Letting Her Lament
AUGUST 6, 2022
by Curtis Solomon
Has anyone ever betrayed your confidence? Maybe you had a friend in school that exposed your crush on a girl even though he swore that he would never tell. Perhaps you had a business partner who stole your ideas or work and used it to get a promotion that you deserved. Maybe you told a friend about a particular sin struggle, hoping that they would help you, but instead they spread the news through your friend group via the salacious gossip train. How hurt were you? How unloved did you feel? How betrayed did you feel? What did it do to your friendship? Do you still trust that person? Do you even want to see him anymore? Now amplify those feelings ten trillion times, and you can begin to relate to the pain that you have inflicted on your wife. Let her grieve that pain. It is important that you not only allow, but encourage, your wife to lament your sin and the impact it has had on her life.
As your wife grieves, you will need to give her space and time to do so. This may look like you silently supporting her in her grief. Pray to God silently in your heart on her behalf, and ask him to draw her near in his loving and protective arms. She will likely want and need to talk to someone else about the pain that she is feeling. Encourage her to do so. She is hurting because you have hurt her. Don’t try to deny or downplay the pain. Encourage her to express it to a friend who can help bear her burden and point her to Christ. As she does this, she is not gossiping, but grieving. Encourage her to take her concerns and hurts to God, who cares for her far better than you or any other friend could.
As her heart softens, she may share with you how your sin has affected her. Don’t get defensive; listen and learn from her. She may need an invitation to do this. Ask her, How has my sin affected you? What thoughts and feelings are you wrestling with? How has my sin brought temptation to you? She may not want to share with you at all. If that is the case, don’t push. Let her know you are willing to listen when she is willing to talk. Tell her that you want to know so that you will grow in love and compassion as you seek to put off your self-focused sin. If she gets upset and lashes out at you, don’t get defensive. Don’t fight back. Recognize that hurting people often hurt people. She is hurting because of your sin, so it is no surprise that you are the target of her attacks. Pray for her. Cast your cares and her cares on the Lord because he cares for both of you (1 Peter 5:7). It may be best to have this kind of conversation with a spiritual mentor or biblical counselor present, but that is not always necessary. Ask God for wisdom and patience as she laments and heals. We will discuss forgiveness and reconciliation later. There may be things that your wife says or does in her pain that need to be dealt with, but in the lament process, don’t focus on her sin; let her grieve yours. This is a great way to demonstrate that you love her and that you are genuinely grieved by your sin.
Lament with Her
“Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). This short phrase is such a powerful one for the care of souls. Christ is the most compassionate person who ever walked the earth. Now that he has ascended back to his heavenly throne room, he has given us the wonderful responsibility and opportunity to be the physical manifestation of his compassionate love. As your wife shares how your sin has impacted her, let it sink into your heart. Try to put yourself in her shoes and feel her pain. Ask God to give you a soft heart so that you can feel what she feels. Compassion literally means to suffer together. Suffer with your wife in her suffering.
This will look differently for every couple, so don’t try to use my suggestions as a strict template; instead, allow them to inspire and evoke your grieving process together. Always be sensitive to your wife’s preferences at this time. Don’t assume anything; instead ask. Ask questions such as the following: Do you want to share with me what you are thinking? Is it helpful for me to hold your hand? Would you rather write your words than speak them? Give preference to her desires (Philippians 2:3–4). When she shares her hurts, sit and listen. If she is crying, cry with her (don’t try to force fake tears, but do allow her pain to impact you deeply, which, even if it doesn’t result in actual tears, will create the true compassion at the heart of the command in Romans 12:15). If she is open to physical touch, embrace her and let her cry on your shoulder, or simply hold her hand while she weeps.
Excerpted from Redeem Your Marriage: Hope for Husbands Who Have Hurt through Pornography © 2022 by Curtis Solomon. Used with permission of New Growth Press. May not be reproduced without prior written permission. To purchase this and other helpful resources, please visit newgrowthpress.com.