Below is a question about overcoming painful memories:
I was reading your blog. One sentence said, ” For wives this might mean to stop thinking about the past.” That is the hardest task in my recovery, I just can’t escape the triggered thoughts from bringing me or my feelings down. I have been married for 34 years and I truly loved and respected my husband during what I thought was a good marriage. Nine months after discovery I seem to be recovering fairly well from my husbands secret life of porn, dating sites and philandering because he is cooperating and doing what is right to restore the relationship, but there is one thing that I trip on. Thoughts. The problem: I can be driving or at work and have a sudden thought of what happened or how I visualize it occurred. It hurts. Driving seems to be the most frequent times it occurs. I have desperately searched for a way to recover from this bolt of pain and fear I get during those moments. I have tried ignoring the thoughts, I have tried saying to myself, ” Here is a thought, it is what happened or what I feared occurred during his wandering, it was wrong – it was a foolish act, but now it is time for that thought to leave. Recognizing the thought seems to allow the fear to be displaced better than ignoring it. But the thoughts do return time to time. This — may be the one thing that harms the betrayed one, the inability to get past triggered thoughts. I have search for the one true remedy — how to get through moments – moments when these triggered thoughts burst forth. Hiding from them doesn’t seem to lessen the thoughts from returning. The scary inner thoughts are corrosive to the foundation of marriage. What is an effective way to work through the moment, so the thoughts don’t spread or fester – leading into hours or days of darkness.
I am so sorry to hear of all this pain you’re experiencing due to sad thoughts. I have to say that I experience this too and I think most of the wives that visit Hopeful Wife Today are going through this. It might just be the most difficult part of moving on and restoring our marriages. First, I always recommend that you talk to a counselor or a Pastor as that helps some people greatly. However, I do believe there is only one way to heal from these troubling, sad thoughts. That is to bring them to God. But, this is not a one-step answer. There are many ways that we can bring this to God that can be helpful. One way is to be a part of a community of godly women who are experiencing the same thing. This is one reason why I started this site. I fully believe that there is great healing when we are able to talk freely with people who can understand and pray for us. Unfortunately, our husbands can’t totally understand the pain we are going through. They just will never know. There are pages on Hopeful Wife Today such as:
These pages are specifically designed for wives to share freely the pain, sorrow, anger, or restoration that they are going through. It is just a place to talk as much as you want or need to. There is no limit. When we do this, it helps release the pain we are feeling. It helps us to heal. When I started this journey, I found that there was really no where I could go where someone would understand what I was going through. That is why this site is needed. All the women here understand and they pray for each other. I invite you to share whatever you need to if you think this will help you with your troubling thoughts.
Another way that we turn to God is by picking one Bible verse that speaks to us. There are many that apply. One verse that really speaks to me is Philippians 4:8 (NKJV):
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
This means that we do not have to continue to think of the bad, painful thoughts. We can meditate on this verse and give the thoughts to God. This verse is so important because it is God’s word instructing us not to dwell on those thoughts. God wants to help us get past this. We can then pray a prayer something like this:
I thank You that You have power over my thoughts. You know that I am stuck on these painful memories. They hurt so deep inside of me. But, You, God, are capable of taking those thoughts. I am purposefully giving them to You so that they do not have to hurt me any longer. I love You so much, God and I pray that You will continue to heal my marriage.
In Jesus’ Name,
This can be extremely hard at first. It might take a lot of practicing and a lot of failing. But, if you consistently draw close to God it will get easier. It seems so impossible. But, remember, God loves to work in situations that seem impossible.
Are you suffering from painful memories also? Have you found additional ways that you can offer to this wife? I’m praying for all of you as you continue to work through this hurt.