Marie Name: MarieLocation: TexasSpouse Testimonial: Read John's Story HereChildren: 1Discovery Date: Summer 2012Story: My husband and I were an old married couple before ever exchanging vows. We lived together, had a dog, and sat around in sweats doing nothing and making no effort. We loved each other, I am certain, but sort of forgot that we needed to show it. About a year into our marriage, maybe a little less, I started to get restless. While studying and working, I was also caring for our home, shopping, cooking, cleaning- with little to no help from my husband. He would come home and get on the internet or watch TV. On top of that, we did not really spend time talking together. The routine we settled in to lead me to believe he did not care about me or our marriage. It sounds like I am blaming him, but I wasn’t any better. I couldn’t rationally discuss anything. He got tired of my rants, and thought that because I exaggerate about most things, I was exaggerating about the problems in our marriage. Of course nothing could justify my actions. I met a man at a wedding who, looking back, was a real sleeze. But to me, he was someone who paid attention to a woman craving just that. We spoke a few times on the phone and then, when my husband was out of town, I stayed with him. I had an affair. Something I had always, ALWAYS said I would never, ever do. (Although, as Rick pointed out, I’m pretty sure 99.5% of those who have betrayed their spouses didn’t start out by vowing to do so on their wedding day.) I didn’t care for the physical part. It was nothing exciting. It was just the affirmation from another that I was sexy and beautiful and cared about. My affair partner laid it on thick. I can honestly say that I did not have any real feelings for this man, but I desperately wanted to feel desired. My husband suspected everything because the night of the affair he tried over and over to get a hold of me. When asked why I was not home and not answering calls, I made up a ridiculous lie. I didn’t want him to know, but that did not stop me from emailing, calling and meeting the affair partner. Soon, I could not take it anymore. I told John the truth. The hardest thing I had ever done. Of course, he reacted with emotions I had never seen in him; crying, ranting, and yelling. I will never forget when he flung his wedding ring at me. I have never felt so low. I imagine he would say the same. At least, up until then. Struggle: I left my husband that day and went to stay with a friend. For a week, I drank, cheated, (with my original affair partner and another man), and wasted away until I realized how much I wanted my husband back and how much I missed him. Amazingly, he still wanted me. So after agreeing to get counseling, I came home. We saw a counselor about 5 times. Let’s just say he left much to be desired. He did not mention God. He did mention cliché psychological phrases and bored me to tears. But at least my husband and I were talking, living together, trying. But this did not last. We soon decided that our counselor was a quack, and that we were fine. We carried on with business as usual. Exactly as usual. I mean, we did try a little more at first to be loving, sexual, etc. But soon we were back to the same old routine. I think what really happened is that I never really came back and we did not really try. Then, I truly hit the lowest point of my entire life. At a friend’s wedding, I slept with yet another affair partner. I did not love him. I barely knew him. But again, he was someone that made me feel accepted. He was like a trophy, almost, because he led this exciting lifestyle and yet chose to sleep with me. What a joke. Well, to sum it up, my husband found out through an email I had sent to this man about another meeting. This time, I had an emotional breakdown. I mean, literally - I was not coherent. I was a lunatic. And my husband just calmly left. He had had enough. I spent the next 3 nights out of town at my parent’s house, balling my eyes out, screaming in agony in the middle of the night, barely even sleeping. I could not think, couldn’t function. I took days off of work. My husband would not even talk to me and I realized the cold, hard truth - he was gone and I had lost him. I am not sure what losing a child feels like, or a parent. But I relate that type of death to this feeling. And the worse part of it was that I did it to myself. All I could do at that point is pray. And pray and pray and pray. Course of Action: I told my husband that I was going to go to a counselor who knew what he was doing. While still at my parents’ house, I looked up about 4 or 5 places. I told myself that I would go to the first one to respond. I emailed and left messages. And within no more than an hour, I had an answer to my prayer. A woman from Affair Recovery called back. We saw Rick for private counseling and he immediately recommended Harboring Hope and Hope for Healing. These classes offered so much hope. My leader told me that I was going to get help. That I was going to be ok. That I was loved and would get through this. The women in my Hope for Healing class had been there, in my skin, living my horrible choices, seeing my husband deteriorate under the pain we had each individually and uniquely caused. Soon, John agreed to meet with me. When I saw him in the restaurant where we met, I knew that I would throw my heart and soul into our marriage and turn everything over to God. Three days later he moved home. From that point on, things were so different. Don’t get me wrong- it was really so hard some days. My husband was wounded beyond anything I had ever seen in him or anyone else. I had guilt in massive proportions. Each day a little more was revealed and each time was like a dagger into our hearts. But you know what? Each day we healed a little more too. Affair Recovery and Hope for Healing led us towards truth. My group leader helped us understand that love is both the question and the answer, and that love can solve any problem. Including fixing something that was broken. So we continued with our groups, learning more and more about this love. We found a new church and new friends. We found a new hope. We spent more time learning about each other, talking to each other, and growing in respect for each other. I came to realize that my husband was a gift and that I am truly blessed to have him in my life. To have him there to listen to me and love me is more than I deserve.Lessons Learned: We are almost a year removed from our start with Affair Recovery. As painful as it was to relive everything, we have come to realize that we are not bound by our mistakes. We all have faults but we are not slaves to those faults. It is hard sometimes and I forget when the guilt and pain rises again and brings me down. But I know that with God, with prayer, with love, we are going to be ok. We have a new affection for each other that springs from a new understanding of what it even means to love. Days are going to be hard. You will feel frustrated, confused. You will think that you cannot escape the guilt. But you can. You will. We had the lowest of lows and yet our marriage has been beautifully restored, and it just keeps getting better. Anything is possible if you are willing to work. You will see. Encouragement: The thing I want to leave with is that, through this whole process of falling in love with my husband again, and being able to communicate with him again, it was the worst year, but it was also the best year of our marriage so far. Not that we’re perfect, but being able to love each other in a way we hadn’t in a long time really meant a lot to me. I would never want to go through that pain again, but I wouldn’t trade the marriage we have now for anything.