In Her Shoes is a series written by readers to give us glimpses into their lives – what it is like to walk in their shoes. Today’s guest post is anonymously written by a brave wife who is sharing her raw and inspiring journey through infidelity, forgiveness, and walking through fire to a marriage stronger than she had ever dreamed. Her story is one of encouragement for anyone who finds themselves in this situation. Let’s join our friend as she shares her road to healing. ~ Ginger
I’m not sure what made me pick up his phone and check his texts. Maybe it was God or fate or whatever you want to say is in charge of the universe and all of its functionings.
I clicked on the name Meg. And what I read immediately turned my skin cold and pale. My knees turned to rubber and my stomach wanted to bring up every mili-ounce of the dinner I had eaten a couple hours before. I still remember them word for word.
“You felt incredible.”
“I enjoyed it too.”
“I’m wearing a skirt today.”
“Ooo la la.
“It’s supposed to be cold tomorrow. Should I bring the blanket?”
I couldn’t read anymore. I threw it down and somehow made my way to the ottoman in the living room. I collapsed and shook with uncontrollable dry sobs. I heard the shower turn off and knew he would be coming out in just a couple of minutes. Part of me wanted to hide so he could not see my anger and pain. But the other part wanted him to find me there… dying in torturous pain.
Since there was no way I could support my own weight to walk away, he found me. He laid his hand on my back. “What’s wrong?” he asked. I wanted to just curl up in his embrace and hear him tell me everything was going to ok. But I couldn’t. He was the cause of my pain. I shoved his hand off my back.
“How could you touch me with the same hand you touch her with?!”
The look on his face… I cannot describe it. It was like a wall falling, like there was nothing left to hide. He knew I knew.
And this is where our story differs from most. There was no yelling match. No pointing fingers. No suitcases packed. No slamming doors. No screeching tires. No tears in an empty bed.
Only brokenness. Only vulnerability at its vulnerablist.
I asked questions. He answered.
I couldn’t cry. The pain was too deep.
He hung his head. His face an open book of shame, regret, and hopeless failure. Tears trickled down his cheeks.
This was my man. My best friend. In more pain than I had ever seen him. I couldn’t inflict more upon him. He needed me as much as I needed him. I slipped my cold, clammy hand into his. And the tears finally began to pour from my eyes.
“I forgive you,” I whispered.
We held each other for a while, both of us in our own kind of tortuous hell. Then he began to talk. Telling his story a little at a time… about his busy schedule and subsequent disconnection with me… about the flirtatious co worker… about feeling stuck in a verbally sexual relationship… about feeling even more stuck once the sex began… about wanting out but not knowing how… about his relief that I knew… about his overwhelming grief at the pain it caused me.
I listened. I did not interrupt. I did not blame. When he finished, I reassured him… “I forgive you,” I whispered again. “But it will be a long time before the pain no longer engulfs me. It will be a long time before I feel safe.”
And then the questions began… the questions about details. What he did, when, where… long into the wee hours of morning. I hear these questions are normal. Somehow, it’s therapeutic to know what you need to work through. It’s helpful to get rid of the plaguing wondering thoughts… the stupid ones like “What pair of underwear was he wearing that day?” and the more practical ones like “Where did they do it?” and “Exactly where did he touch her?”
Within just a few short days, our marriage was stronger than it had ever been… than I had ever dreamed possible. Oh, the hurt was still there. There were many, many miles left to travel on the road to healing. I still cried everyday and still cried myself to sleep. But my husband and I had begun to change and as a result, so did our marriage.
Why did we stay together? Why did I forgive him right away? Why do we love each other more than anything in the world? Why is our marriage stronger than I ever dreamed? How could it be this good after an affair? Short answer… I don’t know. But here’s a list of things that I know helped.
Perhaps you find yourself in the tumultuous waters that an affair brings to marriage. I hope by sharing what it was like in my shoes, you may find the peace you need to face with boldness the sovereign road God has laid out for you. Don’t give up on your marriage. Fight for it. It takes two. Don’t be the one who didn’t do their part.
*A note on divorce: I am quite confident that sometimes divorce is part of that sovereign plan God is working out in all things. If it is 100% apparent that your marriage is taking that road, do not feel guilty. Do not feel as if you are now forever identified by divorce. You are not divorce, but divorce happens. And God will work a mighty work through it. He has to, because He’s already planned it, and it’s His job to do it. It’s simply yours to discover it.
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