Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery
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Wow what a blessing, thank

Wow what a blessing, thank you both for sharing your story. I know how hard it can be to open up that way but it has been a blessing to me and hopefully my wife also. I agree this is not something that can be done on your own but it has been hard for me to find community for my wife. We did EMSO but it was not the best thing for my wife partly because at the time she was not ready it was about 4 months after d-day and still in a fog. Also not sure if phone calls are best for her maybe if she is really brought into it but she is just not able to talk about what happened she just shuts down at least with me. But watching this video could be a blessing for her thank you.
David

Thank you for sharing. And a question for Melinda.

Thank you for sharing your story of recovery. You are kind and generous people to share your story of pain and reconciliation. I appreciate you and the work you have done.

And now my question or, really, an observation. In all of your story I never heard you talk about how Michael's specialness brought you back to the marriage and/or makes you want to stay in the marriage. You mentioned being motivated by the desire to do the "right" thing, by a fear of damnation, by a fear of regret, and by a sense you were going against God's purpose for you. But I never heard you say that Michael was someone special who you wanted to be with because of who he is and his qualities. At least in the initial stages of reconciliation it was really the opposite: you didn't want him, you didn't want intimacy, you were doing it in spite of yourself.

The reason I bring this up is that my wife's affair struck at the heart of my fears of adequacy. Her affair deeply wounded my already fragile self-esteem. Like you--and like all unfaithful spouses--my wife rejected me for another. She compared me with another (consciously and unconsciously) and found me lacking. I find my self looking for and needing evidence that she now esteems me and finds me desirable. I realize this last part gets at that very complex subject of co-dependence. That is, I need to esteem myself and not rely on my wife's opinion of me for my worth. But I can not deny that my belief in self and my belief that my wife loves me has been deeply shaken.

Thanks again for the video.

You are welcome.

To both David and jmtegger, thank you for the kind notes. You are both very welcome. We are happy to share our store as a way to offer hope.

We are sorry for such a delayed response, but now that we know these questions have been posed to Melinda, you can rest assured that she will reply soon - hopefully within the next several days.

Blessings to you both,

Michael

Melinda's Response

Please accept my sincere apologies for not making time sooner to address this question about my motivation for going back to the marriage with Michael. You are correct that it was not Michael's specialness that brought me back to the marriage. I had allowed disappointments, sadness, resentments, and anger to build such a thick wall around my heart toward Michael, that only as I grew in my personal relationship with God after moving back home, would I be able to see Michael as the truly amazing and special man that he is to me and to this world. When I moved home 2 years ago, I trusted that God would change my heart toward Michael, and He has been ever faithful. I love Michael in a way I never even knew to love him. I cherish Michael as my husband, my best friend, my training partner for heaven. We grow daily toward oneness in our emotional and spiritual intimacy, and that has redeemed our physical intimacy.
Michael and I are both broken human beings in desperate need of a Savior, a Savior that loves us so much he would give his very life for ours. He is Jesus! Because we are human, we will disappoint each other - even if it is only unintentionally. As a result, we realize that we cannot look to the other for validation, acceptance, and self-worth. We receive all of that from God and God is sufficient. Our identities are found in Christ. I pray that you have continued in a healing process that guides you in this truth. You are worthy! You are loved unconditionally by our Heavenly Father! I encourage you to rest in the hope found in Christ our Savior. God has gone before us in all things. He is with you and for you.

I found your story moving and powerful.

I found your story moving and powerful.

Melinda, your strength making the decisions you made, and preparing this documentary is incredible. As a betrayed husband, your story helps me understand where my wife was. For me, you represent her voice, something I never directly heard in our discussions including couples counseling. It helped me “get my brain around” the unprecedented times during which the affair and ensuing divorce occurred (in retrospect).
Michael, the strength you found to stay in the game despite excruciating pain and circumstances is a great inspiration. As I reflect upon those months of the collapse of our marriage last year, you represent what I frequently think about. Could I have found the strength to hang in there longer? You are a hero.

Under similar circumstances, I filed 6 months post Nov 2014 D-Day; we spiraled, fell into great distance, and proceeded to divorce. At time of filing, I was of increasing pain, exhaustion, and a struggle to understand that she was not able to walk away – she was not ready to face ending the affair. Despite my pain – occurring during a time of unemployment – the affair simply continued. Prayer, sleeping pills, anti-depressants, counseling, friends – I was devastated, exhausted, in sustained pain. I was watching her closely for capacity to self reflect, willingness to put in the hard work, commitment to me and the kids. I didn’t see it. She stayed her course, and then I walked. I frequently wonder if I should have waited, like you did. Again, I respect your strength and dedication to Melinda and the family.

Today, we alternate our 16 and 19 yr old sons. Moving in in Nov 2015, he now has equal right to my sons as I, establishing an increasing step father role. My disgust is kept at bay as I frequently tell my sons “I hope you have a great time!” At least my sons are older, I have great respect for your journey with such young children.

For you two, I recognize hard work continues into the future. I understand the crazy that somehow you are “cured” and back to normal. On the inevitable days where you feel stressed, tired, exhausted, and possible even questioning your faith, please know you have a fan wishing you strength and serenity as you navigate such times.

Your ability to face vulnerability, open up on such difficult subjects, and proceed with the documentary is very inspiring. For that you are beautiful people to me.

Regards,

Paul

Thanks for this Powerful Story and Questions for Melinda

Thank you both for sharing the details of your journey. It's pretty incredible. Your story is very similar to ours, so I find it encouraging. My wife and I actually watched this together and some things Melinda said resonated with her. However, my wife is reluctant to seek help. Most of the help we've gotten has been through me taking the initiative, and I think she needs to take as much ownership in restoring the marriage as I have. So I'm definitely losing hope for us, despite the resultant progress.

Michael, wow, I don't know what to say. I'm not exactly in your old shoes, but it's close enough and I don't know if I can do what you did. I certainly commend you for sticking through all of that and being as longsuffering and patient as you were. My wife's affair essentially ended on D-Day 7 months ago, and though we've made progress, her ambivalence and lack of desire for me makes me doubt we'll ever get back on track. I want to give up and throw in the towel. When confronted with the questions of "where are we going?", "what do you want?", or "are you on board with fixing us?", my wife just replies with, "I don't know". I'm in perpetual turmoil and want it to stop one way or another. We have 2 small children as well, so the decision to leave isn't an easy one, but living in limbo is killing me. I'm consulting with a lawyer next week, but I want to give my wife every opportunity to choose reconciliation before I file and/or things are finalized.

Melinda, when you changed your mind at the last minute, was that the same moment you decided to be all in, or did being all in come later? What are some signs to look for that my wife's heart is softening? What was the single thing you could say helped you the most in coming to your decision to choose Michael and the marriage?

Again, thank you both for sharing. Your story is truly inspiring and I wish you both all the love and happiness life has to offer.

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