Trying to Control Your Spouse Whether betrayed or unfaithful, one of the biggest struggles for many to overcome is the cold, hard truth that you cannot control your spouse or their behavior. No matter how passionate I was, or even how proactive I was with my own recovery, I just wasn’t able to make Samantha heal any faster. Sure by doing what I needed to do, and owning my own failures and indiscretions, I did create space for her to heal and move our recovery along. However, there was no successful strategy to get her to hurry up and heal. The best hope I had was to do all I could do to get healthy and then see what happened next. In fact, even when I did all I could do, saw Rick personally, went to an EMS weekend and worked hard to own my shame, things were still hard incredibly hard sometimes. Samantha also had to realize that I didn’t arrive at dysfunction overnight, and I wasn’t going to come out of the fog overnight either. I was in too deep with my affair partner and my justification of my affair to just snap right out of it. She became incredibly frustrated with my inability to be as empathetic as I needed to, or as open as I need to with recovery, forgiveness, sexual reconnection and establishing new patterns of intimacy and accountability. She couldn’t control me any more than I could control her. We were both mad we couldn’t control each other and then took it out on each other. Neither of us were powerless to make changes, but there was no guarantee the personal changes we made were going to ensure reciprocating changes in our spouse. I found that to be incredibly frustrating. In the long run, it ensured my motives truly were to see personal healing and restoration in my life no matter what; not just to see change in Samantha. If you’re working so hard to make changes only to see your spouse change and reciprocate, you will be incredibly frustrated when that doesn’t happen and you will be tempted to throw away your own recovery. You will also discredit that what you’re doing is working in your own life which may lead to discouragement, frustration and hopelessness. Such a process in your recovery timeline will then create space for either relapse (if you’re unfaithful) or bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness if you are the betrayed. The betrayed also must arrive at the lonely but sober reality that if their unfaithful spouse wants to cheat again they can and will. No matter how many methods of accountability and installed tracking devices, if they want to cheat, they will. It’s a hard reality to digest, but the fact is, you simply cannot control their behavior and part of your recovery is to acknowledge that and begin to pursue your own recovery first, then possibly, the marriage’s. Samantha very early on arrived at this conclusion, yet had a difficult time not punishing me for my past choices. She wanted me to suffer and wanted me to pay! We both had control issues. As we surrendered our need for control in life, in recovery and in regards to being in control of one another, life, recovery and restoration got easier, faster. What we were both looking for was found more through surrender than it would ever be found through control. I hope and pray you learn the power of surrender. It is only then you will find the lasting freedom and peace I know you so desperately crave.