Q: I have been to two bishops in the past who either blamed me for my husband’s sexual addiction or told me that I shouldn’t worry about it and that it is not a big deal. How do I get the help that I need from my spiritual leader?
A: The foundation of your healing as a traumatized spouse requires you to be proactive in your healing process. You must seek out four things:
- Work with a Spiritual Leader
In response on how to work with a spiritual leader, these are my feelings and my experience. Many spiritual leaders find themselves uneducated about this issue. Through no fault of their own, they may not have had experience or an opportunity to learn how to support and help with the healing process. So, as an afflicted spouse, you have the opportunity to go to your spiritual leader, and with the education that you youself have found, give him some information. Let us not, as women, be afraid to do that. Remember that fear and faith cannot coexist.
If I was going to my spiritual leader today, I would make the phone call and the appointment to meet with him. Then I would take with me three things: A copy of He Restoreth My Soul, by Donald L. Hilton, Jr. MD, a copy of Understanding Pornography and Sexual Addiction a Resource for LDS families and Leaders by SA Lifeline Foundation, and a copy of What Can I Do About Me? by Rhyll Croshaw. I would have done my homework by becoming familiar with these publications myself, to understand and underline the things that I feel that he needs to hear. He may not have time to read thoroughly all these resources, so it is up to me to let him know what I need.
If your spiritual leader does not respond in a positive way, pray for extra strength and guidance and try again. You will be guided, inspired, and given courage to continue your efforts. Remember, your spiritual leader is YOUR spiritual leader (not just your struggling husband’s). You, as an individual, are an important part of his stewardship.
As you courageously take these steps you will also bless other’s lives that may be in your neighborhood or community that may be searching for comfort and support from your spiritual leader as well. Your strength and healing will bless not only your family but many others.