I have paused in my posting about sexual addiction and how to rebuild your marriage because this next section cut through me like a dagger. This book is a must read for those ladies who are trying to forgive and heal in the aftermath of their husbands addiction, but also for ladies who want to understand their husbands sexuality better, and want to become a true helpmate. I know that word is a “bible word” and either over or under used in your circles if influence… This next section of the book and my posts is all about moving forward in your marriage and what a normal marriage looks like. So stick with me as we move through some practical ways to move out of the woundedness of your life and into the marriage of your dreams… 🙂
The principles involved in rebuilding a marriage broken by sexual sin are the same principles required to fix any broken marriage, regardless of the type of sin. After all, if you’ve been trampled by sin, you’ve been trampled, and it doesn’t matter what kind of sin crushed your heart and marriage. A wife’s healing and response must always be the same, and she will follow the same principles of healing and restoration no matter how her husband crushed her- because the challenge is always the same… that somehow, the trust must be reestablished, real accountability must be formulated, and romantic love must be revived.
So where do you start?
People are 100 percent responsible for their lives 100 percent of the time. Yet what spouses do or don’t do has a direct influence on the situation. A wife can certainly make matters worse, but she can also make matters better if she plays her position well.
Ask yourself,”How much do I look like Christ these days in my marriage?”
The emotional fog is thick, and the hurt and loneliness can be so disorienting that you can walk in circles for months, even years. Maybe you’ve already been saying to yourself, I don’t know where to go from here or what to do. I don’t even know what is right or wrong anymore. Nothing feels normal to me these days.
Jesus is your mark in the distance, your reference point. When God speaks of normal life and character, He speaks along these lines: Jesus is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. He is the most normal person ever to walk the planet Earth. You are a believer, My child. Are you walking normally like my Son, Jesus?
You’ve been called to a normal married life, and Jesus is the magnetic pole of all things normal. Becoming normal is what Christianity is all about. Your husband needs to become normal like Jesus and stop hurting you. At the same time, this is your chance to normalize your relationship and stop inflicting your husband with more wounds from your cold shoulder and biting tongue. The wounding on both sides has got to stop or you’ll never be normal.
Brenda and Fred take a turn and discuss what God’s plan for your marriage is and what a “normal” marriage should look like. This is the part that I love and hit so close to home… Oh, that people would come to see marriage not as what it can do for them, but how they can be a key component in the restoration of their spouse… Read on.
[Brenda thought, In our marriage] where was the joy and fun and wonder? I have obviously missed God’s plan for my marriage! Or had she? It all depends on the perspective.
Couples who have been married for a few months or years know how different their ideas about marriage and the reality of marriage is. These couples were convinced that God had personally put two of His wonderful children together in holy matrimony, to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death do they part. It was like He would turn down the marriage bed every night and place a chocolate on each pillow. God would be their quiet, benevolent, behind-the-scenes partner in their marriage of three.
But things didn’t always work out that way. Why? Because God has higher purposes for marriage, and those purposes may not necessarily be all about you.
He wants happiness for you, but He also wants what is best for you and what is best for your husband. He knows that this sexual disaster in your marriage will force you to learn ho wo love the unlovely, the very bedrock trait of Christian character, and He knows that what’s happened will shatter your husband’s defenses so that the Lord can move in closer and begin healing his long-festering wounds.
We usually say something like this to God: I don’t care, Lord! His sexual junk is just filthy and sick. I don’t even want to touch him anymore. And how can I trust You now, God? You didn’t care enough to keep me away from this pervert. Well, I quit, and I;m getting out of this marriage!
But God is caring. Isn’t it caring and right for God to improve your character? We are His, after all. Besides, marriage never was all about you. What if God needs to change your husband by making him struggle through these problems with you? Is it not fair for God to ask you to serve Him this way after everything He’s done for you? We aren’t truly a marriage of three until we accept His higher ways of thinking on marriage. Consider this verse:
If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me. (Matthew 10:39, msg)
And if we don’t accept His higher ways of thinking, guess what continues to happen? While you’re thinking everything is wrong, everything may actually be going perfectly, from God’s perspective, and you’ll remain totally confused and frustrated while your husband is healing.
If you’re to avoid confusion and frustration, you must accept this pair of possibilities:
1. God may have created your marriage in part for the messy work of helping Him heal your husband’s wounds, of assisting your husband in his journey to Christian maturity.
2. God may have picked you to be the central figure in this work of restoration from the very beginning. How do you know this marriage isn’t among God’s highest dreams for your life?
I know what you’re thinking: If it is, then I’ve been duped. I didn’t sign up for this. Maybe so. But all too often we ignore God’s higher-ways point of view and miss His vision for our marriages, which He’s intended as our very own under-the-radar, no-headline, home mission field. Perhaps you’ve spent years asking God to reveal His will for your life, when all along He’s been asking in return, How are you doing with that little part of My will that I’ve already revealed to you regarding your marriage?
I’ve been right there with you, especially after reading through e-mail after painful e-mail from women confronting a husband’s sexual sin. But recently God challenged me through another counselor’s view of sexual sinners, and I had to admit I wasn’t looking enough like Christ.
I no longer view these guys as the dark underside of humanity. A big change happened in me when God moved me beyond There but for the grace of God go I and on to There go I. Not that I did any of the severe things that many of my men have done, but I am a sinner and just as capable of this type of fallen, compulsive, sinful behavior.
What changed me most was the revelation that I am not my brother’s keeper. I am my bother’s brother, and these brothers need help. And when one of these brothers really gets it, really turns things around, it’s like watching Lazarus walk out of the tomb, fully alive. And then when that new life spills over into whole families, it’s simply breathtaking.
What about you? There’s no question that you are your husband’s wife. But when you look in that mirror of your heart, what do you see? Are you also your husband’s sister? If you’re to handle his wounds well on Christ’s behalf, you’ll have to act like a loving sister, too.
Christ’s example is clear. Jesus was wounded plenty, just like you- it happens to all of us. But while it’s okay to be wounded, it’s not okay to stay wounded.
Christ refused to stay wounded, and He didn’t dwell on how He was being mistreated (as we’re so prone to do). Instead, Jesus chose to be His brother’s brother and to help the wounded around Him, the very ones who had wounded Him and who would eventually nail Him to the Cross. If He focused at all upon His own wounds, it was to turn them around in order to bring glory to His Gather’s grace and to change the entire world. In the end, He could pray, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4).
You too, can bring God glory on earth by completing the work He gave you to do. And what is your work? To be your husband’s sister in Christ, and not just his wife. You, too, can refuse to stay wounded, fixing your gaze upon the Cross, the Word, and the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit and turning your focus toward your hurting brother. It isn’t easy at all and you certainly won’t change the whole world like Jesus did, but you’ll surely change that smaller world around you and the relationships that God has place in your hands.
So be encouraged and take the steps in your personal journey to have the strength to walk alongside your husband. At the end of your journey imagine the words that, not only, God will have for you, but the love of your life will have for you. Imagine being able to pray, “I have done all that You asked me to do. I have brought glory to You, Father.” Keep at it.