Behindmychoice: Defining Love

Valentines day has come and gone.  Whew!  I am not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day.

love Why you ask? Is it because I am bitter and don’t like love?  Oh wait–I blog about recovering from infidelity, I’m just harboring anger and hurt. Nope, while my aversion for the holiday the past 2 may have been slightly more intense, my apathy toward it has been there a long time.   There seems to be so much pressure around the day, February 14th,  every year.  From stores, television commercials, on line retail its presented as the day that you better give the perfect gift to the perfect person in the perfect way, with the perfect smile and perfect sentimental card…I am pretty sure you see where I am going with this.  While I would never tell anyone who loved me I didn’t appreciate being thought of by any gesture that day, anyone who knows me well enough can attest to the fact that I proclaim, love me all the other 364 days of the year.  I don’t want forced love.  Pressured love.  Stressed love.

A gorgeous arrangement of flowers is wonderful.  A new pair of earrings or eye catching necklace lovely.  A planned, organized, expensive dinner out luxurious.  But when the day is over, and 15 February comes around will any of those gestures truly change your opinion or definition of love?  Will any elaborate holiday event sustain you months later?    Don’t get me wrong, beauty and focus on what is important is in the eye of the beholder.  And, yes at the risk of sounding hypocritical I have pieces of jewelry, when put on brings back memories and feelings flood my heart.  Or when seeing a photo all decked out with smiles of joy from a dinner out stir emotions.  Those gifts and gestures serve a purpose I know they do but…

To me it’s the every day little things that I want out of love.  I want simple daily actions and reactions to show me love rather than one day out of the year where it all better be perfect or it doesn’t count.  A friend asked me a few years ago what I felt the definition of love was.    She was seeking a tangible definition.  I sat for a second contemplating the question.  What was my answer?  What is a healthy definition of love?

In a quick silent prayer I remember saying, “Ok God what do I say here?  I don’t want to screw this one up.  Give me the answer.” Then it hit me, my answer to her was the following.   love

They are Bible verses taken from 1Corinthians 13:4-8.  That is the love,  to me that is the perfect, healthy definition of love.  One that I try to live out. Now take a second and indulge me, re-read the verses aloud but this time replace the word “love” with your name….

 

…no seriously….try it…

 

…I’ll wait…really do it…

 

Did you? Take a minute and think about how that made you feel.   If that exercise had the same effect on you as it did me, you are still a little taken back.  A trusted mentor asked me to a few years back.  I remember reading and rereading the passage that way multiple times,  feeling extremely convicted.  If these verses are to be my guidelines I remember being asked, “how are you doing with that”?  It was a true change in perspective.   And more than just on some specific day in February because Hallmark and the jewelry stores said to.   Those are some seriously hard attributes to carry with you each and every day, in each and every situation.  I have been far from perfect in attaining them all the time.  Let’s be honest.  I truly haven’t been good at carrying out even a few at a time. Never the less,  they give me my road map.  They are expectations I know my Father God has for me to try and live out.Slide1

In the immediate aftermath and the truth of my husbands affair…I did NOT live out those verses.  It took me some time to regain appreciation and belief in them again.  Even harder was the reality that I was not asked to love like this only after receiving it.  No where does it say to give it even with expectation of receiving it.  There were days when not being easily angered were impossible.  There are days that still are.  Patience…ha ha….that had to be an attribute I could be excused from with all I was going through.  If there was ever a time that I could keep a record of wrongs, surely this was the time. Rude, I could be rude.  He had to feel embarrassed and shamed too, here was my chance to throw some verbal jabs at him.  Envy, I remember being so envious of friends’ whose marriage were so wonderful. Wanting, desiring to be in an easy, happy marriage.  Then one day, not long after everything was made known, I was praying and reading this passage with my name inserted when I came to, “…Love does not delight in evil…”  I had read this verse many times in my life but this day there it was, that whisper, that tug on my heart, telling me I was letting evil win.  By not living out these verses I was letting this horrible thing take more from me and evil win.   By holding on to even the slightest idea that I had a right to be mean, have that list of mistakes ready to throw in his face, let my temper get the best of me I was taking away from all the good still left and worth fighting for.

