It’s been a year and a half since we began this walk towards healing and freedom. And things have been going amazingly well. God has blessed us abundantly and He has completely transformed our marriage. It’s been incredible to see God at work in my husband and in our marriage. Our intimacy – spiritual, emotional, physical – has become something that we treasure and never imagined could be this good. I’m not saying we don’t have problems; we do. But the truth is we are really happy. We’ve learned to trust in God and communicate with each other through any trial, and it has greatly increased our joy. We can truly rejoice in our sufferings and are drawn closer to the Lord and each other. So sometimes, when I get overcome with anger or sadness or insecurity about our past, I am completely confused. Where did this come from? We’re doing so well, why do I feel this way? I thought I was past all this.
The other day, as I was preparing a lesson plan for tomorrow’s school day, I was bombarded by images of my husband viewing pornography. Just out of the blue! At first I tried to refocus on my task at hand, but the images kept coming. And I was overwhelmed with feelings of sadness and disbelief. How could my husband have done that? Something so disgusting, something so hurtful. And soon followed the intense feelings of insecurity. How can I compare? What do I have to offer of any significance? And then it hit me. I was mourning the loss of the mystery. Let me explain.
When I married Gavin, I thought I had something special, something mysterious, that only I could offer him. This part of me, my femininity and sexuality, was something to be explored and discovered. Something that he would enjoy and want more of. I thought that I had something of significance that no one else could give him. But when I discovered his sexual sin, I felt like I lost all that. No longer was I special and mysterious, I was just another woman made up of parts. No longer was there something that only I could offer him, for he was finding it with thousands of women through pornography. No longer was my femininity and sexuality something he wanted to explore and discover, there was no mystery there. He had explored and discovered sexuality through his sin, and wanted more and more of them. Not me. No longer did I have anything significant to offer him. This is very painful. And it’s something I don’t think I’ve ever allowed myself to grieve. My femininity and sexuality, my confidence in my nudity being something my husband can treasure, my security in knowing that I do have something significant to offer him, I lost all that. It was like a type of death. And instead of allowing myself to mourn, I buried those feelings and convinced myself that feeling that way was prideful, ungodly, sinful.
In reality, these feelings are at the heart of every woman’s pain if her husband has betrayed her sexually. Whether through pornography, emotional affairs, or physical affairs, the very nature of a woman’s femininity and sexuality is brutally attacked. And it’s only natural for her to mourn that loss. It’s ok to be sad, angry, in disbelief. God is an emotional God and He created us in His image. He doesn’t sin in His emotion, but God certainly feels! In the Bible, we see that God experiences passion, love, anger, jealousy, tenderness, sadness, disappointment, frustration, and so on. Being made in His image, we are capable of feeling and experiencing a multitude of both good and painful emotions. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what we do with these emotions and how we allow them to affect our lives that determine whether we are in sin. Honestly, I believe the Church has done women a great disservice in teaching us that emotions are bad; that they are displeasing to God. That feeling angry or sad or frustrated, or even passionate about something is not how a Godly woman should behave. This is a lie. Women were created to express the relational attributes of God to the world. Without emotions, how can we be relational? It’s a paradox. It’s taken me a year and a half (and I’m still not there yet) to sort out this inconsistency. What emotions are ok to feel? And how to do I react to them or respond with them without sinning against God and others? It’s tricky. However, God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and comfort us, and His Word to instruct us and convict us. We can look to God in prayer and in Scripture when we are experiencing strong emotions, and ask Him how to deal with them in a God-honoring way.
So how did I mourn the loss of the mystery in a God-honoring way? I spoke to my husband with humility. I explained to him what had happened and what I was feeling; I told him that I was hurt, sad, angry, and in disbelief. I didn’t scream or throw his sin in his face; I didn’t call him names or disrespect him. I went to him with all my emotions and I admitted my feelings honestly to him. And what happened? It brought greater healing! He was able to listen to me without feeling attacked or having to defend himself. He offered comfort, prayer, and reassuring words to help me work through those painful emotions, yet again. It was a time of closeness and tenderness between us, even in the midst of painful emotions. And the words my husband used really helped me put this all into a new perspective. He told me how the women in pornography were not mysterious. He didn’t explore or discover anything with them except shame and an ungodly understanding of sex. They gave him a false intimacy that left him feeling empty and tormented. They weren’t real; it was all smoke and mirrors. Pornography was like playing Indiana Jones but that I am truly an adventure. He can touch me, feel me, sense me, connect with me, and enjoy me. He missed out on the mystery and beauty of his wife for many years, but God has given him the incredible opportunity to rediscover her. He said I am a beauty unveiled and a mystery revealed. His words resounded true in my ears and my heart was comforted. “…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). It’s ok to mourn. It’s good. But it’s not forever. Joy has come this morning.
Walking in Freedom,
Tags: grieving mourning emotions pain healing restoration ""psalm 30:5""
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