So I have entered a new realm in my healing from my husband's sex addiction and resulting infidelity. The horrible images and feelings that I have been having for he last six months have begun to fade and the hurt that accompanied many of those dark thoughts has lessened dramatically. I can only attribute that healing to the Savior and the Atonement.
Back when my husband's excommunication occurred, it seemed just a necessary sidenote to the bigger problem: his addiction. I knew it should be devastating to me but at the time, it just wasn't. Perhaps the Lord was lifting that heartache for a while as He helped me wade through the bigger, more devastating hurt of adultery and betrayal. Now, the weight and grief of having an excommunicated husband is settling in and can I just say, IT HURTS! I miss the Priesthood in my home. I miss the comforting knowledge that my husband and I are sealed for eternity...because we are not anymore. I am angry that the covenants that I made with my husband on our wedding day are now null and void. (at least temporarily). I hate the gossip and rumors in our Stake. I hate the way some people treat us differently and don't know what to say to us. (Totally understandable by the way...I am not sure how I would react either). Excommunication is kind of a rare thing... in fact, it is the first one (and hopefully only one) to be handled by our current Stake President. It is such a rare thing and yet, it is my family that is going through it. Of all the families in the Stake, why mine?
I found myself getting angry and bitter towards the church last week. I can't even believe that I could say such a thing because my testimony has been unwavering in all other matters. But, as Satan is eager to do, he started to get a hold of my heart. I felt neglected. I felt like our family had been given the sentence of excommunication with all of the loss of blessing that that entails and then told to go on our merry way. There was no explanation as to what would happen to my eternal marriage should my husband die before his blessings are restored. What about the covenants I made on our wedding day? I didn't break them. How long would this process take? 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? There really was no explanation to me. And worse, something that was supposed to be a private matter between our family and the High Council was suddenly spread all over the Stake. The feeling of betrayal has been overwhelming. How many of those brethren went home and told their wives despite being told not to? I cried, I raged, I questioned whether this process would just be easier without the excommunication "drama." I even had thoughts (and these truly terrified me) that maybe it would just be easier to quit and repent on our own, without the Gospel. It was at that point that I realized what was happening to me. Satan had taken hold.
I felt like I was in the middle of a great tug of war with Satan on one side and the Lord on the other. I knew in my heart which side I needed to be on but the hurt and anger kept me tilting towards Satan. I had a few thoughts through this period.
First, our church is run by very imperfect people. Yes, they talk when they shouldn't. Yes, they gossip (I have been guilty of the same but have learned an important lesson through this about gossip). Our Stake President handled this the best he could. Could he have helped me understand this process better? Yes. But, thankfully as I mentioned before, excommunications are rather rare and he did what he thought was right with the limited training he had. Perfect church...imperfect people. I have heard that phrase so many times but never fully realized it until now.
Second, I know that we would not be better off without the church and the "drama" of excommunication. I have come to realize that my husband has never really been worthy of the Priesthood and of our temple sealing and his blessings. We really haven't had that for a long while...I just didn't know it. This process, as horrible as it is, is allowing him to cleanse himself of sin so that when he does finally get those blessings back, he will be 100% worthy to use them.
Third, when a sin like this is committed, heavy penalties are required. We understand that. What makes this hard though is feeling like I too have been excommunicated because I have lost so much that is sacred to me in the process. But in reality, i still have access to the Priesthood...just not from my husband. Yes, my temple sealing is "on hiatus" but we like to think that it still exists. It is just waiting for the day when it can be restored. (which, interestingly enough, will be done by a simple laying on of hands. He doesn't have to re-perform all those ordinances in the temple.) I found out from my bishop (after six month of agonizing over this question) that should my husband die before his blessings are restored, I can be re-sealed to him later. That put some comfort into my heart.
Lastly and most of all, I feel like My Heavenly Father loves me so much and hates that this has happened. He is not punishing me at all but hopefully giving me a blessing of much greater value in the end: a worthy and clean husband.
Yep...excommunication hurts like crazy. It is embarrassing and disappointing and something you think you will never have to face because you have the perfect marriage and family after all. But, we sometimes do have to face those things. My objective now is to see the blessings in it. I hope to one day be grateful that my husband was excommunicated as it gave him a chance to come back a whole and healed person.