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How to Find Hope When Feeling Desperate

You know you’re stuck, but how can you reach the bottom, without hitting bottom?  Can you recognize your desperation and make a decision soon enough to escape collateral damage?



When helping couples recover from affairs and addictions, it’s important to recognize the voice of desperation and then contrast it to the possibilities that are found in hope.

The simple and undeniable power of hope is understated. There is enough power in hope to lift anyone out of the deepest pit of despair. People everywhere are craving it. For some, their very lives depend on it. When it feels like an impossible situation, it is the first step toward choosing life.  It is available and it is yours for the choosing.

If hope is so powerful, then how does one get desperate enough to have an affair?

In my case, it was an affair. But the attraction to any addiction shares the same language.  I can look back and identify the voice of desperation enticing me to follow its dangerous demise.


“I’m having an affair.  I never dreamed this would be me…” Those are the exact words that I said to myself as I faced the crushing reality of a full-blown betrayal. I wish I had recognized the voice of desperation sooner…before it came to this.


1. I’m Captivated

Desperation begins to justify the possibilities that a compromise would bring.

  • If I participate with this, I get to be irresponsible, and this is my escape from my overwhelming life of pressures and expectations.

  • If I do this I will feel pursued and desirable. This is feeding my ego.

  • I can control this. It won’t go too far. I would never cross the line. And if I do, I can keep it hidden.

  • I need this… it makes me feel understood and loved without feeling controlled.

  • The pleasure, comfort, and escape are worth the risk.

2. I Gave In

Now desperation is coupled with confusion, and I am tormented by the horrific dichotomy of my identity.

But desperation argued its case and said:

  • This is my drug. I go to it, even though I know I shouldn’t.

  • I hate myself for what I’m doing yet I deserve to do something just for me.

The voice of wisdom offers a lifeline

No matter how entrenched one might feel in the web of lies, deceit and selfish choices, it is never too late to grab the lifeline and choose life. Oh, it is scary and the war of the voices is real but wisdom and truth are ready with their song of possibilities:

  • Please remember the real you. This doesn’t match who you really are.

  • This is a counterfeit. This will never satisfy the longings of your heart.

  • It’s gone so far, but you can make a choice right now to stop.

3. I’ve Stopped

I inched towards wisdom and ended the affair. But stopping the destructive behavior wasn’t the end of the war. The battle between wisdom and desperation continued.

Desperation cried:

  • I’m too scared, to tell the truth.

  • I will never tell anyone. Keeping this a secret is the best way to protect those I love.  

Wisdom and Truth prevailed:

  • Secrets have the power to bring disconnect and dysfunction between our relationship.

  • I need to get honest and confess the truth.

Scriptures assure us that when we confess our sin to God, He is faithful to forgive us. Taking it a step further, James 3:3 says, confess our sins one to another and He heals us. Confession is the first step to healing. It may be wise to tell a trusted mentor or friend before dumping your secrets to your spouse, but is committed to telling the truth is a huge step towards peace and restored relationships.

4. Navigating the Reality of the Consequences

The road to restoration doesn’t promise ease or immediate relief, in fact hanging on to the lifeline of hope is vital during this fragile season of navigating through your new normal. Despair and hopelessness attempt to convince you that life will never be the same, and you are now disqualified from a bright future.

However, like facing the challenge of a mountain ahead, this is the season to persevere and press on. This is when the lifeline of hope becomes the fuel to courageously choose.

  1. Choose Jesus – knowing you are never alone.

  2. Choose to be thankful – this is your secret passageway to a fresh perspective.

  3. Choose to see with faith – see yourself forgiven, free and adorned with peace and joy.

  4. Choose to love – for love never fails.  You never lose when you love.  

Step by step, putting one foot in front of the other… this is the pathway to conquering any mountain. When desperation tempts you to avoid your breakthrough, let wisdom and truth win the war and capture your heart. Hope is your lifeline and freedom is your future.   

Hear more about this topic on Episode 2 of All About Relationships Podcast with Bob and Audrey.