Help Her Heal: Walk into the Fire

By Dr. Eddie Capparucci, Ph.D., LPC, CSAS

“He is not doing enough,” exclaimed Susan speaking about her husband Artie, who betrayed her with his numerous affairs and pornography use.

Her statement left me a little puzzled since I thought Artie had been doing well in his recovery. And from what I could see, Artie certainly had been doing everything that was asked of him. So, I asked Susan, “What do you need that he is not doing?”

“I don’t know,” she answered. “But he is not doing enough.”

fire-300x225 Then it hit me. “Are you saying he is not doing enough in his recovery, or he is not doing enough to help your recovery,” I asked her.

“It’s always about him,” she said as tears formed in her eyes. “What about me? When does he start to focus on how much I am hurting?” Susan felt Artie was rushing her recovery and wanted her to “get over it” so they could return to normal life. What Artie did not understand is they could not return to their former relationship. In Susan’s eyes that relationship didn’t work. And she was right. There was no going back. The only road to travel – if they were to remain together – was forward.

But Susan’s words left me on a quest to determine if other women dealing with betrayal were experiencing similar feelings. And I soon discovered the answer was yes. Over a period of months, I asked numerous women if their husbands were doing enough to help them heal and all of them said no.

A woman who has been betrayed wants to know her husband understands the depth of her suffering. More importantly, she wants to believe he will be supportive as she heals and not try to rush her through the process.

A man must realize not only is his wife’s trust destroyed but so is her self-worth has taken a beating. She believes you desire something more than she can offer. She wonders what is wrong with her that you sought stimulation elsewhere.

So the question you must answer is do you truly want to help her heal or do you want to continue to wish her pain away? Because if you want to brush this under the carpet you are in for a long and painful relationship. But if you sincerely want what is best for her and desire to help her recover from the emotional pain you caused I have a solution for you.

Walk into the Fire.

What does that mean you ask?

Walking into the Fire is when you proactively approach your wife during a time when things seem calm and ask a question similar to this: “I am wondering if you would like to share something that may have troubled you today about the pain I caused you.”


Now you’re thinking to yourself that sounds dangerous. And you’re right. Going to her and asking her to share her pain with you will most likely leave a significant burn. But it’s the long-term payoff that you’re seeking.

Indirect Messages Delivered

There are four critical and strong messages you send your spouse when you Walk Into the Fire. And all of them can lead to healing.

  • You are not trying to rush me through the grieving process.
  • You understand even though I am not visibility showing my pain, it is still here.
  • You are willing to sit with me in my pain.
  • You are no longer abandoning me.

These are encouraging messages to send and show extraordinary empathy, which is needed for healing.

“I took your advice,” my client Fred told me during one of our counseling sessions. “She seemed to be having a good day, so I took a chance and asked her what negative thoughts she was experiencing.

“It started out OK but turned into an inferno pretty quickly,” he continued. “It made me very nervous and I was concerned she would not calm down. However, a couple of hours later she came to me saying thank you for being considerate enough to care about her feelings. It worked.”

Fred’s wife was appreciative because he demonstrated he was willing to stay with her as she struggled through her pain. This told her he wasn’t trying to pull her along in her recovery and was going to allow her the time she needed to grieve and heal.

It is important to understand when a woman is grieving the betrayal she suffered she is healing. Men must be patient, understanding, calm, and stay present during grieving periods. The guys who learn to do this well are the ones who see their wives recover faster and their marriages restored.

Be smart, start Walking into the Fire and help her heal.


Dr. Eddie Capparucci, Ph.D., LPC, CSAS is a licensed professional counselor with a private practice in Highlands, NC. He is certified in the treatment of Problematic Sexual Behaviors. He is the creator of the Inner Child Model for the treatment of Problematic Sexual Behaviors and the author of the book Going Deeper: How the Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction. He also is the author of Why Men Struggle to Love: Overcoming Relational Blind Spots.  Visit his website at


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