Wife

Support Group

When our counselor told me that his wife ran a bi-weekly support group for women dealing with sexual betrayal, I cringed. I have only had a handful of close female friends to begin with, and the idea of sitting in a circle with a bunch of crying women sharing their story sounded like a special torture that I wasn’t game for.

So I signed up.

I needed to see that I was not alone.

On one hand I was relieved to get around this group of ladies for the sheer fact that they might understand how shunned I was feeling. As Christians, they too, were not only navigating pain at home, but enduring the embarrassment of sharing with the church (another post for another day).  On the other hand, I wasn’t as privy with the feelings wheel that I raved about last week, and its scary to wade through them with others watching.

Being vulnerable is hard.

These five women, whom I continue see every other week, have shown a side of bravery that I had not witnessed first hand prior to all this mess. They are easily a few of the most fantastic women I have ever met. My preconceived ideas of women sitting around in a circle crying, was a horrible assessment of them, therefore I repent. All have a different story, but all have in common the agony that deception carries, and while we do tend to sit in a circle, crying is only one expression of emotion, but being vulnerable is center stage.  

A safe place to grieve is nourishment to the soul.

I still haven’t cried in front of them (its coming, I know it), but I would not be as far along in the recovery process without them. In addition to meeting in person, we exchange email, group text, and they are always a phone call away. The group thrives because its heavy on encouragement and validation, slow to judgement. The group brings about healing in a kindness that feels like balm to an open wound. Jesus resides in that place, a safe haven, when much of the time in-between the visits is spent in denial of pain, self loathing, what ifs, and the like.

What does this support group look like?


"She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened." Mark 16:10

If you are in need of a support group, please fill out the contact form on my page and I can help get you connected. 

You are not alone.


In The Counselor's Office - Part 6 - My Husband's Reaction

I began to well up with regret as I put down the list of boundaries and expectations. The consequences for my actions were not something I wanted to do.

“How could she be so strict”, I thought to myself.

I am not the kind of guy who likes rules and boundaries, but despite my irritation and frustration with my wife as she laid them before me, I knew I had no other option. This was not her fault.

Abusing my freedom to betray her, was most definitely my fault.

I wasn’t even sure that I could live up to these newly enforced standards, but worse than the doubt, was the anger I felt.

Everything was being stripped from me! She cut off my personal phone line and it felt like a limb was being torn from my body. All of my social media accounts were deleted, contacts were lost, and I now had zero privacy in my marriage. Surely she was on a mission to punish me and get her revenge! 

It only got worse.

I sat there listening to her read the phone records aloud, each one revealing all the minutes I had spoken to the other woman in totality (24,615 to be exact). Everything that I was hiding was being dragged into the light, and the “casual conversations” I told myself I was having, proved to be much more severe than I realized. 

Here she stood, exposing me for the man I was. 

Those beginning days after receiving the list were intensely hard for me.

She kept my phone and restored many texts and emails that I am ashamed of. It wasn’t pretty.

But there was also this other part of me that felt, hope. As nervous as I was about her having access to everything, I knew that safety laid in the boundaries. I sensed that true freedom would be had by being completely open and honest with her from here on forward. I wanted that opportunity, and she deserved that from me.

Looking back, I can see how enslaved I was to the things that were being taken away from me.

I was addicted to social media and addicted to privacy in my marriage (social media is not bad in and of itself). These boundaries exposed so much hurt within me, and today I am thankful I get to address it. 

Who knows how long these “rules” may be enforced, but as someone who has had a taste of what our marriage could be like someday, I’d be fine having them in place for the rest of our lives. 

”they are no longer two but one flesh.” (Mark 10:8)




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 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)



The Disclaimer

Over the next few weeks/months I am going to share stories about grief and the ways that Jesus has walked with us in this dark season.

