Depression

From One Love to Another: Just Say NO to Smileys/Emojis!

In our most recent post I shared my list of boundaries and expectations for my husband in light of his affair, but forgot to mention one; No using smiley faces/emojis when texting/emailing other women. 

 What?!  

Yeah. No. Not allowed.

Sure, we have access to one another's devices at all times, but aren't able to get away from communicating with people altogether. Especially when it comes to being in the workforce. Therefore this one had to be discussed;

Is using a smiley face or emoji with the opposite sex cultivating grounds for secrecy and shame or love and safety in our marriage?

For us, it creates the former, so we are stearing clear from it entirely. This may feel extreme, because it is. But I cannot deny the truth;  I don't feel safe or cherished when my husband uses smiley faces or emojis with any other woman but me. 

Our culture celebrates being fun/flirty/kind with one another (myself included), but have we crossed the line by choosing the thrill of being flirty/friendly rather than creating safety and loyalty with our significant other? 

These are the kind of conversations we are having these days. We decided that individually we are too easily tempted to reach out for affirmation to/from others (especially in a difficult marital season) rather than going Jesus and one another in candid discussion.  

While this boundary has no power to change our heart, it provides a type of security for our marriage and healing.

Also, it just plain ol' feels good to invest in one another. 

 What says you? How do you feel about your spouse using  :) ;) 😏😉☺️😍😊😇 with the opposite sex via text or email? 

 

  

 

 

In the Counselor's Office - Part 5 - Boundaries and Expectations

When making your list of boundaries and expectations after adultery, anything goes.

Anything. Goes.

Those were the heralding words our counselor graciously gave me for our next homework assignment.

I sat down to write a list, and here’s what I came up with;

1. Cancel personal iPhone account. 
2. Access to all email addresses.
3. Delete all social media accounts.
4. No passcode on his work iPhone.
5. No using iPhone in the bathroom. Ever. 
6. Must call me back within 5 minutes. (If he didn’t answer)
7. No cash withdrawals. Debit only. (For tracking purposes)
8. Access to any and all emails/texts between him and the other woman.   (Retrieve any deleted data)
9. No calling/texting females. (My friends, coworkers and the like)
10. I can ask any and all details of the affair as much and as often as   I choose.
11. Must tell me _anytime_ he has to communicate with a female coworker. 
12. Weekly counseling.

This list would serve to protect my heart, help to rebuild trust, reduce the amount of triggers (to a certain degree), and walk in the light.

What scared me the most was knowing that the list had zero power to change his heart. 

I would have to "trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding". (Proverbs 3:5)

And I also couldn’t help but wonder… 

Would he comply? 

After hearing the disclosure letter this is what I needed in order to take the steps toward healing. No matter how scared I felt about seeing his reaction to it, this had to happen. I’ll let him share with you how it felt to lose all privacy and what it would mean for our future…

Walking in the light in marriage is a must for real intimacy to take place (we learned that the hard way). What are some boundaries and expectations you have in place (or plan to have in place when you are married someday) with your spouse? Is there anything you would have added to this list?

In the Counselor's Office - Part 4 - Writing the Full Disclosure

Burris shares what it was like to write his full disclosure letter:

“Randy, this week I would like you to write out your entire sexual history from as far back as you can remember. When you come in with your wife next week, I will ask that you read it aloud to us and we will discuss what comes next. The more truthful you are with yourself and us, the better.”

I felt overwhelmed because I knew I had an extensive sexual history.

I felt skeptical about writing it, wondering if it would even help. But I was convinced I had nothing to lose, so on that fourth day I came home from work and plopped down on the couch to get busy writing. 

When I first began to write, the history poured out onto the computer screen quite easily. But something happened when I came to a particularly bad season in my life where I gained a ton of sexual knowledge. It started around the time I was nineteen years old and I couldn’t help but wonder, had those explorative years not happened, what might have I been spared?

