I’ve received permission to share this email and my response. I’ve changed his name to protect his identity.

I would be dishonest if I wrote that it has been easy on our marriage, my past sexual abuse. We walked into marriage with full disclosure, but we both felt fairly cavalier about it. After all, God had “healed” me, right? Yes, and no. He had begun the process, but it would take many years to walk the healing journey, and I am still walking it.

For the first few years, we simply didn’t talk about it. I suffered silently, wishing I could will myself to view sex as beautiful. Meanwhile, he constantly felt rejected. This eventually was untenable, and we began talking about our mutual struggles. It was only after Patrick began to research trauma that he finally understood this was not an intellectual practice for me. It was not a matter of me just thinking differently, then everything would magically be put aright. No, trauma seeped into me, and there were nightmares and triggers and setbacks.

Honestly? We slogged through a lot of the muck.

And we learned how to be very honest. We cried. We prayed. We sought help. There’s no magic formula, but there is growth.

The Email

Subject: Needing Help
I know this may not be the right spot to request this type of information, but I need help.
My wife was abused as a child more than once and by different people.
We have been married 21 years. During these years, I knew about her childhood but I didn’t understand how it effected us. All the days I was frustrated and impatient, I wish I could take back.
I never understood how I kept her pain alive until December 26, 2019.  It was then she told me.  Since then I have been reading, learning and searching for ways I can understand myself as well as how to walk with her.  Over the years I would get frustrated with her (at the time I thought it was unwillingness) not sharing.  Now I understand, she couldn’t, it is very painful to walk back through.
My question is do you have a support group for spouses navigating through this journey?  I need help.
Thank you,

Leith

My Response

Leith,

Thanks for reaching out to me.
One of the things that helped my husband was reading The Wounded Heart by Dan Allender. It helped him understand my trauma.
Here is a teaching we gave together about how sexual abuse affected our marriage. It may be helpful to watch together.

DeMuth, Patrick & Mary 3/5/14 from Lake Pointe Church on Vimeo.

I wrote a book (and Patrick, my husband wrote in every chapter about how he was affected by my story) in Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse.
I have a huge list of resources here. (free)
I also have a 21-day email sequence that will not only help your wife on her journey, but give you understanding in her journey. It’s also  free. 
Another option is to try online counseling either separately or together. I recently began using Faithful Counseling, and I’ve been really grateful for their help. They are Christian counselors, and you can request a trauma-informed therapist. It’s all online, and it’s affordable. This link will get you 10% off your first month.
I’m so sorry you have had to walk through this. It will get better, but it is a very difficult journey. Patrick and I got through with lots of communication. What helped me was knowing he was willing to look at his own stuff so I didn’t feel like the only one who was “broken.”
Warmly,
Mary

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