Before I begin the series, however, there is some groundwork to be laid. Listed below are some things that I need to make clear before getting into any details about my marriage:

  1. I am not a licensed physician. I am simply a person who has experienced betrayal in my marriage. My husband and I have been attending regular counseling by a licensed therapist and we have learned a LOT from it. I also attend a support group for wives every other week. I do not claim to have all the answers nor can I diagnose what is going on with others. This is simply our story and the tips that may be referenced in the blog are what we have been doing/been asked to do by the doctor we hired. 
  2. Adultery is NO JOKE. Those who know me (#hashtagqueen) are aware that I have a brilliant sense of humor. It’s a gift (For those who don’t know me, that was a joke). The truth is, adultery is not funny. If you already know or just found out that your spouse has been unfaithful (porn, physical affairs, emotional affairs, addictive flirting patterns and the like) then you are most likely hurting. A kind of hurt and pain that is WARRANTED. It’s not funny. And I am so sorry it has happened to you.
  3. I respect my husband on social media. My husband will be guest blogging from time to time to share what his grieving process looks like as the one who has done the betraying. Grieving is still grieving…and as I have said over and over again…PEOPLE MATTER. My husband will receive plenty of disrespect from me. But in private. Just like the rest of us get to do with our spouse. He is a person. And we protect people we love. Especially on social media. No one likes a person who throws their spouse under the bus on FaceBook. Just sayin.
  4. The stories that we will share start from a foundation of confession/repentance. I have received a full disclosure letter from my husband. That means he sat down and wrote out his entire sexual history as far back as he could remember and all the way through the adultery. And then he read it to me. And then I got to (and still get to) ask as many questions as I want, whenever I want. It’s important that you know the stories we share come from real vulnerability. (See how heavy this really is?)
  1. My husband and I are Christians. If you are not a believer, these stories could still be helpful in your journey. I will refer to the bible often and maybe you will get to know Jesus in ways you never have. It is my hope that you will. If you are a believer, then this blog could get messier than you are willing to get. I pray that you would not only be comforted by God in the mess of life, but that you would know how unafraid he is of your sin. In fact, its your sin that made it absolutely necessary for Jesus to come and pay for your salvation. You can be as open in life as you choose. Christians are saints who sin. You are made righteous only by what God has done for you in Christ. The pressure is off and you are able to talk about both the good and bad deeds in your life. (Good news, right?)

My Prayer...

Lord, give me wisdom and humility to know when I do cross the line on this blog. Lord, thank you for being such a comfort to people who are hurting. You get all the glory in our marriage and I hope that many people have the courage to face their messy marriage in order to know you better. May many come to know the perfect goodness that you are. In Jesus name, amen.

The Death & Resurrection of my Marriage

The grieving cycle has 5 stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. One may move through each phase methodically. Another may have all stages at one time. When people are hurt…grief is a serious gray area. The gray area is dark and in need of serious grace.

Why serious grace?

Because no one knows how they will react when the bottom falls out. When our worst fear comes true. We have our ideas and judgments, and maybe even quick to say out them out loud…but when that moment arrives?

It’s been 7 months since I caught my husband committing adultery with a past co-worker. 6.5 months since I found out that it had been going on for nearly 18 months.

As I stared at the dead body that was my marriage, the waves of grief crashed into my soul in ways I didn’t know possible. I was now awake. And feeling EVERYTHING. My marriage died. And I was in shock.

But this crazy thing happened.

Our dead body of a marriage…The one that the True Coroner officially declared dead…began to breathe.

I saw it with my own eyes. The breathing was shallow but undeniable. My marriage was going to live and I was going to witness a miracle.

As a Christian that’s the foundation of faith; resurrection. I believe that God sent His Son to the earth, lived a perfectly sinless life, died, and rose from the dead three days later and is alive and well today. And because of that event, history was and never will be the same.

So it will be for my marriage.

Today with over 30 weeks of counseling in the books, countless conversations of confession/repentance, and a ton of courage, I want to share the amazing freedom we have as believers to grieve. Raw, unaltered, scandalous grief. Once a week I will sit down and share how Christ has walked with us through some very dark valleys. Dark valleys that may not be fashionable on social media.

But oh! To taste freedom and invite others to be messy. That is where real love happens. I’m taking off my mask and over the next few weeks (or months!) sharing with you our grief. In all its glory. If you dare to lay aside judgment and go for a messy ride, maybe, just maybe…we can all grieve together.