According to Webster's Dictionary, the word 'redeem' means "to free from the consequences of sin." Although, it was not my sin, I still desperately need to be freed of the consequences.

"Redeemed women of God have tender merciful hearts, backbones of steel, and hands that are prepared for the fight." - Staci Elderidge

"Even though my heart has been broken at times, I want to retain a tender merciful heart- the kind of heart that is vulnerable, open to all emotions, and engaged in honest, intimate relationships. If my heart is hardened, no matter the cause, I cannot live to my fullest potential.

By setting and holding emotional, physical and spiritual boundaries and standing up with courageous determination to what I know to be right, I continue to forge my backbone of steel.

As women, I believe we want to fight against evil, and we have power greater than we've ever imagined to aid us in that fight."
- Rhyll Croshaw

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Question: What Does the Wife NEED to Know??

I received an email with an interesting question.  It got me thinking....   Here is how I answered it.  But, I'd love to hear your thoughts as well....

Question:
"How much do you want to know?? And also, how much does a wife NEED to know?? I know you mentioned towards the end of the post about that. I've read the posts about the Rhyll's nightly check in. Is your husband minimizing full act outs? Opening the browser then closing it? Glances at a woman? Every thought that goes through his head??  I just wonder...is it helpful or does it drive you crazy??  I'm just trying to learn this. 
It seems that honesty versus dumping versus 'accountifibliy partner' is such a messy line. My last sponsor once told me that he has his support group for his full disclosures and for his accountibility. I went to a retreat once with an old guy with 28 years of REAL sobriety and still hasn't shared every detail of what he's done with his wife. She spoke too and said that she doesn't want to know all the details. She let it go. She said she likes recovery but doesn't want to be his accountibility partner, nor does she want to re-live all the crap he did.  I am NOT encouraging minimizing or dishonesty. BY ANY MEANS!!! But, does your husband connect with sober/active-in-recovery addicts??  What does the literature say on this?? Therapists??"   



Answer:
I believe it is the wife's right to decide.  Every situation is a little different, so I'll give my opinion for the  married couple and then how I think it will/would apply to someone getting married after he's (she's) in recovery.   

As for me- Any impure thoughts or unrighteous actions or borderline behaviors on the behalf of my husband have a great impact on the picture of how safe I am in the relationship and my eternal salvation with him.  The choices he makes directly effect my eternity just as the choices that I make effect his.  He kneeled across the altar and said, 'yes'.  He raised his hand to the square and said 'yes' and then I raised my hand to the square and covenanted to follow him.  So if he is wandering astray, I have a right to know.  In some ways, he has a bigger responsibility to disclose his trials and sins to me because of that eternal chain of command.  He covenants with God and I covenant with God through him.  So, because of this, the minute he succumbs to ANY temptation- I have become involved.  So, what do I have a right to know?  Everything.  The minute he makes a bad choice- any bad choice- I have a right to know.  I have a right to know how to follow my chain of command.  If he gives me partial disclosures (i.e.- he minimized what he actually saw, felt or did...) then I have to receive my revelation directly from the Lord.  When HE chooses what I need/should know, then that forces me to leave his desires and opinions out of my choices and decisions.  Him choosing to purposefully leave out pieces or experiences or anything he felt or realized when disclosing to me, is taking away my choice to choose what I want/need to hear.

(Based on a comment, I want to clarify this opinion:
1. My salvation is not DEPENDENT on his, but it is AFFECTED by his choices. He can screw up horribly and my salvation will still be solely dependent on MY choices. BUT, my salvation is AFFECTED by his choices- good or bad. His choices don't determine whether I am allowed to live forever in the presence of my Father, but they do determine whether I live forever in the presence of my Father with HIM or with someone else. And that latter thought is so excruciatingly sad to me.

2.  Yes, that temple covenant does have a qualifier. And isn't that so incredibly awesome?! But, my understanding is that the covenant is still made with the Lord THROUGH my husband. That is why I have a RIGHT to know. HOWEVER, I do not NEED to know for that qualifier to be invoked, because I don't invoke the qualifier. The Lord does. So, if my husband is totally screwing up and I don't know, the Lord takes care of the chain of command. I don't have to worry about it. I love HX's mantra, "The Atonement Covers This." The Atonement covers this too. That's why I have the RIGHT to know, but not the NEED to know.)



