Faith Community: Quality or Quantity?
Updated: Apr 21
Running. Running. Running.
Words keep running through my mind.
My brain feels like it's on fire.
I have questions but no words to form phrases.
My stomach is full of poison that I can't wretch out.
My arms feel heavy with the ache of holding my children's wails.
My eyes are swollen from unrelenting tears.
My breathe barely brings air into my lungs.
I’m parting with the life I once knew.
I'm scared to accept the truth in front of me.
I’m sinking into the quicksand of heavy secrets cemented into my soul.
I’m weighted down by his boulders of deceit.
I can't scream loud enough or long enough to express the horror I'm living.
I can't make my mind find clarity; I only see foggy, haunting figures.
I can't settle panic threatening my existence.
I can't see my own face of confusion.
This is a poem written by a woman betrayed by her husband though sexual deceit. Her mind is a puzzle of conflicted realities and her brain’s frantic attempt to organize irreconcilable thoughts.
Imagine this on repeat: minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day.
Welcome to betrayal trauma.
Betrayal trauma occurs when a wife (or partner) discovers their partner’s sexual secrets. You can find a brilliant description by Dr. Omar Minwalla who refers to this entitled deceit as a “Secret Sexual Basement”. It describes a narrative of the wife's (or partner) experience when she discovers her reality is not actually reality, but a sinister version of comedy movie, The Truman Show.
So, what does “quality versus quantity” have to do with betrayal? I’m getting there.
Quality: Faith community, betrayal trauma from sexual entitlement, sex addiction or sexual abuse is ravenously attacking families in your churches. You silently admonish it.
Quantity: But, the faith community gloriously recognizes wedding anniversaries.
Unfortunately, given the large population of women leaving marriages after 15, 20, 30, and 40 years, I’m suggesting our faith leaders look at this plausible reality:
Women are enduring abusive marriages longer than they should because they know they will not receive the community support they need if they leave.
Questions for you to ask yourselves:
How many years should the betrayed endure problematic sexual behavior from their husbands and partners?
How many years should they share their husbands or partners with the women they lust after?
How many years do we expect them to live in trauma- trauma that cannot be resolved if they are continuing to live in the same environment?
Faith leaders and community: you abuse women when you answer any of those questions with the answer: “as long as it takes,” or "trust God for a miracle," or "pray harder."
I am not suggesting divorce. What I am suggesting, as I said in my last blog, Real is Rare, is that there are solutions available not being endorsed by leaders in our churches.
Faith community, will you have the courage to immediately implement any of these 3 solutions and treat betrayed partners with Christ’s gracious tenderness?
SEEK knowledge for yourselves and the couple. You can start with:
FIND them support.
APSATS (the Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists) offers internationally trained coaches and therapists.
CSAT’s are Certified Sex Addiction Therapists
Help.Them.Heal: Teaching You Both How to Heal Your Relationship After Sexual Betrayal by Carol Juergensen Sheets
LISTEN to the betrayed and offer to empower her through:
Free Podcasts to validate the betrayed’s experience
Books by authors who speak scriptural truth about abuse: Leslie Vernick, Gretchen Baskerville, and Natalie Hoffman
Group support so the betrayed recognizes she is not alone: Hope Redefined, The Naked Truth Project and, of course me at: Coaching Hope 4 U
I'm wondering how betrayed partners would feel if the faith community stopped recognizing the duration of a marriage and instead, would focus on the attributes which make marriages valuable. Are husbands loving their wives, as Christ loved the church? (Ephesians 5:25) If he isn’t, how do you help the husband, with problematic sexual behaviors, treat his wife with dignity, love, respect so she feels like the daughter of the most high God?
For more information and support, please visit www.coachinghope4u.com