Forgiveness and Reconcilation

When I was a little girl I received a lot of forgiveness. Somehow at a young age I discovered that if I confessed what I had done wrong before I got caught, my parents were much less upset with me than if I waited to be discovered. So I told on myself often. After a while I began to do it more out of a desire to be free from the guilt than from a desire to receive a more lenient punishment. I really cannot begin to imagine how many times I went through the process of doing something wrong, feeling terrible, telling on myself, then being forgiven.

While I cannot count the number of times I received forgiveness, I can say for sure that it was enough, because when I found myself in the position of a betrayed spouse I was able to reach deep into my heart and find enough forgiveness to pour over my husband. With the perspective that three years and some serious grief work can bring, I am able to look back on that period of time in our life and see the beauty of one who had received much, reaching deep into her wounded heart to pour much back out on another. Of course, at the time it did not feel beautiful at all. It felt scary. I remember feeling vulnerable and sad, and having a deep sense of pain and loss.

Forgiving him was only the beginning of the journey. He still felt very unsafe, so we remained separated for the next several months. The fact that I forgave him, but continued on in our separation may seem odd to someone who does not understand the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. But those who have walked both roads understand this completely. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Choosing to forgive Wayne released him from my need to satisfy what justice demanded, but it did not heal my wounded heart or make me feel safe enough to be in a relationship with him. I certainly had no reason to believe that he wasn’t going to continue hurting me in the future. We both had lots of work to do before we were anywhere near reconciliation.

While the price of forgiveness had been paid at the cost of my pride and my dreams, the price for reconciliation demanded my security. Even with the high cost that I had to pay for forgiveness and reconciliation, I am thankful I chose to pay it. The alternative would have ended up costing me more.

In an effort to tell “the rest of the story” I feel compelled to point out that paying the cost of forgiveness and reconciliation did not permanently bankrupt me. The cost was high, and it took absolutely all I had, but after making those payments I have been repaid several times over. I have so much more pride now than I did before. The difference is that it is no longer in what Wayne and I built between the two of us, but in what our Healer has restored and rebuilt in us. Some of my old dreams for our marriage are gone, but they have been replaced with even bigger ones. My security no longer lies in the false thought that my husband is incapable of hurting me. Now my security lies in the truth that no matter what my future may bring the Protector of my heart, who I have come to recognize as Faithful and True, is big enough. My heart can rest secure because I know that in all things, He is enough.

As a child I practiced the art of forgiveness many times, but I had never practiced reconciliation. Had a dear friend not pointed us in the direction of Rick Reynolds and Affair Recovery, I’m not sure how our process of reconciliation would have gone. The blessing of having him walk through it with us, after he had walked it so many years before, proved invaluable. There are some valleys in our lives that require guides to show us the way. If I had one prayer for you today, it would be that you would not try to walk this road alone. Reconciliation needs guidance. For the sake of your heart as well as your marriage, find a godly counselor with experience in affair recovery. One day you will look back on this season in your life and be so grateful that you did.

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Dana – Thank you for your

Dana – Thank you for your blog. I have followed it from the beginning and often times your words were extremely relevant in my own recovery. Did you or he initiate the reconciliation or did it just happen without a specific conversation marking the beginning? In my situation, I would hope he would be the one to initiate any discussion about reconciling due to he was the one with secrets and an addiction in the first place. If he were to be able to put aside his pride and reach out to me to have a possibly difficult discussion, it would, at the very least, show me that he was serious about our relationship and the changes he was making through his recovery. Thank you again for your openness and for sharing your story.

initiating reconciliation

Thank you for your question regarding how reconciliation was initiated for us.  Wayne said from the beginning that it was his desire to have our marriage restored. He was never pushy about it, but every once in a while he would remind me that was his desire.

So, I guess in answer to your question, he initiated it. But it was several months down the road before I was willing and able to join him in that desire. Seeing his desire to be restored as well as his willingness to wait for me helped me to eventually feel secure enough to consider reconciliation. I am sorry that you have not felt that from your husband yet. I pray that you will both find the healing you need so you too can come to a place of healing and restoration.

Wanting to forgive

I know this article is 2 years old, but is very timely for me today. We are at the anniversary of discovery. Forgiveness has been difficult for me to get to, but articles like this help me realize that if both husband and wife want to make marriage work it is going to take effort. With that effort there is going to be pain. Some pain is going to be more severe than others. This type of betrayal tries to undermine the foundations of marriage. But I believe that if your foundation is in Christ, first as the individual then as a couple no outside force can tear it down. This does not take away the hurt or the feelings of distrust. All of these types of things, from both spouses, have to be worked through on a daily basis. I am still hurting but I am also still healing. Thank you for this post.

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