A Letter of Encouragement for Healing After an Affair Hello, I wish we weren't meeting this way. I am sorry and I want to (spiritually) meet you right where you are. I want to encourage you today. I want to tell you who I was before my affair and I want to tell you who I am now. The person I am today, the one writing you this letter, was revealed to me during the darkest time of my life, through lots of prayer, daily trials and deep healing through healthy relationships. I am writing this at the request of one of the amazing women in my AR group, who shaped many of my prayers and thoughts and routines during our course. Those elements helped heal my heart one day at a time. I couldn't see it then, and you may be feeling the same, but you will. Before my affair, I was a believer in God, but I did not know God nor did I understand the impact He could (and would) have in my life. I also didn't know what I didn't know. I could only focus on the flaws of others. I couldn't see my own flaws, and certainly couldn't acknowledge them if someone else brought them to my attention. I was loving, but only if my "conditions" were met. I treated people well who treated me well. I justified how I treated others based on their behavior toward me. Over time, I could justify just about anything coming from my mouth or in my decisions. If someone hurt me, I would harden my heart and hurt them back. I judged others and was prideful. I was vain, oh so vain. When I wasn't getting the attention I so needed from others, I was miserable, and I made people around me miserable. I looked for things to fill the emptiness in me and blamed others when I didn't get my selfish (and regular) needs met. Did I know any of this at the time? No. I also didn't know at the time, when I was where you might be now, that there was a bigger plan. A rescue plan. God rescued me (from my old self) and has provided great healing and love in my heart through this journey. He has enabled me to reach out to others who might be right where I was a while ago. I won't tell you just yet the length of time "a while ago" was, because when I used to read others' testimonies, my heart would sink when I read how long their journey was from D-Day to healing. I wasn't in a place where I could even see past another day, so reading and hearing of others' "hope" stories and their how many years it took, made me sick and even more hopeless. The reality is, that life in the aftermath of an affair IS unknown day-to-day. It's chaotic and fragile and sickening and you don't know what the next day will bring. You can't even prepare, because each day brings new triggers and craziness, and new turns on the rollercoaster ride. I have been there, my friend. I feel your heart right now, I do. Keep reading. With much regret this is now part of my story. I needed saving from myself. I don't want to go into lengthy detail about my affair because you know that this letter will be 10 pages longer and I want to focus on what happened after my affair. From what you read above; I was bound to get caught up in a terrible choice. I was bound to justify it so I couldn't in any way be found at fault, and so I could avoid looking at myself in the mirror, at all costs. I betrayed my husband of (then) 9 years and hurt him very badly. My choices changed everything about our family (I have two boys who were 2 and 5), and life as we knew it would be different forever. Even worse than my betrayal, I blamed my husband for my actions and was living in a fantasy (a place outside of reality) for about 4 months after D-Day. I did and said EVERYTHING on the list of things "not to do" after an affair. That's when God found me and where He started to heal all the broken places in me and in my heart. Only God knew what this process would look like, but I had to put my trust in Him every day and trust He would sustain me during this season. It does get better, and HE CAN redeem this. Please read on. A while after my affair, I had so much shame and guilt over what I had done (and had justified doing). I knew I had lost a part of myself, but it was a part of someone I didn't even know anymore. To this day, I don't know how, but I started watching online sermons (by Matt Chandler in Flower Mound, TX) about forgiveness. I knew I needed some hopeful messages in my misery. I felt shameful and sorry for what I had done, yet I still couldn't fully grasp the gravity of my actions. It would hurt to go there and I would retreat inside. I felt emptiness and wanted all of the mess to go away. Life was awful for us. My husband raged and threatened; no one slept or ate well. I was barely functional at work. I can't believe I wasn't fired actually. Nothing worked. My affair affected every aspect of my/our life. I got off of Facebook and all social media, and was banned by my husband to ever set foot inside a gym or fitness facility ever again. And with a change in my husband's career, we sold our house and moved cities. I had no comforts and no counterfeit joy to dose me with the much-needed affirmation or escape I craved and had gotten so used to. I had no one, except the husband who hated me and two kids whose life he had convinced me I had ruined. In my darkest time, only God was there. Shortly after our move, I found a church in our new city, started attending regularly, and joined a women's small group. Filled with shame, I kept my rottenness to myself. I just tried to enjoy the connection to loving women, which God knew I needed at this time. God revealed areas of brokenness in me and big wounds (gaping, oozing wounds) in those conversations and prayers. Around this time, I found the AR Hope for Healing course and that gave me a little bit of hope. I was desperately in need of hope. Up to this point, my husband did not seek any help and things were worse than ever between us. I saw a Christian counselor (still do) who, despite my sin and shame, gave me hope and reminders of God's love. So much was revealed of the things I kept hidden in dark corners. I was so angry. Let me say it again. I was SO ANGRY. I could write another letter just on the destruction caused by my anger. It ruled everything. Every decision I made, everything in my heart, the words I used. I had so much pain from my past and so much resentment for the neglect and wounds in my marriage. I later would realize that I had to heal from those things, whether they would be acknowledged by the wounding parties or not. So, when I started AR, it was about one-year post D-Day. I was still angry, resentful, and carried so much discontentment and brokenness. I needed hope and I needed healing. I was living in a toxic home, with no love, no forgiveness; only anger, shaming, blaming, threats and chaos. I was always on the chopping block and living under a microscope. I could do nothing right in the eyes of my betrayed husband. I had no right to express feelings and no leg to stand on when I would ask for space, or lower volume conversations or peace in our home. My husband would find me in the house at any hour of the day (I work from home) or night and yell and rage and whittle me down until he felt relief. If there was any evidence of healing and growth, he would dismantle it, discredit