Does Time Heal All Wounds?

Hello, friends! March is a time for renewal and rebirth. At the end of the month, Christians across the world will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a wonderful season to think about the life, mission, and journey of our Savior. Though it was foretold even before His birth, Isaiah 53:5 comes to mind; “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds, we are healed.” He was born of our griefs, carries our sorrows, and still heals our broken hearts. I long for a time when the wounds of the world, individuals, and relationships will be fully healed. Even today, Jesus offers us the calming salve of the Holy Spirit to bring comfort and regeneration. I wish you all a Happy Easter!

Today’s Question: I have been married for 12 years to a man I thought loved the Lord. He doesn’t seem to be growing in the fruits of the spirit. Early in our marriage, I discovered he had had several affairs and was watching a lot of porn. By the time I learned of these other women, he said he had ended the relationships. I was, and still am, heartbroken. We went to counseling through our church and I was encouraged to forgive him. I was pregnant at the time and didn’t know what else to do. My pastor's wife helped me see that I was not really meeting his needs in the bedroom. Sex was really painful for me in the beginning. After I delivered our first child, it seemed to get a little better. But I still find that I get really insecure and anxious during sex because he can be critical. I don’t think my husband is having an affair now, but I can’t seem to stop imagining what those women were like and comparing myself to others. He says that I need to move on because it has been over ten years since he has been with anyone else. I remember our counselor at church told me that it would not hurt so much at some point and to be patient with myself. He said, In time, God heals all wounds. I don’t remember the scripture he quoted. I have heard that before and my husband keeps telling me time should have healed me by now. I just wonder how long it will take. I am afraid that I am ruining my marriage because I can’t move on. What can I do to get past this sooner?

Susan’s Response: My heart goes out to you! I am so sorry for the damage that has been done to you by your husband, your church counselor, and the pastor’s wife. Your husband’s infidelity was not your responsibility or your fault. I want you to know that his decision to watch porn and have affairs was about his selfishness and lack of mature character, not your inability to meet his needs. From what you shared, I am unclear if the counselor helped him address his issues. It sounds like others were looking to you to manage his problems, while undoubtedly betraying yourself in the process. 

Let’s press into the saying, Time heals all wounds. Did God declare that and is it true? 

Psalm 147:3 describes God as one who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. In faith, we can believe that God cares about our emotional and spiritual wounds. 1 Peter 2:24 assures us that His death is the remedy to heal the sin in the world. Although it has affected you greatly, you don't have to carry the weight of your husband's sin. Jesus has already done that work.

There are plenty of families who live by the principle that it is the passage of time that heals relational pain. Instead of having open conversations and repairing ruptures in relationships, people are encouraged to stay silent and pretend feelings don’t exist. This causes children to develop into adults who don't take responsibility for their behavior. It causes adults to forgo true intimacy and wholeness in Christ. Unfortunately, relationships and our bodies don’t respond well to ignoring wounds. Bodies remember pain and cry out for a remedy regardless of time. Wounds are healed by tending to them.

We often invite others to tend to the wounds they created, but what if the person who hurt us is dismissive, blaming, or punishing when we try to get them to make a repair? Sometimes we get more and more desperate for them to get it and take the needed responsibility. Other times, we end up taking the blame upon ourselves and suffering in shame.   

That fact that you say, “he doesn't seem to be growing in the fruits of the Spirit” and “he can be critical” with regard to sex tells me that there are other concerns in the relationship. Even though he may not be currently participating in adulterous acts, true intimacy and maturity are still lacking in the relationship. Minimal behavior change is not enough in order to make a full relationship repair. Taking full responsibility, without blame, is needed. Removing the heart attitude of entitlement must also take place in order to build safety and foster deep intimacy.

You may have heard it referenced from the work of J.R.R Tolkien that everything sad will come untrue. There will come a time when all things will be made new and right with God. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for the good of those who are called according to His purpose.” For His children, the good in this context does not refer to perfect peace and comfort here on earth but the ultimate conformity to Christ and eternal time in his presence.

