It's No Laughing Matter

My husband and I turned on a romantic-comedy the other night. We ended up on some Cameron Diaz movie and what is the premise??? Infidelity. We don't talk about it, just get in our movie trance and watch the movie unfold.

20 minutes in I find myself laughing hysterically! I glance at my husband, who has a straight face, and say "I can't believe I'm laughing." He smiles at me and replies, "me either".

We are over 4 years out from D day and our story is certainly no laughing matter. Our story involves betrayal, hurt, anger and many moments of hopelessness and chaos! Through my discovery of forgiveness, and eventual willingness to extend it to my husband for his infidelity, I've been freed! The chains I once felt imprisoned to are gone! My hurts sometimes rear up and attempt to capture my heart, but as I continually turn to the art of forgiveness, they no longer have a grip on me. Although it took dedication, time, and trust to get to this freedom, I continually see the hope and healing that comes from the hard work of recovery. So although it is no laughing matter, I can sit here today and smile at my unfaithful husband. Not because I am perfect, and he is definitely not perfect, but finding forgiveness and offering it whether or not it's being sought is Freedom!

Now I know you must be thinking, "How in the world do I get from where I am now to this freedom?" Well at least that's what I thought. I accepted these three ideas about forgiveness that truly led the way to freedom.

  1. Forgiveness is a choice:

    Sure you can sit and wallow in your misery, but what good does that do? You feel worse, your spouse can't stand to be around you and neither can anyone else for that matter. Decide today that you want to forgive. In EMS Online we learned that there are 2 types of forgiveness. The first type of forgiveness is vertical where you release the offense done to you to God and agree that they will not get what they deserve. The second type of forgiveness is horizontal and that’s where reconciliation occurs. This comes after the offending person does what is necessary to make it safe for you and safe for your relationship to continue. The first type of forgiveness isn't optional, it’s what we do for our own well-being, but the second type is optional and can only come when the other person is being safe.

  2. Forgiveness is a process:

    Yes, the initial step to forgive is an active step that can occur immediately but the feelings of trust, closeness, even love can take some time. Be patient with yourself.... The journey could be hard and long but the reward is worth it.

  3. Forgiveness is a gift: Only you can forgive your spouse for the hurt they caused you..... Do they deserve it? No way! But that's the beauty of it. Do I deserve to be forgiven when I crash the rental car, intentionally spend way too much money, or just plain have a crappy attitude? NO..... But I desire to be forgiven and to be given that gift is like a weight lifted from my shoulders. So if I desire to be forgiven, why wouldn't I share that gift with the person I committed my life too?

Forgiveness is freedom....For you, and your spouse.

"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as The Lord forgave you" -Colossians 3:13

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It would be great to not flood

The fact that my wife has rejected me and she still laughs at any thing sexual sets me into a flooding mood almost every time. It's been about 18 months since D day and she just wonts to be feinds. Forgiveness I can do but continueing with out love or even caring I can't. So I struggle every day with whether to stay for the family or call it quits.

First, I'm so sorry that you

First, I'm so sorry that you are feeling unloved and uncared for, that is never a fun place to be. I have found that when I search for these things in people..... I'm always let down. People will disappoint again and again. When I stopped searching for these things in people, and re-directed my search towards Christ.... That is when I made my break through.

As far as stay or leave.... My faith would suggest that a family together is always the right choice. As long as it is a physically safe place....

I understand everything you

I understand everything you are saying and I appreciate it. But nobody ever tells you HOW to do it when the pain is so intense and the feelings of anger and hurt won't go away. HOW do you go about forgiving? Especially when you have found out your spouse had not one but two affairs, 20 years apart, and with the same woman? And that both affairs were not just emotional as he led you to believe for a year and a half, but also physical and you didn't find that out until after you grieved your way through the emotional affair? And that twenty years of your marriage has been one big lie?

So can you tell me HOW I do this? Do I just keep saying it over and over until I finally believe it? I know its a choice but how do I make that choice stick? Do I keep saying it every second of every day over and over? I would love some real life instruction on exactly what I need to do - step by step- to forgive. Any help would be so appreciated.

I completely understand your

I completely understand your question - I have the same too. I'm slowly realizing that other things need to take up the space in my brain and heart that dwells on the affair. I'm not there yet by any means, our 1 year dday is just around the corner and its been hard.

But at least now I can breathe, I don't feel like I am suffocating or that I'm going to crumble from all the pain (well, at least not all the time like before). I remember telling a friend a long time ago who had just gotten married and had difficulty getting over her husband's past long-term relationship. And I told her - the reason it bothers you so much is that you don't have as many memories as your husband has with the previous girlfriend. As your relationship with your husband deepens and widens and you build more memories, your time and space you devote to thinking and stressing about this past relationship will lessen.

I think that's how it will be for me. I need to start building new memories - with or without my husband - to take place of these triggers and flooding moments. New memories that are significant for me, that bring me relief or space or laughter, until the new memories mean so much to me that the pain of the lies and betrayal are a little more dull. The pain might never go away, but I don't want it to hurt me forever. I don't know if this will work - but this summer I am going to try at least. Try to find some joy in small things that will add up, and make my days full. I appreciate your posts bc they are so honest and a lot of what i am going through too. I also appreciate the fact you are willing to try and work it out with your husband - it gives me encouragement to try and work it out.

Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your blog, it is so good to read something from the betrayed spouse. There is a difference you or I can say things that the unfaithful can not, we can share from first hand experience, we have an understanding of what it is like and what has to happen. And your topic on forgiveness is in my opinion is the most inportant part of all of this. Going through EMSO I was bothered by the fact that forgiveness was not talked about almost at the start. I think when you are able to understand forgiveness your road to healing is well on it's way.I do not know how someone can find anything close to healing until they can come to grips with true forgiveness.
Karen asked about how to forgive, well for me I learned from reading about the projector of forgiveness, Christ, I studied Christ and some how through his example I understood. Somehow by me looking at how I was undeserving of forgiveness I was in a better place to see what I had to do for my wife. I saw that it was Christ live for me that directed his forgiveness. I was a sinner but he lived me, love was the key for me to forgive. I love my wife a dicision I made and decided to keep. Even though she had done things that were unloving I decided to keep loving her as best I could contrary to how I might have felt at the time. Love is not a feeling it is a decision. With the decision to love I knew I needed to forgive, I had to start a new I could not keep thinking about her sins that had taken place I had to give that to God to deal with I needed to start the work of reconciliation I could not love if I could not forgive and we could not heal with out love.
Love was my key, Christ's love was my hope and example and what enabled me to forgive and once I was able to forgive I was able to heal I understood I was able to understand that my wife's like my sins were not against each other but against Christ.
Thanks again hope to read more from you again.

Thank you David. I was

Thank you David. I was searching for the words to answer Karen but you did it beautifully. Thank you for your input.

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-D, Texas