In today’s video, Tonia dug deeper into how Brandon’s porn use caused her to experience betrayal trauma.
Now, “betrayal trauma” is kind of a heavy word—an “I survived a war zone” or an “I was in a horrific accident that left physical and mental scars” sort of word. It should be a scary term for both of you—but it’s also important for both of you to consider.
Remember, yesterday we learned that one counselor found that 70% of the wives in her care showed symptoms similar to PTSD. Husbands, your porn use is not just something you can keep separate from your family—it’s causing your wife real pain. Your intention may not have been to cause hurt or trauma, but it did nonetheless. Wives, you may feel like you can’t control your responses, or may be experiencing flashbacks. Those feelings are perfectly normal, and you can heal from them. The fact that you’re here together should give you great hope that he wants to restore what has been broken.
One of the keys to healing trauma is to name it. In the book The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk writes, “We may think we can control our grief, our terror, or our shame by remaining silent, but naming offers the possibility of a different kind of control… If you’ve been hurt, you need to acknowledge and name what happened to you.” He later adds, “Feeling listened to and understood changes our physiology; being able to articulate a complex feeling, and having our feelings recognized, lights up our limbic brain and creates an ‘aha moment.’”
Now, this quote may be applicable to both of you. Husbands, there may be some unnamed, unhealed trauma in the past that actually drives you to porn. But wives, today is your day. We want you to name those painful feelings and emotions. This will probably be a long process for you to work through your feelings and name them, so you may only want to focus on one or two feelings today. But name it, and let that name help illuminate the path to healing—for both of you.
We want to touch on one other detail. As a Christian, Tonia mentioned that she knew she was supposed to forgive Brandon. In fact, Matthew 18:22 says we’re supposed to forgive 70×7 times—so many times we lose count. Forgiveness is absolutely important, but it doesn’t mean that forgiveness is easy, especially if you’ve been building up layers of bitterness over the course of years. True forgiveness takes time.
Forgiveness also does not mean you should give your husband a free pass to keep on sinning. Even Jesus pairs “Neither do I condemn you” with “Go now and sin no more” (John 8:11). It is more loving to your husband to enforce boundaries to protect yourself and encourage him to quit his porn.
We’ll talk more specifically about boundaries tomorrow, but one thing you can do today if you haven’t yet is to take a moment to sign up for the free 30-day trial of Covenant Eyes. One thing Brandon had to learn was that forgiveness and healing were able to enter the picture, in part, by his willingness to work on “sinning no more.” Click here to begin that journey today: https://rb.gy/gb9zkn
Wives, once again, you are going to be the primary talkers today.
Pick one or two emotions and explore them. Why do you feel that way?
How are you doing with forgiveness? Explore the gap between how you think you should feel as a Christian and how you actually feel. (And remember to extend yourself grace for that gap; forgiveness is a process.)
Read Matthew 18:15-35. Regardless of heading breaks in your Bible, look at the passage as one complete thought. How do verses 15-17 speak into the parable? Taken as a whole, what does this passage say about what forgiveness and restoration actually looks like?