The truth is, the Bible doesn’t encourage us to look to time to save us from our suffering but to look to Jesus Christ who suffered, died, and rose again so that we might have eternal salvation. Therefore, the best way to help yourself when you are suffering is not to passively wait for time to heal but to actively seek love, compassion, and direction from our only Savior. Jesus can shepherd you toward protection and intimacy with Him, even if your husband is unwilling to do his part.

Perhaps your husband still needs to do the deep work of repairing the damage he caused in the relationship. Without that, I don’t believe you can or should just move on in the relationship as though the damage wasn’t still present. Ignoring or quieting a pain that is meant to warn you is not wise. Please tend to your wounds; get support from someone who can help you move through the pain and decide how to protect yourself from further destruction. 

Be well!

Beloved reader, how do you tend to your wounds when a relationship repair is not possible due to someone else’s decision?

23 Comments

  1. Tammy on March 21, 2024 at 8:20 am

    I am never surprised when a pastor-wife falls into line and blames the woman for a man’s misbehavior.
    Wake up! The church was held together by women for hundreds of years. How much of declining numbers of church attenders are due to women being ran off?

  2. Connie West on March 21, 2024 at 9:04 am

    This is so beautifully said Susan! Thank you for your God given words of wisdom.

  3. Kat on March 21, 2024 at 9:28 am

    You have taught us, Leslie, not to ignore offenses or neglect wounds, but to calmly confront and address them with the offender and with safe, wise others. Forgiveness is on us over time, but reconciliation of broken trust in a relationship requires true confession, regret and repentance by our offender. If they cannot continuously convey true regret and caring to restore safety and trust, it’s probably not deep or genuine enough yet.

    • Susan K on March 22, 2024 at 7:16 pm

      Thank you for being part of the discussion, Kat!

  4. Cheryl on March 21, 2024 at 9:35 am

    Time does not heal all wounds but I will say it tends to lessen the sting of the pain. I find this to be the most true when accompanied by forgiveness of others (and ourselves) when we’ve been wronged. It is crucial we cling to the Cross and Jesus’s completed work at Calvary. He alone is our only hope!

    • Susan K on March 22, 2024 at 7:19 pm

      True! We can have certain hope in Him, Cheryl!

  5. Cindy Schlung on March 21, 2024 at 10:26 am

    I believe Jesus is a gentle healer. For a really long time I hid in Jesus and I felt like every time the emotional wound would begin to heal, it would get the scab ripped off because there was no change in my husband. In the end, the wound began to take longer and longer until it became clear to me that my husband was going to keep wounding me and I chose to tell him I would not let him hurt me again. I had to walk away from my marriage and totally give my husband to God. So hard. Now I am resting in Jesus, instead of hiding in him, and I am repairing my wounds with his help and the help of wise others. I grow stronger each day and I have joy again. All my people (friends and family) say it is obvious to see and clear to hear in my voice. Even people who do not know me well have made comments. I know I will always carry a scar, but no more tender open wounds.

  6. Mary Drontle on March 21, 2024 at 10:34 am

    I’m sorry this is so hard to ever feel safe or trust when there is no empathy for your feelings.

    Then to be critical and demeaningcon top of it just seems to keep the wound open and justify his behavior.

    How many of these guys really stop this addiction?
    Or do they get better at hiding it.

    You deserve to be loved cherished and to be heard.
    You deserve respect in the bedroom.

    Don’t shame yourself when your gut is telling yourself what u need to hear. It’s not a safe place cause he has never chose to make it that.
    Telling someone to just get over it like many of these men do w no concern for your feelings.
    It’s respecting yourself to not just “get over it”

    He hasn’t earned a right to your trust in any way from what your saying here.
    This is not Covenant on his end.
    Your trying to hold up a Covenant he broke and allowing him to put that shame on you when it’s his own shame and character that created this issue.
    He did the porn. He cheated. He chooses to not have repentance.
    He choosescto belittle you shame you to get what he wants and to make you think your not good enough and the problem.

