I recently spoke to a friend whose husband was admitted into long-term treatment for sexual addiction. I knew she had been in therapy herself, and I asked her how it was going. She said it was going well, but it had been a long, hard road. And, she added, I was diagnosed with PTSD along the way, and I was astonished as I began treatment, because I had to begin work on my own sin issues.
One resource which provides an inspiring model for recovery and life transformation after this type of betrayal is Gwyneth Pierce’s new publication Restoring the Years, a healing workbook for women dealing with their husband’s pornography / sexual addiction. This book is primarily geared for hope and recovery for women, but anyone will be encouraged and strengthened by it.
Pierce has a Master’s Degree in Education and she’s a certified Senior Chaplin, which compliments and enhances her craft. The book reads like a compassionate monologue comingled with the following activities that are relevant to hope, healing, and the recovery process:
- Reading, in which the reader will be immersed in scripture verses and Bible stories which are relevant to God’s compassion for redemption and restoration.
- Journaling, and there is plenty of room in the book for writing, but a prolific writer may need an extra journal. Pierce includes creative journaling activities to help the reader measure progress.
- Prayer and meditation, accomplished alongside the reading of sacred scripture. No elixir on earth compares to prayer and meditation. I think of Psalm 1, in which we become like trees planted by streams of water, we bear fruit, our leaves never wither, we prosper in everything we do.
- Group activities, which are important but not absolutely necessary. This may be accomplished one-on-one. Pierce offers advice in an introductory section titled “Guidelines for a Safe and Nurturing Group Environment.”
Pierce’s key objective is to help women process trauma and grief and to experience restoration in multiple areas, including relational growth, humility, deliverance from pride, and increased intimacy with God. Women traumatized by the infidelity of a sex addict suffer a wide variety of emotional, physical, and spiritual disorders, the likes of which are similar to grieving the death of a loved one.
From a male perspective, I cannot imagine the torment women endure on the revelation of their husband’s sexual indiscretions. But Pierce brings it all into focus in her exposition on the work of Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means in their book Your Sexually Addicted Spouse. One study in this book discloses the anguish wives experience with sexually addicted husbands: 70% meet the symptomatic criteria for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
When your trust in the person you have loved and relied upon the most in life is crushed, it only makes sense to call upon the One who is eternally trustworthy, reliable and unchangeable.
Additionally, this type of trauma may have a negative impact on one’s faith in God. Paul’s letter to the Romans (10:17) explains how faith comes from hearing–that is, the hearing of the word of Christ. So there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9), neither in the Old Testament world nor our modern times, and Pierce has assembled scriptural passages and stories that are applicable to the loss of self-esteem, confidence, and beauty, which many women suffer under the sting of a husband’s sexual indiscretion.
This workbook is a holistic healing guide which will take the reader on a personal journey, from the realization of the trauma, to experiencing God’s redemptive and restorative power at work in the reader’s life. In addition, I have taken note of a handful of highlights which Pierce reveals on this journey (described in my own words):
- How the spouse of a sexual addict can cope and heal
- Setting acceptable boundaries with your sexually addicted spouse
- Sexual violence: pornography’s evil twin
- Human sex trafficking: pornography’s other evil twin
- Social costs of pornography
- Destructive consequences of pornography, for both husband and wife
- “Crazy making”: a phenomenon that sexual addicts use when faced by their wives knowledge of sexual impurity, a husband’s deceitful attempt to make his wife’s accusations sound crazy
- A provocative section on how Hollywood actors and producers are influenced by the powers of darkness
Pierce breathes fresh air into these concepts and explains how they apply to waging a winning war in a return to health and, ultimately, full recovery.
Women participating in this workbook will be inserted into God’s spectacular plan of forgiveness, redemption, and abiding love. Isn’t this everyone’s great desire? Pierce directs the reader through biblical concepts which are applicable to everyone’s fallen and broken state, and then points us in the direction of God’s indefatigable grace.
Gwyneth Pierce truly embraces the godly epigram with which this workbook begins: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). This may not seem possible, but as Jesus says in (Matt. 19:25-26), “with God, all things are possible.” May the peace of Christ Jesus be with you as you find hope, wellness, and joy in His curative embrace.
Please follow this link to download the workbook.
Donald Lindsey is an Executive Assistant at Covenant Eyes. He lives in Owosso, Michigan with his wife, Dawn, and their Australian Shepherd, Molly. You can find his poetry blog at Songs to the Glory of God.
Dear ____ When a couple is married and one person violates the covenant the damage very hard to heal from. If this happens STOP the behavior and direct all actions to repairing the harm. Standing on the outside it may appear that the spouse that was the victim of the violation would be able to get by it once discovery is made but the hurt and the feelings of uncertainty shadows them every day. Fix the problem now – with all the love you can give her if you love her.
Thanks, Teri. Many, many women will meet the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when faced with marriage betrayal. The husband usually gets a lot of attention in his recovery and the marriage may stay together, but I find that all too often women have gotten almost no support or treatment for their trauma. Bloom for Women is a new site that focuses on trauma recovery for women, and attachment support for marriages in recovery. Highly recommended. Peace, Kay