But He's a Cheater!!! As I wrote in my previous blog article, “Is He Worth It?” my husband is capable of both enormous deception and immense change. So the other day when he contributed to a trigger I could have sat and fumed about why I put up with his actions. But instead I did something that I’ve been doing for three years post D-day. I acted intentionally. After asking myself for the hundredth time why I put up with him I then answered myself for the hundredth time with my personal recovery mantra: My husband is worth another chance. My husband is capable of great change. I’m stronger than I think, braver than I believe. My husband is a cheater. He committed what could quite possibly be seen as the most selfish act a husband can do to the woman he promised to cherish forever. How can I not look at him as a cheater? That's what he is. But that's not all he is. If I’m committed to recovery, fully committed, and my husband is too, then I can't let the "cheater" label define him. I remind myself over and over again that he's not just a cheater. That past “cheater” is a husband, father, brother, friend, lover. He’s hard working, funny, sexy, and thoughtful. He’s also bone headed, stubborn, opinionated and at times inflexible. My husband is so much more than a cheater! When I look at him, I remind myself to see all of him. Before D-day, I would sometimes tell people if I focused on my husband’s negative character attributes hard enough I could talk myself into a divorce. Who couldn’t? Yet I intentionally chose to focus on his positive attributes. After D-day when I fully committed to giving my husband and marriage another chance one of the hardest things for me to do the first weeks and months was to focus on the positive. The negative was glaring at me, challenging me to embrace the cheater label and tattoo it on my husband for the entire world to see. It would have been so very easy to talk myself into a divorce, and at times, I struggled to talk myself out of it. I had to intentionally choose to view my husband as a wonderful man who made a horrible mistake and deserved another chance. It’s not easy to act intentionally, especially when your heart is breaking and your world crumbling. As intentional as my husband was when he set out to betray me, I’ve become equally intentional in recovery. After living with his AP for eleven days post D-day my husband didn’t move back home on a whim. We didn’t begin the process of reconciliation, recovery, and change half-heartedly. I made a conscious, thoughtful,l and intentional decision to give him another chance. We both made the intentional decision that our marriage was worth saving, and our nearly 25 years together was worth the work it would take. My husband did something I still think of as shocking; through his intentional actions he became a better man. How is that possible? In the Expert Q&A video below, Rick is asked “How can we stay out of our old ruts?”. They feared that old habits and ways of connecting would become a detriment to them. Rick’s advice, don’t try to recapture the old relationship, create something new and different. Expert Q&A Preview: How Can We Stay Out of Our Old Ruts? That can only be accomplished by acting intentional. My husband and I allowed our relationship to stale for years through neglect and passivity. No more. We choose to connect on a more intimate level in all aspects of our relationship, not just sexually. We intentionally meet for lunch as much as possible, hold hands in public, sit next to each other on the couch and cuddle, make romantic over-night trips, and so much more. Do you want that better marriage Rick and his team proclaim is possible? I sure do! Rick quotes psychologist Anders Ericsson in his article “Mastering Marriage”: Mastering Marriage Part 2: Practicing the Process of Marriage and Recovery Why do some couples manage to thrive while others don't even survive? It just so happens that those who rise to the top do so through something as basic as deliberate practice. Deliberate practice, for me that means being intentional. I choose to view my husband as more than the cheater who broke my heart. I choose to not only focus on his wonderful character attributes but embrace them. I choose a better, more honest, more intimate and much more fulfilling marriage. You can choose that as well. Good luck to you in your recovery journey. There is healing and hope. Grab it. Embrace it. Make it yours.