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Guest post by Angel at Experience His Freedom:
My husband and I have been married for 6 1/2 years. In that time, we have seen my eldest graduate from high school, had two babies, moved and he fought and beat cancer twice. We have had a lot on our plates and as a stay at home mom, I wear a lot of hats.
Self care is not something that has exactly been on top of my to do list. Try as I might, other things take precedence and as wives, we allow ourselves to get pushed further and further down the list of things to take care of. This has left me ignoring what my needs are and handling business as usual.
However, business as usual stopped when my husband confessed to me that he was dealing with a pornography addiction. And had been for years. It rocked me to my core. A husband’s struggle with pornography can be a devastating thing to deal with in a marriage. It was for us. I was angry, felt betrayed and could feel myself becoming more withdrawn.
Since I have struggled with depression in the past, I knew that I had to do something. I didn’t want it to get to the point where I felt like I couldn’t do anything. That wouldn’t have been good for anyone. A wife should always try to take the necessary time to make sure that she is taking care of herself. In a difficult season in their marriage, it is even more important. If not, the turmoil of what’s happening can really take a toll on her in so many different ways.
I wanted to share three things that a wife should continue to do when she finds herself in a very difficult season of marriage.
Embrace the power of prayer.
Prayer has always been an integral part of my life. However, I want to be honest with you. When I learned of my husband’s use of pornography, I felt a flurry of emotions. On any given day — even if I didn’t show it — I was angry, sad, frustrated, and felt very insecure. And it was very hard for me to pray at times.
As I prayed, I asked God to be the ever present help that I needed Him to be. I prayed for God to give me wisdom on what to do. I asked for Him to strengthen and comfort me. Even during the times where I felt down or wanted to lash out at my husband, I took solace in the Lord during quiet times and am allowing Him to heal my hurt. Casting my cares upon Him proved to be the most important thing that I could do for myself while we worked through it. It’s also important to note that I pray for my husband as well.
On the days where I just couldn’t pray, I enlisted the help of some friends. You don’t have to tell everyone single person the details of what may be happening. Just ask a sister in Christ to pray. This proved to be instrumental during the days when I struggled to pray and when I needed the extra prayer support.
Self care has to be a priority as you navigate rocky waters.
This is something that was very hard for me to do. On days where the struggle with depression was overwhelming, I didn’t feel like doing anything. My hair wasn’t done. No makeup. I didn’t feel like getting dressed. But you know, I had to. I had to keep pressing through to create some normalcy for my boys. As the days went by and I saw that I was not taking care of myself, I also heard the enemy right there whispering about all of the things that were wrong with me.
One day I was in the bathroom cleaning and looked at myself in the mirror. I started to cry. My reflection looked like a shell of the person that I used to be. I didn’t recognize myself. As I stood there, all I could think was how the enemy was trying to gain ground on me by attacking me relentlessly. I decided that day that I was no longer going to do that.
Giving up my “mom uniform”
Albeit some days were easier than others, I decided that I was going to make an effort to start taking better care of myself. I was going to actually get dressed every day. Yes — I was putting what I call my mom uniform (leggings and a tee) away and decided to get dressed. Putting on jeans and a cute shirt made a difference. Throwing on some jewelry and lip gloss made a difference and I felt better about myself.
It had seemed like a long time since I was able to look in the mirror and smile at the reflection of the girl that standing there.
I also started to incorporate more exercise into my life. Even though getting to the gym and a regular routine was challenging at times, I absolutely loved going walking in the park. It was me, God and worship music. My spirit was getting filled more and more each time. I started feeling stronger and more like myself, even though the world around still looked very different.
Seek Godly counsel.
This may be difficult to do but it typically is necessary.
Navigating the waters of marriage counseling after something like this can be challenging. Some couples may benefit from pastoral or ministry counsel. The relationship with a pastor or ministry leader may bring comfort to the couple as they know their pastor has their best interest at heart. Others may feel that they may be best served by outside counsel as they may feel a bit more comfortable with someone who isn’t familiar with either party and the perception of bias is dramatically reduced.
Whichever way you decide to go, I would suggest that you commit to getting the counseling you need. It may be possible that your spouse may not attend with you at first. He may be embarrassed. He may be angry because he has been exposed. You may even be battling feelings of shame and embarrassment yourself. But in the end, counseling will likely help you process what’s happening and affirm the person that you are.
Hey girlfriend! I’m Angel – a deeply devoted follower of Jesus Christ, wife to James, mom to three princes & a ministry speaker.
This counselor turned homeschool mama loves to provide daily adventures for my boys while encouraging them to learn about the big, busy world around them.
With a cold latte in hand and my latest read under my arm, I’m usually seen looking for monster trucks and chasing my little people. In my spare time, you will catch me spending time with family and friends, at live music festivals and on the hunt for a new favorite dessert.