it and disable any platform I was using for hope. He forbade my parents from our home. He said horrible things about God and reminded me often that the punishment for my sin is death. He would say things like "Those women in church would never hug your neck if they knew what you did." It was HARD TO HEAL, though I wanted to, so badly. The above scenario is real life for an unfaithful wife after an affair. At least real life when the betrayed spouse is a hurting, angry husband. Nothing prepared me for the reality that THIS is what I would have to overcome. But IT IS. This is what the broken pieces look like after an affair. But I can also tell you what healing looks like. And you can have a testimony one day, too. When I started the AR course, I did the homework and participated in the calls, but I could not relate to the message in the videos about being empathetic to the betrayed spouse. Spoken from a man's perspective, and hearing Rick's empathy in his wife's pain and owning the burden he caused her was just not relatable to me. Again, nothing equipped me for what my reality was. Luckily, others in my group had similar circumstances to mine and we could talk it through. Others had better situations where they could describe their empathy and compassion for their hurting husband. Those conversations allowed for healing to begin. I saw that I was holding on to my pride and still needing my husband to admit his wrongs and do the work to forgive me. Yes, he treated me badly and refused to get any outside help for his trauma and pain (that I caused); but I started realizing that healing was only going to come when I would surrender my husband and my marriage and let God work on my heart. What that looked like for me... I stopped ping-ponging in response to my husband's actions. I stopped needing to defend myself when I felt like my husband was rewriting history. God knew my heart and knew what really happened, that's what mattered. When the subject matter and blame kept repeating, I was able to keep my mouth shut and not respond nor let his words get to me. The anger faded. The pain of things in our marriage was there, but the need to hurt back or defend myself was gone. I know my husband needed to be heard. He was telling the same story over and over again. I had apologized for two years and done A LOT of changing, but I could never hear him or meet him in his pain. Over time, I started listening without shame. I had given that shame to God because I didn't want to carry it anymore. I was healing because of that. I started putting healthy boundaries in place. We started to have better conversations, where two people could be heard. Even after our course ended, I kept in touch daily with my AR group. We prayed for each other and still shared in a safe space. I read Susie Larson's Daily Blessings every day for a year. I started my mornings stating what I was grateful for, before getting out of bed. I started praying for my husband and his healing (apart from me). I joined one, then two, ministries at my church to serve others and keep the focus off of myself. I no longer focused on the hole I dug for myself and I chose to move forward and heal with God's help. One of my ministries is set up to walk with people through their time of grief (in any crisis). I can listen and love them where they are. The old version of me was fading and the new one was forming. I started asking God to reveal ways for me to love my husband again. After my betrayal and his behavior in response to my betrayal, we had nothing left. We were together only because neither of us wanted to sacrifice and split time with our boys. I was healing and wanted to move forward; he wasn't there. God started providing ways for me to see my husband's pain. I could see not only the pain that I caused, but pain from the past that he was carrying. God gave me compassion for him in ways I didn't think were possible. Something neither of us ever gave to each other in our marriage, was sympathy and compassion for one another. And yet, here it was, in the midst of the mess. Every time I would see something in my husband that I wanted him to change, I would pray for God to help me accept him the way he was and to change my heart. The old version of me could never pray this, so I know that is real change only God can bring. God sustained me in the dark season after my affair. He also revealed many areas where I needed to change. He healed parts of my heart that were broken before my marriage, and allowed me to acknowledge what I had brought into the marriage and ask for forgiveness for those things. After 3 years, I asked my husband to move out of our home. I needed a solid boundary where healing could occur and where I could have peace to heal and have any hope left for reconciliation. It was not going to happen with us stuck in the same cycle. I was healing; he was not. That was 5 months ago. We are 3.5 years post D-Day. God equipped me during that time to stand strong and seek ONLY Him. I have learned to lean on Him when things are difficult, and when I realize things about myself that still need work, I ask for His help. The process is still going on, but I look back now and see how far God has carried me. My husband and I have had more healing and productive conversations in the last 5 months than we have had in 5 years. We have conversations about the future. We have joyful conversations about our early years and the kids when they were babies, without reeling from the pain of my affair. I can freely pray for him and I am living peacefully in healing and wholeness and can testify to God's love for me each day. I still do not know the outcome or the future of my marriage. I am okay with that. God has healed my heart and led me to trust Him for each day that comes. I pray this same peace over you, my friend. Please trust the process. Please ask God to sustain you while you are painfully reaping the consequences of bad choices. Please ask Him to heal you and your spouse and acknowledge that the healing process looks different for both partners. Trust Him to carry you through this darkness. I promise there is light and healing and wholeness. One day at a time. In Hope for Healing, Nicole Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. EMS Online Registration Opens Tomorrow, February 9 at Noon CT! Our Emergency Marital Seminar Online, better known as EMSO, isn't a one-size-fits-all program for couples. Over decades of experience exclusively in the field of infidelity, our methodology has been honed to better serve couples as they address the betrayal, reconnect as partners and restore their lives. "Affair Recovery's EMS Online course literally saved our marriage from divorce. We had tried other professionals, which only led us to more pain in our marriage. It was a relief to find someone who understood our pain. It was comforting to know that others were feeling and thinking the same thoughts as us. We were not alone on this journey. Our marriage has been enriched by the valuable lessons we have learned through EMS Online." - K., Alabama. Spots fill up quickly, so don't wait to register! Learn more and register for EMSO using the button below. Register For EMS Online!