How Do I Show My Betrayed Spouse That I Really Care?

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I was reading through many of my journal entries during the first year after discovery. I have several journals that are stuffed with scribbles, thoughts, and pages of raw and bloodied emotion. As I thumb through the hundreds of pages, I can see the narrative of God slowly eradicating my shame. When it came to my betrayed husband though, the theme of my writing seemed to revolve around a feeling of frustration and desperation.

Early on, I seemed obsessed with trying to ease his pain and fear by searching frantically for some way to show him I wouldn't hurt him again.

Pages were filled with repetitive questions and thoughts like:

How do I comfort him?
How do I enter into his pain?
It feels like there is a brick wall around his heart and I can't get through.
I feel so helpless and defeated.
I don't think we can do this.
I never see an end to this pain and heartache.
I hate myself for what I have done.
He will never forgive me.

Did you notice it? I couldn't see it then. Not only was I paranoid and desperate, everything was still mostly about me. It was all about what I needed to do or what I needed for my own relief from anxiety. Shame has a funny way of ALWAYS making it about ourselves. Unfortunately, no person is perfect and no recovery from infidelity is perfect. I know ours has looked much more like a toddler learning to walk than an eagle soaring, that's for sure.

Slowly, as I turned the journal pages encompassing months of recovery, I noticed a shift in perspective. The journal entries came more from a place of curiosity and concern. Less desperation. Less me. More God...

Help me God to endure and trust that You have this.
Help me to continue to offer tenderness and compassion for what I can't see or fully understand.
Help me view my marriage through the lens of forgiveness and the extreme cost of that forgiveness.
God, keep my focus only on You.
Please help my husband with his pain.
Show us a way.
Help me stay faithful to You.
Please give my husband all he needs today. You are his hope.

I really wish there was a simple way to prove to your spouse what is in your heart or make some kind of promise that you don't want to hurt them again. But there isn't. I wish I could tell you it won't take months or years for this to evolve, but I can't.

Reading back through my journals brings up a lot of emotion in me, but what rises to the top is the feeling of grace. I choose to have grace for myself for what I couldn't see then. If you are early on in recovery, you probably aren't where you want to be. But you know what? That's absolutely okay. You are probably doing the very best you can in light of what you've both been through. If you're not doing the best you can, why is that? Chances are you're still being deceptive or you may be afraid.

This sentence from the middle of my journal entries was highlighted and underscored:

"There is more grace in Christ than sin in you"
-Richard Dibs.

Then in a faint scribble beside it: do I really believe this?

Are we there yet?

No! We are still struggling, just like all of you. And I am still journaling. But like each page in these tattered journals, I will keep turning the page. The narrative is slowly changing and evolving as we keep discovering and learning.

Whatever you are doing to try to care for your injured spouse, keep doing it. Don't give up trying. You will muddle through it. You will make mistakes. You frankly won't be able to get through to them because it might not even be about you. But keep at it. Keep reaching out for every possible resource to help you. Consistency and endurance will be your new guides.

Today I will leave you with something from Leeann Payne in her book, Restoring the Christian Soul:

"There is light at the end of this dark tunnel. The hurt and pain, unbearable as it is and inescapable as it is, turn out to be a vital part of the healing. God, I know You feel the pain with me and I know it cannot destroy me."

What can you do today on your journey to healing? How can Affair Recovery support you in that path?

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Thank you for sharing! I've

Thank you for sharing! I've been reading your blog here since you started it and it's been very insightful and helpful. For those of us walking behind you on the path to recovery your descriptions of your journey are a ray of hope.

Well thanks! I appreciate

Well thanks! I appreciate your encouragement. I sometimes wonder and have self doubt, but I keep hearing God encourage all of us to USE this for good. And to let Him have the last word on my sin. Keep up the hard work as well.

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