Is There Any Residue?

It’s been 8 years since “D-Day.” (disclosure)  It’s not uncommon that when I’m talking to a couple in crisis or sharing my story, someone will eventually ask me one of the following questions: “Is it really that good, I mean, doesn’t she hold it over your head?” “Aren’t you still a doormat?” “Do you ever really get over it?” “Are you still glad you saved your marriage?” “Was it really worth it?”

Yes.  I’m thrilled we saved our marriage.  She does NOT hold it over my head.  It’s very good, better than I ever thought imaginable.  You’re never really ‘over it’ in some cavalier, ‘pretend it never happened’ kind of way.  Although by the 2nd year we had gained so much momentum in recovery, we knew we were never going back and we were going to come out on the other side. 

I always say this to couples or individuals who are just starting out in recovery:  The quality of your restoration is at some level directly proportionate to the methods you use to pursue that restoration.   If you try and short cut it, you won’t get the results or healing you need.  If you try and rush it, you’ll blow up. If you’ll trust the right process and right people, and both of you are committed to putting the process to work, you can heal and experience restoration the likes of which seems impossible.

Yes the reminders stop.

Yes, your spouse can get it and be extremely empathetic towards you and the situation.

Yes, the betrayed spouse can get to a place of healing and owning their faults and struggles as well. 

And yes, you can see healing to the areas which you may feel caused the affair(s) in the first place. 

If you saw Samantha and I talking or hanging out, you’d never know what we’ve been through. I credit these reasons (though not exhaustive):

  1. The incredible Grace of God.
  2. Samantha’s humility, compassion, forgiveness and love for me and the kids.
  3. Rick Reynolds and the EMS Weekend/aftercare program.

Healing is possible. Restoration is attainable.  We live a very normal life and infidelity is only on our radar as we help so many couples walk through the process.  If I were to do something stupid, then sure it brings Samantha back to the hurt and pain of it all.  Yes there are songs we don’t listen to if they show up on the radio, and we don’t talk too often about the affair partner, but we don’t need to.  We’ve told our stories a few times to churches or healing groups, and several couples, but there is incredible hope that you and your spouse can find healing and true peace that probably seems unattainable today. 

It’s not a guarantee, but there aren’t many in life.   I share this with you today as I know many of you find this blog looking for hope. I pray you find some tangible hope today and hear with great conviction, though marriage and life are not anywhere near perfect at any time, restoration is a possible experience and far richer than a mere blog can describe.  I hope you’ll get the best help you can get, and stay true to the process.  There will always be residue, but residue which only reminds us of what we came out of and what we choose to never experience again.

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I think most unfaithful feel this way. And that's great. They realise what they very nearly lost. But us betrayed, we wear the scars. Sometimes they throb a little, or itch like an annoying scratch, other times it's a dull ache and sometimes it's like a heaven stone hanging in our chest. Our hearts have been broken and there is scar tissue that will always be there. It doesn't mean we can't have joy and feel the happiness of life or not be grateful for what we have. But that woman I was is gone who felt adoration and passion for her husband. So has respect along with trust. These all leave indelible marks. And this particular Mortal Experience (Infidelity), growth and all the other euphemistic words we add to make it sound good. I could have done without. There's a great sadness that fills part of me. That's part of my soul now. It's not bad it's not good. It's just there. Like the scars.

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