I Can’t Make You Not Have an Affair

"I can't make you NOT have another affair. If you're going to cheat, you're going to cheat."

About a year or so into recovery, Samantha very calmly told me those words in Rick's office. I immediately saw Rick's eyes light up, followed by a gentle smile that showed Rick was very pleased with the new insight Samantha had arrived at.

It was a significant moment for her, to realize she needed to let go, trust God and even trust me (in developing levels of progression) that if I was ever going to have another affair, she in her own power couldn't prevent it.

After all, I was a great liar. If I want to, I still can be.

The difference is - I don't want to.

And I don't have to.

Samantha realized that if I wanted to have another affair I could, and that it would then be up to God to show her or not. It was a tremendous time of healing for her as, quite frankly, she had an enormous amount of anger at God for allowing all of this mess to happen to her in the first place.

Anyone who knows my story though, knows that God did indeed reveal the affair to her in a way she would have liked to have traded, yet she came to know all of the details. Nevertheless, she came to a point in her healing when she realized she could not control the events that would unfold behind the scenes.

She did, however, have control over how we lived and what mechanisms we had in place to earn trust. Trust, early on in recovery, isn't the most important factor in marriage; safety is. Later trust can and will re-flourish, but early on, it's nowhere to be found.

While trusting someone before they have displayed the character, honesty and consistency to win it back is a mere dice roll at best, safety is a whole different component. You can replace trust with safety and safety mechanisms like open and vulnerable honesty about fears, concerns, hurts and temptations. Trust will come, over time, as safety mechanisms are followed and utilized, but safety can come much much quicker as you're open and honest with each other and establish a climate where you're (as Rick says all the time) "naked and unashamed." Yet, this takes a commitment on both parties to live open and honestly, without judging or shaming the other for their vulnerability.

I'd like to post a few of Rick's closing comments in The Truth About Trust which says it better than I ever could:

If I ask my wife whether or not she trusts me, she’ll almost always respond, “No, but I do trust God, and I trust God with you.”

Trust and faith have a lot in common. Personally, I believe that faith is an organ of the soul, just like my eyes or ears are organs of my body. My eyes were never intended to generate light; rather, they were intended to perceive light. My ears were never intended to generate sound; they were intended to perceive sound. If they begin to generate sound, that will certainly drive me a bit crazy. In the same way, faith is an organ of my soul and was never intended to generate the work of God; rather, it was intended to perceive the work of God. Our problem begins when we focus our faith on something unstable. If we place our faith on our ability to handle this betrayal, then that should scare us to death. If we focus our faith on our mate’s ability to get it right, we’ll probably have a panic attack. We have to place our faith in something solid if we want to eliminate fear, and we do have to eliminate fear before trust is rebuilt.

Faith allows for a firm footing regardless of your mate. It is separate and apart from him or her and provides a stable anchor as you deal with life’s struggles. Extending trust to your mate requires an inner strength and stability that can come from a stable faith in God. Like love, trust requires risk, and may require your own healing before you can once again extend that gift. Faith will help you walk that path.

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Surrendering and giving God the control

December 13, 2009 was the "Big Reveal". The entire day I was numb and in disbelief that my husband had betrayed me. By January 2010, my husband had run away on two different occasions claiming I was unfaithful too and he feared for his life. By March, he attended "Every Man's Battle" and came back with a written confession of many one night stands. It was read to me with Tim's counselor present. I was devastated. It was worse than I thought. He was unfaithful early on and throughout our marriage, and I never saw it coming. I had no clue because I was so busy defending my fidelity and honor in our marriage. I was constantly accused of wanting other men's attention, not loving him and gradually his suspicious behavior wore me down. My overwhelming plea in our counseling sessions was simply to be trusted. And cruelly, he was doing all those things to me. My world was shattered. You are as sick as your secrets, and my husband had a boatload of secrets. I never knew he was molested, raped in second grade by an older boy who would visit the family. Tim's mother never knew, but that is because his father was having an affair with the molester/rapist's mother. Tim had abandonment issues with his father and mother, and he would only defend and protect them both. He never stopped accusing me even after I agreed to a lie detector test. He confessed and hated the sin, but was incapable of remaining contrite. It was the final straw for me. We separated in May 2010. His mental state began to break down. The percentage of normal was shrinking and his episodes increased. He thought he was being followed and that I would kill him. He lived in his van for four months and ended up at his mom/stepdad's house. I surrendered this train wreck to the Lord. He got me out of bed, and I maintained my job and all of the responsibilities. My three amazing children were at a loss as to what to do with their father. So, the Lord lead me to a 12-week course with NAMI. (National Alliance for Mental Illness). Sadly, it started on September 13, ten days after Tim took his life. But God is amazing. And he always had my back. He gave me strength to just get out of bed. And I was grateful to be such a slow processor. I never did anything rash. Tim committed suicide near his parents home. His family and parents would have never understood what we were going through until they saw it first hand. God was merciful, and it did not happen in our home. The Lord is now leading me to Hope Recovery where I can find some peace and forgiveness. I need to be in a safe place to be vulnerable and process the trauma of infidelity, even if Tim is no longer with me. I will be able to grieve my 31 years of marriage, and begin to heal. I am so grateful God is with me through this journey. I start my Hope Recovery this week.

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