Loving again as we are called to do had to begin with TRUTH.  Truth in facing what happened.  Truth in the consequences because of what happened.  Truth as to why it happened. Truth that there was going to be a lot of work ahead of us.   Truth was raw unhindered communication about everything.  Truth was pain, gut wrenching traumatizing pain.  Truth, hard pressed, walls down, vulnerable truth from both of us.  There were moments, days, weeks where all I had was truth.  Even if that truth was just being unsure about anything or unable to even want to talk about it for just one day.   Truth gave way to the others aspects of love, slowly and with determined purpose gaining their way back into my actions and reactions to my marriage and husband and even myself again.

In verses 7 and 8 we are reminded that Love, “…always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”.  Not the kind of love we are limited to as humans, but a different, heavenly kind of love.  One that has no limits.  One that can persevere even in the midst of darkest moments.   Love protects, meant more than my feelings always being protected, but that love was protecting my marriage at all costs.  Love always trusts wasn’t about having faith in even my husband being perfect and not sinning.  Trusting love was about knowing God loved my husband, my marriage and me more than this trauma. Knowing God’s love for us would begin and continue to offer healing and reconciliation and change.  Hope, love always hopes, an un-abandoned hope that sees past our human pain and guttural reactions to selfish choices.  Love has the hope to see where we will end up, it has blessing of knowing the outcome and refuses to give into what the world says is unforgivable.  Love always perseveres, with determination, tenacity, persistence, and continues the course despite challenges.  Even when we may not see the value in pushing forward, love does and presses on.

Valentines day came and went this year, once again, with no cards or gifts exchanged between my husband and I. Like it has for over 25 years even before we were married.  For me defining love is more than just that day and the sentimental reactions to a national holiday.  It’s the other 364 days that I make every effort to live according to four verses in the Bible out loud and proud.    This journey has been a work in progress to a better understanding and a stronger definition of love.    Behind my choice to defining love are those four verses, with my name before each attribute and my desire to live them in accordance with my faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Behindmychoice: To Glorify the Thank You

The simple two word sentence, “thank you”.  It’s one of the first things we learn to say as a child.  It shows gratitude.  It shows appreciation. It shows respect.  It shows humility.  We hear it a lot.  We say it flippantly throughout the day, as we check out in line at a store or someone holds a door open for us. I find myself thanking friends and family for things all the time.  We all say the words so often.  While it strings together in such simplicity it can also wield a power I never gave credit until recently.

thank u

Tonight the words took on the quality to heal.  These past few years have been rough.  Especially the last 18 months or so.  Rebuilding a marriage after infidelity is not for the faint at heart or the weak in grace or mercy. But tonight as my husband and I went about the daily grind I was given the gift of that simple yet profound sentence.
“Thank you”

It was not the easiest of days today.  Our patience and faith based living was tested.  We faced a difficult and heart wrenching result with my husband’s business.  Those details aren’t important to my point…so I’ll skip ahead.  What does pertain to this post were the priority of his feelings and emotions (I had my own trust me, but mine had to take a back seat for a bit) to care for his.   It was a moment, if you will, to give unselfishly and help him through the pain and anger. When it comes down to facing this life, he and I are a team.  You hurt one, you hurt us both.  I am grateful that we have that level of commitment, well let’s be honest, that we have rebuilt that level of commitment in our relationship over the past 18 months or so.

I will say, being that selfless when it came to helping him through his explanations and the pain he felt as a result of his infidelity was not as simple as today was.  Learning how to be that present and vulnerable again has been a journey not without failure and determination to work at it.  But a crucial element I feel on being able to move forward. Being that present comes with a sense and a need for gratitude, one we both have made.  A purposeful choice to do the work.  Which brings me to this evening and how a simple thank you offered more healing.

