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While today’s episode of the Undone Redone podcast might not apply directly to you, no doubt you know someone who could benefit from this information. Please pass along the link to this page to any women in your life who might be experiencing the devastation of discovering their spouse’s sexual sin. This episode seeks to provide a framework for dealing with a traumatic event that, unfortunately, the church doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about. It is our hope that this framework can save individuals from additional pain and can help them get on the path toward healing more quickly.
Through our recovery ministry, Route1520, we walk with a number of couples and individuals who are in the throes of having to deal with the impact and fallout of sexual sin. Whether it is pornography, affairs, strip clubs, adult chat rooms, or other forms of sexual sin, discovering your spouse’s secret life is devastating to say the least.
If couples experience an accident or illness, the Church rallies around them for support and for the most part knows what to do. But when you are dealing with sexual sin, there is a tremendous amount of shame on both sides…the one who acted out and the spouse who finds out. When you have shame bubbling up in both spouses and add the pain of betrayal and the devastation of uncovering secrets, you have a situation that is ripe for the Enemy and his lies to sneak in and make matters even worse. It is messy and it is painful, yet it can be a part of your own “Beautiful Undoing”.
While this episode focuses specifically on a wife discovering her husband’s secrets, we don’t want to perpetuate the myth that it is always the husband who is the perpetrator. Recent surveys indicate that up to 40% of Internet traffic to porn sites is by females and unless it involves same-sex issues, most affairs involve a man and a woman.
Here are the 5 truths every woman should know when they discover their spouse’s sexual sin:
1. This is not your fault.
More often than not, your significant other’s issues with pornography or other forms of sexual sin pre-dated you. But the Enemy swoops in and begins to whisper things like, “If you were prettier.” “If you were skinnier.” “If you had had sex more often.” “If you were _______, then this would never have happened.” Your spouse’s sexual sin is their responsibility, not yours.
2. Talk To Someone.
Make sure that the individual or individuals that you choose to talk to are safe. While it might be very tempting and seem natural to isolate, you need support during this difficult time. We strongly encourage you to see a counselor, preferably a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist or at least a Licensed Professional Counselor. The chances of being able to figure everything out on your own without the assistance of a professional are pretty slim. You need to focus on the work of healing and not the work of figuring things out as you heal.
3. Take Time To Work Through the Emotions.
Some have likened the betrayal experienced by a significant other’s sexual sin to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome that is often associated with soldiers returning from a war zone. We feel this is pretty accurate and can be even more devastating due to the personal nature of the betrayal. Some very real and powerful emotions surface and must be properly worked through. If these emotions are stuffed, then you can easily get stuck in one of the stages below and this can have devastating effects moving forward. The offending spouse must be patient and give his spouse the time and space to work through these 5 stages of grief:
5 Stages of Grief:
Don’t short-circuit the healing process by attempting to either avoid some of these stages or to move through them too quickly.
4. Submissive Does Not Mean Doormat.
In an effort to quickly fix everything and to move back to “normal”, some husbands will attempt to play the ‘submissive’ card by reminding his wife about Scripture that points to wives being submissive to their husbands. Scripture’s mandate for men is to love their wives as Christ loved the church and this has certainly been violated in the context of this discussion. Submitting to your husband does not mean accepting abuse or otherwise overlooking sinful behavior. It has been our experience that any husband who is having to remind his wife to submit is more than likely not loving his wife well.
5. Don’t Be His Accountability.
While this might seem like a natural thing to do initially in order to monitor your husband’s behavior, it is not a healthy or safe place for you to be in a perpetual policing mode. There is no question that he needs accountability, but that accountability should not be you. We do encourage you to have access to his accountability partner or partners in order to give you the peace of mind that he is moving in a positive direction with his recovery process and to rebuild trust.
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