holding back the storm

Posted: November 25th, 2009 | Filed under: life | 14 Comments »

This question was sent to me and I thought I would make it today’s blog post, because others could benefit from reading it…


This is just a question, which I would LOVE to get your response.

Regarding something you said in one of your videos regarding infidelity, you said something to the effect of “You must allow yourself to be broken or…….it’s not good”

My husband had a 3-yr. affair. We have been working for the past two years to keep our marriage together. He is repentant, but it certainly seems like he’s not broken. In a way it feels like he’s still somewhat in denial, because he just can’t (or doesn’t want to) feel the PAIN. How can I help him??? I know we can’t “properly heal” unless there’s brokenness. PLEASE RESPOND. Thank you so much. I love your site!!


Thank you for your kind words.  I think it’s awesome that the two of you have worked so hard for so long…. It’s a terrible place to be…no matter the individual situation.

If your husband hasn’t let himself break, then that is still in front of you. There are a lot of reasons why people come across that way. One of the biggest reasons is to save face. They need to be strong, emulate deliverance… There is a pressure to be healed. The answer for some is to look healed.

What is he like in other tradgedies? Is he the strong one? Is it possible he’s trying to be strong for you? He’s hurt you so much, maybe he doesn’t think he can break because you need him.

Something that people don’t know about breaking (unless you have) is that there is an overwhelming dread that you can’t make it back. That you’ll die in there. You sink into the blackness and wait for it to be over. Wait for a death that won’t come. You start out with the smallest thread of hope that you can make it, then the hope fades. When it fades, fear shrieks through you like some evil abyss swallowing you from the inside out.

Then you start realizing something… You thought your hope was in Jesus, but you realize it wasn’t. You realize that you had hope in your abilty to surivive..human resolve. Then you start to recognize what you did to Jesus. Your lack of faith, the distance you kept him at… All of your failures, selfishness, self righteousness… It’s overwhelming, crushing. You’re at the bottom. Then the Truth starts to seep in… He died for this, He loves you…. And the love…the LOVE destroys you. Beautifully gut wrenching. A piercing howl of death ripping and shredding. You think you’re going to die. And you do.

You start to hear sound again, like a strobe light of life in flashes of color. The silent hurricane has subsided, but the breeze still burns like an electric shock to a body with no skin. Raw and new.

Whispers of Love nurse you as you sleep. Breath of Life breathes over you like a lullaby from a new mother.

Love him. Don’t expect this process to go according to any schedule.

He may fall again…

If you can, don’t give up on him. You’re in a hellish fight, too. When he breaks, you will lose him. But when Jesus carries Him back, he’ll be a different man.

Don’t look at the outside. The outside is very deceiving… He could be dying inside-for MANY reasons. Reasons he may not be able to tell you.

My advice: LOVE him. Love destroys the weeds.

I hope I helped!


14 Comments on “holding back the storm”

  1. 1 Lindsey @ A New Life said at 2:42 am on November 25th, 2009:

    I don't have much to add to this except to confirm how absolutely true it is. It took me a long time to "break" after my affair, to learn how to release it all to Jesus and rest in his arms in the middle of the darkness and grief and excruciating pain that ensued.

    The appeal of sin is that it "feels" good- there may be twinges of remorse, twinges of fear, desire to get away; but if you are not in Christ you will stay in sin because inherently we know that living in Christ is painful to our fleshly natures and contradictory to everything the world tells us we should be doing. When we are caught in sin, it is hard to release the false semblance of self-control our sin gave us in the aftermath. Which means it is hard to become broken.

    Serena is dead on that your response should be to love and pray your husband through this…the longer he is in the Word and exposed to unconditional love from Christ and you, the closer he will come to letting go of his defenses and letting God move.

    Praying for you both-

  2. 2 Lauree said at 6:47 am on November 25th, 2009:

    my question is.. when we think other people are not broken does it mean that they are not showing the signals we want to see? i have no idea what the answer is to this question. i think that i want other people to meet my expectations most of the time…. just sayin'

  3. 3 Serena Woods said at 7:04 am on November 25th, 2009:

    Lauree: Absolutely. That is why a lot of people give up on the fallen ones. They're not 'acting' right.

  4. 4 Jason said at 7:53 am on November 25th, 2009:

    Well said Serena.

