From my own experience and the women I’ve helped over the years, I’ve found that two of the most difficult things for a woman who has been betrayed is her intentional revisiting of the memories of his betrayals, and the triggers that bring up those same memories when she least expects it. Regardless of how these things are brought to mind, they set off a cascade of pain and downward spiral that can take over her days.
These incidents can also set back progress that you and your husband are making together. You both may be earnestly delving into your individual work to heal and to restore your marriage; yet these memories that continue to haunt may invoke distrust and erode hope.
Whether brought up voluntarily or by a trigger, we do make a choice over and over again, though a very painful one, to dwell on these memories. We do it because we hope to find answers there. But that is just a lie from hell.
I’m not suggesting living in denial of the reality. Though the thoughts themselves are very painful, it is the dwelling on these thoughts that is destructive to you; this kind of obsessive thinking is not serving any useful purpose.
I have discussed in my Healing Choice Guidebooks the process of taking a thought captive; in essence it is about arresting your negative thoughts, and refocusing your mind on the goodness in your life and giving thanks for your blessings. Unfortunately, you might use this tool once, but then when you have another trigger, you may declare that this principle doesn’t work.
If you consider this tool to be ineffective for you, then in the same breath, you are unwittingly rendering your husband incapable to deal effectively with his own triggers and memories that spark temptation, which he is confronted with daily. That is a sobering thought. We do expect him to make these mental changes, but feel controlled by our own. It is a fact though that neither of you will be victorious in your life if you choose a victimized view of your obsessive thinking.
But the reality is, it’s not a ‘one and done’ thing. It’s very much like breaking a habit. This ‘captive thought’ tool is meant to use each and every time a unwelcome thought comes to mind. You must cut off the thought before you begin obsessively thinking on it. Redirecting your thinking, giving yourself a good thing to dwell on each time, works to make it easier to arrest the negative patterns over time, because you are literally re-training your brain how to respond to triggers and memories.
We know it to be the most valuable means of healing to trauma, to emotional and injury and to ingrained habits because we have witnessed it firsthand many times over. When I wrote on this in 1997, I was working from faith in God’s word that we are capable of renewing our minds:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2 NKJ