Aftershock: 4 Steps Forward
If you’ve discovered that your spouse is viewing pornography—maybe over years of your marriage—you likely feel as if your world is crumbling. The sense of betrayal can seem overwhelming.
You want your relationship to be restored, but there’s no quick fix for what’s happened. Don’t lose hope! As you look to the difficult road ahead, keep these four principles in mind:
1 Arm for Spiritual Battle and Attend to Leftover Trauma
Sexual sins don’t simply break marital trust. They shatter it. For a believer, this kind of pain can even translate into a crisis of faith in the broadest sense.
No matter where you are in your healing process, it’s important to recognize that an unseen spiritual battle rages around you, and the leftover trauma in your heart from the original pain and discovery can get reactivated in the most inopportune ways. Stay close to the Lord and hang on to helpful resources. Stay in touch with a Christian therapist, whom God can use to help you address any trauma flashbacks. Relying on the Holy Spirit and engaging in good Christian care for spiritual and emotional healing will help you remain grounded.
2 Nurture Your Spiritual Life
Make use of all the battle resources available to you: God’s Word, prayer, support from other believers, and intentional time spent in the presence of the Lord. A steady, consistent spiritual investment will protect you and provide a safe space for you to heal.
3 Manage the Demands of Life
Restoring your marriage is a massive task. What matters is what you will do when you feel overwhelmed and exhausted from daily demands. There will be times when you need to disappoint others or back out of something you planned to do. The graciousness of others might surprise you.
Admit your inability to keep everything in your life perfectly balanced. You can’t be supermom, superwife, or superanything. But you can do the best you can with what you value most. Your commitments regarding recovery deserve time and protection in your life as you make this path through pain toward renewal.
4 Immerse Yourself in Recovery
You and your husband can each work on your individual needs, but to restore your marriage successfully as a couple, you’ll both have to immerse yourselves in the recovery journey. Don’t yield to the temptation to just dabble in it – invest in both individual and marital counseling with trained specialists.
Throw yourselves into the process lock, stock, and barrel if you want to rekindle the spark of real love and romance. You have to give helpful counseling, recovery group meetings, and resources time to breathe life back into your relationship. God is at work in and through you in ways you can’t see. Stay in the soil of recovery, and new life will sprout and grow.
These principles are drawn from the book Aftershock: Overcoming His Secret Life with Pornography—A Plan for Recovery by Joann Condie and Geremy Keeton. We also recommend listening to Focus on the Family’s broadcast Discovering God’s Freedom from Pornography with Nick and Michelle Stumbo. Both are available through Focus’ Online Store.