Live Boldly in Tough Times

“We must meet our reverses boldly…. And not suffer them to frighten us. We shall act the play out, and live misfortune down” -David Copperfield

I’m always looking for words or phrases that seem to grab my heart and articulate how I feel about a particular subject; for me, this line from the book David Copperfield seems to encapsulate the idea of perseverance.  When you read the story of David Copperfield (which is more or less an autobiography of Charles Dickens with the names changed) you’ll see setback after setback being matched by recovery after recovery.  There is a certain strength and nobility found in the enduring relationships between his family and friends as they journey through troubled times together; one can’t help but be inspired and moved to emulate them.  The whole book is a testament to lessons learned through the grid of adversity and triumph attained through the virtue of perseverance.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times
Charles Dickens wrote about great dissonance in the world–which is why I think we can relate to his work today.  In A Tale of Two Cities he writes of about the excesses of the French aristocracy and the revolutionaries even as the main characters embrace redemption, self-sacrifice and look towards an eternal home.  In A Christmas Carol, he writes about widespread social injustice, the hardness of one man’s heart and his subsequent rebirth into kindness and love.  Themes of perilous times and man’s self-serving cruelty are juxtaposed against kindness, perseverance, love and faith.

It’s not a secret that we find ourselves in great dissonance today. We are bombarded with the news of economic turmoil and war. Our culture is suffering from a decline of moral clarity, excessive partisianship and personal addictions. Many individuals have no idea of how to navigate it all.  For the wife that finds herself in the adversity of her husband’s sexual betrayal, Charles Dickens’ words can help us find perspective.

Enduring Values Lived Out Boldly
Dickens took a distinctly Christian world view in his stories and he placed a high value on truth, love, faith and perseverance.  As his characters embraced these traits, they were able to overcome.  And that echoes what the Bible tells us:

“Consider it pure joy, my bothers [sisters] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” James1:2-4

 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” Hebrews 10:35

And so, as you face your own version of perilous times, may you find grace to “act the play out”, and find wisdom and insight from the Lord who promises to be with you.  Have courage, be bold in your faith, “live the misfortune down” and know that God is faithful to bring you to an expected end of victory.

“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:11-12


  1. There are also support groups for wives through programs such as Celebrate Recovery, Dr. Doug Weiss’ groups for spouses of sex addicts, and First Stone Ministries. More than likely there are others, but these are 3 specfiic groups that I know offer support. I would research all three online, and see if there is one near you, or that you feel looks most promising. Some offer groups over the phone. The websites usually offer an FAQ section so you can find answers to most of the questions you may have per each particular group.
    My advice is to get hooked up with one as soon as possible. Even if you are already a member of a group when Renee’s starts, you can join that one as well. There is no such thing as too much support.
    In addition, if you go to, they offer phone counseling for wives as well as addicts. It has been extremely helpful for me to utilize that resource.
    God bless you and give you strength and courage to take whatever steps you need to take for yourself, and your family.

  2. Kat,
    Welcome to our blog, and I’m glad you’ve found some encouragement here. If you haven’t already downloaded it, please check out my WifeBoat Just for Today list, which I think will be helpful.

    As far as support is concerned, I am starting an online support group in August of this year. I will be putting an announcement up on the site and will send out emails as well. It is hard to find people who know what you’re going through on this, and I hope it will be helpful. You can also check out the Love Won Out Conferences to see when there will be one near you.

    Please stay in touch – would love to hear from you. -R

  3. Thank you ladies for your words of wisdom. I am also new here and feel much of what Kathy is feeling. My husband and I have been through counseling and are healing from years of garbage. I was wondering, where do you find a support group of women? Were you referring to online? I have had a hard time finding women to help me heal from the past mistakes of my husband.

  4. Thank you all for the encouragement….I think we have(my husband and I ) what I have observed as a rather typical relationship dynamic in this area of brokenness ..a women broken in relating too strongly all her opinions,demands and advise….sometimes …a man who lets the women control things as he has a hard time initiating and speaking up and defaults to letting the women take control ,,,,and then in my case…. blasting me and saying all I want to do is control him….this hurts to hear because all I really want is to feel protected and secure in his love for me as wife …some boundaries are needed here …as in me not taking the bait to speak when I should pray and not to offer advise unless asked ….among other things…. My self care bouderaries are a mystery because i do feel I have lost awareness of my value over the years….i totally don’t remember what it is like to have a man look at me as if he desires anything about me……I feel I may have killed my desire to be desired after the last unfaithful episode of his with a mutual friend…..he gets tired of me still feeling hurt …but he has a hard time letting me hurt, he usually gets angry if I bring anything up about the past ….and most —not all–but most of the trust rebuilding on his part has just entaled “obstaining “…this isn’t all I need from him toward healing the broken trust between us.

  5. YES!! A support group specifically for wives is extremely helpful. In fact, in my opinion, it is imperative for wives in our position to either be in contact with a therapist, and/or support group, in order to comprehend how our relationship with our spouse has effected us. When I first began attending my group, it took me a while to realize how much I needed it. It took this group, and some counseling, for me to grasp how much of myself, my value as a woman, my confidence, and my joy, I had lost during the course of my marriage to an SSA. My suggestion is to take care of YOU!! You cannot recover for him. You cannot change his behavior or attitude, and it is not your responsibility to do so. God does not want this addiction in your mate, NOR does He want YOU to be unhealthy in ANY capactiy as a result of your mate’s choices. Setting boundaries and enforcing them will be challenging. However, when you set those boundaries, you will discover a lot about whether he really desires a change or not. May God bless you with the strength to take steps you feel necessary, and the wisdom to know what those steps should be. You will both be in my prayers.