    Sometimes u need really strong boundaries to respect and keep yourself safe.
    To honor yourself be your own best friend and have your own back.
    Boundarie
    What can I do that’s healthy for me?
    What can’t I do that’s not?

    Ask yourself Is it healthy for you to share your body with someone who is choosing to criticism it.
    I have a very criticism H to.
    I have learned to ask myself Is this healthy for me?
    Is he going to protect you? No
    Sometimes we have to protect ourselves and honor ourselves.
    My thought is sit down with yourself and journal out.
    What can I do that’s healthy for me?
    What can’t I no longer do?
    Set that boundarie
    ‘I don’t feel safe sharing my body with you when ityou choose to demean and insult it.
    And walk of the room would be example.
    Does no good to discuss it when he just demean and dismisses I find.
    I got to a point I use a 1 liner or just walk away and don’t wait for the response if it’s never healthy.
    On ly we can choose our healthy and what we allow and don’t allow.
    When he chooses to dismiss and devalue your needs and demean and degrade u knowing that hurts.
    He doesn’t deserve your boundarie access.

    I findci need to tell myself his reactions are on his side of the fence and are not my business.
    That’s his and God’s part.
    Your part is your work which starts w boundaries to protect yourself when he isn’t.

    That’s the only route out of shame.
    When H insults me now.
    I walk and take that reaction to God.
    Sometimes we have to make God like our husband and leave h in whatever way makes u safe and go to our father who is safe and can heal our broken wounds a little at a time
    And soon u will start seeing you were never the problem.
    He is. And he projects that on you.
    You don’t need to receive those lies
    You don’t need to sit and be with him when he demean and criticises
    You don’t need to share your body with anyone who doesn’t honor your hurt and pain he created and chooses to not take accountability for.

    You need to turn that fight u have to make sure he is loved and protected around on yourself and treat yourself that way cause you deserve it.
    You held up your end of the covenant.
    God doesn’t expect u to dishonor yourself and your body to honor a man who doesn’t.
    God is for you.
    God wants you Loved and cherished.
    You and God can give you that

    It’s when I made the decission. The boundary when I don’t feel safe and u cross the line to abuse. I will go to my room w the Lord to deal w my hurt and reaction.
    I will Love me when he chooses to abuse and manipulate me.
    It felt so selfish at 1st to choose me.
    Like I was a bad Christian and wife
    But now my confidence and Love for me is growing so much that I just allow myself to be crapped on
    Occasionally I screw up and engage
    And I end up feeling like a drown rat cause he is not for me
    And I am back to self doubt and shame and have the big reminder and lesson of.
    No! I will never go back to dishonoring and disrespecting myself to make him happy.
    It’s a endless hamster wheel where something is always wrong w you that we need to get off of run to God and do our work
    And set a really good boundary that we can keep ourselves safe and Trust ourselves and God to protect us.
    Cause they dont

    • Jane on March 21, 2024 at 1:42 pm

      I meant, excellent response Susan! (in my comment above).

      • Susan K on March 22, 2024 at 7:23 pm

        Thanks, Jane! : )

    • Susan K on March 22, 2024 at 7:23 pm

      I am glad to have you as part of the LV&Co community, Mary! Thank you for taking the time to respond to the post.

  7. Pamela on March 21, 2024 at 10:37 am

    I truly love and respect all that you share on your posts! This one particularly caught my attention. I love that you ended your question with a question for us.
    I have learned that time does heal most wounds and that forgiveness, of others and of self, is a responsibility of mine in my life with the Lord. To truly enjoy this life with peace and joy HE must be the center.
    However, there are relationships that may never be reconciled; safety and trust not completely restored. This is a truth in all of life. BUT, our God says that HE cares for us and will lead us to safety, love and trusting relationships. HE asks us to step out in Faith and seek love, seek compassion, seek direction from HIM and other believers and those who know and love us most. HE and they can provide the emotional and spiritual support we require to heal and overcome the wounds that may remain.

