Patiently Enduring You and Your Spouse’s Recovery
Part 7 of the Codependent in Colossians Series
by Kim Pullen
Series Manifesto: Instead of ignoring the pain following the disclosure of our spouse’s sexual sin, we choose to use our trauma as a catalyst for growth, digging deeply into God’s Word in search of spiritual healing and transformation.
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,…”
This is the fourth in a five-part miniseries on Colossians 1:10-12.
So far in this multi-part, in-depth examination of Colossians 1:10-12, we addressed how we all need to get our worth from God. Next, we discussed having the right motives for bearing fruit for God. Last time, we focused on how we can know God intimately. This time, we’re going to explore how we can patiently endure our spouse’s sexual addiction recovery—and our own recovery from codependency—by relying on God’s strength rather than our own.
Codependency & Cancer
A friend of mine passed away last year after a 10-year out-and-out war with the cancer that finally won over her body. But it could never rob her of her spirit and spiritual strength. Everyone who visited Janet with the goal to encourage her walked away full. That’s because Janet overflowed with strength she got directly from “His glorious might”.
Our spouse’s sexual sin and our corresponding codependency can feel like an emotional cancer. Life is moving forward with all our dreams intact and then BAM! the devastating news of the condition of our marriage stops us in our tracks. We’re paralyzed in a kind of dazed denial. We know if someone doesn’t aggressively pursue “treatment”, our relationship is dead.
Within weeks of my separation, I was ready to face the fact that my husband wasn’t the only one who was broken and needing recovery. Every day seemed like an eternity with God cutting away at my codependency with a hot scalpel. I felt as empty, weak, and sick as a chemo patient.
I had nothing left. There was no one else to turn to for strength but God.
Putting My Money Where My Mouth Was
I expected Russ to be over his immoral pursuits in six months, tops. I mean, he was a Christian, and we had three kids and 19 years invested in our marriage. When the first anniversary of our separation rolled around and Russ was further away than ever, I began to wonder if I could really put up with it any longer. I pondered divorce countless times.
And then I read Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”
The words were like…well, magic. More than a balm, they were a well for me to drink from and find refreshment. The Psalm was a reminder of where the real power in this world resides. They words were my strength. But they were also my challenge.
I didn’t necessarily believe my husband could change—he was so deeply in sin—but did I really believe that God could change him?
Wasn’t I a “Christian”? Wasn’t the whole tenant of my faith based on Christ’s resurrection? Didn’t I believe that Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-17)? Hadn’t he called Jairus’ daughter from her mortal sleep (Mark 5:21-43)? Hadn’t he restored Mary and Martha’s dead brother to them (Luke 11:17-44)? Hadn’t Jesus himself created life from death (John 1:3)? So if God could raise Jesus from the dead, surely he had the power to resurrect my spiritually dead husband and restore my marriage?
And so I waited.
Why Does It Take So Long?
About this time, a friend recommended the book Don’t Call It Love. The author, Dr. Patrick Carns, shared the results of his sexual addiction recovery research. He found out it takes the average sexual addict three to five years—yes, you read that right, five years—of active and deliberate recovery before there is stability.
Surely this was a typo, I thought. Three to five years? How the heck was I supposed to wait five years?
I wanted to act. I wanted to do something. Isn’t that what women today did? They didn’t sit back and take crap from their wayward spouses.
I’d pick up the phone to call a divorce lawyer, and a tiny voice would whisper to me: “Be still and know I am God…”
The Strength in the Stillness
Truth is, sometimes it takes more strength to be still than it does to act. I didn’t have that strength myself. It took supernatural strength to sit tight for four years and wait on God to act on my behalf.
And boy, did He ever act.
We’re actually in our eighth year of recovery and I must say this end of the road is much better than the beginning. The years of support groups and counseling were inestimable and irreplaceable, but they could never have been enough without God.
Through my patient endurance, I’ve learned something invaluable. That God is faithful. I mean, really faithful.
No, he doesn’t always act in my timeframe, but I guess as the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent creator of the world, he probably knows better than I do anyway.
Question: Have you ever wondered why God is taking so long to act on your behalf? Where are you getting your strength to patiently endure?
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