I felt guilty for giving away all of my sexual curiosity when I could have saved it for my wife. Something I hadn’t thought about before.

Because I work full time, and wanted a chance to really sit and ponder every detail of my history, the letter took me three days to write. I felt thankful once I finished because I had this sense of being at rock bottom and hoped for a chance to start over. Of course, that feeling changed the day I was scheduled to read it aloud in the counselor’s office. 

As I sat down in the chair I felt scared as I began to read the letter aloud.

I was nervous, wondering if I was going to get an opportunity to make things right with my wife. In one aspect I reasoned that losing my marriage might be an easy out. But I couldn’t shake that losing her would not be easy because my wife and kids make up so much of who I am; losing them would mean losing half of myself. 

Despite the tears of sadness, shame, guilt and inferiority, I finished reading the letter. I glanced to see the look on my wife’s face, instinctively wanting to distance myself from the pain I caused. Instead, I leaned into the truth of who I really was. 

I hadn’t done that before.

It seems that in this moment (and possibly at the cost of my marriage) I was freed from living an exhausting double life. Everything was out in the open. Although this pain was not going to rewrite my history, it was going to drive me to repentance, and give me the choice to walk in the light of truth from here on forward. Now the scary question; would my wife decide to stay married to me? Could she ever forgive me for betraying her so badly? 

Could anyone possibly love me after knowing everything I had locked away?

The counselor turned to my wife, and declared;

“You have the right to know everything your husband is doing. The ball is in your court and I would like you to come up with a list of boundaries and expectations for your husband that will help you feel safe. Anything goes. Here is a list of ideas and you can add anything you want.” 

As we walked out the office that day with a homework assignment out of my control, I had this sense that walking in the light from here on forward was about to test me in ways I never knew possible.

And this is where I step back and let her share the list she came up with. 

”But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)



Grief in the Discovery - Part 5 - Depression

I arrived home and saw my husband’s face for the first time in two weeks. If you will allow me to be honest, it was not a favored moment in the history of our marriage. Sure, while I was away I had plenty of time (for me) to mentally grasp the idea that things would never be the same. To actually see his face and feel that truth was an uncomfortable experience. It was almost like blind date awkwardness; I wonder what this guy will look like or how he will act? Well, he looked awful and we were both feeling nervous about where to start.

As I stated in the previous blog post, acceptance doesn’t mean I love our story, but it freed me to face it head on. Now that I was home and had help with kid duties, acceptance wasn’t the only thing freeing me to face our mess. Now there was tangible free time to sit and reflect on what happened.

Enter, depression.

When the reality sets in that tragedy has occurred it is a natural response for depression to take over.

This kind of grief enters on a much deeper level emotionally and feels like it will never go away. I began to withdraw from anything that would bring laughter or happiness to the home. The heaviness of (what feels like) infinite sadness clouds every decision and I was choosing to sit in my room all day long. I couldn’t even pretend that I wasn’t depressed, so instead I embraced it. And I embraced it hard.

By the grace of God I was halfway through pregnancy with my third child, so “embraced it hard” means that I sat in the sadness and allowed myself to feel hopeless without self-guilt. This was incredibly hard for me because I had never dealt with any trauma in a healthy way before. I had only known self-medicating through substance abuse (drinking, smoking, drugs), over eating/not eating, or my medication of choice; pretending nothing ever happened. Pregnancy at this time was a (scary) gift because it forced me to face the demon of adultery and kiss it on the lips.

Depression in the discovery, without a crutch or coping mechanism, freed me to be out of control.

Knowledge that I was not in control, actually put control back into the hands my Rightful Owner; God Himself. This truth gave me permission to feel whatever hit me in the moment and not hold back. It was the first time I ever felt that God was not fickle. He could handle me, He could handle this mess, and He could be trusted to hold me with His might no matter what I did.

And boy, that supernatural trust in the bigness of God allowed me to start the grief cycle all over again; and in my deepest depression yet, I was going to do business with Him and my husband.