Friday, March 7, 2014

Strength in Numbers

    When you're facing a tragedy, you might hear a voice in your head that tells you to isolate yourself from the outside world. Run away, hide your wounds, protect yourself.  This response is a reflex for many people, and it's totally, outrageously wrong.  You need help, and there is no condemnation in reaching out for it.

      When I first confessed my terrible actions to Hannah, we mostly drew away from our circle of friends for awhile.  Before too long, however, we realized that the weight of this catastrophe was too much to overcome on our own. We changed churches, because we knew that we needed spiritual guidance desperately.  In the following weeks and months, we told family and friends, and their support has been so crucial to our recovery.  Supportive and like-minded people can provide assistance, perspective and wise counsel when you feel totally lost in the shadow of your own difficulties.

     Staying connected is terrifying when you're shouldering the burden of something as personal as an affair.  Both the offender and the victim can feel intense shame and guilt, and embarrassment often drives ailing marriage's into hiding. This hiding place, where no one's around to speak words of encouragement or offer a shoulder to cry on, is dangerous. It can become the graveyard of your relationship, where a couple can quickly succumb to the constant throbbing of their wounds. 

       Now, don't get me wrong. There may be a time when buffering your family from the world may be necessary, especially if the affair happened within a circle of friends.  Discretion must be used when it comes to who you tell and what time frame you follow.  Especially for the victim's sake, every couple must proceed cautiously when it comes to discussing their story, because moving too fast can only cause more harm.   Hannah and I are obviously more open than most, but we desperately want to help others with our experiences and if that means exposing our flaws for the world to see, we can accept that.

     Community is essential. Of course, this is a focal point of the Christian faith, but even if you are not a churchgoer, you can seek out like-minded people to help you along your path. Join a church, talk with trusted peers, meet with family. Do whatever it takes to find support. Sharing your wound is a risk, but it may transform your journey. If you are willing to travel the path to recovery, then you can certainly muster the strength to seek others who can under gird you on the way.

     In the book "START." by Jon Acuff, the author explains that everyone has an inner voice, and the most common misconception is that this influential voice is on your side.  It's the voice that tells you to refrain, hide, flee, avoid risks, and isolate yourself. You may not realize it, but the inner voice doesn't have your best interests in mind.

     If you are hurting, defy the voice which pleads for you to disconnect from your community.  You need others, and trust me, there is someone out there who likely needs you too.  Connectedness is power. Embrace it, because it may be the deciding factor in your marriage's trajectory.

You are reading The Meaning of Repentance. Connect with us on our facebook page and check out our new nonprofit initiative -- The Marriage Mission. Lastly, take a look at our Summer Fund Drive and considering donating so we can reach more marriages!

1 comment:

  1. First off I would like to thank you for being real. It's awesome seeing a couple who are willing to be so forthright. In my experience, sharing your burdens with others is so necessary. I am a single guy who has had my share of sexual sins. There's no way that I could have experienced healing and moved forward without the awesome group of people who God has given me. Community is such a huge blessing!