It has occurred to me often recently that while our motivation for sharing our story is to help other people who find themselves on this road, we haven’t been very concise in our attempts. I’m staring at this picture trying to figure out how to even start. The moment of recognizing that your spouse has violated the sacred vows of your marriage is a sudden shifting from one reality to another. In those seconds your soul reaches backward to the seconds prior when you thought you were in a beautiful and committed relationship but the reality will not leave. Suddenly your entire world has gone dark, everything you believed about your life seemingly just became a lie and we reach backward again to deny the facts. There is no respite because there they are and as you proceed to confront your spouse you find yourself in the land of no return. There has been a shift in your time and space continuum that has you zoomed in to examine every detail about your lives together, what was real? What was a lie? Is there evidence? Oh my Father there is evidence! Anger and “How dare he/she?” You, your spouse, your life…will never be the same again. You will survive, it will feel like you won’t. I have been meandering my way through this for over 30 years and have responded in so many ways that just caused further destruction, prolonging Tim’s sin and my agony. We learned the hard way and much damage was done but finally we are on the right road. It is our heart to spare you as much heartache as possible by sharing our story. We are still on this rocky road of recovery and we will never be finished. There are consequences to sin. There is also the beauty of my husbands broken heart over his sin, which has led him to Godly sorrow and that has led him to true repentance. I never believed it was possible, a friend today called it a miracle and it is. The Lord led us to the right people who actually knew what had repeatedly been happening in our marriage. They also knew how to deal with it and I finally did what they said to do and Tim finally did, too. You are crushed but there is hope. Hope for something so beautiful you can’t even imagine it now. I didn’t even know marriage so beautiful existed.
There are some things you need to know/do first:
- Hit your knees in prayer. You are beginning to experience the most excruciating pain of your life and our Lord God Almighty weeps with you. He sees you and He sees your pain. When marriage vows are broken it is like a literal ripping of flesh. God has joined you two together and your spouse has torn away. It is not a simple intellectual thing to get over. The Lord loves you and will lead you through this in ways no one else can. You must rely on Him. Please read 2 Chronicles 20. This battle is not yours, but God’s. The sanctity and preservation of your marriage is Gods will, He is right there with you in this and on your side. Talk to Him, cry to Him, yell to Him. He can handle it and He already knows what you’re thinking and feeling. Turn to Him.
- You cannot do this alone. You don’t want to do this alone. If you have a rare disease you go for treatment to a specialist, someone who knows all about your disease. What you don’t do is treat yourself day after day hoping your home cures are going to work. You also want to go to a doctor who has had success curing the disease, not one who has never succeeded or only treats the symptoms. After repeated betrayals and going to the wrong doctor each time thinking we were cured we have finally found the right doctors! Call 800-NEW-LIFE. I don’t think they are 24/7 but call. Tell them what is happening and they will tell you what you need to do. Do it. New Life Live is on every weekday at 1:pm here around DC on WAVA, 105.1. Listen and you will hear people just like you get help. Their website is www.newlife.com and tv.newlife.com is an excellent resource for understanding exactly what is going on in your marriage. You can call their radio show when they are recording live as well, 800-229-3000. You have just experienced a trauma. You need counseling and support. You cannot do this alone. Don’t fool around, call them, please. I trust them and we are not paid by them. If not for them we would most likely be divorced.
- You cannot do this alone. In Tim’s early betrayals we had 2 and then 3 young sons. Somehow the world keeps spinning although yours has just blown up. There are going to be times when you will have difficulty performing your normal tasks at home and at work. I used up all my leave a little at a time. If your children are young there is the stress of trying to make them feel safe in a horrible situation. You cannot do this alone and my prayer is that you have a loving and safe support system in addition to the professionals you are now seeing to help you walk through this. Family, friends, people you trust who love you no matter what who are willing to be at the other end of the phone when you feel you can’t hold it together any more. Not too many. More than one because there is no way one person can give you the support you are going to need. In a perfect world, you and your spouse are in individual counseling and in support groups, individual and together. You need people around you to check your sanity. When an addict is defending their drug there can be much smoke and many mirrors and reality seems a shifting thing at times as they live in the denial and try to convince you of a false reality.
- No matter what your spouse says this is not your fault. A cheating spouse is full of guilt and shame and they need to justify their sin to feel better about themselves. They can blame you and tear apart your entire life to show how right they are to break their marriage vows. Do not believe this for one minute. There may be issues which there are in every marriage but adultery is NEVER justified. If there are problems you go get help to fix them, you don’t take up with someone new. Do not receive this lie.
- Fix it right the first time. Whether it’s pornography or the escalation of behaviors from there, these are symptoms of a deeper problem. With the continuation of these behaviors comes a descent into depravity no one intends when they start. As each line is crossed the next one becomes that much easier to breach and there is no end to the depths one can fall if something doesn’t change. The first time for us we sought no help at all. The second began the almost lifelong examination of my failures as a wife which was making my husband need to cheat. This enabled him to continue in his sin for over three decades. It wasn’t perpetual betrayal but he had come to hate me and treated me horribly. He blamed me for his need to sin and the various pastors and counselors over the years reinforced this false belief, further enabling Tim to feel free to sin. Don’t go down that road. That’s why I don’t say call your pastor or even a local counselor first. New Life Ministries www.newlife.com has a network of counselors that are well schooled in how to handle this the correct way. Listen to them. Nothing changed in our marriage until we had the courage to do what they told us.
- Trust God for the money to get you and your spouse the help you need, now not later. There is Every Man’s Battle for the men and Restore for the women and Intimacy in Marriage for both and there are scholarships and God will provide what you need to get there. We continue with Sustained Victory and I am on scholarship for now while Tim pays in full. I am in individual counseling and Tim was going up till the holidays. He is going to resume. He also attends SAA once weekly because the New Life Group meets on the other night they meet. He used to go twice a week. That is by donation. He just got his one year chip!!! Trust God to provide and call them and tell them you need help. He doesn’t want this to continue, it destroys His children. There are people who have been healed and restored and who give so that others can be, too. We hope to be able to give lots in our future because someone else gave to us and we are now a whole family with a hope and a future beyond anything we could ask or imagine.