Faith and Willpower Are Not Enough

Faith and Willpower Are Not EnoughMy husband and I have maneuvered the quagmire of recovery for well over three years now.  We’ve had some deep lows and amazing highs but overall a slow and steady healing and maturing of our marriage and relationship. During this time I’ve often wondered how two people could have been in the same stale, boring marriage yet made such wildly different decisions. I know others have pondered the same question. There are times when the “why” of a partner’s affair can about drive the betrayed bonkers.

            When I stumbled upon the Affair Recovery website in my desperate search for answers I was stunned to discover a site founded and filled by people of faith yet all suffering the same raw pain I was feeling. For me, a faith-based approach was necessary.  In my ignorance though,  I figured people of faith would be more immune to the temptation of adultery. After all, it’s one of the Ten Commandments, “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery.” Marriage is taught to be a union that is to last “till death do us part” and adultery is listed in the Bible as the only reason why two believers can divorce.  Obviously betrayal doesn’t discriminate, nor is faith or willpower a magical shield of protection against infidelity. People of faith have a strong ally but unfortunately for millions of people it’s impossible to pray or will one’s self to fidelity.

            Faith and willpower have important roles to play in maintaining faithfulness but there must be more to an authentic, honest and happy marriage. If that’s all it took then the Affair Recovery team would have been out of business before even getting started.

            Over the last couple of months this weighs heavily on me because for some reason the further past D-day we get the more I fear my husband will betray again. It’s not a constant, paralyzing fear but rather a niggling, irritating thought on the fringes of my mind that makes me wonder, will he or won’t he? But I refuse to allow this thought to put a damper on my marriage recovery. Yes, even now, as I count down to the fourth year after D-day, I still consider my marriage in recovery mode. Perhaps I always will and that’s not such a bad thing.

            No marriage is affair proof but hard work can help. After infidelity in addition to faith and willpower many people add general marital counseling, read books on marriage, use accountability partners, and of course take advantage of the classes, articles, forums and other tools available on the Affair Recovery website and others like it. Having trouble with communication skills? Do an internet search and find help. Practically anything you want to learn or solve you can find on the internet. There are so many things couples can do in order to rebuild their relationships and my husband and I did a variety of them.

            Today I regularly remind myself that my marriage is much stronger than it was four years ago. We’ve made structural changes and gave our marriage the support it was lacking. One extremely important change we made was we did not go back to the same old habits and routine. We hold hands, go out to breakfast together every Saturday, try and eat lunch together during the week, cuddle on the couch, and stay connected. A few months after D-day we moved to a new home and town and both started new jobs. We’ve recently decided that 30 miles wasn’t far enough since there are still too many memories in this area. No job, no house, no financial reason, no attachment is worth the marital stress. We’re going to move again and this time it will be to another state hundreds of miles from where all the triggers are. No more driving past the old town, watching the same local news, shopping in the same stores. We will have a true fresh start. Another structural change we’ve made is in how my husband reacts to my fears. Instead of becoming angry or defensive, as he would have in the past, he listens to me. Recently, when I worried about a new female co-worker and asked him to keep it professional he didn’t get upset but agreed with me. He seems to understand the need for proper boundaries.

            Most importantly we’re acutely aware that in the past we allowed ourselves to become disconnected from each other. We didn’t nurture our marriage and treat it with care. We took each other for granted and didn’t cherish the specialness and uniqueness of our love. We neglected to communicate our wants or share our needs with each other. We didn’t treat each other as the most important person in the world.

            Never again. Never again will our marriage be allowed to be stale, boring and unloving. I’d rather live alone. But luckily I don’t have to because my husband and I are continuing this journey together, one day at a time, using all the tools at our disposal. It takes more than faith and willpower to rebuild a marriage. Thank goodness for sites like Affair Recovery that gives us some of those additional tools. Stay strong. Stay connected. Remember, there’s hope.

