Written by Anonymous
“There are moments which mark your life. Moments when you realize that your life will never be the same, and time is divided into two parts – before this and after this.” – Unknown
Two years ago on this very day, December 7, I experienced one of these life-changing types of moments when I received an email from a mysterious woman urging me to call her regarding my husband. Twenty minutes later, my suspicion would be confirmed – my husband of ten years was having an affair.
Behind my smile, there’s an untold story that you might not ever understand, but they say if there’s a story in you, it has to come out. As this day marks the two year anniversary of the disclosure of my husband’s affair, I am finally at a place where I can share my journey to recovery from a place of peace, healing, and restoration.
I can retell my story without reliving the pain, and I have learned more from this pain than I could ever learn from pleasure – I wouldn’t trade the personal growth that has resulted in this experience for anything. Some of life’s greatest lessons are learned from the worst times and the biggest mistakes, but what defines us is how well we rise after falling.
I was at my absolute weakest and lowest point after discovering my husband’s affair, so I had no other choice but to turn to God. During my darkest moments, He became my place of refuge and hope, and I found the peace that only He can provide – an indescribable peace that sustained me during the aftermath of my husband’s infidelity. It was truly God’s grace that carried me when I felt like I couldn’t stand anymore.
Some of life’s greatest lessons are learned from the worst times and the biggest mistakes…
The thing about pain is that it demands to be felt. My husband’s affair devastated me and paralyzed me to the core, but I approached the pain head on by reading and meditating on spiritual and inspirational quotes and absorbed the words deep into my soul. This allowed me to face the situation from the right perspective. In addition, I asked God to give me the discernment and strength to accept this new reality in order to adjust my life in appropriate ways so that I could still function effectively and be a good mother to our two children.
When you are the betrayed spouse, you must first decide whether you’re going to walk away or endure the grueling and painful process of rebuilding a marriage. I chose the latter – the most difficult decision that I would ever have to make. I know there may be an eye roll and you may have already begun to warm up those fingers in order to share your two cents in the comments section below. I get it. Like most women, I always assumed that it would be a wrap if my partner ever cheated. But until you have lived, breathed, and existed in this type of nightmare, you really have no idea how you would respond, so please try to keep an open mind and abstain from casting judgments.
My decision to stand by my husband and mend our marriage required more strength than walking away ever could. Giving up is the easiest thing in the world to do – anyone can do it. But true strength is when you can hold it together when everyone would understand if you fell apart. So, please cancel your pity party for me. This situation requires a deep understanding of Satan’s hate for marriage and God’s grace and His undying desire for reconciliation. As a woman of Christian faith, I believed that God could put the pieces of our broken marriage back together. If anyone could move mountains in our life, it would be Him.
You may believe that my decision to stay with my husband was solely based on our children. Like any marriage, we had a lot invested, but it was ultimately the love and history we shared that brought us back together, not merely for the sake of our children. We both grew up in a broken home, so we wanted to break that cycle for our children. We also wanted to show them that if you want something bad enough, you have to fight for it. Simply put: my family was worth fighting for. I also had this strange sense of deeply knowing my husband. From the depth of my soul, I knew that this was a terrible choice that was a result of his brokenness, not a personality flaw. A divorce may have seemed like a no-brainier for you, but with all due respect, this is not about you. This was MY reality. Thus, I was not going to base my decision on the advice of others who wouldn’t have to deal with the results. For me, a divorce would not relieve the pain – it would only give me the illusion of peace and resolution. Real peace comes from God.
Immediately after the disclosure of the affair, my husband broke off all contact with the other woman and devoted himself to rebuilding our marriage. His genuine remorse and repentance allowed us to work toward reconciliation. He finally put his needs aside, and did whatever it took to try to make me feel whole again. He willingly rejoined our weekly couple’s therapy sessions and he confessed everything to our therapist. For the first time in our marriage, my husband didn’t dismiss my feelings and tell me to “just get over it.” Instead, he allowed me to be in the driver’s seat of the healing journey while assuring me that I could set the pace for how much time I would need. He also showed compassion and patience when I would suddenly lash out at him, for he understood that the release of anger was necessary for me to heal.
When the anger and resentment hung over me like a dark cloud, I would contemplate having a one night stand or reaching out to an ex-boyfriend in order to seek revenge, but then my therapist reminded me that no one truly heals themselves by wounding another. Besides, sacrificing my dignity, class, and my morals in order to get even with my husband would compromise everything that God had already done for me. Even though my husband was unfaithful to me, God has always been faithful. Choosing not to act on an angry impulse and feeling the pain that lie beneath saved me from a thousand regrets.
