How much information is too much information?
Author of Hope After Betrayal
Meg Wilson watched her world fall apart when her husband confessed to years of sexual addiction. She has intimate knowledge of the devastation that follows--and she has come through the other side.
In her groundbreaking Hope After Betrayal, Meg provides reassuring counsel, compassionate insight, and wise direction. By sharing her story, talking to other women who've been in a similar situation, and turning to Scripture, Wilson has helped countless readers through the steps to recovery--and shows how you can follow that same path out of the darkness.
This newly revised and expanded edition includes new lessons Meg has learned over the last decade. A compelling final chapter by Meg's husband sheds further light on the difficult road to healing from sexual addiction, and a thoughtful new appendix addresses the effect sexual addiction has on children in the home.
Q: Hope After Betrayal originally released more than 10 years ago. What has been updated and revised in this new edition?
In the original book lessons and tools were written through three fictional characters. Readers walked with Tammy, Stephanie, and Renee and watched their various reactions and choices play out. In the new edition, I have added a Fourth voice, Dee Dee, with an ethnic feel so more women find themselves in the pages. She was added after I lead a group primarily of women of color. I realized although the pain is the same, and the tools still apply, there was a cultural element missing. These precious women helped me get Dee Dee’s voice right, and she enters in chapter one when she discovers her husband’s sexual betrayal. A woman shows up at her door carrying her baby, fathered by Dee Dee’s husband.
In addition, I have continued to walk with women while committing to be a lifelong learner. Over ten years ministering, reading, and connecting to experts and counselors in this area I have gleaned a lot of new information. I wanted to pass this new perspective on to the next generation of women seeking help.
Q: How long was it after your husband’s disclosure of his betrayal that you first wrote Hope After Betrayal? Now, ten years down the road, what do you know now about the process of healing that you didn’t know then?
Writing the book began about two years after my husband’s final disclosure. He had opened the door a couple of years prior with a partial confession, but I glossed over it with denial and an unhealthy outlook. The actual process of writing the book, editing, and re-writing turned out to be in important part of my own healing journey. Writing the book took three years, but the healing process would take much longer. Ten years later, I now see healing is an ongoing life time process. After at least 5 years, Dave and I moved away from sexual addiction (SA) issues, but there are plenty of lies to uncover and lessons from the Lord in general to keep us busy for the rest of our lives.
I’m trying to think, “What is the first step when your whole world blows up?” Literally, you would be unconscious, then wake up in some hospital. Then you would follow the doctor’s orders until you regained some strength. The same is true when it is an emotional explosion. I was in shock for weeks, then I reached out for any and every resource I could find. Dave and I each had a counselor, were in respective groups, read lots of books, and set up a spiritual care team based on the book, Restoring the Fallen by Earl and Sandy Wilson (no relation). All those choices would then lead us to the first steps once we had the strength to take them.
Q: Why is there such great power in transparency? When is the right time to air our dirty laundry?
True intimacy is birthed in transparency. I heard intimacy described as in-to-me-see. This type of vulnerability is risky, but worth the reward when reserved for mature, safe people. I used to wear my heart on my sleeve seeking deep connection but found myself open to injury instead. Now I slowly look for people whose walk I admire and who have proven trustworthy and seek them out. Care is taken, and not everyone gets the same access. But even the few hurtful situations brought growth. Learning to live carefully with an open heart has brought far more joy than pain.
Caution also applies to information shared as everyone doesn’t deserve to know every detail. Dirty laundry needs to be aired, but only in the right environment. There is far too much “sharing” online in a public forum with too many tentacles to manage. Safe people keep private information private and save important discussions for face-to-face or one-to-one forums. Social media offers a false sense of connection that leaves most people feeling isolated and injured. Better to have one close safe friend than 10 million likes.
Q: How important is it to find a support group to help you on your journey to healing? How can churches better provide a support system for their members?
There is a reason God warns about not giving up meeting together. We are injured in community, and we heal in community. Support groups are a great place to air your dirty laundry with others who understand and have the same issues.
Since as Christians we are the church, we need to value and model vulnerability and transparency. When our flaws are made known, it gives other permission to allow their flaws to be in the light. Only then can God address the sin that brought us to Him in the first place. Christ is the standard of perfection, not because we can attain it, but to show us each day how much we need Him. We make far better examples when we are honest about who we were when God found us. We should point others to the Christ who changes everything, instead our pointing out our successes. Every good thing in my life is because of Christ, and anything still needing work is evidence of my humanity yet under grace.
Q: What responsibilities does a wife have in her husband’s recovery?
A wife has zero responsibility for her husband’s choices, healing, or recovery. However, she is 100% responsible for her own choices and responses. After an explosion occurs the rubble must be sorted and removed. In the beginning, both parties are seeking the Lord on their own, leaving the other to do the same. Once the debris is removed and it’s clear that both parties want to re-build, then they can begin working together. However, to start trying to re-build before the rubble is removed is futile. When the responsibilities of each individual get blurred, it slows down and complicates the healing process. In the beginning, they should be accountable to wise counselors, not each other. They should check in, but neither one has the strength to help the other.
Q: What do you mean by learning to live in freedom rather than fear?
Freedom comes when we can hold two opposites at the same time. The world is broken and scary, and God is good and faithful to use everything for good. The first half alone is true, but it brings only fear. The second half by itself is also true but without the first part is simply denial. Holding both in faith brings freedom. We must fight to stay in this place for there are always forces picking on us one way or the other. It’s about staying as close to the Lord and the truth as possible.
Learn more about Meg Wilson at hopeafterbetrayal.com. You can also find her on Facebook (@habministries) and Twitter (@HopeAfterBetray).