An Update to Our Story from the Past 45 Days
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. ” – 1 Peter 1:6-7
Well, we’re halfway through the 90 day therapeutic separation I talked about here. I thought it would be a good idea to give a little update because God has been doing some big stuff! We ended up changing a few of the parameters to the plan after about a week. I’d like to explain those changes and then get to telling you about some of those big ole mountains God has been moving. The thing is, I’ve tried and tried to condense this down to a reasonable length for a single post, and there’s just too much I want to share. So I will break it up into two parts and post one today and one tomorrow.
You Must Endure Trials for a Little While
On day one of the separation my love moved out of our house and into a spare bedroom at his parents’ house. The original plan was that we would have no contact (other than texting for things like who would pick the kids up from where and all that) for the first 30 days. Well, after only a few days we both found ourselves really questioning that particular aspect of the agreement, but because we couldn’t talk neither of us knew about the other’s misgivings. I had started reading, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, (you can read more about that here) which helped clear up a lot of questions I had been having about our situation and my role in it. At the same time, I was digging through the Word of God looking for direction, and praying like crazy for His help. I asked God to give me His wisdom and I asked for His purposes to prevail. Little did I know, my love was doing the same thing.
A few days later happened to be my birthday. It was a miserable day. All I wanted was to see my love; to talk to him. I wanted to spend my birthday with my best friend; the other half of me! I cried to my God and told him all about my broken heart. Wouldn’t you know, that very night, as my husband was doing his laundry (for the first time in his life) our washing machine (which had been on the fritz for a while) bit the dust. We needed to replace it as soon as possible. We considered a complicated scenario of back and forth in which we could somehow come to an agreement through text, but that was absurd. We decided that this was an extenuating circumstance and we would just go to the store together and pick something out. We’re still a team and we needed to do this together. It was a precious birthday present from God and I cherished every second!
There is Wonderful Joy Ahead
Apart from granting my birthday wish, this also gave us the opportunity to talk about how things were going for us. As I began to tell him about some of my concerns, such relief swept across his face. He told me that he too had been uncomfortable with our not being able to see each other, but hadn’t felt like he should say anything. We decided to take that night and the next day to pray and seek God on our own. We decided to each make a list with the objectives we hoped to achieve as a result of the separation and whether each of those objectives would be better served if we did or did not have contact. The next evening we met again to discuss what we had come up with. It was amazing how much we had agreed upon in those lists. We both felt strongly that God was leading us to change the separation agreement, but wanted to run it by our kids and his parents and our accountability partners first.
We came up with a new plan in which we would divide the 90 days into two 45 day sections instead of three 30 day sections. During the first 45 days he would stay at his parents’ house but we would have contact as if we were dating. (Just like the second phase of our original plan) During the last 45 days he would move back into the house, but we would remain in separate rooms. We talked to the kids that night, and the others the next day. Everyone was on board with the new plan. In fact, several of them voiced that they had been having some of the same misgivings we had. What an answer to prayer! So we changed our plan and plowed ahead. And now, here we are, more than halfway through. My love moved back into the house on Sunday, and I am 100% sure that we made the right choice!
It is Being Tested as Fire Tests and Purifies Gold
I’ll spend the rest of this post telling you what God has been doing in my life over the past 45 days and save my love’s part of the story for tomorrow. I want to save the best for last.
This separation was something I don’t think we would ever have done if we hadn’t gone to the particular week long Intensive that we did, and it has turned out to be one of the most healing things we could have possibly done. For that I am so grateful! Even though we ended up disagreeing with much of the council that was given and forging our own path forward (with God’s help, of course) I still believe that God led us to that intensive and used it to accomplish His will. I didn’t think that I wanted a separation. I didn’t think we needed a separation. I had no idea how freeing it would be for me to get a little space from my love, to get alone with God and just heal.
I hadn’t realized how traumatizing our intimacy had become for me. To not even have to think about that; to not have to worry about how I was going to keep my thoughts from all the horrors of what my love had done with others while trying to be loving and intimate with him was like taking the weight of the world from my shoulders. I felt like I could breathe again. I spent hours every night alone with God; reading the Word and writing, writing, writing. I talked and talked to God. I cried. A lot. I read some books. I played some games on my phone. I took a bath or two and cried some more. I started to heal.
About two weeks into the separation we finally got the results back from the Psychological Testing we had done during our intensive. These tests revealed that I had a minor case of an Anxiety Disorder I now know to be betrayal trauma induced PTSD, and a severe case of Major Depression. The councilor strongly recommended that I get to a doctor as soon as possible and get on some medication to help break me free from these conditions. He explained that both were simply a result of the extended time I had spent under the stress of our relationship and that I would most likely only need to be on medication for 6 months to a year. This medication would help reset my brain chemistry. It would allow my body to break the destructive cycles of chemical production caused by a constant state of fear and uncertainty. I quickly made an appointment with our family Doctor and got on an SSRI.
The first week or so on the new med was rough. I experienced a lot of side effects that were pretty miserable. But I also felt something changing in me. It was really subtle at first, but with each day it grew stronger and stronger. By the end of the second week the side effects had pretty much gone away and I felt like a new person! The sense of doom and overwhelming defeat that had been with me for so long was almost gone. I started to see glimpses of a fun, fiery, motivated, optimistic encourager that I thought had died many years ago. I heard myself laugh one day and thought, “Goodness, that’s a sound that’s been missing from our home for too long!” I was still sad. The things that have happened to me are sad. I am going to mourn what has been lost for a long time. But I was just sad. I was just mourning. It wasn’t WHO I was anymore. It was just what I felt. I suddenly knew I could get out of bed in the morning and face my day. I suddenly knew I wanted to be alive and to participate in the world around me. I suddenly knew that God really was enough and that even if my marriage failed I could be okay. I could not just survive, but I could thrive in Him. I had always known that was true, but now I really believed it, deep down in the part of myself that really matters. I honestly wish I had gone on these meds a very long time ago.
Your Faith is Far More Precious than Mere Gold
As all of this was happening to me, I also had the privilege of watching God make my husband into a new man. I’ll tell you so much more about that tomorrow, but for me this was a long awaited answer to hours upon hours of fervent prayer! Over the years of our marriage, as I have slowly learned more and more of the truth about the darkness that held my love in captivity, I have fallen on my face before God time and time again. I have pleaded with Him for my love. I have shed buckets of tears before the throne of my Gracious God. I have prayed scripture upon scripture over our marriage and over my husband. God has been so faithful in all of it and He has filled me with a supernatural love for this man that I married. A love that I believe could only come from Him because it is a love that is far beyond what I am capable of. I am far too sinful. No, it is the Holy Spirit within me that has produced this strong and precious faith. This faith that makes me more wealthy than any riches ever could. This faith that is healing me.