    BTW, makes me think again of a book i once read many years back in the midst of some excruciating, painful emotional and spiritual wounds. (Some are still being bumped and bruised.) Book title: “Getting Past What You Will Never Get Over” by John F. Westfall

    • Susan K on March 22, 2024 at 7:27 pm

      Pamela, May God comfort and carry you through the bumps and bruises of your life. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  8. Corinne on March 21, 2024 at 10:46 am

    Susan thank you for immediately pointing out that her husband’s sin was not her responsibility nor is she accountable to fix it. Her husband not only was unrepentant but expected his wife to take on the burden and literally ignore and forget his behavior – this is emotional abuse. Then her church leaders added to the abuse of this dear woman by essentially confirming she was part (or all) of the problem. I’ll be honest I’m hopping angry – in a Christ centered way – because this also angers the Lord. Her husband’s behavior is consistent with a covert narcissist. I speak from 35 years of experience since for 32 years I took on ALL the responsibility of my husband’s covert passive-aggressive abusive behavior with the support of the “church”. Only when my mental and physical health had deteriorated to the point of near death did I “wake up”. The church is naive to the wiles of the enemy – satan is a malignant narcissist or what Scripture calls “insolent pride”. One who says to God “not Thy will but my will be done”. Covert narcissists often appear as “great people who are just vulnerable and weak and need understanding” but they are voracious in consuming the person closest to them for their own selfish insatiable needs. To the dear Sister, the Lord led you to seek the advise of others like Leslie and Susan so please use this avenue to educate yourself. You must understand what are your responsibilities and what are not and learn to set “boundaries”. This will require help because I’m guessing that you (like I use to be) have no idea what that means. You also need to understand “co-dependency” and how you have taken on his sin. Draw nearer to the Lord and “lean not on your own understanding”. Since you’ve never seen growth or fruit from your husband I suspect he is not actually a Believer (like my husband finally confessed). YOU cannot change him. Focus on yourself and your relationship with our precious Lord! Find life and joy again as you build your foundation on CHRIST ALONE.
    Gracious Heavenly Father, you see your daughter’s desire of her heart to do what is right in Your sight. Thank you for starting her on the path of healing and using what satan intended for evil to be her sanctification in Christ Jesus. Thank You in Jesus precious name, amen.

    • Susan K on March 22, 2024 at 7:32 pm

      I appreciate you sharing your experience, Corinne! God hates abuse. Our churches can do better. Thanks for joining the journey to create and pray for change.

  9. Jane on March 21, 2024 at 1:34 pm

    Excellent response, Leslie. I think you cannot have trust or intimacy without mutual respect and caring. We can forgive, but trust is developed as trustworthy behavior is demonstrated over time. A person can stop the behavior (e.g. the adultery) but still the attitude of their heart and their character remains unchanged. They have to want to change. Even God doesn’t force that. Sometimes the boundaries we draw for ourselves regarding what we will tolerate and what we won’t, create consequences that cause the other person to desire to change, but there is no guarantee. How another person treats us is not a measure of how much God values us. God doesn’t ask us to tolerate evil or abuse in any form. He says to resist it (safely) and trust Him. It took me a loooong time to learn that. We never lose Christ’s love. What freedom there is in knowing that!

    • Susan K on March 22, 2024 at 7:35 pm

      Indeed, there is freedom in Christ! Thank you for sharing what you have learned through your experience, Jane!

  10. Maria on March 21, 2024 at 3:53 pm

    When criticism of one’s sexual ‘performance’ or appeal is sporadic, intermittent, or on-going, there is a continues wounding, how can the wound ever heal? The scab keeps getting pulled off! One is constantly reminded that somehow they are not good enough. That kind of treatment is unacceptable and objectifying. A woman should be cherished in her marriage especially with regards to this most intimate, vulnerable area.. It’s understandable that the writer still feels a tremendous amount of anxiety. I hope she can find better support for her healing journey, The passage of time is insufficient to address this kind of abuse.

    • Susan K on March 22, 2024 at 7:37 pm

      So true, Marla! Thanks for being part of the community here.

