Finding out our husband has betrayed us can, in the words of one Spiritual Crisis survey respondent, “leave us questioning everything we thought we knew about God.” As it so happens, many of us could benefit from some questioning because a lot of what we thought we knew about God, doesn't hold up well under close scrutiny.
Thus, the upside (possibly the one and only) of this journey is that it opens up opportunities to throw out our spiritual baggage and begin anew. It's an opportunity to delve deeply into the nature of God — and discover He loves us more than we ever dreamed.
Gain After Pain
79% of our survey respondents stated that they experienced spiritual growth in the wake of discovering their husband’s addiction and/or undergoing healing from the trauma. That's 79% as opposed to the 68% who felt they underwent a spiritual crisis. That's excellent news.
For some women the spiritual leap forward occurred almost instantly. Said one survey respondent: “I have always been a spiritual person and for me it just felt natural drawing closer to God during my healing process. God is my source of strength, stability.”
That’s awesome. However, the majority of us will have to admit this doesn’t exactly describe where we were at on D-day (i.e. discovery/disclosure-day). For many of us, our husband was our major source of strength. When we found out that he, of all people, had been working against us, behind our back… we were left in a terrible spiritual/emotional state.
There’s nothing wrong, of course, with trusting our husband and leaning on him for support. There is something wrong, however, with making him god. I believe that’s what I was doing. I’ve heard other women say the same thing. Where this is the case, our journey needs to be one of letting go of the old, and taking hold of the new: i.e. making God, God in our lives. Once He's in that place, we can lean into Him as never before.
Some women come to the journey with an understanding that they have not got it spiritually all together. Others, like myself, thought they were just fine — until the stuff hit the fan and it became clear that my understanding of God was not going to cut it.
I suspect the former type of women find their journey into His arms to be shorter than those of us who have to sort through a pile of false beliefs, pride, etc.
Take B, for example. I met B in a Journey to Healing and Joy group several years ago. B kindly responded to the Spiritual Crisis survey saying:
“I had neglected my faith for many years. When I reached out in my broken heart and became connected to Marsha Means, I began to regain my trust in the God that I once knew. I had never turned away, I had just neglected to nourish my faith…. Others in my telephone support group also shared their prayers and faith, which made me eventually rediscover my spiritual side.”
What B didn’t realize was that, for me at least… the faith I was sharing was pretty new in some ways. I'd come to it by spending the previous 10 months sorting through my trauma and spiritual baggage. During that process I came to two big realizations.
1. My romantic dreams were (deservedly) dead.
2. There’s way more to God than I’d ever imagined.
That's where my faith really began to blossom.
Next week I’ll discuss that journey and look at more survey responses, on spiritual growth.
Enjoy the conclusion of the Spiritual Crisis interview with Coach Katherine of A Circle of Joy. Katherine and I discuss how churches are supporting (or failing to support) wives who have left their husbands due to their sexual addiction/infidelity. We also look more at how God has redeemed Katherine's own journey as the ex-wife of a pastor arrested for sex offending.