Wednesday, September 12, 2018
God’s definition of hope is far more potent than ours
Part 2 of an interview with Meg Wilson,
Author of Hope After Betrayal
Seventeen years ago, when her husband confessed to years of sexual addiction (SA), author Meg Wilson’s world seemed to fall apart around her. Her first response was that she wanted a divorce. In the moment, she wanted the pain to end, but God told her to wait. Because she and her husband were willing to work towards change, God was able to restore what was broken. She knows the devastation SA can bring to a marriage, but has come through the other side stronger, and now ministers to other women, offering hope and helping them to do the same.
In Hope After Betrayal: Healing When Sexual Addiction Invades Your Marriage (Revised and Expanded Edition) (Kregel Publications), Wilson provides reassuring counsel, compassionate insight, and wise direction to those who have found themselves in similar circumstances. By sharing her story, talking to other women who’ve walked the same road, and turning to Scripture, Wilson has helped countless readers through the steps to recovery—and shows how they can follow that same path out of the darkness.
Q: You first learned that your husband had an addiction to pornography. After a while of processing his sexual addiction, you learned it went much deeper and he had not been completely honest about his problem. How did you respond to his confession? Did you ever think about leaving rather than trying to work it out?
Learning the first time that your husband has betrayed you in the most intimate of ways is beyond description, but multiple disclosures raise the pain level and lengthen the healing process. They also can lead to PTSD symptoms and a higher probability for divorce. My first response was that I wanted the pain to end and divorce seemed like the only way. I thought since I had Biblical grounds that was it. However, I knew enough not to make such an important decision in an initial state of shock. I needed to hear from the Lord what His will was. When I did, He simply asked me to wait.
It took some time to see my husband was serious about doing his own hard work before I fully put my heart back into the marriage. It’s important to state every case is different. Some women get the okay from God to file in the courts of man that which has already happened in the courts of heaven. You see, I was divorced, the covenant was broken, but God was able to restore it because both of us were willing to change. Picking one scripture to justify any decision is dangerous. It’s always best to hear God’s heart in each case. Divorce should never be chosen quickly or lightly.
Q: Tell us more about the format of the book.
This book is a quick read even though there is a fire hose of information. The book opens with my story, then the reader follows the four stories through discovery or disclosure which feels like a blackout. We then see them wander with a shroud of shock and pain until they arrive at those first precious glimmers of hope. Our four fictional guides: Tammy, Stephanie, Renee, and Dee Dee demonstrate the different ways women go through the healing process as well as ways women get stuck. Whether the reader identifies with Renee’s and Dee Dee’s explosive anger, or Tammy’s rose-colored glasses approach, each chapter covers key concepts.
The reader can then apply those principles to their situation through the “Lies vs. Truth” exercises and the journal prompts at the end of each chapter. The more time the reader takes for personal reflection, the more she will gain. Later, when we get to the more challenging topics of grace and forgiveness, there are additional resources offered to help them navigate.
Finally, the last chapter gives the man’s perspective as it was written by my husband. He has come into my groups for questions over the years, so we collected the most common questions and had him answer them here. It’s my favorite chapter.
Q: In the introduction of the book you write that as you have walked the path of recovery with women of color, they’ve taught you there are distinct cultural differences on their journeys. What are some of those differences that you highlight in the book?
I would not dream of speaking as if I could represent women of color, but there were some brave women who helped guide me and I am so thankful. One key difference in some cultures is the men don’t just use porn or have affairs, they have babies. This was a layer I had not covered previously. Some cultures foster a male centered or “macho” environment which brings different challenges to a woman trying to find healing and her own voice.
Q: What is God’s definition of hope, and how does it differ from our worldly definition?
The world uses the word hope as a dream or wish for something to happen. God’s word is far more potent. It is the certainty of things yet unseen. The fuel of faith ignites our hope. I see every day how finding hope takes a woman weakened by shame and devastation and makes her strong, providing resolve and trust that the Lord is with her. Hope makes all the difference. Hope is what got me through.
Q: When couples have children, what are some of the things they need to remember while working through their marital problems? How did you discuss what was going on with your daughters?
Parents need to understand that the painful process they are in will be traumatic for their children. I have learned there is no way around this fact, but knowing this, parents can seek to minimize the damage. They should get the help their kids need, or will need, when they are older. Having a counselor where they can process their feelings is so important.
It’s vital that parents keep their children out of their conflict and never talk poorly about the other parent. If they witness conflict, make sure they see a resolution too. Parents also need to address the tension in the home. Kids know more than you think. Secrets are scary and toxic. At least to say, something like, “Mommy and Daddy are dealing with grown-up issues. Sometimes being married is hard, but we are working on it and we love you.” Say whatever is true, comforting, and age appropriate.
Our girls were older, so we tried to be honest, but keep the information to just what they needed to know, then let their questions lead. Secrets may feel like the safe road, but they grow lives of their own. Let the Lord lead on timing and what to share.
Q: How does your husband feel about your ministry and the fact you have been so open about the darkest times of your marriage?
This is covered in his chapter and is a question I ask him on a regular basis. I never want to help others at the expense of my husband or family. He is the reason there is a book and a ministry, because if he wasn’t comfortable, it would not have happened. It is such a joy to see him speak to other men and to stand up and say, “That is who I once was.” Freedom from shame is powerful to behold. I could not be prouder of the man he is today.
Q: What other resources are available to go along with Hope After Betrayal? Where can readers find out more?
In addition to the book, I have created a workbook for individual or group work. Hope After Betrayal Ministries offers 12-week groups both locally in Vancouver, WA as well as remote groups attended virtually from any location. The blog section of the website offers support as well as the resources section for other books and articles around the topic of SA.
Learn more about Meg Wilson at hopeafterbetrayal.com. You can also find her on and .