When you’re facing a tragedy, you might hear a voice in your head that tells you to isolate yourself from the outside world. Run away, hide your wounds, protect yourself. This response is a reflex for many people, and it’s totally, outrageously wrong. You need help, and there is no condemnation in reaching out for it (Tweet This!).
When I first confessed the terrible details of my affair to my wife Hannah, we mostly drew away from our circle of friends for awhile. Before too long, however, we realized that the weight of this catastrophe was too much to carry on our own. We changed churches because we knew we needed spiritual guidance desperately, and over the subsequent weeks and months, as we told family and friends, their support became crucial to our redemption. Supportive and like-minded people can provide assistance, perspective, and wise counsel when you feel totally lost in the shadow of your own difficulties.
Staying connected can be terrifying when you’re shouldering the burden of something as personal as an affair. Both the offender and the victim can feel intense shame and guilt, and embarrassment often drives and already ailing marriage into hiding.
But this hiding place, where no one’s around to speak words of encouragement or offer a shoulder to cry on, is dangerous. It can become the graveyard of your relationship, where a couple can quickly succumb to the constant throbbing of their wounds.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There may be a time when buffering your family from the world may be necessary, especially if the affair happened within a circle of friends. Discretion must be used when it comes to who you tell and what time frame you follow. Especially for the victim’s sake, every couple must proceed cautiously when it comes to discussing their story, because moving too fast can only cause more harm.
Community is essential. Of course, this is a focal point for those in the Christian faith, but even if you are not a churchgoer, you can seek out like-minded people to help you along your path. Join a church, talk with trusted peers, meet with family – do whatever it takes to find support. Sharing your wound is a risk, but it may transform your journey. If you are willing to travel the path to recovery, then you can certainly muster the strength to seek others who can under gird you on the way.
If you are hurting, defy that inner voice, the one which pleads for you to disconnect from your community. You need others, and trust me – there is someone out there who likely needs you too. Connectedness is power. Embrace it, because it may be the deciding factor in your marriage’s trajectory.
Sometimes You Want To Hide. Don’t. by XXXchurch.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.