At one point tonight we both were sitting in our home office, opposite sides of the room,  noses buried deep in our computers.  The room was silent minus the typing and clicking away on our keyboards, and the winter moans and groans of our home.  He broke the silence,

“Can I just say thank you to you?”

“You are welcome?” I said with a timid giggle of uncertainty and a question in my tone  as to what prompted the remark. “for?”

“For loving me, supporting me, being here for me even when I might not and have not deserved it.  Just thank you.”

He didn’t even turn away from his computer, and as quickly as he said it he was back to typing and completing his to-do list.

A simple sentence, but one that I let settle into the depths of my heart.  With silent prayer I glorified that moment and thanked (there’s that word again) God for giving it to me.  A moment and the gift of that thank you so precious to me.  The power of that thank you was almost overwhelming, and he probably has no idea just how amazing it was to hear.  It made me realize the power of a sincere, heartfelt thank you and how it can change everything.  It can heal hurts. It can bridge discord.   It can rekindle respect, patience, or compassion for someone.  “Thank you” is a response of grace.  In a time where life tests someone it can be amazing to get a thank you for just being there.

He gave me a gift tonight that is irreplaceable.  More precious than gold.  All it took was one moment, actually not even 30 seconds…good grief it may not have even been 15 seconds.  But the impact would lead someone to believe it was so much longer!

The power of a thank you.  Life altering power.  As I sat and thought about how his thank you made me feel and what it meant to me, it made me think, when was the last time I thanked him?   When was the last time I offered him a simple thank you for even staying and choosing to work on us?    The power of gratitude can move mountains.  If offered in sincerity,  placed before someone with heartfelt love and respect for the person receiving it, has the strength to break through walls of hurt and resentment.

I was blessed by a thank you tonight.  A simple thank you, offered with simple words but the power to move mountains.  In a recent message during church the paster offered this statement,

For believers a grateful heart brings you to the feet of Jesus.

My husband’s thank you reminded me that my list of thank yous needs to be greater than all else and that I bring them all to my Jesus.

1Thes5

My list of “thank yous” should be my focus and my foundation to approach everything and anything brought my way.  If my heart is in a state of gratitude, troubles will lose their power to steal my joy.

 

always thankful

Where is the state of your grateful heart? Even in the midst of trauma and pain reasons to be grateful can be found.  It’s comes down to what you want to focus on, what you allow to fill your heart and thoughts.  If we chose to only allow the dissatisfaction or the list of negatives take forefront our hearts will follow in kind.  My hope and prayer for those read this post, is you will believe the quote above it true.  There IS always something to be thankful for.  Behind my choice to glorify the thank you is a woman who loves her God and knows that even amongst the worst pain I still journey beyond there are far more reasons to give thanks than not.   I pray that along your journey to heal from infidelity that your “thank you” list will grow too.

and hey….thank you, for reading my post.

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Behind my choice: Living out 70×7

 

a question was proposed during a discussion about forgiveness a week or so ago with dear friends as we gathered for bible study. “how many times are we called to forgive someone?”  my friend referenced Matthew 18:21-22 as she began to share some more.

70x7

as my friend spoke and shared her own struggles with forgiving a betrayal of any kind she said this verse struck her for the first time as,  “…what if that verse  means we are to forgive every time the hurt from what happened rears it ugly head or the consequences of the sin are affecting my life again today?” it was like watching all the pieces to machine with gears all line up and begin working in my heart as she said it.  i have told my husband, and meant it when i did, that i forgive him for what happened.  i did not absolve him from the consequences of what his choices have lead to or the journey we now take to heal and move on but i do forgive him.

it was a HUGE revelation.

we are not called to judge or jury any sins on this earth. we are not equipped to offer such wisdom, and thank goodness.  i don’t want that job. we are told instead to live out the gospel and offer forgiveness.  does that mean i am to become a punching bag or just take being hurt, mistreated or betrayed, no.  but is does mean that i am to offer forgiveness and make my offering of that forgiveness create change in my heart and state of being.  even if that means i have to forgive over and over again to offer love and respect that day or even moment to moment.

