Seeking a Satisfied Heart

I’m still waiting. Surprisingly, more patiently than I would have expected amidst my sadness of the last few months. Perhaps because I have changed my focus. Oh, my heart still yearns for the mutually fulfilling sexual intimacy that remains as elusive as finding a family of brightly coloured M & Ms dancing in my backyard. And I am certainly not going to pretend I found a way for it to not matter anymore. History has proven me to be pretty gullible at believing lies and accepting deception, but even I can’t convince myself that the pain of continual sexual rejection and neglect is inconsequential.

But what I am doing is trying my darnedest to no longer let my disappointment and discouragement consume and taint all areas of my life. It is a satisfied heart I seek. A heart that is able to experience peace and joy despite my prevailing sadness. A heart that is open to the goodness of life and God’s creation even when my healing process is not following my predetermined timeline. Even when things don’t seem to be on my timeline at all.

Sometimes, or rather often, when the wounds of sexual betrayal trauma begin to bleed again, I hold my fragile heart tightly in my hands. It is considerably stronger and healthier than it was four years ago. But still there are scars. Some now only faint reminders of the pain and abuse inflicted upon me by my husband’s sex addiction and intimacy anorexia. Others, fading nicely. But this stubborn scab. Nope. It remains resistant to healing.

I will pray for everybody and everything except for the pain that haunts me. And taunts me. And has burrowed into the crevices of my heart. It’s not that I never have. It just seems like there is nothing more to say. I’ve poured my heart out to God. The silent screams. The very real tears. The flickering hope. The guilt and embarrassment of acknowledging that my greatest source of suffering is sexual in nature when others are dealing with considerably more stress and loss filled situations and circumstances in their lives.

My marriage has disappointed me. My husband has disappointed me. My own sinful behaviours and choices have disappointed me. But God has not disappointed me. And I want to keep it that way. Confused and angered me, yes. But when those emotions emerge, I have been able to address and overcome them. For me personally, those emotions don’t threaten to infect and poison my heart and mind in the same way as the crushing defeat of unmet expectations. If I pray, and wait expectantly for an answer, and I don’t receive the response I want or think I should get, well, then, my hope wavers. My trust in God weakens. The domino falls and my trust in my husband falters, and then in myself. My heart begins to ache. The pain crescendos again. And then I stumble and fall into the pity party that welcomes me with open arms and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

I know this cycle. I am tired of this cycle. I have crawled and lunged through every distorted room of the misnamed carnival fun house forwards, backwards and sideways. With joy, terror and an uneasy acceptance of my task. I have concluded that praying for me, for my marriage, for sexual healing is not safe. And as someone recovering from sexual betrayal trauma, I crave safety and security. A sure foundation.

I have taken many courageous leaps of faith on this journey to wholeness. Some looked like the tiniest of baby steps, others soaring jumps off the ferris wheel. Both were scary. And rewarding. In more ways than I could have ever imagined. Or expected. I have followed the popcorn trail through the chaotic fairgrounds savouring the buttery, salty prize along the way. But for some reason, the freshly squeezed lemonade stand remains elusive and I am unable to quench my thirst. I have sought guidance, and received directions, but they don’t take me to the destination I desperately seek. The popcorn doesn’t taste quite as good as it once did. My heart is not satisfied.

I began writing this post two months ago. When I opened it again, I wasn’t sure what I would find. I didn’t know if the current state of my heart and mind would align with my thoughts from then, and I could pick up where I left off, or if my words would be relegated to the recycle bin. Truthfully, after four years of recovery, I would hope and expect that I would not be stuck in the exact same place for over two months without any movement. But there I was. And here I am.

I cried this weekend. Two days in a row. Saturday evening, the tears of my aching heart appeared on my cheeks as I dared to expose my pain and offer my crushed dreams to God to hold in His hands. I prayed the prayer I was withholding from us all – husband, wife and our Father God. I can’t say that I felt instantly lighter or hopeful. But by allowing God into my deepest pain, I didn’t feel so alone. My burden became more bearable.

In Sunday morning’s church service, the worship band led the two songs that I cherish as being significant healing forces in the very early stages of our disclosures and recovery. The first, “Great are You Lord” was the song I uncontrollably sobbed to, and loudly croaked along with, broken and alone in my living room. Just me, God and my overwhelming pain. Indeed, God was and continues to be the breath in my lungs. The second song, “Oceans” was the daily faith and trust builder that provided me the courage to press forward, lean into Jesus, and prepare my shattered heart for healing. And it did it again. The tears welled in my eyes as God’s tender, merciful whisper to “trust Me” infused my soul with peace and hope.

So I am. Trusting God. And seeking a satisfied heart. I think the two are inseparable.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

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12 thoughts on “Seeking a Satisfied Heart

  1. I’ve been missing you and wondering how you’ve been doing, Cynthia. For what it’s worth, I don’t see the source of your suffering as sexual in nature. (Not that there would be anything wrong, even if it was…) I perceive it as based on a profound absence of intimacy and connection. Yes, we’d all love a big cinematic “O” now and again, but the root of it is wanting our partners to really see us and know us and meet our needs. When that relational dynamic is missing, it reminds me of being lonely when you’re in a room full of people. The void is unmistakable. It makes you doubt yourself. (I know it did a number on my self-worth.) Importantly though, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, especially when you are making such effort and putting in the work to try to establish that connection. You are doing all of the hard yards for sure. I hope that your husband can make the effort to rise to your level and connect with you in a way that meets your needs. Regardless, I hope you find the satisfied heart you want and that it brings you peace.
    xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Such kind, validating, affirming words that have deeply touched my heart. Thank you for your continued support, encouragement and understanding and as always, amazingly wise and perceptive insights. It is such a blessing having you in my corner!

