When I married my husband Jason, I believed that he only had eyes for me. Deep down, I felt chosen. Chosen by him to do this thing we call life. Together. Forever.
My dream slowly started to crumble when I realized that Jason hadn’t chosen just me. Instead, he chose me and other women too.
And I know I’m not alone when it comes to this part of my story.
In fact, chances are, this story is more common than uncommon. For instance, research shows 64% of Christian men admit to viewing porn at least once a month. Or how about this – 56% of marriages end in divorce today because one party has an obsessive interest in pornographic material.
Porn is the norm rather than the exception.
So what do we do once we realize that our husbands aren’t being faithful to just us? Let’s say we’ve had the conversation – but what is next? I often hear women say they know porn, affairs or anything in-between, were part of their husband’s past. But they talked about it once or twice, then they moved on with life.
But the ache is still there. The questions still linger.
So, what comes next? I want to share some insight with you from my experience, in hopes it will take you one step further on your journey. Because sister, I’ve been where you are. I’ve felt the ache. I’ve wondered what the next steps toward whole healing look like. So here we go:
Find a safe place to talk.
This takes a lot of courage to step out, to raise the white flag and to say, “I need to talk!” Consider looking for a support group in your area or over the phone. Or maybe a certain friend comes to mind with whom you feel safe and secure sharing the inner-depths of your soul. It’s one small step. Rest assured talking to someone safe really can be the beginning of healing.
It’s always on the table.
Jason and I haven’t always agreed to this. Before he decided to live in the light and tell me the full truth, he told me that we weren’t going to discuss his indiscretions. He said, “What’s in the past will stay in the past.” Ladies, it didn’t work. My heart became bitter and resentful. I recognized that for whole healing, I needed to know the truth. And to be able to continue to process this with Jason, for as long as it took. We are 12 years into our recovery now. And guess what? It’s still on the table – we still have to dialogue through things.
Find out the why.
This one will take your husband’s help as well. There is a reason your husband has chosen to cope with his sexuality. Typically, this starts in boyhood. But it might start in adolescence or adulthood. It’s through understanding why we do what we do that we have the opportunity to change our behaviors. If our husbands don’t know their “why”, how can we expect change? It’s also through gaining this insight that we, as wives, recognize this wasn’t about us. Becoming sexier, becoming more beautiful – this doesn’t solve the problem.
You and me – we are enough. Just the way we are.
I’d love to hear from you and dialogue about what helped and what hurt after you realized your husband had eyes for other women. Would you choose bravery and share with me here?
Shelley Martinkus loves to encourage women and has a special place in her heart for women with a similar story to hers. She is a blogger, speaker and writer. Her first book, Rescued, was released in 2015 and is a guide to help women survive and thrive after sexual betrayal. She is proud to call Denver home where she lives with her husband, Jason and their three young boys. Some of the things that help Shelley survive are comfy pants, running around Wash Park and long talks with Jason after the boys are in bed. You can connect with Shelley at rlforwomen.com.