some may view this as a passive way to live or think this means i don’t stand up for myself or how i should be treated.  but i will respectfully disagree.  by offering forgiveness and relying on that to change my actions and reactions that does not mean i won’t hold the sin or sinner to accountability.  it does mean i will not punish or seek to revenge a wrong done to me.  when anyone looks back at how i treated anyone i do not ever want them to have just cause to say i was not acting in accordance to my faith.  even with my husband and the most tragic hurt i have faced in my brief 40+ years of life.  i do not want to be anything less than a representation of a christian walking the walk of faith.

so today when a trigger tries to steal a joy from what i know to be true i will offer forgiveness.  when a consequence of someone else’s sin impedes my plan for the day, i will reach for forgiveness.  when anger or frustration try to cloud all the good we have in our marriage today i will seek to offer forgiveness. when the pain and hurt of the betrayal grab hold of my thoughts i will draw my thoughts toward forgiveness and react not on my own strength.

i am so grateful my friend shared what she did.  it was a life changer.  behind my choice to live out 70×7 and the verse in Matthew 18 is a woman living each day the best way she can.  i will fall.  i will fail.  but i will not let the bad things that happen or the hurt that they cause take away from my desire to be a Christian first and foremost.  and i can’t think of a better place to start than the most sacred relationship i have on this earth that with my husband.

 

 

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Behind my choice: To “Keep fighting out of the dark”

Anger.

It rears its ugly head still.

If allowed it becomes a breeding ground for resentment.

Resentment is a toxin.

A contagious, awful, relationship killing toxin.

Choosing the positive, seeing the blessings over the burdens is often a purposeful action.

Yet so often the magnetism of anger and resentment can have a strong pull.

Despite my desire to stay positive and always turn away from it, the battle is there; and I get tired of fighting off both the anger and resentment.

Even more than a year later, I still have moments when the pain of what my husband chose to do breeds anger inside me.  I still have moments when I want to lash out, scream, or just see that someone else is still hurting like I am.

Then I hear songs like this…that combine my faith with a message of motivation.

I am reminded by the lyrics that allowing anger and resentment to drive my thoughts, let alone my actions gives the darkness a win. I am reminded that this marriage is a journey and we aren’t finished taking it yet.  They words remind me that I am in control of what I chose to lead my thoughts and actions.  By choosing anger, it only lets someone else’s selfish choices take more from me.  If I give into the anger, let it build resentment what does that do for me?  NOTHING.  It just builds up walls, breeds toxins,  into my heart, my mindset and finally into my marriage.  A marriage that I do want.  The future that I want to redefine and continue to journey through.

When I look at who I am during my moments of anger and resentment, I don’t like who I become.  I don’t like who I see when they take hold.  anger

The moments when I have to ask for forgiveness in letting the anger win out and I let out harsh words.  The moments when respect is a hard to give my husband.  There are shameful under my breath comments.  Mental images of “letting him have it” or “her” or the “others”.  The internal wishes of wanting their to be discomfort, pain, regret, shame, embarrassment that cripples and haunts those involved.  Anger that gets strong enough that I just want to break something.

But there is a moment in every angry “fit”  when I catch my breath and realize that giving into the anger is letting the *%@# demon of our past take control of the present again and have a chance to bleed further into our future, my future.

I am not saying I don’t have the right to be angry.  Heck even Jesus got angry-and He was our perfect sacrifice.  Those tables still went flying when His father’s house was disrespected and turned into a market place for man’s personal gain. (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19:45-47) My marriage was a sacred place, it still is!  And I have the right to get angry at what happened.  BUT I refuse to let that anger become a toxin or destructive force to our future.  Jesus didn’t dwell on the anger.  He showed His hand, His anger and frustration and then He taught. He stayed in a place that caused Him anger and saw a need to reach, teach, change hearts.  He didn’t just throw justified anger out there and wait for those who made the mistakes to figure it out on their own.  He let the anger become  a stepping stone to make things change, be heard among the crowd.  He had every right to be angry at what happened.  Those of us facing adultery and all that comes with it also have a justified anger. We have a right to throw our tables and get the attention of those around us.  But what we do with that anger is key. If we turn it into a reason to strike back, get even, what does that say about us?  Where does that place the state of our hearts?  What power does that continue to give this awful moment in our life’s story?

