To this point we have emphasized knowing facts, understanding impact, and processing well over “doing.” A spouse’s sexual sin creates a context of grief and trauma. These affects are often overlooked in the name of “figuring out what to do.” When this happens the offended spouse is left feeling like no one “gets it” and as if all actions are only Band-Aid fixes, moral manipulation, or shifting responsibility. Hopefully the road we have traveled has alleviated the fear of this step.
But in this step, we will begin to focus upon responding. Grieving losses and processing trauma would be incomplete without direction for the future. Step 7 will primarily assume that your spouse has been cooperative with their role in the restoration process outlined here and in False Love. However, even if your spouse is uncooperative, Step 7 is still applicable, although it would be applied in your personal journey towards healthy rather than a marital journey towards restoration.
It is possible that as you read through this step, you may become defensive and think, “Why should I do that? I am the one who was sinned against. This is not fair. My spouse has no right to ask that of me.” You will likely be right. Fairness has no way of creating restoration after sin. Restoration, even mere freedom from bitterness, is always built upon a foundation of grace that is “unfair.” If these emotions do arise, it would be wise to review through the work you did in Steps 4-6 to help you process those reactions.
In this steps the kind of goals, actions, or decisions that you will need to make are discussed in four sections.
- Forgiveness: What It Is and Is Not
- Trust: A Wise Journey
- Communicating About the Whole Journey
- The Divorce Decision
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