One Wife’s Question: Troubling Thoughts

One Wifes Question

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:

Anger, An Ugly Mess

Personal Stories

Prayer Request

Help!

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:

Dear God,

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,

Amen

You can then focus on something else. That might be reading a book, doing a chore, or listening to inspiring music.

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.

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9 thoughts on “One Wife’s Question: Troubling Thoughts

  1. I also struggle with thoughts. I never caught my husband in the act, but I have imagined images in my mind that will occasionally pop up and torture me. I work to overcome them by believing that there’s an enemy that would love nothing more than to destroy the healing and progress I’ve made, so I speak out loud “Jesus Christ defeated you on the cross, the Lord rebuke you.” This is the way that I cry out to God for help during dark and difficult times and I am reminded that my battle is not with flesh and blood (my husband) but with powers and principalities of darkness. What my husband did was wrong, but he repented and asked forgiveness and he is not my enemy. These things help me greatly to refocus my thoughts. I completely understand where you are at and I hope and pray for peace for you. ❤

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  2. I found a site called settingcaptivesfree.com. they have a 30 day (or as long as it takes) bible study for wives going through the pain of infidelity or their husbands porn addiction. You are set up with a mentor who corresponds with you as she has walked that road before you. They even have a longer one for our husbands. I am not even halfway through it as I have many times had to stop to practice certain things before moving to the next.

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  3. Absolutely agree, Robi!
    I am in the midst of separation due to an affair, standing and praying for restoration and healing of my marriage. Often the thoughts will hit me without any warning. Redirecting these thoughts is NOT the same as ignoring the issues, or addressing the pain and grief I am going through, but rather these thoughts are products of our imaginations and are exaggerated or destructive/defeating in nature. They are additional ways the enemy attempts to derail our healing and the restoration of our marriage, for he wants to destroy Christian marriages and will use whatever he can to do so! Reminding myself of scriptures (2 Corinthians 10:5: “casting down imaginations” and “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”; James 4:8: “draw near to God and He will draw near to you”; in addition to the one you mention in Philippians, among many others) is often helpful, but sometimes the enemy keeps turning up the volume.
    When this occurs, although I do not normally have music on in my home (I am and extreme introvert who loves solitude and silence), I put on an almost 2 hour-long playlist on YouTube of ‘Christian songs for the brokenhearted’, and just play it over and over to help my mind focused on God and His goodness.
    Writing out my prayers in my journal also helps me focus on Godly thoughts, and I also share with God the struggle I am having when the memories/imagination kicks in.
    Finally, committing to not ACTING on my feelings at the time of these “attacks”- lashing out or berating my husband, or going into a tailspin of depression- is HARD, but important. I can only do so with God’s grace and strength, so turning to Him constantly in this struggle is VITAL!
    Thank you so much for your ministry- I have searched for many “Christian resources” for women in my circumstances on the internet, and yours is one of the few I have found to be honest and yet gracious and BIBLICAL. Several others have met the “unsubscribe” button due to conflicting information or Ungodly advice. You are a voice in the wilderness. Blessings on your family, and may God keep the enemy far from you as you seek to serve Him and your fellow sisters in the battle.

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  4. I have bad flashbacks sometimes, but from past trauma and from my husband’s addiction. My counselor taught that during these times I am stuck in the past and need to refocus on the present. When I have flashbacks and start reliving things that have happened, or even when I just get really anxious, I look around and ask myself “where am I right now?” I ask what I can see, hear, feel, smell, or taste, and go through each of my senses one by one, focusing on where I actually am. I’ve learned that focusing on what I can hear helps me personally the most. It quickly draws me back into the present. There may be times when you have to think about what has happened, like if you and your husband are trying to come up with ideas about how to make things better, and sometimes you need to release your feelings in a constructive way, such as writing or talking about them, but constantly relieving what has happened day after day only hurts you and your marriage. I hope and pray that you can find healing.

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  5. I’ve been struggling lately in this area. I think my husband can sense it. He hasn’t quite been himself either. I think I’m going to have to sit him down tonight and talk. I’ve had a whole series of triggering events, and it’s really got me reeling, and I think my mood has confused him.
    I was doing so well. Then there was a little blip on his accountability report. It wasn’t something big at all, just an article he’d clicked on that I feel was headed the wrong direction. It went no further than that, but I didn’t talk to him about it like I should have. I intended to but lost my nerve because I felt that it was a very small stumbling and didn’t want to make him feel like I was doubting him over nothing. I’d felt his mood had been off that week though, so I was already wondering if i might find trouble before the report even came. About a week later, my grandfather passed away. That seems totally unrelated, but I think it made my emotions more fragile than normal. Then we had a triggering conversation about something he likes that I’m uncomfortable with. In his defense, I didn’t tell him I was feeling vulnerable, and I have told him to talk to me about these things, but it ended up compounding what I was already feeling. Then this Ashley Madison thing came out. It had nothing to do with me, thank goodness, but the constant press has kept it before my mind and been somewhat retraumatizing. My thoughts and mood have not been pleasant. I’m realizing this morning that until I make myself sit down and talk to my husband about how I’m feeling, I’m not going to move forward. I can’t expect him to be open and honest with me if I’m hiding my negative feelings from him. This isn’t the normal “can’t get it out of my mind” sort of intrusive thoughts, though I’ve certainly had my share of those. I feel like it is a turning point for how open we are really going to be with each other. I know now I can’t healthily sweep my fears under the rug. I can’t tell myself everything is fine when it isn’t. That’s part of what got us here in the first place. Pray for me, ladies. Keep me accountable and don’t let me chicken out of bringing this issue up with him. It’s a hard subject to broach, but I think openness at this junction holds a lot of power for growth. I don’t believe God meant us to face these battles alone. If we are in the process of healing our marriages, there are some spiritual battles better fought together. That may not be true of every difficult thought or emotion we have, but I feel like this is a specific attack designed to drive us apart, and I’m not going to have it. Thank you for a place to vent my thoughts and clear my head. It’s so much easier to see the right course to take when I read your stories and share my own in writing.

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  6. Pingback: Restoring Marriages Bible Study Day 9: Turning to God | Hopeful Wife Today

  7. Hi another hopeful wife,
    I know what you mean about hearing all the Ashley Madison stuff. It can be depressing. I also know what you mean- when you just can’t get over the awful way you’re feeling. I’m glad that you have found a place to write and talk about how you’re feeling. We’re here to listen and pray!! I also think it’s good to talk to your husband. Try to talk peacefully and just let him know how you’ve really been feeling. It sounds like you’ve been going through a lot lately. I’m praying for you. Please let us know when you talk to him, how it goes, and how you’re doing. May God comfort you tonight.

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  8. Pingback: When Thoughts Trouble You | Hopeful Wife Today

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