      I’ve been missing you and my friends here on WordPress too. Not only have I not been writing, but I only peek on here occasionally, and when I do, it seems that many of us have become more silent in the last couple of months. And I have wondered what that means for each of us. For me, nothing is inherently wrong or out of the ordinary. I’m just weary. Tired of how everything I do and think, wherever and whenever, is now tainted and filtered through the lens of addiction and infidelity and sex. In so, so many ways, I am emotionally and mentally healthier than I have been at any other time of my life. But I remain immersed in this world. And wrestling with what that means and what that should look like in the present and the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel your pained heart Cynthia, and I am so sorry your pain is still so very heavy.

    I don’t know that it ever goes away, but I think the hope for us all is that the pain typically fades provided everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do. In your case, it appears the only concession he has made in your sexual relationship is that he has stopped acting out – he has not/cannot/won’t concede to what is needed to make you feel “whole” and make you feel wanted, desired, sexy, special. You’ve made many many many concessions for many many many years. You’ve had so many injustices thrown at you by him, and now you’re willing to tell yourself another concession is ok and that you’ll go without feeling wanted, desired, sexy and special by him. Who else is going to give you that very basic need?

    YOU ARE ALL OF THEM. Don’t give up on these very important acts your husband should be showing you. I hope he knows the wonderful gift you’ve given him by continuing to be in a marriage with him Cynthia, but I also hope he knows you’re a woman with very basic human needs, and you can revoke your gift to him at any time.

    I’m so sorry, I’m upset for you. Never give up on yourself or your needs. You make the rules.

    BIG HUGS XOXOXO

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, your encouraging words and the truth in them have brought tears to my soul. Thank you for providing me the nudge (or push!) to keep pressing through and forward to claim what is rightfully mine. My expectations are not unrealistic nor too high. Or shameful. I need to understand and believe that.

      I gladly accept your hugs xo

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I, too, am waiting. I, too, am dissatisfied and disappointed in my marriage.
    I also have faith that it will get better. I did not have that faith four years ago. I was not as close to my Father in Heaven four years ago. I was bereft of hope four years ago.
    I am willing to continue to heal…as painfully slow as it is…as long as I see growth in Will. And I do. And that, too, is painfully slow. God bless you my friend. I know and feel your pain and frustration. **hugs** ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know you do. I am so touched by your kindred spirit and friendship. In your words, I can feel your love and care for me, your own sadness and disappointment, and our shared hope and faith in the healing journey God is carrying us through. Everything is so messily yet beautifully intertwined. Including all of us here. I am thankful for you Leigh, and gratefully accept your continued support and hugs. xo

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  4. I completely agree with all the above comments Cynthia! I’m glad you are back. I have been worried about you!

    If I sent your husband a book would he read it?

    Or I could send you both a book, so as to not seem as if I am “calling him out”…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stu, thank you for your sentiments. I highly doubt my husband would read it. That has been one of the sources of my discouragement the last year or two — his utter disinterest in reading anything that will continue to bring him personal, spiritual or relational growth and improvement. I have suggested and recommended several books, and great blogs (for shorter reading periods since there is always time for that if it is a priority). Part of his recovery program was the requirement to read recovery material for 15 minutes a day, and he did do that for the first two years, but now, nothing. Even though I have talked to him about the importance of continuing to learn, heal and grow. There is one book, Sacred Sex, that I have read twice, and asked him to read. After eighteen months he is still on page 20. He came home from Promise Keepers fifteen months ago with two books he was excited about and hasn’t opened either of them yet. And on this goes. This disinterest in utilizing any resources is a major contributor to my disappointment and belief in his lack of desire to cultivate sexual intimacy.

      What is the book? I’m wondering if he has read it. Or if I have……

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s not a recovery book. But it changed my way of prayer and my life (in a sense).

        The Power of a Praying Husband for him and for you The Power of a Praying Wife. I have read both. I know odd right?

        But my ex had a copy and I was bored on day so I started reading the Power of a Praying Wife and balled my eyes out. She looked at me like I had lost my mind. I just looked and said I have never felt these types of prayer from you. I asked her if she even read the book? She said no. I told her flat out to read to prepared for the next man God brings into your life.

        Both books have 31 chapters for a different topic on which to prayer including sexuality. Powerful books.

        I’ve given away many of them!

        It’s very disheartening that he is unwilling to continue learning, heal or grow.

        He does realize he is still in the recovering stage, right?

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      • I don’t know what he realizes. He does still participate weekly in his support group. But his contact with men and accountability partners during the week has slid to a rarity. Which I have also expressed my concern about. It is these things that have allowed the small seed of mistrust to enter my heart again. When he doesn’t value the recovery he has achieved enough to protect it and keep moving forward, then my hope and trust in our relationship wavers and I become wary, and weary.

        Now my confession time. The book Power of a Praying Wife has been sitting on my bookshelf unopened and unread for a year or two. In the last four years, I have taken to visiting thrift stores and bringing armloads of recovery, and personal and spiritual growth books home. I have my own library. I have been drawn towards that book several times, but have always chosen something else. Perhaps this is my time. Next book on my reading list…..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Geez, that bad. I’m still in contact with at least one of my accountability twice a month and it’s been going on 8 years now. It’s vital to discuss our emotions and struggles openly and honestly. Being single.. that open line of communication is probably one of the main reasons I have not gone backwards. Keeping them in is dangerous. That’s what I did for first year and it weighed me down.

        Yes, please do read it. If you’ve been drawn to it that is God’s little nudge 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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