Survive? I want to THRIVE

As I watch my daughter swimming in the lake, I see her head tilted back and face just barely above water. She is fully safe, and a strong swimmer but struggles with swimming in the lake with all the wind and waves working against her. I am quickly reminded of the time I felt I was barely surviving. Infidelity was an unexpected wave that tried to drown me. My head was barely above water.

There is definitely a survival mode that happens after D-Day. Managing emotions, protecting kids, counseling; really just attempting to fulfill any of my many responsibilities. It was exhausting, emotional and seemed to last a lifetime. In reality, a few months into trying to stay afloat, I was tired of just trying to survive.

I didn’t want to just survive marital betrayal. I didn’t want to just survive marriage. I didn’t want to just survive life. I wanted to THRIVE!

My mentor I was meeting with at the time mentioned an amazing perspective that truly allowed me to decide to thrive. During her 25 years of mentoring, she had seen many couples go through similar circumstances and her response was this, “Those couples who decided to work through this hardship, and commit to marriage, have some of the best, most abundant marriages I’ve seen ever seen and they are still thriving to this day.”

OKAY, I knew I was in! I was ready to commit to my husband and my marriage and I was ready to thrive.

My first step was finding my lifeboat. For me, that was Jesus. The waves of trial were going to continue in life but I knew I couldn’t survive the storm on my own. I needed to fully submerge myself in Him.

My next step was deciding I wasn’t going to make my marriage about me. I was going to honor my husband by serving him. I know,this is a dreaded word,but just hang with me for a minute. What if we can serve differently? So I decided I was going to serve him in 3 ways: Attitude, Action and Affection.

Serving through Attitude:

This was a huge shift for me. I couldn’t “fake it” any longer. My attitude towards my husband had morphed completely since we got married and after almost 9 years, I had a hard time relating to him. I was always irritated, inconvenienced or frustrated by what he said or did or really, just who he was. The truth was that I was just so hurt by him that I didn’t want to relate to him anymore. THIS HAD TO STOP. There was no hope for our marriage if my attitude sucked,and it did. My decision was to serve him with an attitude of grace. When he made a simple request, “Could you please make sure there are no dishes in the sink when I get home?” I did it.Not just the task, but with a heart of pleasure with a heart of service. When he asked for my help, I did it HAPPILY. When he needed forgiveness, I gave it freely. As my heart shifted I noticed that I was smiling more, laughing more and truly enjoying being around him more.

Serving through Action:

This next one takes some serious self -control. The whole concept behind this is simple, every negative calls for a positive response. I decided instead of just responding out of anger in hard situations, I was going to calmly and respectively respond “the right way.” Now notice, I did not say, “Be Right”, but respond right. When he was harsh with me with words, I would ask him how I could make it right with him. I would try to recognize quickly my portion of guilt and be first to ask for forgiveness. Even though I might only be a little wrong I would still ALWAYS own my part and ALWAYS ask for his forgiveness. This took some practice, but I started getting better at controlling my response and truly seeking reconciliation and not confrontation, our relationship truly started changing.

Serving through Affection:

This was the biggest one for my husband. This is more than just sexual connection with your spouse, but true affection. As we traveled down this road, I realized how insecure my husband was about the status of our relationship. He would always question: Is she going to leave? Is she still attracted to me? Does she even enjoy my company? These questions plagued his thoughts and drove a wedge between us physically. When I started to make an extra effort towards giving him assurance through affection, we started to get physically closer. Simple things like, holding his hand, putting my hand on his leg or even through words of affirmation. At first, it took a lot of effort on my part, mostly because I truly was still upset with him and didn’t want to show him affection. I didn’t think he deserved it. But again, I was committed to serving and I wanted to THRIVE.

The waves of marital trial started to settle and slowly our marriage started to thrive. As my response to my husband was kinder, more gentle and patient, his interactions with me became more calm, loving and respectful. Not only was I changing, it started a huge change in him. This weekend we celebrated 13 years of marriage. As we talked about our journey I was reminded of my mentors words so many years ago. I can truly say that I wouldn’t change our past of rough waters for anything, it is part of the reason we can THRIVE!

“Not so with you instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave, for the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:26-28

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Thank you Reese

Thank you, this confirms what God has been telling me. I am in the early stages of healing but I am tired of nursing my pain. I want to take the risk of giving my heart again to my husband and just love him without holding back. I don't believe we can go wrong if we do what we feel God is calling us to do and letting him take care of the rest. I don't want to just survive either, I want to thrive! Bless you!


Yes..."tired of nursing my pain" is right where I am, too. Six months into this ugly mess, but I, too, want to thrive!

Yes, thank you

This is such an encouraging post. I have been challenging myself to walk with my husband thru this by recognizing that he is my brother in Christ besides being my husband. His unfaithfulness has put me in a deep pit but I am reminded of Corrie ten Boom's sister Betsy who said " No pit is so deep that God is not deeper still." I am trusting that God will work all things together for good Romans 8:28

A good friend just gave me

A good friend just gave me this book! I will read it this summer.

Thank you again for a other

Thank you again for a other very good blog. I also very early on decided to love my wife no matter the risk. I decided that I was going to believe the bible is true and accept the fact that God had something for me to learn in this, it says in Romans 8:28 says thst things work for the good of those who are called for his purpose. So I loved and learned how to love and be the best husband I could be. It has been a long journey but it has been one I needed to take it has taken a while for my wife to love me again. I guess there is some truth to it that when a women has an affair they have pulled out of the marriage emotionally for a while deforestation and that means it will take time to turn that around. Great advice for me by my changing from wow is me to how can I love helped me heal and move away from pain very quickly.

I think it's good to post

I think it's good to post hope and encouragement and one day, I want to thrive. But I'm not ready for this yet. We are 12 months past 1st d-day, and I am still in so much pain and trying to accept what happened. Post d-day, we went through so many months of me being unsafe, that I am so weary and extremely cautious to risking love with my unfaithful husband yet. So I'm glad that others are having this experience of being able to want to serve their marriage -- but there's also some of us who are not sure if we are in a safe place yet. I would love to read more about how we can honor Christ when we are not yet in a safe place in our broken marriages.

momof2.....I understand

I'm sorry you are still dealing with so much pain. Trial never feels good. I'm praying that you will soon be freed from this hurt. As far as physical safety, that is a priority. You must never stay in a physically unsafe environment. God cares for you and wants you to cast your cares and concerns on him. Although your burden seems heavy, His is light.


Momof2, I've never read the book you are referring to, or heard of it for that matter! The one and only book that got me through my trial was The bible. I clung, and still cling, to scripture. That investment in God's word and the work through the EMS courses were two marriage saving choices.

I thought I replied to a

I thought I replied to a specific comment about the book! I was referring to the one about Corrie ten Boom. An amazing story.

I know what you mean about the Bible, that is my lifeline and I was digging into it today -- trying to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. But I'm in a place still where that is hard...I am trying, oh goodness I am...but it is hard and I just need to make sure I know that it's okay I haven't made more progress than I have. Does that make sense?


YES....It makes complete sense. We are all on our own journey, and restoration and healing takes a different amount of time for each person. I wrote a blog a few weeks ago entitled "Rat Race". It addresses the idea of taking every thought captive. It might be helpful....

How to serve my husband in 3 ways?

Hi, Reese,
I really wanted to learn from you to serve my husband in the 3 ways you did. At this point, I could not see my husband in his eyes. I have no "love" feeling for him. I do not want to do things with him and even talk to him.I know God is my only help but I just could not do it.But i just cannot. How did you do it?

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-D, Texas