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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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.

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