I say it gives it TOO much power.  And a power that should belong to my faith and my God in the midst of everything.

So I made and continue to make the choice to “keep fighting out of the dark” .  To take the anger and make it a tool to reach and teach.  Even if the crowd in front of me is just my husband and my marriage.  So it becomes a question of how do I tame it or change it’s shape into something productive, helpful and non-toxic?  I wish I had the perfect answer to that.  I want to say it’s an easy choice.  Just turn away, be the light in the darkness and make all the gracious, loving and peaceful choices.  But reality is, I don’t all the time. ANd it is a hard choice to make.  SO what do I do with the anger?  I take ALL the anger to the cross.  I pray..a lot. I vent.  I cry.  I scream.  I beg for wisdom to understand. Am I living the perfect life? Heck no.

Do I always turn from the anger? No

There are practical ways that I handle the moments of anger.  I could probably write an entire blog on that.  But just to name a few: I go for a run.  I leave a LOT on the pavement during one of my runs. I talk a lot to God while I put one foot in front of the other.  I clean.  If nothing else it focuses my mind on the task at hand and things are definitely cleaner and more organized around here.  I fall on my knees and pray.  I open my Bible to favorite scriptures of promise and healing.  I journal.  I blog.  And I take time to be honest with my husband.  Even now- over a year later.  I tell him I am just having a hard day, that for a moment the anger is winning and I need some grace.

There are times when I am not even sure how I haven’t let the anger or resentment take more of a lead.   The only thing I can offer is…it has NEVER been me in any of it.  It has been my faith and my  GOD , who IS BIGGER than this.  Max Lucado has written this quote,

“Promised Land people trust God’s hold on them more than their hold on God”

When anyone looks into my life I want it to be an example worth sharing as a child of Christian faith. I want my life, all of it seen and unseen to be a reflection that I am a child of God.   And if that is the case…what good would any retaliation do? What good would letting the anger win over control of my actions and reactions?  What example and witness would that give?  When all would be said and done, if I gave in to a “fit” of anger would that really make me feel better?  What good would come out of getting in “her” face or speaking my mind to the “others”?  Is that going to change what happened. No.

So I have to…as the song says..

Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light

Even if that means making it a daily, moment to moment purposeful choice!  And reminding myself God is bigger than even my anger and He will turn this all into good.

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BehindMyChoice: To Live By Self-Worth Not Self-esteem Alone

My wedding day…I loved every minute of it. It was the day I will always remember feeling like the center of my husband’s world.  He made it clear he was choosing me above all others that day.  He watched me walk down the aisle in God’s house to him, NO ONE ELSE…he wasn’t waiting for anyone or anything else but for me to be his wife.  I walked to him in front of God and our most important family and friends and together we promised, “…as long as we both shall live…”

I want to feel like that again.  I want to feel set apart from every other woman in this world.

I feel loved by him. I do.  I have never felt unloved.

But feeling respected, prioritized,  set apart from any other woman…his affair and his other inappropriate relationships have taken that security from me.  I find myself even a year later, fighting demons of insecurity that all those things set in motion. Despite his own profession that what happened was NEVER a reflection on who I am or that I am not the one he wants to be married to there is still fear.  I still have moments of doubt and even anxiety that try and take over my belief in all that.  All the progress and positive steps we have taken over this past year can feel light years away when I let the self doubt take control.    But I can’t deny they are still there.

