It can be hard to make the decision to seek out, and then participate in a support group focused on marital betrayal. There can be just as much of a pull NOT to attend as TO attend. While it's incredibly painful to dig through all the aspects of betrayal, there is a DESPERATE NEED FOR HEALING! As you come together with other women walking the same journey, that need for healing, community, and support breaks down the barrier of fear and provides the motivation to walk into the group meeting room week after week.
What goes on in a support group?
Most facilitators will follow a curriculum that supports moving through topics surrounding betrayal, so women can understand what has happened and how to work toward healing. I currently use Betrayal & Beyond by Pure Desire Ministries. Chapter by chapter our group tackles necessary themes such as Trauma, Sexual Immorality/Sex Addiction, Emotional Abuse, Boundaries, Codependency, Repentance, Complicated Family Systems, Character Disturbances, Grief, Anger, Healing, Forgiveness, Reconciliation/Divorce...
Interwoven in studying the material are many tears that flow as women tell their stories. Sometimes it can look like...tears, trembling, tears, sweat, tears, f‑bombs, tears, other profanities, tears, head in hands, tears, tissue passing and nose blowing...even a fly on the wall wants out of the room! However, these are short-lived moments which can then lead to many conversations that will help women unravel the confusion in their situations. The stories I've heard in these classes would shock most of the church, yet most of the men involved are IN the church while living a secret life!
There is a MASSIVE amount of pain in one room at one time!! However, along with that pain, there is also joy. Hurting women grow healthy spiritually and emotionally as they walk this journey. I love watching a bond of sisterhood form! The other night I witnessed two women embrace each other and sob after having just met. When we connect with others who are experiencing a similar marriage crisis, instantly, our pain is validated, and we can actually be a comfort to each other. Personally, the Lord has developed my dearest friendships from these groups.
Yearly, at the end of our session, we gather for a "burning" at someone's home with an outdoor fireplace. With our Kleenex in hand, we bring things to burn - lists of offenses by our husbands, lists of losses, tangible representations of hurts and pain such as pictures, copies of documents, cards, and letters. I pray for each woman, and as she surrenders to forgive, she releases these things to the Lord as she places them in the fire.
In addition to attending a betrayal support group, I always recommend two other needed connections for women during recovery. One is personal Christian counseling, and the other is a women's Bible study group. Together, these three connections provide maximum healing benefits as the Lord speaks and works in her life.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 tells us that "two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has no one to lift him up. And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a cord of three is not easily broken."
I have known many women who have tried to go this road alone, as I myself attempted to do for so many years. God values us so much and he created the church for a spiritual community to help us heal and grow. Betrayal is far too great a burden to bear alone and God encourages us to bear one another's burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
If you are a woman who is facing betrayal, find a group and become connected today.
Laura serves as the Executive Director on the board of HER. She is passionate about helping betrayed women who struggle emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and financially. She has been leading weekly marital betrayal support groups for several years. Currently, Laura connects with leaders, writers, and counselors, to unite the efforts of those who share a burden for betrayed women.
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