Grace Name: GraceLocation: TexasOccupation: Stay at Home MomSpouse Testimonial: Read Richard's Story HereChildren: 3Discovery Date: Winter, 2010Story: I am a mother of three precious children. I have always thought that being a stay at home mom was the greatest blessing because that was the best way I could invest in my children, giving them my time. However, after 6 years of marriage my hands were full with a preschooler, a toddler and a newborn! Things started to get complicated as I was trying to manage life with young children and a traveling husband. In the midst of my difficulties, my husband decided to continue with his MBA and I stepped out saying that I would support him. We survived that intense time of school, babies, traveling, and family. After my husband graduated, I decided to homeschool our first born son. Preschool and Kindergarten was fun to do although very challenging since my husband was keeping up with the traveling. In the year of 2010, I was with a 1st grader, a preschooler and a toddler. In August of 2010 Richard went to Taiwan. When he got back from that trip, he returned very different. I remember trying to talk to him but he was absent minded. He told me he was very busy at work and he couldn’t support me with homeschooling. Not that he was too involved before, but now he was completely absent from our daily activities at home. I remember the physical exhaustion was beginning to affect my mood at the extreme of despair and willing to die. I later discovered I was suffering from depression at this point. I told my husband that I was extremely tired and I needed him in my life, but by that time he was already emotionally detached from me and my family. With this pattern all he could find when he came from work was a very angry, resentful, and nagging woman. In Sept. 2010 we took a trip to Puerto Rico as a family. Again, I was lonely except that I was in a hotel with the ocean in front of me. Richard was working long hours to the point of not seeing the kids. When we got back from our trip, I noticed that his physical image started to be important to him all of a sudden. He started going to the gym every day, leaving home early and returning late at night. All we could do when I tried to talk to him was argue, which left me in a deep despair. He blamed everything on me to the point where I started to believe that I was the most evil woman in the whole entire world. By this time, my anxiety had gotten out of control because he stopped talking to me. I remember telling my sister to put me in a hospital because I started shaking and could not control my anxiety. Being in the hospital for deep depression was the most humiliating time. I was there with drug addicts, alcoholics, and very scary people. In that time, I needed the love and comfort of the man that had promised would take care of me. When he came to visit me a couple of times, he didn’t even wanted to touch my hand when I tried to reach for him, making me feel like I had some sort of skin illness. All this did not make sense to me. All I could think was, “Am I really that evil that he doesn’t even want to see me?” After all, all I have asked as a wife was his company, his help, and for a man who would lead our family because of the strong leader that I always prayed for when I was single. I came back home from the hospital and my sister moved in to my house to take care of me. I remember feeling safe and loved by her. Richard kept ignoring me and only talking to the kids. On December 31 2010, while he decided to take a nap before a New Year’s Eve reunion at church, I went to his computer. I had many times tried to check his computer before but there was always a need of a password. That night, I was able to go through and found several emails from two different women. I could not believe what my eyes were seeing. I still thought this could not be Richard. He would never do something like this to me but in that very second I knew it was real. When I confronted him, he said it was only an emotional affair. My world collapsed and I felt extremely angry at him. The man that I trusted completely 10 years ago had betrayed me.Struggle: On January 10th I confirmed that he had a sexual affair when I found a receipt from the hotel. All I thought was, at least he can’t blame this problem on me like he usually does. So with a strong and firm conviction, I told him that he needed to leave the house and that I was going to grant him his desire of divorce since that was what he has being trying to become… a “free man” on a search for pleasure. In my shattered world I started seeing myself as a single woman with three precious children that will have to pay off the consequences of a man that didn’t think of his family because of his own selfish thoughts. I felt hopeless, willing to die, but at the same time feeling strong to fight for my kids although their world had collapsed along with mine with a father gone because of his choices. Everything started to make sense to me and I was starting to understand why he acted the way he did in certain occasions. In the midst of my shattered world I knew that I was woman with value, that even in my depression willing to end my life, I was chosen to be the mother of these precious children.Course of Action: When Richard told me about EMS Weekend I did not want to come. It took some time to pray and think about it and my sister and brother in law helped me to make the decision. They helped me see that Richard was taking leadership in trying to mend our marriage by getting help. I only agreed to come because I was not going to need a hotel to stay in the same room with a man that at this point was detestable to me. When I attended EMS I was the most hopeless woman in this entire world. On Saturday night when Rick sat with us for dinner and Richard confessed to me his affair with details, it was the most horrible night ever. What a nightmare! I could not believe how a man can possibly live a double life for such a long time …..it was unbearable! The next day, on Sunday morning, I called Rick and I said that I was not going to come back to EMS…that was it! I even woke up late, and said there’s no way I am seeing this man again. Rick was very loving and he asked me to come at least to get a hug from everybody and finish the material. I agreed but only on the condition that I would not have to sit near Richard. After EMS Richard told me he needed to talk to me. We talked for 4 hours. That night I saw a different man, a repentance that I had been praying for, after two weeks, he moved in the house and we began rebuilding our marriage. If not for Rick and for EMS Weekend I don’t think we would have even had enough hope to try.Lessons Learned: I learned that forgiveness is not a one-time event. Every time an intrusive thought or bad memory came, I had to remind myself that I was choosing to forgive him and forgive all over again. I am in control of my choice to forgive, and I choose to forgive often. I also had to learn to let go of what I thought my marriage was and to grieve over the loss of those 10 years. Grieving had to take place in order to experience a new marriage. Finally, we learned to stop trying to please one another and just enjoy each other. This way, my happiness depends on me and isn’t in the hands of my husband.Encouragement: Recovery is one of the most difficult things you will ever do in your life, but it is more than worth it. There was so much goodness buried in the rubble of our crumbled marriage; goodness we could not possibly have found if it hadn’t come crashing down first. We renewed our vows in May of 2011 and have never been so excited about our marriage.