How To Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay

"Learn how to be okay
when things are not okay."

When I first heard this statement I thought it was dumb and much too simple. It was almost insulting – like trying to treat an intensive care wound with a band aid.

However, ten long months into recovery, this statement has been a foundational thought in getting through many hard days.

Like many unfaithful spouses, my tendency and need to control situations have been off the charts. When you are hiding behind your affair, there is an illusion of control (and complete self-absorption) you live under because you never think about the harsh reality that you might lose your spouse because of your decisions. Much like the character in the Wizard of Oz, an insecure shell of a man hiding behind an image, walking in the truth of my actions has revealed my insecurity, shame and fear like no other. It has been terrifying to face both the pain my actions have caused as well as the waiting while my spouse chooses whether to stay or go. But I’m learning, albeit slowly, how to become okay even when everything else isn’t.

If you also navigate dark days of uncertainty where you feel anything but okay, I want to share some of the ways I have found solace in the storm:

  1. Focus your eyes on something constant and bigger than yourself. For me that has been Christ. I must keep my eyes focused on Him. If you do not subscribe to faith I recommend putting your belief in something bigger than your humanity or your spouse’s choice to stay or go.
  2. Take a break from all social media. Not only am I too vulnerable and fragile to carry or care about the on-goings of the world, but it’s also too much of a trigger for me as I do not want to associate in any way with my past life. The temptation is too great.
  3. Pay attention to what you listen to. When I’m not listening to a hymn that speaks truth, or a podcast that helps me heal, then I usually find that I simply need quiet. This means slowing down, less radio, less TV, less overall noise and junk.
  4. Feel the feelings. Like my husband and most of you, I don’t like uncomfortable feelings. Particularly when I feel ashamed, alone, discouraged, angry, hurt or afraid. But the only way out of feelings is through them. Choosing to not feel is what got me into this mess initially. When I choose to feel I can remind myself it will be okay and it will eventually pass.
  5. Find a group or community of people that share your pain. Hope for Healing and Harboring Hope are life lines to fellow people who share our hurt. Through their stories we begin to see how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. It is so incredibly comforting to know we are not the only ones who have felt this way or have been through this.

Some days in recovery can feel like an eternity. The pain can be so intense that it feels like anything but normal or okay. But there’s something I’m beginning to realize. On the days I’m not okay, I notice details and moments I’ve missed during all my years of hiding and making it about me. I am now acutely aware of my new found clarity and gratitude.

Just the other day I couldn’t stop looking at the color of my husband’s eyes. Perhaps the road we have traveled thus far has made me see them in a shade of blue I had never noticed in all of our years together.

In the midst of the stillness, quiet, and sadness, I can find appreciation for things I would have previously overlooked.

And...

I’m still breathing. Although my heart is breaking, it is still beating. The sun continues to rise in the morning and its beauty is indescribable.

Even though my marriage remains uncertain, I know God is still at work. Knowing this helps me be okay without it being okay. I hope and pray the same for you.

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Comments

Thank you Elizabeth. You put

Thank you Elizabeth. You put to words the big emotions that overwhelm me. The hiding, to now having to deal with the fallout and reality. The constant uncertainty and fear. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing.

Thanks for your comments and

Thanks for your comments and understanding. Those savage and untamed emotions are the hardest to feel aren't they? I pray peace for you as you feel them and come to terms with them.

Thank you

Thank you Elizabeth for your blog. I needed to read this today. I need to start giving this whole situation over to Christ and allow Him to help us through this. I needed the reminder that it is Okay to be Okay when things are not Okay.

hugs to you...

I am glad you received

I am glad you received comfort from reading this. The days we don't see a way out or feel anything is okay are the hardest, aren't they?
Thanks for the hug.

You saved me

Thank you for sharing this with us. I put my husband through not one or two, but 4 D-days. Before the 3rd one, I hoped to pour all my heart out but still remained uncapable of confessing everything because of the fear of him leaving me. So i was contemplating my future life alone, in all this mess i had brought upon me. He was very mad and hurt and I couldn't find a reason why i would deserve a 4th chance. I thought I was a miserable person who I, personally, would have dumped right away. But he was still here and I couldn't understand why he's not breaking anything in the house...that's when i run into your article and you brought me so much hope!!! the fact that you are still with your husband after your gradually disclosure, made me made up my mind and, i think, finally GET IT, because i got out of my room and vomited all that was left, begging him to actually leave me, because he certainly deserves soooo much better than this person in front of him.
That moment, a miracle happened: he came to me, hugged me and kissed me, first time in 10 days and agreed to give me a timeline in which to gather all my 'remaining unnecesarry information', so that we can finally have the full disclosure. I so much thank God for making me run into your article, for my mate's incomensurable strength and for discovering AR not too late.

Wow. That is an incredible

Wow. That is an incredible story of grace. It sounds like you have been scared a long time and it must be a relief to finally be free of all of the secrets. I know we can't change what we have done, but with God's unfathomable love for us, we can change who we become. I hope you know you aren't alone. Doing life alone is what all got us into our mess in the first place. Thank you for commenting and reaching out.

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