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Debra Wallace

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Four C’s to Help You Move Forward After Betrayal

We are not the CAUSE of our husband’s issues.

We cannot CONTROL our husband.

We cannot CURE our husband.

We can CHOOSE to embrace our healing.

Most likely, your spouse’s sexual brokenness was set in motion long before he ever met you. Both of you brought a suitcase full of issues into the marriage, but you are responsible for yours, and he is responsible for his. His choices brought the two of you to where you are now. The choice to be unfaithful is 100% on him. This bears repeating—so many of us fall back into believing Satan’s lies and blame ourselves. None of us are perfect wives, we carry our own set of brokenness that impacts relationships. We may have insecurities, thinking he wouldn’t have done this if we were prettier, smarter, or more interesting, whatever—but they have nothing to do with why your husband acts out. Once again: You did not make his choices, he did. You are not the cause of his choices. Women have difficulty believing it is not about them!

You cannot control what your husband chooses to do. It’s appropriate to ask for what we need to heal, but it will prohibit your progress if you become your husband’s long term recovery manager. Asking for what we need sometimes feels controlling, but requests we take to meet our needs is not control or manipulation, it’s setting healthy limits. Ranting and raving, getting angry, won’t stop him from doing something we don’t want him to do, nor will threats or ultimatums. Patrolling his whereabouts or checking computer history doesn’t help, either. (Ask me how I know.) Trying to control is a natural trauma response of not wanting to get hurt again. Staying in this mode drains our energy. It is not an effective method. Focus on your own healing, instead. Only he can make the decision to stop sinful behavior on his own, with God’s help.

You cannot cure your husband. We need to resign from trying to be a savior. Giving opinions or advice will not help. Quoting scripture does not fix. Nobody can do it for him, not you, his siblings, his best friend, or even his mother. Only God’s intervention will provide the cure he needs. He must soften his heart, want it, and seek it for himself. When we admit we are powerless to change others and believe only Jesus has the power to heal and restore to wholeness, we can step back and let God work. We need to stop trying to identify the cause of his abusive behaviors—understanding the source isn’t significant to your healing. It doesn’t empower you to stop it or heal from the trauma but learning what our place is, does. We can still thrive and heal—when we accept, we cannot cure our husband. 

After all these negatives, what’s left? A positive. YOU can choose to embrace YOUR healing. It may take time to realize your husband isn’t the only one who needs help. Shame often holds us back from seeking it. We may feel embarrassed and all alone, judged by others. Finding a Christian counselor with betrayal-trauma experience is important for healing. Fight whatever is holding you back from reaching out. A wives’ group helps surround you with others who support and encourage. Focus on YOU. Hope and help await. Well done for taking this step and reading this book. You are on your way.

But guess what? Just like no one else can make, force, convince, or control you, YOU need to be the one to make the choice to get un-stuck and keep walking forward. And you need to do it—with or without your spouse agreeing to seek healing for himself.

Don’t delay your choice to pursue healing. God provides the strength we need when we ask. I’m willing to share my experiences with you. I’ve been there, done that, and I’ve kept hidden in shame and secrecy. Please, don’t be a “me” and wait days, months, or years to seek help. Now is the time. With God’s help, you can do this.

If you are left feeling confused or overwhelmed with everything that’s happened, repeat these truths. Since we aren’t the cause, and can’t control or cure, we need to do the next right thing: choose to heal. First and foremost, if you haven’t already told anyone, tell someone. Choose healing. Believe action, not words!

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