Tools

Speculation: Cause For Separation or a Tool for Glory?

5 a.m. I woke from a nightmare. 

I headed downstairs to boil water for french press, feeling insecure and furious. I hate dreams like this. They tend to set the tone for my day, rousing irrational anxiety, making it difficult work to find joy. I need grounding. I pull out my bible, open the Mac and begin documenting. I won’t go into detail, but the nightmare involved a woman I follow on Instagram, and a certain man I get to snuggle every night.

Yeah. One of those dreams.

Since we have been doing the hard work of reconciliation, there are some boundaries, that with lots of conversation, are becoming more flexible these days. When we lay in bed, Burris will grab my phone and scroll through my social media. We laugh at viral videos, read controversial blog posts, and talk about some of the crazy photos you all are posting. 

Ok, back to the dream. The girl is an old aquaintance who can be found snapping photos of herself in her bathing suit, mini skirts, high heals and the like. Which, whatever. I like the girl. She is obviously hurting and desires validation (what human doesn’t). We used to go to the same church. But in light of what happened nearly a year ago, recounting my REM caused my heart to thump a little faster.

I stop and begin to pray.

“Lord, I am feeling anxious and curious this morning because of that dream. Did my husband click on her profile and look through her photos? Is this a dream of warning or fear? Is this irrational thinking? I know he sees her posts when looking at my feed, because I see them. Please help.”

”Ask him.” replies the Familiar Whisper.

“Ask him!? But what if he did? How can I endure that kind of pain? What if he didn’t, and my asking rouses anger? It is 7am, this could ruin our morning and set a dark tone for our day.” I plead.

”I AM at hand.”  He reminds.

Speculation between spouses, or anyone for that matter, is cause for separation, and God is always about the work of reconciling people. When we are willing to engage with our fear and ask the person in question, it is another building block to the foundation of trust. Specifically, when two believers stand in conversation, any wall of offense has been removed because of the finished work of Christ; they can talk about ANYTHING. 

Isn’t that just like the Lord? Unwilling to waste an opportunity to restore a marriage, no matter what messy tools (even nightmares) we have to offer.

And the Whisper comes again;

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

My soul laid bare before them, I chose a road less traveled, facing the fear of inquiry. The three of us stood in that kitchen addressing the nightmare and turns out, he was feeling just as awkward about her photos as I was, uncertain how to process it himself. His eyes lingering with mine, speak apology, redressing again, my seeping wound.

We prayed, and kissed long. 

Moments of redemption like this mean everything.

 

Resources


Reading aloud together each night is a helpful way to rebuild intimacy. While it might feel uncomfortable at first, stick with it. Even the healthiest of couples will enjoy a deeper connection because of it!

Here are the books we have read in the last few months:

  1. Hope for the Separated - Gary Chapman
  2. The Life Recovery Devotional
  3. Abba's Child - Brennan Manning
  4. When Good Men are Tempted - Bill Perkins
  5. Fathered By God - John Eldredge
  6. True Faced - Thrall, McNicol, Lynch
  7. A Glimpse of Jesus - Brennan Manning
  8. Turn My Mourning into Dancing - Henri Nouwen
  9. The Life of the Beloved - Henri Nouwen
  10. Desire - John Eldredge
  11. The Sacred Romance - Brent Curtis
  12. The Gospels - Over and Over and Over ;)

Got a book recommendation for us? Leave a comment below.  

Support Group

When our counselor told me that his wife ran a bi-weekly support group for women dealing with sexual betrayal, I cringed. I have only had a handful of close female friends to begin with, and the idea of sitting in a circle with a bunch of crying women sharing their story sounded like a special torture that I wasn’t game for.

So I signed up.

I needed to see that I was not alone.

On one hand I was relieved to get around this group of ladies for the sheer fact that they might understand how shunned I was feeling. As Christians, they too, were not only navigating pain at home, but enduring the embarrassment of sharing with the church (another post for another day).  On the other hand, I wasn’t as privy with the feelings wheel that I raved about last week, and its scary to wade through them with others watching.

Being vulnerable is hard.

These five women, whom I continue see every other week, have shown a side of bravery that I had not witnessed first hand prior to all this mess. They are easily a few of the most fantastic women I have ever met. My preconceived ideas of women sitting around in a circle crying, was a horrible assessment of them, therefore I repent. All have a different story, but all have in common the agony that deception carries, and while we do tend to sit in a circle, crying is only one expression of emotion, but being vulnerable is center stage.  

A safe place to grieve is nourishment to the soul.

I still haven’t cried in front of them (its coming, I know it), but I would not be as far along in the recovery process without them. In addition to meeting in person, we exchange email, group text, and they are always a phone call away. The group thrives because its heavy on encouragement and validation, slow to judgement. The group brings about healing in a kindness that feels like balm to an open wound. Jesus resides in that place, a safe haven, when much of the time in-between the visits is spent in denial of pain, self loathing, what ifs, and the like.

What does this support group look like?


"She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened." Mark 16:10

If you are in need of a support group, please fill out the contact form on my page and I can help get you connected. 

You are not alone.


Sharing Feelings With One Another

  Click me! I'm the feelings wheel!

 

An incredible tool to address our feelings, this wheel is not a new concept, but has been life changing for my husband and I.

I urge anyone who is a long time sufferer of shoving away feelings, like myself and my boo, to be brave and get in touch with them. 

We do not excuse sinful behaviors, but the inability to deal with our feelings in a healthy way, can send us into a vicious and addictive pattern that could destroy us. The why behind the what, can give you the power to make a choice and own that choice. 

How does it work?

1. Identify WHAT you're feeling.  

2. Identify WHY you're feeling that way.  

3. Decide what you're going to DO about it. 

4. TALK about it.  

The counselor had my husband write out his feelings three times per day. While that seems like a lot, it doesn't have to be long winded, and you already have your phone in hand, so pull up your notes app. 

 Instead of living on autopilot, being in tune with who you are and what you're feeling, gives you the opportunity to be vulnerable with God, with your spouse, and with yourself. 

So. Let's play a game... 

How are you feeling?