But, what I have a right to hear and what I need to hear are two different things.  This is where the therapists/experts/WoPAs differ in opinion- and I think that is because every wife is different.  Some need to know all for their healing and some only want the basics.  It comes down to the individual.  Can I separate the acts from the individual and use the knowledge for healing or will it drive me insane?  Every wife is different.  I've heard of some wives that just want to know when he actually acts out; relapses.  Some say the want to know actions not thoughts.  i.e.: he notices a pretty girl driving by and it triggers him- not something to tell, he circles the block to drive around again; action- do tell.  He thinks of looking at porn- don't tell, he sits down in front of the computer because of the thought (even if he doesn't actually look- that's an action- do tell.  You get the message...).  This is filthy stuff.  Some women don't want to remember and process all the "crap".  And that is TOTALLY ok!  As long as he is telling SOMEONE, he doesn't have to vomit all over his wife.

Some women- want to hear it all.  Every second glance, every pretty girl in short shorts jogging down the road, even if he instinctively looks away, every magazine cover trigger, every memory assault, etc.  So, every browser?  yep.  I want to be able to make decisions with accurate information.  If he is honest, I have a true picture and can better see it coming and be prepared- emotionally and mentally. (that's the hope...)  But, the choice of WHAT to hear- is MINE.  I am involved.

For the recovered addict getting married- I think the future fiancé (vs every girl they date...) has a right to know what she's getting into.  She has a a RIGHT to hear everything.  It's her choice.  It's like knowing your future hubs is an alcoholic.  She will always need to be aware of where you are to keep herself safe.  But, she can CHOOSE what she needs to hear.  Every choice you make, today, tomorrow, next week, will affect her salvation.  And she has a right to know that.  That doesn't mean you are so screwed and all is lost.  Not at all.  It means that for healthy living- you both need to be aware.  The choices she is making today, tomorrow etc.  also affect your salvation.  That is what an eternal marriage is.

As for my friend- I believe that his future wife has the right to know.  Everything.  She is involved.  She has a right to know he made mistakes- but he isn't a mistake.  He is incredible.  She has a right to know that this could creep back up- but it doesn't have to.  She has a right to know that she has a choice.  Always.  If she chooses not to hear it now- she can always ask to hear it later.  She can hear parts or pieces.  But the right is hers.  She has a right to talk to other women, (and she SHOULD!!!!-  BEFORE she decides what she wants to hear!!!)  It is not a decision to take lightly or callously.  It's a decision to spend some time on and meditation on.  It's a decision to take to the Lord.  But it is HER decision.  Just like her past serious mistakes are HIS decisions of whether or not to hear.  She may not need to hear it all, but she should be able to make the choice.


His addiction doesn't take away our choices.  It doesn't take away HIS choices.  But, since we are all individuals with our own strengths and weaknesses, there isn't a right answer.  But, there should always be a choice.  And that is a gift.

15 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing this...we are still working on a full disclosure. I am not sure if I need/want to hear everything...but as a wife, I do feel entitled to hear everything. Thanks for spelling this out!

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  2. Great post:) I have to have the whole truth, but I dare say I don't ask for daily details of his thoughts. I need to think on this some more and ask my husband what he thinks.

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  3. This is very interesting. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    One thing that I struggle with is the first part about saying that HIS choices affect YOUR eternity and your salvation. In counseling with my Stake President, he has pointed out that my huband's choices DON'T affect my salvation. They may effect whether or not S is WITH me, but they don't effect my salvation. He pointed out that although my husband has been breaking his temple covenants, I haven't broken mine and I still have the promises. I don't actually feel like I made covenants THROUGH my husband. A month or so ago, I went to the temple to do sealings, just to listen to the promises and covenants I have made and realized that I made a direct covenant with God and S made a direct covenant with God. I found that very interesting. Also, I hope I am not saying too much, but there is a qualifier on the covenant to follow our husbands and I find that qualifier to be crucial.

    Anyway, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts. I am still working through all of this. My husband is not open or honest with me or himself(though perhaps a tiny bit more than in the past), so I kind of feel like at this point I can barely think about what I do or do not want to hear. I used to try to enforce things, but it started to feel manipulative (since he was not very willing) and so I am working to let that go and instead put boundaries. Man, this is all hard sometimes isn't it?!

