There is someone out there right now feeling hopeless. Their spouse admitted to having an affair. They don't know which end is up. And as the days march onward more and more details emerge. The truth is dribbling out like a leaking faucet. You just dealt with the last admission and now another one comes and another one. It feels like everything you knew was wrong. Who is this person you married? How could they have done this to you? The questions continue to fire in your head. Imaginations of him with her or her with him come creeping in. This is madness! And it's happening right now, to someone.
This is to all the spouses trying to make sense of it all. It does't make sense. That's lesson number one. No matter how hard you try, you will not make sense of what your spouse has done. Common sense does not apply here. I found that to be especially true when we realized my husband had a sexual addiction. It is a lonely, desperate place that drives a person to do the things they are willing to do for their own self-gratification. And in my case, it was not about me or the other women. It was all about him and that was the problem.
It is my opinion that in order for real hope and change to occur that the truth must come out. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. It was essential for the slow rebuilding of my trust that my husband tell me the secrets he had been hiding. And not just part of the story or a sugar coated version of the story, but the whole stinking secret, especially the parts he wanted to share the least. Vulnerable and desperately honest. This is a hard thing to ask and an even harder thing to hear. Just remember, though, if you ask you must be willing to hear it. There is real hope when your spouse lays it all on the line with you. When they have EVERYTHING to lose and find the courage to tell you anyway. It is a frightening dance because the listener has a great responsibility, too. If you cut and run at the first mention of pornography, how could your spouse ever tell you more? I know what it's like. I danced that dance. When I first found pornography on our home computer I thought that was the worst of it. I didn't know at the time that there was far more and it was far "worse". God helped me righteously and gracefully respond to the first "incident" and that laid the groundwork for what was to come later. I can only imagine if I had "over-reacted" to the pornography, that my husband would never have been able to share the rest with me. And him sharing the rest, was the key to breaking his chains and starting a new, hope-filled life.
I know it is difficult to hear that everything you thought and knew to be true was false. That the man or woman you married could be living a secret life, caught in a hidden sin. And sexual sin can be the worst because we feel like we can't talk about it. There is such perversion and dysfunction about it. We might rather not deal with it because the idea that anyone could do such immoral things is more then we can bear. I believe that this is precisely why there is such an epidemic. The best way to spread this darkness is to keep it quiet and hidden away. Let the guilt and shame eat them up from the inside out so they stop being effective at all, until they lose everything. I think this is the place I came to with my husband. I love him. I loved him then, too. And after the pain and anger lightened, I could see that my husband was suffering. That he was stuck and alone and he needed help. And I could have compassion for this man I married because he had gotten lost. And because it was so hidden he couldn't talk to anyone about what was really going on. I could help him, love him, and encourage him through this despite and in spite of my own pain, with whatever strength I had left.
I don't know how it is with you. I don't know if your spouse is broken, repentant, and willing to put in the hard work to make necessary changes. I don't know if you are willing to work through all of the hurt and betrayal or if you want a future with your spouse. But the vows you made to each other are a covenant commitment, whether or not your spouse has lived up to his or her side of the bargain or not. God has a plan and He is up to something. He can take this pain and evil and use it for good; for your good, your spouses good, for ministering to others. It's hard to see the "good" now. But sometimes you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and trusting that God will lead and guide you through this mess.
He will not give you more then you can bear. He is with you and He will never leave you. "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
1. This Is My Solemn Vow