  11. Kim in Tennessee on March 21, 2024 at 4:38 pm

    I have heard and believe that until he can show that he has done the work, it isn’t enough to just say, “move on” or, “that that was in the past.” Steve Auterburn talks about this and I can speak from experience, I was married only a few years, 1 2 yr old and 1 6 week old baby when my spouse cheated, he confessed and I told me before I found out. fast forward 3 years later, another affair, we went to the church, had bible studies, and I did my work, “Be more loving, meet his needs, give him a reason to come home, etc” but he showed no change except I didn’t hear that he was cheating. Fast forward another 10 years, hidden relationships were exposed, unfaithful ongoing for over 5 years, I quit, I filed for separation He was determined to make it work, or so I thought. I didn’t budge, He needed to do his work, he went to counseling, and his counselor told me that he wasn’t accepting responsibility. he was just going to throw people off, to save face and regain his reputation with others, I didn’t share publicly, but after coming to see his pastor, the word got out on its own. He seemed to go into hiding with the affair. He was determined that I would not file for divorce, to keep his assets. I made things easy, he could have his cake and eat it too. “Every Man’s Battle” is a weekend event, that your husband can/should go to, as his work. Men’s Sexual Addiction is real. My marriage of 30 years, ended. I am fine, God helped me thanks to Leslie and her book “Emotionally Destructive Relationships” a support group, Celebrate Recovery and God’s word, and a deep and abiding relationship with the Lord. I am now, remarried to a wonderful Christian man, who is faithful and has integrity Life is better than I had ever imagined possible. The kids, 4 boys are suffering from the fallout, but God can meet them and bring healing to them as well, when they seek they will find.

  12. Susan K on March 22, 2024 at 7:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Kim! I pray God continues to bless you and your marriage, and may He comfort your boys and offering them healing.

  13. Hannah on March 22, 2024 at 9:48 pm

    What really stood out to me in this is that your husband and the church view infidelity as a marriage problem. It’s not. It’s his problem, and a problem like infidelity/sexual addiction doesn’t go away without serious work on his part, and that will only happen when he decides to acknowledge his problem, bring it into the light, and do the hard work of recovery. You have been betrayed by him intentionally and unfortunately by your church in their ignorance of what infidelity really is.
    There is NOTHING that you have ever done or could ever do to make him break his marriage vows. That, and all the shame of it, belongs entirely to him.
    It’s not only the deep traumatic wounding of betrayal that you need to heal from, but the ongoing trauma of his disrespectful behaviour towards the significant destruction he has caused in your life.
    God will lead you to the right supports and resources to help you understand what is happening to you as well as your marriage. Your pain is valid and absolutely appropriate for what you are going through. Your worth is not defined by your function as a wife. Your body is your own and it is sacred; your body is part of your whole being, created in complete unity and integration with your soul and your mind. NO man should ever behave as though they have ownership of or the right to access your body- access to another person, especially for the most sacred and intimate and vulnerable act of sharing their sexual self with another, requires seeing the entire person, building trust and intimacy in ALL areas consistently and respectfully, and acknowledging that that other person is a separate person from you, made in the image of God and worthy and deserving of the respect due to a child of the Most High God. There is NO obligation to give yourself to someone who doesn’t respect your personhood, doesn’t respect the sacredness of the covenant that Ge made before God and then broke without remorse, and doesn’t show any intention of changing from the self-deceived person who chose to destroy the marriage through infidelity. Ask yourself:
    Do you see yourself as a complete person, every single part worthy of the love and respect God Himself has attributed to you?
    Do your interactions with your husband communicate that he sees you this way?
    Infidelity isn’t just betrayal. It involves significant deception and secrets, and these are extremely painful and destructive. There are a lot of voices with a lot of opinions out there about infidelity (affairs, porn use, etc.) and its impact on betrayed partners. Finding the right resources that don’t create more pain and confusion can be difficult. A mother resource to compliment the amazing truth filled wisdom that Leslie and her team provides that you might consider to start learning about partner betrayal trauma is APSATS.org. Praying that you find your way out of the chaos and onto the healing journey with Christ!

  14. Susan K on March 23, 2024 at 12:09 pm

    Thank you for engaging in the discussion, Hannah!

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