One of the hardest mental hurdles to get over is knowing he said our marriage was in a great place when his actions were at their worst.  He says he was happy and would have told anyone who asked him just that, even when he was sleeping with “her”.  (The reality of that still just makes me want to scream, kick, punch, cry, break something).   How do I continue to process that reality?  According to him what happened was based on his self-esteem issues and his making selfish choices?   I know in my heart and mind that his healing and journey to make better choices is NOT my job.  (I’ve written what I know to be true about that, BehindMyChoice: To Let Go of His Healing).  I know I can not change a thing about him, that’s his job.   Those issues are on him and what he needs to work out with our Father God and Creator and his own heart.  I know and believe even reaching a place of complete understanding as to why any of this even happened is not my responsibility.  That’s on him.

BUT…how do I take all that in and make sure my self-esteem doesn’t become it’s prey?

I stated in my most recent post (Reflections of a year gone by) to believe, “my self worth is NOT dependent on my husband’s actions, reactions or choices, be they good or horrible ones.”  I still  hold that to be a truth.  But if I am being honest it is a struggle to not attach any of my self-worth to my husband and my marriage. Especially after my self-esteem really struggled for a long time (and still battles) that this wasn’t my fault.   It’s hard when I believe my marriage covenant made our two hearts one.  His actions took away what I thought was something he would NEVER share with anyone other than me.  What set me apart from any and every other woman on this earth.  What made me special, chosen above ALL others.

I have to remind myself that self-esteem and self-worth are different things in my humble opinion.  They both may reflect  each other to some degree, but one does not need the other. Ultimately my self-worth can’t come from ANY earthly means.   Let me explain.   For me, self worth comes from who I am in my God’s eyes,  andeph2;10 I define myself by my self-worth not my self-esteem.    I was created by God, the maker of heaven and earth.   That definition can’t change for me.  WHO I am was knit  together and created by God as a unique masterpiece, with a purpose for the life He placed me in.  That CAN’T change.  Whether I am defined here on this earth as a woman, daughter, friend, mother, even wife.  I am one of God’s creations.  That is where my worth comes from.

My self-esteem can and does take hits because lets face it, it relies more on external input from the life I live, circumstances, events, relationships and those around me.  People may disagree with me but I find peace in these two differences.   And I am okay with looking at it this way.  When I was younger and my feelings got hurt by circumstance or people my  faith taught me to acknowledge my pain was real.  My self-esteem took a hit but my self-worth gave me strength to dig deeper than the momentary ouch and not let it redefine who I am.

So as I  continue to face this hurt and the hurt and hit my self-esteem  has taken in my marriage I battle the difference between the two definitions. No matter how hard I try to separate the two though the truth is self-esteem plays a roll in my self-worth.   It does NOT however, define it despite the weakness is may cause in your armor of confidence.  And evil knows how to get to your weakness.  Evil doesn’t want Godly marriages to thrive in this world.   Why ps139wouldn’t evil take the opportunity to make me question if I could have done things differently or prevented my husband’s choices (actions)?  Why wouldn’t evil and darkness try to over take  my trust in my husband’s words that what happened was about him and not that I am a bad wife or person?   Why wouldn’t evil try to make me question if everything that happened was my fault?   The truth is…this wasn’t about me being attractive enough, committed enough, loving enough.  This wasn’t a reflection of me not being supportive or outgoing, adventurous or giving enough.   But evil knows that’s where to get me.  That’s where it will hurt the most.  That doubt could make me wonder if we should fight for the covenant we made before God.   If we would  not have fought this past year to move past it…that put evil ahead.   If I let the pain and doubts of self-esteem determine my self-worth then evil wins another battle.

Self-esteem is a fragile, irreplaceable element to facing each day with confidence.  But it can’t be where we find our foundation of self-worth.  I will admit it’s one of the hardest, purposeful and proactive choices I make when the triggers hit or evil tries to weasel it’s way back into my thoughts.   I have to face head on the self-esteem hits.  I have to acknowledge them.  Talk them through.  Pray over them.  Seek counsel and accountability not to let those hits become more than they should be.  And when the hits are valid or a fault of my own, own up to my part and change what I need to.

