I grew up in a very rough part of the inner city. Being raised by a single mom with no dad around, I was forced to become pretty tough for a variety of reasons. It wasn’t uncommon to have shootings by our house and surrounding areas, and we had our house broken into several times growing up. My success in sports in high school, college and professionally was in many ways due to my refusal to quit and raw aggression which was evident in the way I approached the game. I’ve quit very few things in my life.

There is however, a huge difference between giving up and surrendering.

One of the biggest challenges in our recovery was me learning to surrender. Realizing I just couldn’t control how fast Samantha forgave me or got over her pain took what seemed like an eternity to understand and absorb and ultimately surrender to. Like many of you betrayed spouses, it’s impossible to control your spouse. You can’t make them get it or come clean or break free. They have to want to get help, or get healthy, as you choose to support them in their recovery. No amount of begging, prodding, commanding, yelling or screaming will make them get it any faster. You cannot control them, their choices, or where their heart is.

I wish you could, and I wish I could have controlled Samantha’s timeline to healing. But that was me wanting to be in control all over again, and that was part of the problem of both my theology and personality.

I wasn’t able to then, and I’m not able to now.

What I was able to do, which changed my life and I hope changes yours, was surrender to the fact that the only person I could change (and barely change at that) was myself. The truth is, if we really get honest with ourselves, we can barely change ourselves. We need a third party to change us and move in our lives to produce conflict with who we are. It’s this conflict with who we are which spills over into hope and produces courage to go forward, allowing our lives to be remolded, both for the unfaithful AND betrayed.  

I finally realized one day that I couldn’t do anything to make Samantha want to have sex with me again, or forgive me or stop flooding. I could only do all I could to get healthy myself, while learning how to better handle her struggles. I had little to no other choices and the quicker I realized that the better off I, and my kids, and ultimately Samantha would be. 

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