Dana Name: DanaLocation: TexasOccupation: MilitaryChildren: 2Discovery Date: Winter 2013Story: Being in the military is very hard on marriages. Long deployments, heavy stress and hard hours is a breeding ground for affairs. For some unknown reason, when we joined the Army after two years of marriage, I thought we were immune from the marriage troubles "other" couples faced. Affairs were what happened in "weak" marriages. I couldn't have been more wrong. Four years and one long deployment later, my world was turned upside down. I had known our marriage was not what it could or should have been for quite a while, but I didn't know what to do about it. I thought maybe he was growing distant because of his deployment and was just having a hard time adjusting to life back home. However, my suspicions continued to grow that something else was happening. So while my husband was out of town on Army business, I hacked into his email. What I found changed my life forever. He was having sexual affairs, and had been doing so for quite some time. Struggle: The pain that I felt when I found out is difficult to describe. My brain and my body were numb. Literally, my arms and legs would go numb, numerous times a day. I lost all desire to eat. I couldn't hold any thoughts in my head for more than a few seconds. My family would talk to me and I wouldn't even hear them or comprehend what they were saying. During the first few weeks after discovery, I was like a zombie. I was in so much emotional pain, it actually felt physical as well. Sometimes I thought my heart and my head were going to explode from the pain of betrayal that I felt. I could hardly sleep, and when I did I would have horrible nightmares. One thing that really helped me through that time was reading my Bible. It was the only activity I could do that would keep my mind off of the betrayal. Looking back, I probably read my Bible for 6-8 hours a day. I also had lots of help from my parents and siblings who cared for my children. I couldn't have done it without their help. Since my husband was gone when I found out, I took all my belongings and moved out of our house and in with my parents. I felt like my husband was a monster and I no longer knew who he really was. I refused to see him when he got back and told him that I needed time. Two months went by. Course of Action: My husband called and told me he had found an Emergency Marriage Seminar that was geared towards affair recovery and it sounded really good. He asked if I would be willing to go. I looked into it and decided to go because they said it was not about pressuring couples to stay together. The focus was on healing. I did not know if I wanted to stay or should stay with my husband at that time. I went to the EMS weekend on very shaky legs. It was the first time I had seen my husband since discovery, two and a half months before. The first day of the seminar, I went from having panic attacks when my husband would come by me, to being able to sit near him on separate chairs and rest my hand on his arm. I could never have done that without the skilled coaching from Rick and the others at the EMS weekend. The information, help, and unconditional love that I was shown at EMS will stay with me for life. It was such a safe, comforting place that I never wanted to leave. It gave my husband and me a safe place to start communicating again, which was a giant step for me. He began to see how deep the hurt was that he caused me and he started to show true remorse. Lessons Learned: We left the weekend with many tools to continue on our journey towards healing and with some clear steps about what we would do next. The progress we made over that one weekend was better than I could have ever imagined. I highly recommend the EMS Weekend to anyone who is struggling in their marriage over recent or past hurts. I strongly believe that had we not gone to EMS, our marriage would now be over. Instead, we have worked through many struggles (with help) and are learning how to be transparent and honest with one another. We just passed the one year mark since discovery. Encouragement: A year ago at this time I thought I would never laugh or feel loved again. Now I can honestly say that our marriage is better than it was before, but it has not been without its struggles. I would never in a million years ask to go through the hurt and pain that infidelity causes, but I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned and the quality of our marriage now because of it. If only we could have learned what we did without all the pain. I also completed the Harboring Hope program and my husband did the Hope for Healing. That was very helpful. Talking with others who were going through similar situations was very encouraging. It was helpful to know that the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing were normal, and that I wasn't crazy. Healing from infidelity is not something you should do on your own. It is important to get help and preferably from someone who has a lot of experience in that area. Please know that it will get better, and the hurt will not always be unbearably overwhelming. There is hope.