Four years ago: During random arguments in the first ten years of marriage, whenever my hubby would toss out “maybe we should go to marriage counseling,” it would make me furious! We argued over silly things, just like everyone else. I hated the thought of going to a professional, especially since we were pastors and people came to us!
It’s called pride, in case you were wondering. And I had it bad. Little did I know that his desire for marital counseling was one of many cries for help from my spouse.
The morning after his confession, I was desperate for a counselor. Our marriage was a disaster, I was a hysterical mess and my hubby was racked with guilt (he did feel better about confessing, but I picked up the giant load he laid down and put it on my back).
I’ll never forget our first session. I was there so the counselor could fix my husband. He listened to my hubby tell his story, while I sat on the couch, wearing my mask of grief, hot, silent tears soaking my hands and lap.
I wanted to bury my head. I’ve never experienced more shame and embarrassment than in that first session, listening to my husband, the love of my life, vocalize his sin struggle with a stranger. Beside humiliation, I felt something worse: guilt.
He gave my hubby some practical tips in “bouncing his eyes” and building a house to put all the harmful images in (see last week’s vlog).
And then he turned to me. I couldn’t even speak. He waited and waited. He leaned in, put his hand on my arm, “tell me” he coaxed.
The raw pain of the last few days poured out of me. I sputtered and hiccuped and blew snot bubbles. I spoke of my ignorance, my shame, of guilt and regret. I spoke of love for the man, weeping silently beside me, of hope and healing and freedom. I dreamed of a future.
I’ll never forget what he said to me, “Your husband is a good man. He just needs tools to fight this enemy. He has just scratched the surface of this dark vast world. He will be victorious. He has sinned, but he is forgiven. But now, I want to talk about you.”
I remember thinking, “What, me? No, please help him, please, we can’t leave without you fixing him….”
He touched my chin, like my father would do and looked deeply into my eyes, “Kristen, this is not your fault. You are not responsible.”
I sobbed. “But I’m so naive…I could have helped him.”
“You are exactly what God created you to be: beautifully naive, unscarred by the filth of the world, innocent, pure. Do not apologize for this. Can you help your husband? Yes, you can. But first, you have to stop blaming yourself.”
I can’t tell you how this helped me. I couldn’t possibly help my husband until I stopped blaming myself. Next week…how you can help your spouse.
HI! I'm Kristen. I'm here to encourage you as a wife and mom and remind you there's a little bit of THAT family in all of us. I write books, run Mercy House and try to remember I am third (God first, others second). I'm glad you're here.