  6. Amen to what Renee said to you, Kathy. Think of setting boundaries as a necessary way of respecting who God made you to be by not letting someone else define or diminish you. I hope you can find a person or a group of people to help you distinguish where there may be confused thinking in this area. It has made a big difference to me to meet with a support group. I will pray for you.

  7. Kathy,
    If you need more information on boundaries and how they apply to you, I’d recommend you read the book “Boundaries in Marriage” by Henry Cloud. You can order it through my WifeBoat Store link, or get it at any Christian bookstore. The book “Love Must be Tough” by James Dobson is also very good. The specifics on how to implement boundaries to your situation is why I suggest you have a support system in place–because it’s like excercising a muscle that hasn’t been used much before. You need someone to coach you at times and you’ll gain strength. So I hope you’ll read the book and contact a good Christian counselor or pastor as well. Thanks, -R

  8. Renee,
    I am not sure I understand boundaries as relating to my husband …if I ask something of him he tends to say I want to control him.
    Thank you for the advice to give our daughter structure, direction,and clarity with respect to the ongoing healing process in her!

  9. Kathy,
    I don’t know that I can answer your question about when or ever to “tell” kids about the specifics of their parent’s marital struggles–even if it is done descreetly and with respect you have no way of knowing how a son or daughter will respond. Sometimes there is no choice but to disclose, sometimes not all details have to be included, and sometimes it’s not in the best interest of the children to disclose at all.

    In your case it has already been done, so you have to deal with it on that basis. I’m sad to hear about the ongoing pain your daughter is feeling over this. She has been given the burden of knowing the information, and is looking to you and your husband for some sort of structure, direction and clarity. If she sees ongoing inconsistency, she no doubt will react by being angry and frustrated. Your husband is not only needing to rebuild trust with you, he needs to rebuild trust with her. On your part, she will need to see you maintain boundaries with your husband when needed. I suppose managing the communication and bringing stability are the best things you can do right now –keeping it open and safe and respectful. You as parents will model for your kids how to handle crisis situations, and it’s important that in your process they feel safe and loved.

    So I hope you will continue to seek a trusted pastor or Christian counselor to help in this. Have courage and don’t give up. -R

  10. Renee,
    With your history and experience would you recommend telling your children of this struggle in the marriage…ours are now 18 (son) and 20(daughter)…we told them when they were 14 1nd 16….(upon the requirements of a ministry in Tenn. that my husband was attending for help….a residential ministry called Love in Action)…anyway…our daughter still hurts alot and the relationship with my husband and her has never recovered…he wishes he had never told them( something beside the “telling” that has hurt her is the fact that even after LIA..she has seen him still be unfaithful to me …she is very angry with him )….I believe God wants to do a continual work in their relationship…but my husbands patteren is to avoid the topic in shame…which I also believe has hindered the healing inyears past…Some counselors and pastors have told us we should have never told them….but what were we (really I) supposed to do when we were on the verge of seperation?….I still need alot of healing as well….my trust has been devoured at least 5 times in the last 5 years….I wonder if my own insecurties have kept me in a marriage that God may have released me from…???…you see I have had no one person to talk to and come along side me in this battle ….God told me 10 years ago that he had made me to be an Ironclad in this battle…it is interesting that this ministry is called Wifeboat…..the Ironclad ships of 1862 led the way for a different way to battle for our fleets….somehow i am on the forefront of a battle….but now it looks like God is sending in reinforcements …not a moment too soon….Thank you for the encouragement ! Blesssings, Kathy

  11. Kathy,
    Glad to meet you here! I hope you’ll find WifeBoat a source of encouragement… the idea behind the name is that as we’re rowing forward while we’re facing the past… facing it with courage, support and, above all, victory! In the end, our story will be that we “have lived the misfortune down”, because God has made that possible. Through many dangers, toils and snares–no doubt–but through them, over them, around them, despite them and above them. God is faithful, and we mean to live this truth out. What a story that will be! As my husband always says “God sees the end of your story”… and it’s a victorious one. Be encouraged, Kathy, be loved. Blessings, -R

  12. Wow, How I wish i would have known about this site years ago…what a blessing just reading a few articles…I am at a very discouraging and exhausting part of this journey of 24 years I am afraid most of which myfaith has languished …but still here …just tired ! Will look forward to this communication…Blessings

  13. Diana,
    I think looking at our lives like a great unfolding story of God’s grace really puts things in thier proper presective, and it helps us make more thoughtful choices. If we look at it that way, we are very honored to go through adversity because we are given an opportunity to live out our faith and write some of the story ourselves. And as long as we trust Him and walk with Him, we won’t languish no matter what the circumstances are! How wonderful to know this.

    I appreciate your thoughtful comments, Diana. -R

  14. It is really interesting to hear you draw from Dickens. I love Dickens. I see my life unfolding differently than I would have envisioned, but if I step back and get a broad view it is fascinating to see the big picture. Without being melodramatic quite like Dickens I do like to think of myself living out a story that is meaningful and eternal in it’s outcome. Sometimes a novel is surprising in the twists and turns of it’s plot. I would say that describes my life, but God is guiding the plot. The last thing I want is to be the pitiful, helpless damsel in distress languishing in a dungeon of her own making. No one, but myself, can limit the wonderful grace of God blessing me throughout my story.


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