The more details you know about your husband’s stuff, the harder it will be for you to let go of your hurt and pain and the more difficult it will be for you to move through the grieving process.
Think about it. What books sell the best and are remembered the longest? The books that are written by gifted authors whose use of details enable you to actually visualize and become a part of the story. Details make things more real and more powerful.
Which statement touches you more?
– Jesus died on the cross for your sins.
– As He hung there laboring for every breath, blood dripping down His cheeks, His jaws intermittently clenching and unclenching with the agony of the pain He felt in every part of His body, He looked out on the crowd and into eternity and cried, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”
See what I mean? The first statement is a general statement of fact. It is a truthful and powerful statement which impacts us emotionally. The second statement, however, makes the same truth come alive. We can visualize our Lord suffering for our sakes, and it makes the emotional impact of the truth that much greater.
The same thing will happen if you learn too much about your husband’s sin.
…So, if you don’t need to know details, what do you need to know? Generally, in a formal time of disclosure, the counselor will ask your husband to share about all of the sexual behaviors he has been involved in that directly impact your relationship. (In some instances, if a husband perceives his wife as a safe person, he may also share about some of his behaviors before the marriage and any trauma/abuse he experienced as a child that bent him toward addiction.) After your husband shares, most often the counselor will give you an opportunity to ask questions and share how what you have heard is impacting you.
The counselor will have helped your husband summarize his sexual experiences outside of the marriage in factual but general statements. When it is your turn to ask questions, use that opportunity to clarify those facts without gaining information that will hurt you later. It’s also a great time to check out all of those intuitions and “gut feelings” you had but were either dismissed by you or rejected by your husband at the time.
–Melissa Haas, The Journey: Book One