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    1. Thanks MM! I absolutely agree with you and this comment made me realize that maybe I didn't make my OPINION clear!

      1. My salvation is not DEPENDENT on his, but it is EFFECTED by his choices. He can screw up horribly but my salvation will still be solely dependent on MY choices. BUT, my salvation is EFFECTED by his choices- good or bad. His choices don't determine whether I am allowed to live forever in the presence of my Father, but they do determine whether I live forever in the presence of my Father with HIM or with someone else. And the latter thought is so excruciatingly sad.

      2. Yes, that temple covenant does have a qualifier. And isn't that so incredibly awesome?! But, my understanding is that the qualifier is still made with the Lord THROUGH my husband. That is why I have a RIGHT to know. HOWEVER, I do not NEED to know for that qualifier to be invoked, because I don't invoke the qualifier. The Lord does. So, if my husband is totally screwing up and I don't know, the Lord takes care of the chain of command. I don't have to worry about it. I love HX's mantra, "The Atonement Covers This." The Atonement covers this too. That's why I have the RIGHT to know, but not the NEED to know.

      Thanks! Does that make a difference?

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    2. *I meant "the COVENANT is still made with the Lord through my husband..."

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    3. Yes, that makes a lot more sense. And I know what you mean about the thought of not having him there feel excruciatingly sad. Early in my recovery, I felt like I had to get comfortable with the possibility of NOT having my husband be there with me and yet still being ok - as part of detaching and trusting God. It was a hard process and not one I like to think about. But I feel like I have started to give that fear to God, in small ways. I still pray that it never happens and I do have a lot of faith in God's plan and my husband's potential to some day "see the light" so to speak.

      I like how you say you have the RIGHT, but do not NEED to know. Perfect.

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    4. You are great, by the way! :)

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    5. Thank you! I feel like I am stumbling along just try to sort through all the mud like everyone else! The Lord has blessed me with an inquisitive mind and once in a while He gives me a hint on answer. Sometimes I get it wrong, but sometimes I get it right. I think to focus on the times I listen and get it right. :)

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  4. I have a question that I would be interested in your thoughts. I don't know if you have run into this. Last night, my husband told me that he had some bad thoughts from movies that he has seen in the past come to his mind. He fought them and blocked them out. He didn't want to remember them enough to tell me about any details more than "bad scenes from movies". He says when he tries to figure out his thought trail and remember that, then all those bad scenes come back to his mind that he is trying to keep out. What then? Is it really helpful to him to dig them up and have to fight them again while we talk them through? I appreciate the full disclosure, but I am wondering if this kind of situation where it makes it harder for him to keep his thoughts clean is helpful?

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    1. Maybe, maybe not...
      Sometimes my husband has a thought like that, that he can push away and keep from coming to the forefront of his mind. And that's it. And sometimes, for what ever reason, it was a very impactful memory and it keeps coming back, pounding at his brain. In those instances- he's figured out, that for him, it's better to let it out and process the memory. Figure out WHY it keeps coming back and then to associate the healthy emotions (negative) with it.

      Ultimately- it's his call. It's his recovery. I don't have to trust him, but I can trust the Lord. Last night, my husband told me something and then asked, "does that sound right?" (which I feel is not my question to answer anyway- because he needs to seek his own validation from the Lord- not me) but I felt uncomfortable about the disclosure. Something felt off. That's about me. Not him. So, I didn't say, "no that it's right" but I did say, "something about that made me uncomfortable." He agreed and hours later came back and told me what REALLY happened. My point- the Lord did not leave me to figure it out alone. He spoke to my gut. And I listened and was true to myself. I worked MY recovery and I let my husband work HIS.

      So, maybe he should have told more, but in my opinion, that's his call. You can say whether something feels off or causes you to feel unsafe, or you feel like he is justifying or minimizing, BUT, he has to figure out his own brain.

      Does that make sense? I'm still kind of new at this, so these are just my opinions, but I am usually decent at sorting through things...

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    2. We are ENTITLED to all details, but we can't REQUIRE all details. Because then we are forcing HIS recovery...

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    3. So, it seems like it is when the memory keeps coming back that you talk it through because that is what he needs. But, for the memories that he is able to suppress, he doesn't tell you about those. Does that sound right?