  5. 5 tam said at 11:15 am on November 25th, 2009:

    what a remarkable response! it screams beauty and hope.

    i love that you paint the picture of this woman possibly losing her husband. but losing him in the best way. he may die. but new the life will be so much better.

    hoping for the best in this situation. for a death and a rebirth…

  6. 6 Melinda Lancaster said at 4:13 pm on November 25th, 2009:

    The Bible says that “love covers a multitude of sins.” You’ve made some excellent points in this post about showing grace and love (godly love like in I Cor. 13).
    We live in such a self-focused world. Our tendency is to focus on what has been done to us not what we can do for others or what has been done FOR us. If the lens through which we view our circumstances was painted with grace how differently we would respond.
    Thank you Serena for keeping it real & for reminding us what grace looks like in practical ways.

  7. 7 Sisterlisa said at 8:03 pm on November 25th, 2009:

    Good explanation Serena.

  8. 8 TheNorEaster said at 9:46 pm on November 26th, 2009:

    What breaks the bear does not always shatter the shark.

    Be patient. Have faith. Pray.

    The Author is The Finisher.

  9. 9 Rainer said at 1:27 pm on November 27th, 2009:

    Great question and responses. If I can just offer some additional thoughts. I think Serena's message about allowing yourself to be broken has to be willingly received by the fallen one rather than required by the betrayed. As the one who has been betrayed (I am also in that category), its easy to fall into the trap of expecting that state of brokenness. However, we are called to love and forgive without conditions. We are called to love our spouses the way that Christ loved the church. Forgiveness requires us to give up our "right" to feel hurt by someone else. The challenge is to resist the message of unforgiveness that the world (and often the church) encourages us to adopt. Divorce is the embodiment of unforgiveness, and we only have to look at the divorce statistics for Christians to see how much we've adopted the world view.

  10. 10 TheNorEaster said at 5:23 am on November 28th, 2009:

    Rainer: With all due respect, I don't quite think that "forgiveness requires us to give up our 'right' to feel hurt by someone else".

    I would, rather, say that forgiveness releases us from our sinful intention to hurt those who have hurt us and frees us from the temptation to take our pain out on someone else who is not at all responsible for our suffering.

  11. 11 Rainer said at 9:11 am on November 28th, 2009:

    Thanks for the comments, Nor. I guess the point I was trying to make was that if we are willing/able to truly forgive someone, then we are willing to no longer bring it up as a justification for withholding love, etc. I think far too often when we are sinned against, their is the expectation of someone needing to make it up to us – this being the "right" I was referring to – "I have a right to be bitter, resentful, hurt, etc. because of what you did to me." So maybe its more appropriate to say that forgiveness requires us to give up our "right" to use our hurt in an unloving or manipulative way.

  12. 12 Serena Woods said at 9:26 am on November 28th, 2009:

    I heard a a definition of forgiveness several years ago that has stuck with me: 'Taking the effects if another's failure against you and never letting them know what it cost you.'

  13. 13 TheNorEaster said at 10:30 pm on November 28th, 2009:

    Rainer: Thanks for the clarification.

    Serena: When I was in GriefShare, I heard a great definition of how we know when we have forgiven someone: "You know you have forgiven someone when you begin to wish that person well."

    I have failed pretty well at that, but, even so, I pray for God to forgive those who have hurt me-and others. And I make it clear to Him how difficult it is for me to even ask that. Perhaps that most telling example was inviting an accused pedophile to a Bible study-which I had been leading-after losing a friend to suicide, in part, because she had been sexually abused as a child.

    What can I say? Grace is for sinners.

  14. 14 Larry said at 6:06 am on December 2nd, 2009:

    I don't know if we really understand what happens to a marriage when infidelity happens. I believe the marriage dies and must be resurrected. That means that the old ways die and new life with new habits must take their place. Maybe your husband is pretty scared to open up to his own failing. That takes a lot of courage. He also may not know how to do that. It might be a good idea for him to spend some time with a counselor, as I hope you are, but also with an older man. Someone who has been slapped around by life a little. Our own pain and failures help us relate to others in a humble manner. An older man could listen to your husband's story and ask questions that help him see in himself what God sees.

    I pray God's protection for you and your family.