The Courage to Stay

Wikipedia defines courage as is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.

There’s a school of thought that says it takes raw courage to move on from an affair and pursue life on your own without your spouse. The intimidation alone of heading out into the next chapter of your life or family without your spouse requires courage, and a willingness to stare fear in the face and move forward. This transition in life simply cannot be underscored enough.

However, it takes just as much courage (and some would say more) to face infidelity or addiction, and still choose to pursue your marriage while it’s enveloped in ashes and uncertainty. While there are many cases when a spouse is unwilling to make changes, or turn from their affair partner or addiction, and the spouse must summon all their courage and unfortunately move on.

Yet, there are times of incredible confusion and paralysis and every amount of courage must be utilized to stay, even if it’s under a short timeline to see if changes are made. My wife Samantha did this. She chose to be far more courageous than many told her to be, and decided to at least TRY and save the marriage. It was incredibly scary and she had little confidence to hold on to. Our motivation wasn’t perfect, as it was more for the kids initially than it was for us. But that was, and is, OK. Don't let anyone tell you they'll never change, unless they've been given a chance to change with the right kind of help.

You too may have little to hold on to, and you may not know what the future will look like. In fact, if you’re reading this, I’m quite sure you have no idea what the future will look like in three months, three years, or even three days. But I encourage you today, to take courage and if possible, give it a shot. You need to know you are not a fool for giving them another shot. You’re not codependent, or dysfunctional, deceived, or unhealthy to give your spouse a shot at changing; even if it’s a third time.  You’re just not. You're probably being incredibly courageous.

My wife was told all those things and more, but she decided to forgive and give us a short time to merely see if we can find healing. If we want the right kind of healing, we need the right kind of help, and it will require an investment financially, but emotionally as well. I was telling someone just yesterday that it takes far more courage to get help, and give you and your spouse a chance than it does to simply walk away, saying the affair was a deal breaker and let’s be done.

Everyone has an opinion on how infidelity should be handled, and that it’s a deal breaker, until you go through it. Then opinions have a way of changing.

Please understand, there are in fact, times when you must end the marriage. Whether it be physical harm or violence, an unwillingness to change or end things with the affair partner, or what have you. Then your courage must be utilized to take a stand for you. And that’s OK, and needed, and incredibly worthy of applause.

Today though I’d like to encourage those of you who have no clue what the future will look like, to find the courage you need to give reconciliation a chance. I know it’s dark and I know you may even feel stupid to give him or her a chance again…..But remember, it’s far more valiant to give redemption a chance than to cut ties and end things when redemption hasn’t even been given a chance. No one else is going to live the life you are living. People can say whatever they want, but you are living the life you are living and only you will be accountable for how you live and you don't need to explain yourself to them. You only need explain your life to you, your kids (and when they hear why I'm quite sure they'll admire their parent for being willing to give reconciliation a chance) and to God.

Before you celebrate the courage to end things and start anew, I’d like to invite you that have the opportunity to do so, to encourage you to try again. Right now, you just may not know what the future looks like.

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Thank you once again for your hope and encouragement. Having the courage to stay has been the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life. I have also struggled greatly with people's strong opinions of infidelity. I have been filled with so much doubt listening to people say that redemption isn't possible and people cannot change. Then again there are those out there that have supported me and admired my courage for staying. I once believed that an affair was a complete deal breaker that would definitely lead to divorce. I never actually thought I would be forced into actually making that decision. Now that I am I find it to be much more involved then I ever dreamed. We are a year into recovery and I still struggle very much with the thought of people thinking I am an idiot for staying, however deep inside I know differently. I know it would have been much easier to throw in the towel and never look back again. but neither one of us did and we are so truly blessed because of it. I always try to remind myself that the best things in my life have come from my hard work and great effort. My marriage is more work then I was ever initially prepared for but the hard hard work is more than paying off. I hope everyone who is presented with the right and safe opportunity to stay can find the courage to do so.

what about abuse

What if your husband of 35 years used his anger at himself for his second emotional affair with the same coworker against you in the form of physical intimidation and hurtful verbal abuse? How can a man say he loves you and pick up an ottoman and act like he wants to heave it at you, spit in your face, get nose to nose and scream at you, pull back his fist and then pick up a flashlight and pull it back as it to hit? What if he calls you a whore even though you have remained the faithful spouse for 35 years and he is the only man you have ever been intimate with? Is this anger that is really at himself but directed at you a dealbreaker? I have endured verbal abuse for 30 years -- that is just part of who my husband is and this anger is deeper than just at me. I just happen to be the one who gets the brunt of it. i am not sure where it comes from. The physical intimidation has never resulted in physical harm, just emotional. But I have stayed in the marriage for 35 years, trying to work on it, trying to keep him from getting angry and directing it at our kids or me..."walking on eggshells" is the way most people put it. Our kids are grown now, so I don't have to worry about them and how he treats them...he treats them with more respect than he does me....but having the courage to stay in a marriage like this now, when he's had his second emotional affair with the same woman and Im being abused on top of the pain of trying to heal from his selfish act because he's mad at himself for what he's done? NO! He says he loves me and wants to grow old with me and find fullfillment in me....yet he won't do anything to help me heal (such as talk about the affair and and answer my questions) but then heaps the abuse on top of that. I am emotionally drained to the point that I feel almost nothing. Completely empty. Yes, I think I've had courage to stay in the marriage as long as I have, but I am finding the self respect now to break away and move out, at age 57, to try to have a life of peace and find out what it feels like to NOT be walking on eggshells all the time. I don't know if this marriage can be saved. I think I'm all out of courage. And just very very tired of tiptoeing around all these eggs!

same boat

i feel foolish, naive, stupid and lack convictions for trying to make things work. I feel like I am being punished with thoughts, flashbacks, awful reliving of why... But I also have times of strength, optimism, and hope. We have children and sometimes I feel like I'm staying just for them. Other times, I feel we have the family I've always wanted. Still here, still trying.

So humiliating

I am almost 3 months post D-day. Staying in my marriage is the most difficult journey I have ever been on. I always thought I would leave my husband in this situation. It's just more complicated after 17 years, 4 kids and a business we have built together. He had two affairs spanning over the last three years. I actually was so nieve to think he was even capable of doing this and hiding it from me. I feel completely humiliated and foolish. Everyone we know is being completely supportive of our marriage, but its just indescribable pain and uncertainty. He is trying to show me he is trustworthy and being honest now, but I was fooled for so long by completely trusting his every action and every word. I just see a lose lose situation. Lose if I stay and lose if I leave. More people lose if I leave and that's part of what keeps me in this marriage. I just need to see some hope for me to have joy and trust in this man again. I'm just incredibly sad and reading posts like this give me courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other and let God work through this trial in our lives. I sure could use some blessings about now.

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