I remember reading a quote almost a year ago back in April of 2013 that said, “, “When you remember the offense without the pain associated you know you have been healed from emotional wounding.“ This is where I am today! I remember the offense but I am no longer emotionally crippled or wounded by it. In fact I’ve pretty much been at this place for many months now.
We have moved onward in recovery. Life is getting back to normal but not like it used to be. Today I have a marriage! My sister-in-law told me it was so good to see me in love with my husband and finally happy. I am happy. I’m trying to go back to college finally and decided to pursue a BA in creative writing and continue my studies in Signing. I’m going through the application process as I write this.
Our recovery has been a quick one compared to most of the stats of people going through infidelity and I am grateful and give all credit and glory to God! He was with me while the affair was going on and never left my side when it was exposed.
So why are we where we are today? I think three main reasons: forgiveness, repentance and determiniation! I look back at my our journey and these three themes popped up over and over.
Forgiveness regardless of whether you have a repentant spouse to me is the most important part of the healing process. Forgiveness allowed me to continue living in spite of the pain. Forgiveness also didn’t let infidelity rob me of the future and plans that God still had for my life. Forgiveness was for me but it benefited everyone that was a part of my and Lee’s life. Forgiveness opened the door and gave permission for everyone else to forgive too. If Lee and I had chosen to divorce forgiveness would have let me move forward without bitterness and hate and still encourage my kids to love their father.
Forgiveness though is a process and we need to allow ourselves to go through it. Forgiveness is a choice. I choose to forgive you even if I don’t feel like it and I choose to walk it out everyday and every time I move backwards, I forgive again. Forgiveness is not a one time thing. Forgiveness allowed me to look at my husband and his AP with compassion. It took a little longer to truly feel it for the AP but it came. Forgiveness allowed me to look at each person the way I thought God saw them. Forgiveness let me try to understand their weaknesses and see a a future for them as well. It was a battle to forgive the AP and it took a whole lot longer for the process to be fulfilled but I think that’s because my husband was repentant and doing everything he could to help me heal where she has done nothing. Compassion came much quicker for Lee. Forgiveness has allowed me to be happy!
Forgiveness sees what can be and keeps pushing forward even when you feel like falling backwards. It allows you to have grace and patience to let the wayward grieve over his losses as well. Forgiveness doesn’t demand it’s rights but doesn’t get in the way of the lessons that need to be learned through transparency, vulnerability, truth and integrity.
The second reason for a full recovery has been a truly repentant husband. I not only saw his sorrow but I felt it as well. He didn’t just regret what he had done but he took responsibility for his actions never blaming me, his AP or our bad marriage. It breaks my heart when a wayward spouse/cheater says they are to blame for what they did but in the next sentence blame their spouses for not meeting their needs. I feel so much sadness for the betrayed spouse in these situations. The waywards seem to forget that they were not meeting their spouses needs as well but the character flaw in themselves is what caused THEM to go elsewhere. I am forever grateful for a counselor who helped my husband look at himself and help him understand the intensity of the pain I was going through. And I am so thankful that my husband heard what he had to say and then tried to apply these things to our healing process. He was able to help my husband see that I had no clue what a good marriage was because I had lived a nightmare for 26 years all because he was not satisfied with me or his life. He helped him understand that my triggers came not from the affair but the fear that I would never have a good marriage. I also had to forgive him for the bad marriage to allow for him to help create a good one. The most important thing he learned was that he was not resting in the Lord. He did not trust God with his life so he went outside of that rest and MADE his fake happiness.
Another thing my husband did through his repentance was to never demand at a certain time or point in our healing process that I stop looking at his phone, email, phone records etc…. He has never thrown it in my face that if I do check he is going to divorce me because he thinks I should be over this by now. He has not let his pride demand his privacy.……………but in having this kind of attitude has made me trust him more and not have the need to check. He knows that if I have any red flags in the future, I will check. We made a decision to be totally transparent in our marriage and he has access to mine as well. NO SECRETS! My husband has always been a secretive, proud, controlling and private man so this was a huge clue to me that he has really changed. He told me it’s so nice to leave his phone out and not worry about it anymore. Keeping transparency between us has given us freedom not bondage. He always tells me that there should be no discomfort in transparency if we’re not doing anything wrong.
The third reason I feel we have reached a place of full recovery is determination. I first experienced this when I decided I would not let the enemy have my family or my marriage. I couldn’t do anything about our ministry or job but I could refuse to give up my marriage. Even though it was a terrible one it was mine! My determination to hold on to what was mine actually lead me into forgiveness. A few months after disclosure I made another determination and that was to not be a statistic. I refused to go through this recovery longer then I had to. I wanted to experience what a good marriage could be. The longer I stayed bitter, hurt and angry the further down the road my dream would be. I’m in my 50’s and Lee in his 60’s. I wanted to live the years we have left happy. I was also determined not to miss out on what God had planned for my life. I didn’t want to stay stuck and complacent. I wanted to forge ahead. We don’t know what the future holds but we are just trying to enjoy the time we have.
I also experience determination while Lee was grieving his losses (ministry, personal, integrity, friends, career etc..). There were times when he would throw his hands up and think maybe we should just give up but I was the one who said,,,,,,”Wait a minute, I should be the one saying this and yet here I am!”
I also read every book, webpage, blog etc…that I could get my hands on to learn how to deal with this and to understand what each of us was feeling. I researched mostly to find people who had recovered and were happy after the affair. I read blogs of waywards, betrayeds, sex addicts, sexual addiction, and the other women. I just wanted to get into the heads of each and understand this infidelity disease. Some were helpful and some were ridiculous and some were major triggers. Everything I learned I shared with Lee and when he went to counseling separately he would share what he had learned with me.
Is our marriage perfect? Nope we still deal with issues like every married couple but they are no longer affair issues. You cannot have a happy marriage if you are going to allow the affair to always be between you. I don’t want my husband to pay for this every single day for the rest of his life. I don’t want to give the affair power over our future. We’ve talked about it, we’ve dealt with it, and we’ve decided our marriage is worth fighting for. What happened was the most traumatizing thing that ever happened to me in my whole life. But I am a firm believer that God can take bad thing and turn them into good things. My husband was not going to change and last year when my son turned 18 I was going to leave him. It took a major explosion (or exposion 🙂 my word) to wake him up to the life he was living and how he was treating me. I will never be happy about the affair but I am happy with what has resulted from it.
I am going to rebuild my blog. I’m not sure how yet but I have decided that there are just things that don’t need to be in it so am going to rewrite my story and start shutting down some of the blogs that I don’t believe will be helpful. I want to build on the things I believe were the most helpful. We’ll see what happens.