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Willpower is difficult

Lisa - I woke up this morning needing your article more than ever. Thank you. I am 18 mos from D-Day and I feel that I am still struggling. We have made wonderful strides forward and I am grateful. The lows, however, are painful and I have been questioning myself trying to understand why. Why after all this time am I still struggling? To read your words that there are still days of struggle at 4 years has helped me - it is not unusual as I was believing. My biggest struggle is looking at "my" memories of during his 8-year affair. I look at pictures and no longer see the family vacations, smiles or laughs - I only see her. My anger towards trying to cope and look ahead only is at times, paralyzing. How do I give up my the times I thought were cherished? I recently told my husband that it is so unfair that she was a part of our life, a part of my family during so many years. Unfair that she knew everything about our times, about my children and most likely about our struggles.
Thank you - this website has been the best tool of many for us.

So happy to hear from you.

I was so excited to see your post. Glad things are still moving forward. Our time lines are ao similar. It is encouraging to me to know I am not the only one that still has fears and still thinks of my marriage as in recovery. Thank you for sharing. I know it is not always easy.

2.2 years after D-day

It amazes me (why!?) that when I am struggling with something almost always God shows me I am not alone. I have felt so guilty over the last month for struggling with fear and hurt from the betrayal. My husband has been wonderful, he has fought the fight of shame and put 110% into helping me heal, and rebuilding our marriage. Our girls (ages 12-20 ) our grossed out by how loving we are with one another, and sometimes irritated that our marriage comes before them.It is an amazing feeling, yet more than just a feeling. It is a true joy ( most days, let's get real, not always) to work so hard on "us". Yet the last month I have been dealing with triggers, hurt, and fear. The one thing that pops into my head often is "oh my gosh, what if this is all a lie", yet nothing is going on that warrants that thought. I was beginning to think I was just trying to hold on to the hurt, play the victim, and have a pity party. I kept telling myself to "just get over it already". All this in my going on in head, it is just nice o know I am not alone and this is just part of the "process"

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your story of hope. You have given your husband a beautiful gift in the opportunity to rebuild. I am glad your marriage is healthier and stronger. I hope that continues to grow for you and I pray your husband proves worthy of your grace.

1 1/2 years later

Good read. I’ve been recovering also. I did not ask for the details of the affair but now 1 1/2 years later, I find myself wondering. I mean I knew The Who, what and when but now I find myself wanting to know everything. If I’m being honest, it’s probably just for ammunition. My husband is a changed person and is really trying to do whatever it takes, I seem to be stuck in the anger even though I fake it really well. I pretend that I’m ok even though my heart is broken. The thought of him having sex with someone else while I was Home raising our children makes me cringe. We’ve seen a counselor since day one, I don’t feel like she led us through the early days of recovery very well. In fact, I felt that I was encouraged to sweep it under the rug and now my inability to move on is my fault. I don’t know how to get through this. I do feel like I’ve forgiven him, whatever that means, but forgiving is not forgetting. He’s doing everything right and I’m worried that I will be like this forever. I can’t. I won’t.

I’d appreciate any advice...

2.9 Years from D-Day


Have you requested a detailed time-line of the affair? My husband took 2 months from D-Day to give me a very abreviated time-line of his 1 year affair (1/2 page). In my research I found some betrayed need more information and I was one of those wives. I wanted to know exactly how much he cared for his affair partner, how much he lied and the extent they went having and continuing their affair. When I did receive the 12 page detailed time-line -- it answered alot of my questions. It took 2 years before a marriage counselor agreed I should have the detailed document if I wanted it. I needed the detailed document to move forward in my healing and also to decide if I wanted to move forward with our marriage. Upon reading it, I was back to D-Day because there was so much information revealed that wasn't talked about the previous year. We are moving forward and continue to work on our marriage every day. It's a process and it's painful.

I can't even think about forgiveness. Actions -- I watch and observe constantly because trust is non-existent. We have signed up to attend an EMS Seminar; I am praying it will help us continue the forward momentum and open his heart/mind to how much his betrayal has affected me and will continue to affect me. It never goes away, we have to learn how to react or not react to the 'affair partner ghost' that follows us for the rest of our lives. I think of her less and less but I never forget . . . I do have hope and that keeps me going.

Affair Recovery is a vital resource for us, in conjunction with our therapists. I continue with my therapist because of the trauma and triggers I continue to experience because of the affair. The betrayal runs so deep . . .

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-D, Texas