Everything I Wanted Was Here All Along Somewhere along the way, I remember coming to the painful yet life-changing realization that everything I wanted was here in my marriage; I just didn't see it or recognize it. It was a 'painful' realization as it only reinforced the personal shame I felt for allowing the affair to happen in the first place. Keep in mind, shame says I am something bad, when guilt, grief, or conviction simply says I've done something wrong and there is a country mile of difference between the two perspectives my friends. I had let life, kids, marriage, ministry pressures and all sorts of less important things get in the way of taking care of what was supposed to be most important all along, and it was no one’s fault but my own. While last week I talked about restoring and reconnecting sexually, this week I'll accentuate it more with a moment I had one night after we were intimate. It was in no uncertain terms, incredibly erotic, passionate and mutually fulfilling. Later on though, I was struck with the realization that what I had always wanted was here with my wife, void of any shame, condemnation, guilt or regret. I didn't have to regret what I had done with Samantha. I no longer had to look into my young children's eyes with regret or shame. I didn't have to come to bed at night feeling overwhelmingly guilty about what I had done just hours before with my affair partner. I was free. Finally free to enjoy Samantha, while Samantha enjoyed me, and it could have been this way throughout the entirety of my marriage if only......... It was a dark, sobering moment indeed. I don't share this with any of you to pour shame or despair on you, but only to help those of you who are pursuing restoration get an idea of how great it can one day be again! However, instead of commiserating, I began to realize that the best thing I could do now was enjoy my redeemed marriage and continue to grab hold of more and more insight in regards to Samantha and what I had been looking for all along. It was an invigorating moment for me both personally and martially. I gained more ground emotionally by observing just what an incredible woman Samantha was all along, and in more ways than the token expression of "well, she is a great mom." That lackluster title of being a great mom was not a passionate expression years ago, and was a bit of a fallback for my self absorption, dysfunction and blindness. It was a platitude which I tried to tell myself to keep me involved with her emotionally. Sure she had lost herself a bit and sure she had fallen prey to some dysfunction in her own life, but here we were, together, moving forward in recovery and it was passionate, fulfilling and free of any regret. I'd like to encourage you today to consider that perhaps your spouse is really everything they once were to you, and everything you are searching for right now. I'm sure they haven't been perfect and I'm quite sure they too have changed. The reality is, we are always changing and maybe, just maybe, you have lost sight of the fact that your spouse really is the very person you want and need, but you cannot see it right now. To try to see what can be, or will be, when we are lost in the middle of the chaos, the hurt, the trauma and the confusion of early recovery is almost an impossible task. It is in fact, more than possible, but perhaps you need some help to see what can be and will be. There is a process to it all, and I know there is help available to every one of you today. I hope you'll be courageous today and get the help you need for you and your spouse. If need be, perhaps the next thing to do is get help for you. If I can help at all, please let me know.