Updated: Jun 22, 2021
This is a hard post to write but since this topic is so common with partners, who become filled with guilt, it's time.
So, here we go....
You can be angry with God and still have a personal relationship with Him.
Let me repeat that. You can be saved AND angry with God.
At the core of our belief in the God of the Bible, we know that He is everywhere and ultimately in control of everything. That truth can become the basis of our anger.
You see, I believe that God wanted me to have a marriage that honored Him. And I don’t think that’s wrong. Most likely it’s what all believing partners desire.
That being said, we pray, we read, we attend the Bible studies, we go to the marriage conferences. And we purpose to apply what we learn promising that when one of us is dedicated and doing the work, the other will see the difference and fall in line. So we work. Hard. We pray for God to use us to change the marriage dynamic. And we believe He can. We don’t necessarily know what He’s waiting for, but knowing that He doesn’t always work according to our time schedule, but His own, we keep on keeping on. After all, we’re not quitters. We’re committed to Jesus and to our marriage.
So how do we reconcile these two seemingly opposing spaces?
Remember who God is and all He says about us.
Psalm 139 reminds us that He has searched for us, He knows us intimately, He protects us, we can’t run away or hide from Him, there’s no where He is not with us, He knew us before we were even conceived, He thinks about us all the time.
Even though these things are always true, they can sometimes throw us into a tail spin.
Why didn’t He stop the addiction?
Why didn’t He stop the abuse?
Why didn’t He cause my spouse to treat me with respect?
Why didn’t He stop my spouse from raping me?
Why didn’t He protect me and my kids?
Or, why did He allow all of these things to continue?
And so on….
I don’t know. I prayed He would. I’m sure you have too.
We may never get all of the answers to our “why’s” but I also believe that He loves us through them. I don’t think He passes judgment on our questions or that it’s an indication of a spiritual problem. I think it’s honest and authentic. And I believe that Jesus would rather we be honest about what is on our hearts, which He already knows, then to try and hide it from Him and everyone else. He doesn’t want us to be like the Pharisees and pretend, hide our feelings, wear masks, spiritualize our pain, or live in denial.
So here’s how I reconcile this. Free Will. It’s the same with salvation. He convicts us of our sin. He draws us lovingly to Himself. We can quench the Holy Spirit by turning away or we can come to Him. In coming to Him we know that He is God, that He lived a perfect life, that He gave up His life on the cross, paying for our sin, He rose from the grave three days later, and that in surrendering to Him, we can have eternal life.
But He won’t force us to choose Him because forced love isn’t love.
Free Will. Turn to Him or turn away from Him. He doesn’t force us to do right things. He wants us to come to Him because we love Him as a result of the love He has shown us.
Being the partner of a sex addict, we want our spouse to choose to stop acting out, to choose recovery, to choose us and our marriage….because they love us. We purpose to do all the 'right' things in order for him to make the best decision for the marriage, himself, and to be in obedience with God.
But it’s a choice. God won’t force him one way or the other. That’s not love. He has to want to make that choice or it won’t last. It will only bring dissension, or at the very least, behavior change.
The goal is life change, not just behavior change.
So back to our anger, and how to deal with it.
Here’s what I know to be true…
He will never leave
He reveals Himself
He gives grace
He’s bigger than our anger
Be honest with Him. Journaling has been a life saver for me. I appreciate being able to do a ‘word vomit’ without fear. I trust that He knows what is best for me when I don’t understand, and even in the midst of my angry feelings. I’ve been able to realize that His will doesn’t always look like I think it will but it’s no less His will. I also know that when I’m completely transparent with Him and myself, it helps to set me free…one step at a time.
I don’t know what it will look like for you. Your path may not look the same as mine. I still have a lot of questions. I’m sure you do too.
My time with Him doesn’t look the same as it used to. I don’t currently attend church in person because it doesn’t feel emotionally safe to me. And that’s okay. These are perfectly normal responses to being betrayed by our intimate partner, yet there is no one normal response. I’m still on this journey but I can give you a few tips so that you can move forward.
Know your worth and value, according to His Truth
Pray as you’re able
Focus on what you CAN do, not what you used to do as it relates to your relationship with Jesus
Take it one day at a time
If you don’t feel safe going to church, it’s okay to stay home. Do what’s safe for you
Remind yourself that even if you don’t have any answers, He still loves you and knows your struggle
Surround yourself with safe friends
Be in a support group with authentic people who get where you are
Process your feelings with a coach or therapist familiar with betrayal trauma
Know that you will not be angry forever. This is a process that you need to go through. Anyone who has experienced betrayal trauma, particularly as the partner of a professing Christian, will naturally have some feelings of anger towards God that they never thought they’d have. Be sure to take care of yourself and don’t pressure yourself to get over it quickly. Be with safe people who work to understand, won’t judge you, and won't throw platitudes your way. Most of all, give yourself the grace and forgiveness you need as you walk your journey.
And remember...He is for you.
Where are you in this journey? If you've moved through the anger, what worked best for you?