Discovery Date: 

Spring 2011


It was April 24, 2011.  Easter Sunday.  I had been gone speaking at a youth event and came home Saturday night, after midnight to my family fast asleep.  I had baptized my wife the previous Sunday.  We went to church the next morning and had my wife’s parents and grandparents over for Sunday lunch and an Easter egg hunt with my kids.  That evening I had casually checked Facebook on my phone when I saw what amounted to a tweet that my wife had sent and was posted.  It wasn’t incriminating, but was very odd.  I asked about it and she immediately grabbed her phone and deleted the post.  I asked and she denied and denied and denied. 

I guess I wore her down and bits of truth came out.  It was the most painful hours of my life.  She initially only confessed having an affair with a guy from our church.  Something didn’t feel right so I kept asking and that’s when she admitted to another guy at the theatre.  The torture of hearing everything in bits and pieces was ridiculous.  She had confessed to an “indiscretion” from 2005 right after it happened and promised me it would never happen again.  I believed her.  Now here I was, married 10 years and she had been unfaithful for half of them, with 3 different guys, including one that we had been on a double date with and one we went to church with. 


I felt like such a fool.  She said it wasn’t my fault, that it was her issue.  I didn’t know what to believe, but it sure wasn’t going to be her.  I had this gigantic hole in my heart, and because of my job as a pastor, there was no one to talk to.  This stuff happens to other people, not me.  I had counseled couples in this but never expected it to happen in my home.  Yet here I was feeling like my entire marriage was a fraud.  I knew I was going to lose my job, my marriage, my reputation, my friends, everything.  I didn’t want to start over and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do the work to save my marriage.

My fear and depression pushed me to share with my pastor who connected us with Rick.  Even then I wasn’t sure I wanted a cheater to be the one who we turned to for help.  He would just take her side and tell me all the things I needed to change since it was probably my fault.    What I found instead was someone who did understand both sides and who did not justify what she did. 

He diffused my anger by asking her, “What are the consequences of sin?”  She said, “death.”  “And what is mercy?” he asked. “Getting what you don’t deserve.” “Then anything short of Charles killing you is mercy, right?”  I was stunned by the candidness with which he addressed our issue.  My anger was never fully directed at her.  I was very angry with the men involved.  As men, we are to be leaders.  They used this God-given mantle of responsibility for evil.  Not that my wife was not a willing participant, but I held them to a certain level of responsibility as well. 

Course of Action: 

Because of my schedule, it was 4 months before we could attend EMS.  I read all I could in the Recovery Library and tried to fake my way through it for all the people that did not know.  We tried to set boundaries and get explanations.  My biggest question was always, “WHY?”  Rick told me that was the one question that was off limits.  That was the one question I wanted answered.  Everything else was secondary.  He explained that she doesn’t even fully understand the why yet and that it was his job to dig down to it and I needed to be patient.

At EMS, we were finally able to stop feeling alone and isolated like we were the only ones going through this.  Hearing others share their story built some safety where I knew we wouldn’t be judged.  We were given exercises and a pivotal moment was when the therapists at EMS were able to guide her to finally understanding just how much her infidelity hurt me.  Seeing her realize in a tangible and verbal and broken way as we sat face to face was a game changer.  So much hurt and pain and confusion and anger came pouring out in my tears as she spoke.  That was the first real step to healing.

Lessons Learned: 

It sucks to be told that you should plan on 18-24 months before you find a new normal.  That seemed so far away and there was so much life to do and we had kids to protect. But it’s not all bad for 18-24 months. It’s not like you spend up to two years in the same misery as D-Day and then suddenly the clouds part and birds are singing on month 18. You work at it, and every day it gets a little better. Some days you’ll slide back, and others you’ll bound forward.


The goal was never to get our old marriage back.  It was obviously not the best it could be.  The goal was, and is, to grow into a new and better marriage with better understanding, better communication, better trust, better boundaries, better accountability, and a deeper love than we could imagine.


Are we there?  No.  Are we where we were?  No.  Thank God.  Are we a work in progress that still gets messy?  Absolutely.  Are there still triggers?  Sometimes.  It seems like every show on TV uses an affair as the major plot line.  One of our biggest keys was boundaries.  It still is. Ana was always willing to do whatever I needed to heal, which was enormously helpful. Rick suggested we set up some boundaries to help me feel safe enough to work on our marriage.


The main boundaries were:

  • No social media. Ana deleted her Facebook and Twitter accounts that day.
  • Not being alone when I travel. Either she came with me or her mom would come stay with her and the kids.
  • Sharing all passwords
  • She would no longer participate in theatre (since two of the 3 affairs had occurred in a theater setting.)
  • Calling and checking in throughout the day.
  • When Ana is singing for the worship team, there always has to be another female present at practices. (I talked this over with the worship pastor for her so this boundary wouldn’t cause any issues.)
  • Willing to answer questions, even if it’s the same question over and over. (Rick explained to her that it wasn’t that I didn’t believe her, it’s that it doesn’t make sense to me. I feel compelled to keep asking because it reassures me to hear the same answer over and over, so I know the rug won’t be pulled out from under me again.)


Keep in mind she holds me to the same standard I hold her to. The name of the game is honesty. Rick taught us that it was OK if I didn’t trust Ana for a while, and that we could substitute honesty and transparency for trust. Safety is more important than trust when you begin recovery. In the beginning, every time I wasn’t sure where she was and who she was with my brain would just begin to unravel. Since Ana was safe enough to handle my questions and concerns, trust grew.


