Going Public: Restoring Honor

To tell or not to tell is a huge question for any couple in recovery. Whether it’s been a few months or a few years, couples always wonder if they will tell anyone, ever, in their life. Some truly want to heal, move on, and never talk about it to anyone ever again. Others want to find a stage and tell the world and see others heal. I understand both positions and have operated within both of them.

For Samantha and I, we’ve been very open with our story. I would write this blog under my real name, but the executive leadership at AR has asked for our names to be kept private for those that are uncomfortable telling anyone their story. I get it. 

However, I have found an incredibly equal playing field in life when I share my story or a version of our story with people.  (Disclaimer: to share a story like ours, it must be a safe place. Not every place is safe to tell your story and not everyone listening may be safe. But, for us, when we feel safe, we’ll tell our story very openly.)

It’s like every wall that can come down, comes down immediately when I share versions of our story. Just a few weeks ago, during a new small group we started attending from church, I shared a polite version of our story. I say polite meaning; I didn’t get into the nitty-gritty details and usually don’t, but the story and journey enough makes people’s eyes widen and gets their attention rather quickly. As I shared, the honor and the heroic nature of Samantha’s forgiveness shined through. I didn’t feel like a doormat. I didn’t feel like a failure. I was still ashamed of what I did, but I’m more aware of God’s forgiveness and reconciliation than I am any shame. I felt like I was using what could have killed us to help another couple, and observers as well, understand that God is with us even in the midst of our most wicked and horrible failures. That if God was not taken back or surprised at my failure, he must have ready grace (future grace if you will) for us in every other area of our lives. The hero in the story besides almighty God was Samantha. The honor that was bestowed by sharing our story was more than I figured it would be. These women began to flock to her to ask questions and talk about how our story caused them to see their own lives and current situations so differently. The men were also moved by the fact that I’d share openly about my deepest failure.

While our journey and my failure was humiliating for both myself and for Samantha, times like this are being used to restore honor to the situation. When Samantha shares her story to other women, it’s like she becomes an immediate beacon of light and hope for desperate situations which few can relate to. Looking at Samantha, you’d never know we’ve been through what we’ve been through. When she feels safe and shares her story, the ability to connect and encourage is practically unrivaled. She has become a fixture for the endless ability of God’s grace and healing power.

I wonder if sharing your story, in a safe place, might be a tool to restoring honor in your own marriage? Perhaps there are coming venues to share versions of your story in an attempt to help others heal and find courage to forge ahead? Maybe, just maybe, you didn’t go through all you went through just for you and others may heal and grow from it?

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Samuel, thank you for this

Samuel, thank you for this post. I hope one day that I can be one who can share my story with others and maybe help them through this horrific pain, whether or not my marriage survives. Before the last tidbit of info I got late last week (courtesy of his AP), I felt we were finally on the way to recovery. Now, not so sure. It was a small bit of info, but very hurtful. Before then, I had been entertaining the idea of starting some kind of informal support group for betrayed spouses at my church, just so something good might come out of my long season of trial and betrayal. I want to help others through their own seasons of trial. I so admire you for being able to tell your story in public to honor your marriage. I think it takes a lot of courage for both of you to go back and re-visit the details and pain, but I am sure the rewards far outweigh the discomfort. I truly wish I could sit in on one of your groups. I also wish Samantha would write a blog for us betrayed spouses to tell how she worked her way to recovery. Her point of view would be interesting to read. She sounds like a wonderful role model for all of us struggling to recover and heal. Thank you again for sharing this. I always look forward to your posts.

It's about God

You are right. Our stories are not so much about our personsl failures but so much more about God's wonderful redemption.

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