Healing the Hurt
If you listened to the podcast in one of our most recent posts called, "Our Story", then you know some of the journey Robert and I have taken as a married couple. I wanted to do a post on some of the key things that helped us heal the hurt. For those that didn't listen to the podcast I encourage you to go back and listen to it before you read this post.
A big part of healing for us was talking about EVERYTHING. Since Robert and I hurt each other through the avenue of adultery there were a lot of details we had to talk through. There were very specific things we did that caused hurt and each of those specific things needed to be addressed. The tendency when someone hurts us is to try to quickly get past the hurt and get to a place of healing and forgiveness. However, the only way to healing and forgiveness is walking the long path of communication. This means you have to tell the other person how their actions really made you feel and you have to ask the hard questions. Just one example, in my own healing, was that I needed to know how Robert's interactions were with the person he had an affair with. I needed to know the different levels of intimacy they shared (emotionally, physically, spiritually) and I needed to know why he shared those levels of intimacy with her. This was really hard to hear but I needed to understand where he was at and understand the why. This is just one example of the countless conversations we had about each other's affairs. We didn't want to let anything in our heart go unanswered as it leaves room for assumption and assumption can easily lead to offense and lingering pain.
Another big part of our healing was figuring out why this happened and coming up with a plan of action to prevent it from happening again. We had to discover the "why" and then we had to figure out how we both got to this place of hurting each other so deeply. What were the root issues individually? What issues in our marriage contributed to it? What areas are we weak in as a couple (i.e. communication, confrontation, feedback, vulnerability, etc.)? It took us quite awhile to come up with a plan of action that was successful. At first the plan of action included major steps like stepping out of ministry and focusing our time on our marriage, deleting social media outlets, stopping communication with people who didn't feel safe to the marriage, checking each others phones, etc. It then got less and less extreme based on how safe each other felt. We had to go to counseling, we had to get a lot of prayer and advice from mothers and fathers, a lot of asking Holy Spirit to reveal to us the issues and we had to continue to talk about the action plan and if it was still working.
Another big part of our healing was trusting again. This one took years for me to figure out. I recently did a post called, "Trust: A Leap of Faith" that talks about this journey. For Robert, trust came easier and quicker. There were countless times where I'd think something was going on again and I'd keep it inside or I'd feel unsure about a relationship Robert had with someone of the opposite sex but I wouldn't say anything about it. This repeated over and over and over. One day, within the last year, I realized how this cycle of mistrust kept repeating. I needed to address some heart stuff that wasn't being dealt with. First, I needed ask about the relationships that I felt unsure about. Second, I needed to hear Robert's heart for our marriage. I needed to hear again the vision and goal he had for us. Third, I needed to start thinking and declaring the truth about Robert. That he no longer was the person he was when he did those things in the past. I needed to take every thought captive unto the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Lastly, I had to leap. I had to hold the truth in my heart of who Robert is and who God is and then I had to go all in in trust. Robert always says, "I genuinely want to be completely caught off guard if you were to tell me something happened again." Instead of always thinking something is going to happen and expecting it.
Those are just a few things that contributed to our healing. Everyone's journey is different. There's no bullet point, step 1, step 2 process to healing. Invite God into the mess. He's the only one that knows how to fix it and He is faithful to guide you through the pain.