Uncomfortable as it is I have to be honest the hits still hurt.  The hits cause weakness in my armor.  Those weaknesses need to be patched up and reinforced.  Some of those reinforcements will need to come from my husband.   I will need him do that, for no other reason than, his actions caused the hurt.  (But that’s another blog for another time)  For others I will need to start at the foot of the cross and dig deeper into my self-worth to re-establish what my self-esteem should truly rely on.

Behind my choice to live by self-worth and not self-esteem alone takes power away from evil and it’s attempts to undermine the Godly marriage I seek to have.  To live by self-worth gives my daily purpose more intentional meaning, one that looks past this life being about me but about my faith. Will I handle (good grief do I handle) every hit with grace heck no, I am not perfect, no way.  But I strive for that in an attempt that maybe,  just maybe my actions and reactions will bring God to the surface and make Him tangible to those around me (even myself).  And I can’t think of a better place to start than the most important relationship given to my charge than my marriage.

SO when evil tries to rear it’s ugly face and make me question my faults in this, and the hits will come,  I will once again remind myself to live by self-worth not self-esteem alone.

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Reflections of a Year Gone By

I made it…he made…our marriage made it…we made it!!

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It’s been a whole year.  As I have revisited so many of the moments, memories, trials, triumphs,…this entire journey has me spanning every emotion.  I’ve learned a LOT about myself, my husband, my marriage and even more about my faith taking this road.

Does all that mean everything is flawless?  No.  But my marriage is in a place that I never thought we could attain.   Even before my husband’s affair and other inappropriate relationships there was a marriage I dreamt of.  One where I felt my voice mattered just as much as my husband’s.  A relationship where I was not hindered by trying to be the “good wife” but was content with being the best me I could be at any given moment.  One that made me feel set apart from others.   As the wife, I wasn’t the only one who had to change, grow or compromise to make things feel healthy and happy.  I dreamt and prayed for a marriage that was built on our definition, God’s definition, and not what I thought others would give me a gold star for. The marriage relationship where I wasn’t waiting to fit into his life but were our lives fit into our marriage.  He and I against the world with God as our pilot.  What a beautiful covenant I knew I deserved and prayed for so often.

Will we ever attain the storybook relationship?  I will tell you no.  -This is not because I don’t believe in the potential of either of us or our marriage, but because I don’t ever want to reach that place where I will stop growing or working on making the most important human relationship a priority or purposeful daily work!! God can do anything but I don’t believe I will have all I want in any relationship here on this earth, that’s what eternal life is all about.  (But that is a whole blog in itself)  That being said I will stand on the belief that my marriage should be the closet relationship I will ever have on this earth and the most important.

I hated every millisecond when the tornado of my husband’s choices came roaring through our lives.  The disaster it left behind, the trail of debris was at times overwhelming.  There were many sleepless nights.  Hours of tears and moments where I even had to remind myself to breath.  The darkest moments were there too, the ones where I begged out loud for any glimpse of hope and validation as I offered trust in anything he said to me or offered me.  There were internal arguments I had with myself.  Was I sacrificing myself in staying, forgiving, believing he would never hurt me like this again?  What did it say about me if I did stay and and offered forgiveness?  The struggle between wanting to forgive, offering forgiveness yet still being honest about the hurt and grief that was still so very present.  The struggles of finding the right words during hard conversations. They were all real and so very raw with emotion.

BUT WE FACED IT…we can put this year into the history books.  The score card has us in the lead.  This f’n affair and his choices will take NO more from me.  I am NOT it’s victim but it’s survivor! I have faced the refinery and I shine brighter as the Christian, wife, woman I want to be and know God made me to be.