Real peace comes from God.
Part of the recovery process, for me, was getting the answers to my many questions regarding my husband’s affair. Hearing the truth hurt like hell – but it was an integral part of my healing. I needed to hear the details in order to process my trauma, move through it, and move past it.
The thought of ever trusting my husband again seemed impossible at first, but I had to believe that God’s grace was sufficient in leading me through the healing process. It was a struggle for the trust to be reestablished, and in the beginning my sense of security was only tentative. His life had to become an open book – he allowed me to have access to his cellphone and computer. His accountability showed me that there would be no more secrets and he would have nothing to hide. My husband’s transparency gradually led me to let my guard down once again. It was a process – it didn’t happen overnight. However, I decided that I couldn’t continue to ruminate on how to trust my spouse again, so I chose to trust that God would work in his life.
Forgiving my husband was not easy; at times it was more painful than the wound that he inflicted, but God gave me the strength to replace my anger with forgiveness. Until you have experienced someone’s darkness, you really don’t know who they are, and until you have forgiven their darkness you don’t really know what true love is. This whole ordeal has taught me that forgiveness is the most ultimate position of power.
There was no valid excuse for my husband’s choice to have an affair. Nothing, absolutely nothing ever justifies cheating…period. But after a while, I had to put my big girl panties on and say to myself, “I am going to put all the bad feelings to rest and look ahead. I can’t undo what has already been done.” Essentially, we had to tear it all down and build it back up – not only forgive.
As for the other woman, we have had our closure, and truthfully, I only hold the highest of hopes and intentions for her. Contrary to popular belief, I do not hate her. In fact, it is quite the opposite. She freed herself from the affair, had the courage to disclose it to me, repented, and kept her promise to never contact my husband again. She crossed our path for a reason. She may have given me “the keys back to this ride“, but it was her participation in my husband’s affair that enabled me to stumble upon the strength that I never knew I had. Most importantly, this whole experience brought me closer to God and renewed my faith.
My hope in sharing my journey is to inspire others who may be experiencing a tumultuous season in their marriage. I am not, by any means, telling you that you have to stay in a marriage after an affair. You must think for yourself and trust your own intuition for another’s mind isn’t walking your journey. However, if reconciliation is your ultimate goal, my story is a testament that not only can your marriage survive an affair, but it can actually thrive – you just have to want it more than you are afraid of it. At any given moment, you can declare: This is not how the story will end. You will be surprised to know how far you can go from the point where you thought it was all over.
If it weren’t for our faith, our marriage would have never been saved. God gave me compassion for my husband’s brokenness and helped me to treat him and the other woman gracefully. There is no one size fits all solution in recovering from such a devastating experience. Trying to rebuild a marriage is a challenging and excruciating process – it is certainly not for the faint of heart. You can’t cry it away, drink or smoke it away, eat or starve it away, even punch or kick it away. It’s just there and you have to survive it – you have to endure.
Affair recovery experts generally agree that it takes a minimum of at least two years to heal from infidelity as a betrayed spouse. The past two years have been a constant battle – a war between remembering and forgetting. There were setbacks and many moments when the pain would come rushing back. I wondered if the obsessive thoughts would go away, or if I would ever stop being triggered by things as simple as a song on the radio or a specific word or phrase that my husband would utter, but time does eventually heal all wounds.
Rock bottom became the foundation for my husband and I to rebuild our marriage. The affair and the recovery process was the most life transforming event we have ever experienced. We now make a conscious effort to stay connected on every level: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Since our reconciliation, my husband has evolved into the man and the father that I prayed he would become.
Until you have been broken, you really don’t know what you’re made of. In the words of Bob Marley, “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” Having the inner strength to overcome anything is honestly one of the most badass things a person can ever do.
Although, two years later, I still remember everything about the affair, there is no pain or sadness attached to the memories. The healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed; however, it no longer controls my life. I don’t ask my husband questions about his affair anymore. He has regained my trust and has earned my respect for the man he has become. His infidelity no longer defines our marriage; rather, we view ourselves as a couple who has overcome a huge battle in our marriage. We have rewritten our story and it looks nothing like the past.
Happy two year anniversary of new beginnings to us. ?