Renaming Our Story "Good"

If someone had asked me to describe my life during the latter part of 2009, I would have undoubtedly described it as bad. The first six months following the discovery of my husband Wayne’s secret life was certainly the hardest six months of my life. I remember thinking that the depth of grief I was experiencing went much deeper than I had realized humans were capable of feeling. The sounds I heard coming out of my own mouth were sounds I had only heard a few times before. They were like the heart-wrenching sounds I had heard working in the hospital, like those of a momma as she held her sick child. Though I had witnessed several women’s deep level of grief on such an occasion, I had never felt it myself.

The darkness that surrounded me felt foreign and frightening. I found myself wondering if I was trapped in an eternal pit of sadness, and if it was possible to ever find a way out. You see, at that point in my life I didn’t know anyone who had experienced the pain of discovering their spouse’s unfaithfulness, so all I had to fall back on was what I had seen while working in a hospital. I had seen the initial shock that a momma experiences when she learns just how sick her child is, and I had heard her cries of agony. But after a few hours she would leave the hospital and I never saw her again. I never knew how she coped with a loss that a mother should never have to loose. Because I had never witnessed the healing process that we go through after emotionally traumatic events, I had no concrete evidence that it was even possible. I fully understood that the pain of losing a child did not compare to losing the faithfulness of my spouse, but it was the only pain I knew, so it was what I thought about when I heard the deep guttural cries coming from my heart and mouth. The image of having lost something so precious and sacred left me feeling hopeless and empty.

Thankfully, I was not left hopeless and alone. Hope found me right where I was in my pit of despair. As it began to shine its warm light into my heart I found strength to begin the long climb out of that pit.

Three years later, I now have the advantage of a fresh perspective. I still remember the deep pain, but I see so much more than that when I look back. I see beauty in the transformation that we experience when we choose to put our masks down and be truly transparent with each other. I see the miracle of two divided hearts broken to the point that we were finally able to come together as one. I see that by being real we discovered a deeper level of intimacy than we had ever dreamed possible. I remember discovering the freedom that comes with both confession and forgiveness. I remember the excitement of leaving behind an OK life and trading it in for an adventurous one. I remember the overwhelming joy that came with discovering that my God is so much bigger than I ever gave Him credit for. I remember the unexplainable fearlessness I had knowing that no matter what my future held, He was big enough to handle it.

Having said all this, I might be tempted to say that 2009 ‘was the best of times and it was the worst of times’, but I think instead I will just say that it was a good time. It was a time of loss, and a time of pain, but who am I to call that bad? Think about the momma who has just pushed through the last pain of labor and is holding her darlin’ in her arms. She would never call labor the best and worst of times. The beauty that was born through her pain eclipses all else, and she calls it good.

Wounded heart, what you are going through may very well be the deepest pain you have ever felt. You may be wondering if there is hope for healing in your life. You may be going through each day the way I did three years ago telling yourself that this is “a bad day, and bad year, and that everything in your life is just bad, bad, bad.” Well, I hear you. That is exactly how it feels when the one we love the most betrays us on such a deep level. But please hear and receive this truth that I am now speaking over you: Good can be born from your pain. Embrace it. Push through it. And wait in hopeful expectation for the good things that will be released in your life.

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I appreciate your thoughts and perspective.

It's helpful to hear this. But, I can say (as I'm sure you would guess) that I struggle on a minute by minute basis with this. It's wonderful to hear that people can rediscover their relationship...but looking past what was done? Coming to accept it? Forgiving?

I just don't know what that looks like or what it could possibly feel like.

Every time I look at my wife, I see her with her AP. I hear the words she told him. I hear the horrible things she said about me, and her saying "I love you" to another man.

I wrestle with this every day. Maybe it comes down to being willing to let it go, but I don't feel like those things are letting ME go.

I wonder what more time will reveal. Right now, I feel like there's a better chance of me swimming to England than I do of being able to get these thoughts out of my head.

thoughts and perspective

I am into the 2nd year of recovery{ my husband of 48 yrs with my brothers wife!!}.....first year was a complete wash nothing solved...somewhat better this year BUT those images and "wondering" and not knowing everything some days eat my guts out...I know it is satans bait.....I hang in and onto my faith in God and "he turns evil to good" ...have weighed what good a divorce would do in this season of our life...pray alot justin...get with good Christian men if you haven already..I will remember you in prayer

I believe in miracles though it looks tough now.

Dear Dana, The simplicity of your awesome manifestation of faith is so refreshing and encouraging. You are so human yet so rich in your ability to absorb the grace of God to work for you. My story is that of the betrayed by a husband who all of our 19 years together swore of love to me and fidelity except for tha year his affair began. Looking back now, he always had a closed look when I mentioned infidelity in marriages and was not as voluble as he used to be. Yet he he still affirmed to how much he loved me. I stumbled on a text message on his phone which said it all. Summary of it all is that I wanted to know why, he does not know except that he knew that I meant the world to him. He carried on the affair at a time my parents were both suffering terminal illnesses and I was caring for them and in so much pain. He met and had sex with AP on the same trip he took to announce the burial plans of my dad in his home town. I freaked out once after the soon loss of my mum saying I felt all alone that he was not there for me and he swore that he loved me. The affair continued. I asked him to end any affair he may be having before I found out, I suspected it then. He went on with it. I found out and he said that it was nothing because the sex was over he honestly saw nothing wrong with continuing calling his "friend". She was sweet heart and he was honey. She is 13 years younger, we are both in our mid forties and she is very attractive according to him. He wants us to go on like nothing happened and gets frustrated that I keep talking. When I am down he gives me reason that has nothing to do with my emotions over his affair. I lost weight, he replied "oh, that is good. You have always wanted that!". Really? I have become numb, lost all respect for him and I find his attempts at conversations very boring. His love avowals I find irritating. He can't even bear personal pain to allow me to talk myself into healing. He has been quick to blame me too. I listened to him blaming me for thirty minutes and then begging for forgiveness, saying I had nothing to do with his infidelity. He refused counselling too. He has raised a wall to any more talk. So I left it and we are polite strangers here with me being civilized and him trying to be nice. I loved him and strongly supported him personally loved and cared for his mum in my home when she suffered from stroke. I never gave him one moment of trouble and he had 100% of my trust and loyalty and this was the best he could do? He affirmed the latter and would tell anyone who cared to listen yet he wittingly betrayed all these and wants to walk on like it never happened.

What type of affair was it?

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