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    4. I have heard of this happening (going back to the original question) - where disclosures can retrigger memories. My husband has said that it happens to him at times as well. But I also know that by not disclosing things, my husband just sinks deeper into his addiction because he starts to rely on himself.

      I like what Harriet had to say about if he has things that are weighing on his mind, but he actively CHOOSES to tell or not (and that being the issue) rather than digging back through the day trying to figure out if there is any small thing that he may have missed. It is an interesting thought. Hmmmmm... I also really like what Harriet said about listening to YOURSELF and being in tune to what you are feeling and if something feels off - that is always a key for me in dealing with my husband's addiction.

      Also, just thinking back to the original question about scenes from movies and full disclosure type things, one thing I have decided NOT to ask for is details about WHAT my husband has seen. I know a tiny bit and it is already too much. In essence, I feel like it (for me) has been like letting pornography into MY mind and has poisoned me and added triggers - if that makes sense. This is all quite a trial and error balancing act sometimes it seems. My husband isn't very honest with me yet and minimizes a ton, so I haven't even really considered most of this at the moment. We did go through a time of daily disclosure that I forced out of him, but it wasn't effective for either of us at all. Recovery has to be in place for that to work, I imagine. I guess I don't really know :) So much to learn!

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    5. I think it is better said like this, "So, it seems like it is when the memory keeps coming back that HE TALKS it through because that is what he needs. But, for the memories that he is able to suppress, he doesn't tell you about those."

      My husband said that every time he thinks, "Do I need to tell Harriet about that?" Then for him, that means the answer is yes. If he is questioning, then that is the answer. He's told me, "I just feel lusty today. It's not been triggered or caused by anything, but I am stressed and so I just feel like I want to find a lust hit." And he's said, "I had a memory of the TYPE of thing I used to look at. It wasn't a specific image just a general memory of a type...." And sometimes there are specifics.

      I listen to whatever he says. If I feel directed by the Spirit, I ask questions. Sometimes I say, "I feel uncomfortable about what you just said. I feel it wasn't completely accurate." And sometimes I say, "I'm not ready to talk to you about that. I need some time." and I go and sort it out. Write it in my burn journal (which I often email to him, it's an accurate un-accusing insight into my feelings), call a friend, or 2 or 3 and hash it out. Then I can talk to him. On Thursday, there were 3 different disclosures (all done very poorly in my opinion on his part- he apologized later...) and I had 3 different reactions based on what I felt. What I didn't do: Yell, Blame, Shame, Accuse, Belittle, play the victim, Beg, Plead, Scream, manipulate, etc. Each time, I felt the pain, took a breath and reacted based on what I felt. And I feel ok with that. I feel ok about the time that I said, " Wait a minute, what really happened? Was it this? Or this?" and I feel ok about the time I said, "I'm uncomfortable with something you said. I feel like it wasn't completely honest." and I'm ok with the time I said, "I'm not ready to talk about this yet."

      I'm ok- as long as I take a breath and try to hear what He is telling me before I react.

      Does that help?

      If you really want to talk, you can email me awiferedeemed@gmail.com and I'll give you my number.

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    6. Thank you both for your replies!

      We kind of had things come to a head over this issue this weekend. Like you said, ultimately it is his recovery. I had thought that he needed to get it all out so that his thoughts didn't have power over him. However, through much talking and prayer, I have realized that he needs to take them to Heavenly Father directly. Even if he had a sponsor, he wouldn't be sharing graphic details of his thoughts. I was asking for too much because I thought it was what he needed to get through this and I wanted to help him. But, I was taking too much upon myself. It was traumatizing. Now I am going to let it all go. If he actually acts out, then I will probably want to know some details. But, as for the thoughts in his head, I don't want to know anymore. After he shared some of his thoughts while in the temple, I was to the point of being completely hopeless. The temple was supposed to be safe, not to mention sacred. I didn't think we had an eternal marriage or anything left because he was too far down that path. I was done with him and our marriage. It was a really tough weekend. Definitely the most "rock bottom" either one of us has ever felt. Saturday's conference talks struck me to the core. It was difficult. We are doing better. I don't know when I will feel safe going to the temple with him again. So, we will go separately. But, I have hope again. Sunday's conference talks were a balm. I am choosing to dwell in the light step by step.

      Thank you for your love and support! I hope you can all find the peace you need as well. :)
      ***Hugs!***

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