Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dear 'Addi', How Can I Help My Wife Heal? Step 5, Acknowledge That She Hurts.

A Wife in Mourning.

5. Make time each day to acknowledge she hurts. Acknowledge her pain and understand that she is mourning.

I have heard the term ‘Mourning’ used a lot during the recovery process. You might think, “What in the world could she be mourning? Its not like I have died. I am right here...and I am finally free of the sins. This is something to celebrate, not to mourn!”

I have learned over the last year that there are some things she will feel the need to mourn. I have also come to realize that while I feel the weight lifted from my years of sin, she is only now discovering that I had this secret sin at all.

The truth is, her mourning is real. What does she have to mourn?

  1. The loss of the marriage that she dreamed of since she was a little girl with a “prince charming” who puts her needs, her feelings, and her concerns first.
  2. The memories that she thought were filled with genuine moments, but that she has since discovered were filled with lies and deceit.
  3. The trust that she had grown to rely on and believe in.
  4. The safety of a life free from the overwhelming fear of being manipulated.
  5. The confidence she felt knowing that she was being placed first in his life, and that he thought of no one else emotionally, romantically, intimately.
  6. The Priesthood in her home (if you have been excommunicated or lost your priesthood blessings), the ability to go to the temple with her husband (for the same reasons).
  7. Probably one of the most difficult losses of all is the loss of those sacred, intimate moments that she thought belonged to only the 2 of you. Whether it be pornography or adultery, there is no way to get those intimate moments back.  We are taught from our youth (as LDS/Christian members) that purity before marriage is not just sought after but cherished. Those first moments of learning and sharing together in intimacy are sacred pearls. We cling to them with the knowledge that they belong to us together and no one else. So many things can be restored through the atonement, but these sacred moments are impossible to restore. If you have shared intimate moments with another or if you have  become so buried into pornography that a normal healthy sexual relationship with your spouse has been replaced by something that resembles the imaginations in your mind, then you can't turn back the time and take those things away. They exist now and they will exist forever. The loss of those sacred moments can't be reversed. Those cherished pearls have been cast into the sows’ den and the 2 of you may mourn the loss of that personal sacred celestial intimacy together for many years to come.

She will feel grief and weep over the loss of so much that she thought was real. The pain of that discovery will last much longer than the few months it took for the initial shock to dissipate.

It seems to me that it is like losing a child or a loved one. The sting at first is sharp and filled with ache. Over time, the hurt and loss softens, but the desire to have that loved one back will never fade.

She will miss all that that man meant and represented to her. She will long for the days when she didn't have to fear or worry about what he might be doing behind her back or what dark thoughts plague his mind. It is a true loss that she is learning how to cope with and, like a death, it takes time.

Acknowledge it. Recognize the struggle she is going through. Know that she is trying to hold on to some of the precious moments in the past, but now knows that some of those moments are marred with lies and deceit.

What can you do?

  1. Live worthy of this new opportunity you have been given. This is sincerely a restart. Don’t take it for granted. She has chosen to stay and work things out, at great personal cost. Be grateful for that tender gift and prove you are worthy of it.
  2. Remind her that although that man is dead (or hopefully, if not dead, slowly suffocating), a new man is being reborn, free of the weight and sin. With time, she will begin to see the evidence of that change. You can't help but walk lighter and taller when you are no longer carrying the heavy overwhelming burden of deceit and darkness.
  3. Give her no reason to question your actions, activities, or motives. There is no way to let her look into your head to see how you are doing spiritually. You have to do your proving in a physical, watchable, discernible way. I will share a few more thoughts on this point in the next post.
  4. Give her a shoulder to cry on in those moments of grief and honestly reassure her that the future can and will be better than the past.