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I was asked the other day if I have any regrets.  And without a hesitation I did and will still say NO. I don’t like the word regret. I have made the best decisions I know how to make and all of them have always been after taking all my concerns and choices to God.   Does that mean I have never been hurt or disappointed in any of my decisions no.  And at the risk of contradicting myself I hope my husband has some regrets.  But if he does my hope and prayer is that one day the regret turns into gratitude.  A gratitude for what he learned about himself, his faith, our God, our marriage, and my love and commitment to him.

What I can walk away confidently believing:

  • MY GOD IS BIGGER than anything I will ever face on this earth.
  • My husband, nor I are perfect. (That’s God’s job).
  • Affairs SUCK.
  • Recovery is HARD.
  • Honesty, forgiveness and plenty of grace are the key ingredients to even beginning to face the aftermath of an affair.
  • My self worth is NOT dependent on my husband’s actions, reactions or choices, be they good or horrible ones.
  • GRIEF is real and takes a huge part of your emotional time as you move forward.
  • You have to keep looking to the future, the moment you let yourself get stuck in the past that is the moment evil and the affair wins.

I made it…he made…our marriage made it…we made it!! The first year of our recovery and rebuilding a strong and healthy covenant.  We have done the best we can.  I am proud of that best.  Infidelity is one step closer to being part of history not the demon of our future.

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Behind my choice- To own my Wants

Marriage never promised to be the easy road.  If we are lead to the person God chose for us then I truly believe no mistake, situation or tragedy can not be overcome.  With His presence in the midst of everything it may take to move forward I truly believe any marriage can make it. But that doesn’t mean God won’t put us to work to get there.  Even if I wasn’t the one to make the mistake, situation or tragedy occur, I still have responsibilities. And one of those is owning what it is I want from this marriage and relationship.

I want to feel loved and fought for.

And I have the right to ask for that.

Do I want to feel like the world revolves around me?  I will admit it, at time yes I do.  After all we’ve been through and all the choices he made, the selfishness of his actions…I will say it…

 I want to feel like nothing and no one else matters.

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Reality is that I won’t get that every moment,  or even every day of my life.  No one can or should get that.  We all have to give and take in every relationship.  But what I will say is, I believe every husband or wife should hold such a special protected portion of their heart that when push comes to shove they would choose their spouse over anything or anyone.  And every spouse deserves to see the results of that special protected portion every so often.  Every spouse needs to be reminded how special they are. How God set them aside just for you, or you for them.  And how no one else can take their place or matter more.

Ephesians-5-25-web-NLTCould you imagine if  every day and every action we all lived out trying to make sure those we love, especially our spouses, knew they held that divine portion of our hearts?  Even in simple actions to those around us we show where our hearts wander.   know your heart

I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to feel that special, and in a tangible way.  It is easy to fall into predictable routines and expectations.  Life gets busy and lets face it has demands on our time, calendars, even thoughts and actions. We can fall short of even making those most precious to us feel that way.  And I am not advocating that your marriage be the only place you find your self-esteem or worth.  To ask that of any one person in this world is unfair and impossible.  What I am saying is that marriage takes effort and work and purposeful actions that make your spouse feel loved and fought for.

Living in the wake of my husband’s affair and inappropriate relationships I have found myself needing to feel those two things even more.  You question a lot about yourself and when you let it, fear can creep into your storage of self-esteem and rob you blind.  As I have faced my husband’s choices and the pain it has brought me I have felt the tug of wanting and needing more tangible proof he’s really back and here with just me.  Fair or unfair its what I need at times.  I can’t say if it’s healthy or not.  But it’s what I feel and how can that be wrong?

So behind my choice to -own my wants is someone still healing and wanting to feel loved and fought for.  Purposeful, love driven actions that just remind me I hold that special place in my husband’s heart that no one or thing can fill.  To know I am “the one”!  I know despite what could have torn us apart I try my best to give him those tangible actions and words of proof that he is still my God given spouse and that he holds a protected place in my heart.

Close-up of door with a heart

Close-up of door with a heart

OUR marriage is worth making sure he knows that and letting him know I need that too!!

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