Since my (brave) wife will be spending a few weeks talking about our time “In the Counselor’s Office”, I too, have decided to join the conversation in hopes to encourage folks who are also walking through the devastation of adultery.
So - Um - Hi. I’m Burris. (awkward pause) The husband you read about each week. Nice to meet you, if I don’t already know you.
First, I want to take a moment to thank all the wives who are choosing to do the painful hard work of forgiving their husband.
I am a man who is watching this undeserving pardon unfold in my own life and it is the kind of grace I wish for all my brothers who are coming forward (or being caught) in their secret sexual sin. Thank you for not looking away from your husband while he shows you the ugly side of himself. Believe me, it makes more sense to me for a wife to walk away from her husband than it does to walk toward him. You are brave. You are lovely. You are worthy of praise. You are exuding the gospel in a tangible way!
Second, I want to turn toward my brother who has betrayed his wife in sexual sin. You are not alone.
Whether you are the one who has came forward or was caught, man, I feel so many things on your behalf. I too, have broken my wife’s heart, destroyed any trust that once stood, and am standing nakedly exposed in the counselor’s office right along with you. It is very uncomfortable, but I choose to own it. It takes courage to sit in the office with your wife. It is the breeding ground to be changed into be the man you and I long to be. I have learned so many helpful things and admit that while being vulnerable is hard, it is much harder to live in secret, never being known by my wife or myself. I am looking in the mirror and this is the most free I have been in thirty years. I want that for you. You are brave. You are worthy of healing. And if you are repentant, you are exuding the gospel in a tangible way.
So in the words of our counselor; let’s get to work.
Why did I commit adultery?
Why did I decide to engage in an emotional affair? As a believer in Christ, why did I spend eighteen months in secret, living a double life? These questions are valid and essential in taking the first step toward recovery. Without addressing the truth about what I did and why I did it, I will never be the man I want to be.
I want to be noble. I want to walk in the light. I want to know God’s mercy. I want to be a loving husband. I want to live a life above reproach. I want to raise my son as a man who handles his feelings in a healthy way. While I want to be many things, unless I acknowledge what is really happening in my heart, I will never be the man I want to be.
I want to feel powerful, but instead I feel impotent. I want to feel important, but I feel insignificant. I want to feel I am equipped to do what God has called me to be as a husband, but I feel incompetent. (Our counselor refers to these as “The Three I’s” and I will revisit them again and often.) All of these feelings are normal and how I deal with them matters.
I am committed to not passing the blame onto my wife for the affair.
There is nothing she did to deserve what I have done. She is worth all of the uncomfortable moments in that office and I am poised to listen to the advice our counselor gives us. I have decided that while I haven’t dealt with my feelings in a healthy way before, I want to try. And the first thing I did was write her a full disclosure letter - of my entire sexual history.
But before I share how that impacted our lives, I am going to let my girl share first.