write any longer. Something about that physical act of writing allowed me to process the pain more quickly. Questions came that didn’t have answers, but I wrote them anyway. I drew when the words wouldn’t come. Some of those quick sketches convey more than pages of text.
In One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp takes her readers on a journey to discover gratitude and joy every day. One of my coaches encouraged me to read this book and apply this practice to my life. I’m thankful because this journey to search for God and allow him to change me did just that.
Capturing your thoughts requires watching your inputs from people, music, movies, tv shows, podcasts, books, social media, and much more. Do you and I feed our thoughts with the truth? Or, do we unintentionally accept negativity or false beliefs to influence our minds? Each day I must evaluate what I allow to control my thoughts.
3. Take the action you can.
It’s one thing to know you believe something and another to live it. Processing the pain of betrayal means putting into practice forgiving the other person. It’s a choice you make. And then make it again as many times as necessary.
Release your desire to control this situation and the outcome. This was a big issue for me because I wanted to control how my husband healed, when, and every step. Only when I let go and let God take over did I see how my control stifled the healing process. I discovered I couldn’t control the length of my healing process. I could choose to take the next step without knowing how long it would take to complete it.
Learning to trust the person who betrayed you requires action. You can’t merely say you trust them. You must act like it. How? By taking your fear about being lied to God, knowing that you can trust him to reveal the truth. The other person and God know the truth. You often won’t.
An honest witness tells the truth;
a false witness tells lies.
Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing.
Truthful words stand the test of time,
but lies are soon exposed.
Sometimes the hardest action step you take means allowing the betrayer to face the consequences of their actions without your interference. This could take many forms. Did they break the law? Then there are specific consequences. Do they accuse you of not extending grace because you don’t believe every word that comes from their mouth? It’s not about grace but telling the truth. Depending on where the porn addict works, they could lose their job. There could be other broken relationships that the person must restore. You can’t fix that for them.
How do you process the pain of your husband’s betrayal?
One step at a time with God’s constant help. You can choose to heal, but you don’t choose the length of time it takes to heal. I learned during this healing process that God doesn’t force us to heal. He invites me to bring my pain to him and allow him to do the necessary work in me. I can’t heal myself by healing my husband. Nor can I excuse my lack of healing on my husband’s behavior.
Your recovery process only works for you. If you trust God to walk you through the pain, he will—one step at a time.
Not sure how to begin your healing process? Please reach out. I’d be honored to help.