Is there hope?  YES!  My vows specifically said “I will not divorce you.”  My family tree is full of broken branches from affairs and divorce.  I wanted those words in there to show my family that I would not end up like them, no matter what.  I had no idea that I would be challenged to my core to actually live those words out in the face of a justifiable reason to quit. 

I believe that, like a puzzle, my wife and I are the perfect fit.  She may have tried to fit with others, but I am the one fit for her and she for me.  I will fight for that as long as I have breath.  I believe God has the power to redeem even the nastiest of situations.  It was Easter Sunday 2001 when I asked her to be my wife.  It was Easter 2011 when it was shattered.  As a Christ follower this is supposed to be the holiest of days and now it was ruined.  But Easter 2012, God redeemed the day when I was able to baptize my son.  He has redeemed several others things that I thought were gone forever, and I honestly believe that I will have an even greater marriage than I do now as we continue in recovery.

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Thank you

Mine is kind of the opposite. But, I printed out your story to read to my husband tonight. Thank you. From ~Boise

Thank you for sharing

I am the female unfaithful spouse. Our roles are reversed from the majority. My husband feels his manhood is in question because I made bad decisions. This is the first story I have found where the husband is the faithful spouse and is working through it with his wife. I appreciate your point of view and candidness. I hope to share your story with my husband when he is ready.


Hello Jennifer, I too am the unfaithful wife and was wondering if you were able to share this with your husband yet? I hope so and I hope your recovery process makes your marriage stronger than ever before with each passing day. I have printed out several success stories to share with my husband, but I haven't even confessed my affair to him as of yet.


I am in the same situation as you and you are right mine were only messages and hugs no physical sexual contact but it is still infidelity and who knows if he didn't find out I would have been making the worse mistake of my life!!!!!!!

Thank you

I am the unfaithful spouse. My husband and I have the same rules as you and your wife have. I will be reading your story again.
My wish is for you and your wife to be blessed.

The unfaithful one

I too, am the unfaithful wife. When my husband found out by checking the phone bill I admitted to it. I didn't feel his pain immediately, on the contrary I was really mad. It wasn't until he moved out after I told him to leave when I realized the damage I had caused, and without justifying myself, I added fuel to our marriage and family, that was already on fire.

Me too..

How did you get through it all... I just feel like the past 18 months have been for nothing.. I never say the right thing or do the right thing by him. I try to always reassure and be open and honest.. I am transparent i have no social media, and he has an open door policy to anything. I love this man with all my heart and soul.. How can we keep going..

Me too

Information for me trickled in with weird behaviors that were not the normal for my wife. I am trained in reading people and determining when behavior is outside the norm, and when lies are present. I was always told I was projecting, manipulating, interrogating etc. When little bits of information would come from her coworkers and "use-to-be" friends she always had some excuse as to why they would say that or that it was flat out lies. A year after the initial problems started the wife of the AP contacted me out of the blue and we met with a friend of hers as a third party. We were able to fill in a lot of information gaps and plot holes. Since then my wife has moved out. She refuses counseling and conversation. I always kind of knew but i told myself until I had concrete facts I wasn't going to push the issue. I feel like I enabled her for over a year to carry on because of I did not contact his man's wife a year earlier for fears I might add problems to their marriage if there were none present. I still hold out hope and know we can build a new marriage together. I will love her no matter what and keep telling myself she must need to reach rock bottom before she realizes what she's done. She still has not admitted to anything physical but I am left without a doubt that there was at the very least an emotional affair. I read your story and other's and it gives me hope. I have not had my moment of vindication yet and don't know if it will come. The only thing she has told me is that she is sorry for lying to me about things but has made it clear that that is all she is apologetic for. God bless all of you.

Thank you for sharing. I like

Thank you for sharing. I like the idea of boundaries through your recovery. I pray for continued healing for you and your wife. I hope it not too late for me

I too am the hurt spouse

It was 2008 when I married my dream girl. I worked hard and supported a family of 5. We have 3 boys. One I adopted from her prior relationship. Had to work a lot to support our lifestyle. Too much I guess as in 2012 she had an affair multiple times. I didn’t give her the attention she needed was her excuse. Not enough time together. She also was going through a time where a sexual desire was in her that was never before. I didn’t want her to go behind my back so I let her invite other men to our bed. She agreed with no hesitation and brought home 3 or 4 different guys that she had sex with in front of me. I didn’t join cause I couldn’t get an erection. My heart was blinded by my love of my wife. I let her do what she wanted. I was so lost I don’t remember exactly the end of that time as in aug 2013 we moved states to get away from her “acquaintances”. To start over. Wasn’t a month later she was texting someone from back home.
We tried to get past it and I never did have the love for my wife again. I wanted to. We made a commitment. 3 boys. Things were ok for a few years. Not the best as I failed at being a husband. I see that now. 2019 she was texting another man and hiding it from me. She admitted to infidelity. No sex but emotional. They kissed only. I blew up. Again! Again! We separated for 6 months. To see the outcome. Beginning of 2020, February we agreed that we have nothing without each other and she moved back in. Now 2022 I found out that she has been sending pictures and texting a guy again. Only this time she is having sex too! Ever since her apartment in 2019. She says that it wasn’t the whole time but they were together a few months ago. And she sent dirty pictures 2 weeks ago and said she enjoyed seeing him!I found out by sneaking into her phone. We are still together and I want to work it out but I don’t know if she was ever meant to be with only one man. It is not her fault as I didn’t love her as I should have but how could I after 2012. I’m so lost and don’t know what to do

You have to let her go, I

You have to let her go, I know its hard, I know you don't want to. But she does not want to change, I have been through similar.

The kids do not deserve growing up with disconnected parents.