Samantha’s Rage When my affair was exposed, I had to come clean. It certainly was not my choice to come clean on my own. I was threatened by the board of the organization I was working for that if I didn’t share the details with Samantha, they were going to approach her and tell her for me. I had 24 hours.After sharing the details of my two and a half year affair, the anger in Samantha’s heart would be unparalleled. I had never seen her that angry, or that hurt, in my entire life. I hope to never encounter that “Samantha” ever again. She physically hit me a couple of times, as well as yelled, screamed, and cried seemingly non-stop. But she was there and decided to give me a chance.To this day, friends as well as acquaintances who come to us for help ask her “Why did you give him another chance….I mean, after all that, why would you ever give him a chance again?”Part of her consistent response is, “He was a broken man and wanted to change, and took all I gave him.”It was a process, and it didn’t happen overnight, but eventually I found a level of humility and brokenness I’ve never allowed myself to lose. It’s a key to preventing relapse in my life. It’s also part of the gift failure gave me, to never allow the old Samuel to resurface. The old Samuel that treated people as speed bumps, and was short, rude, demanding and outright arrogant, never has a place in my life if I want to remain in recovery. I never want to return to that place, but without humility and empathy, I don’t think I’d have a shot at staying married.And yes, I took it all. All her questioning. All her yelling. All her processing. She asked me the same question time and time again, but Rick and another friend helped me understand, that if I wanted to save my marriage, and save my family, I was going to have to take it. I deserved it. I cheated (no matter how rejected I at one time felt) and the way I was going to respond to her anger and pain, was indicative of what was going on inside of me and inside of my heart.If I was going to be safe to Samantha, I was going to have to be willing to endure the stage of her anger, and display empathy like never before in my life.One of Rick’s writings says “Only through empathy (and a willingness to do whatever it takes) can our broken bonds be reestablished.”Samantha stayed and gave me a shot as I was working towards empathy, and in the process of really trying to get it.You see, I didn’t get it overnight and I didn’t get it till I was in true recovery with Rick. True safety meant getting the right kind of help and then putting into practice what I was being taught. It had to be taught to me. Samantha didn’t see perfection, but she did see progress.I understand so well when spouses say their mate is not getting it and not sorry at all. Without the right kind of help, they usually won’t get it and won’t be truly broken for their choices. They’re too self-deceived, too angry, and too full of justification and blindness to really understand how they have hurt you. It unfortunately comes in stages and if they work their recovery right, the train will hit the station and they will get it. But not on their own, and not in one lecture, chapter, or conversation. It will take time and it will come in progression.However, if they are not getting it, at least in stages of progression, usually there is a problem and it may require extra help. It may take some untying of the knots they have tied themselves into, or life has tied them into. It doesn’t mean they won’t get it eventually, or that they can’t get it. But accurate expectations are paramount when dealing with this level of trauma and dysfunction for both parties. That’s where expert help comes in.Now, if you’re an unfaithful, one of the worst things you can do is use the word ‘process’ as an excuse for you not being empathetic to what your choices have done to your spouse (whether you feel justified, rejected, alienated or not.) If you feel compelled to defend your defensiveness or justification, then you’re probably not getting it and anything you say will be tainted. Allow your spouse to vent. Allow them to ask you questions, and when they’re done, I’d suggest saying something to the effect of “Is there anything else you’d like to ask or say or share?” “I want this moment to be important and I’d like you to feel safe. How can I make you feel safe at this moment?”It’s worth it friends. Eight years later, it’s more worth it than I can describe. I hope and pray you don’t quit and give up too easily.