On what we lose when we are married to a sex addict
Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
You might think this blog post is all about the many things we lose when we are married to a sex addict. There are so many, it would take me all day to list them: our self-respect, our voice, our security, our safety, our significance, our trust for others, our trust for God, our health, our power, our dignity, our faith in the human race, our family, our house, our comfort… The list goes on and on. (Feel free to leave a comment and add what you’ve lost.) Rather, what I want to do is focus on one of these things: Our intuition.
I know for myself, I started to slowly close the door on that inner voice early on in my relationship with Jason. Well before I married him. I had no idea that I was even doing it.
Maybe it’s because I admired him. Maybe it was because he covered the biggest of gaping holes in my heart and soul. You know, the hole that said “Shelley is unchosen”.
Yes, it was Jason that finally chose me. And it seems because of that, I allowed a lot to slide. Including those feelings deep within that were telling me something wasn’t quite right.
And at some point, I shut the door, locked it, and threw away the key.
When I started to pick up the pieces of the betrayal… When I started to see that I wasn’t going crazy… I realized I had completely lost my compass, my internal notion that helped me know which way was north.
And it seems that twelve years into this recovery, I am still working on opening the door wide. Trusting my intuition. Trusting my instincts. And being obedient to what God might ask me to say or do.
I read recently that there is a connection between our enteric nervous system (the part of our nervous system that controls our GI tract) and the emotional center of our brain. Here is what I read: “Evolution has placed part of our emotion-generating circuits in the gut, an area where you have major mechanical influences such as contractions and a direct interface with the environment.”
Wow, isn’t that amazing? And it totally makes sense. So how, after all we have been through, do we learn to trust our gut? To trust our intuition? The Holy Spirit.
For myself, the first step to taking back my intuition was demanding to know the truth about my life. I kept thinking there must be something I was missing. And there was! The more I swept the evidence under the rug, the crazier it made me feel. It wasn’t until I knew the truth. That my husband was committing adultery. Which led me to recognize that I wasn’t going crazy, that I was able to find the key and unlock the door.
Even still, it would be months or years before I was able to trust my intuition.
Other ways I have worked to learn to trust myself again:
1) Sharing with trusted friends about what I am thinking and processing. Yep, it’s living in community. Usually, my friends have words for me that I might feel but can’t say. They help clarify, validate, and dissect my feelings. I typically walk away with more clarity.
2) Being more aware of my feelings. I’ve spent many a years staying very busy. My busyness became a buffer for me in that it prevented me from dealing with the feelings within. Over the last three years, I’ve started to let go of the busyness and be more intentional with my time and commitments. It’s been through this intentionality that I’ve begun to take the time to feel how I feel.
3) Learning to take Risks. When we start to trust our instincts again. And trust the true voice in our heart and soul, we might find that we are faced with taking risks. It’s through risking that we learn to trust ourselves and trust God even more. In fact, Jennie Allen, in her book Anything, says that “the only exercise that works works 100 percent of the time to draw one close to the real God, is risk.”
What about you – what has it looked like to reclaim your intuition? That inner voice that God has given each of us through His Holy Spirit? And what else might you add to the list? What have you lost being married to a sex addict? I’d love to hear from you.