what I want you to know: forgiving and healing after a husband’s affair

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face.  (If you are new to this blog, regularly schedule programming will resume after the holidays, but you can check out the “Best Of” section in the meantime).  If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. This guest post is by an anonymous reader..Photobucket

 

I want you to know that my husband has been unfaithful. I wouldn't call it an "affair" because it wasn't ongoing, but I would call it three separate and isolated incidents of infidelity that occurred in the early years of our marriage, with three different women... I want you to know that he just confessed to this seven months ago. We have a small child and we've been married almost six years. We have had a good marriage, on the spectrum of marriages, except for I never trusted him. Now I know why.

I want you to know that nobody knows about this except for the three women who were involved (and only one of them knows that I know) and two other people. One of them (the one who knows that I know) was and is my best friend.

I want you to know that I forgave him right away. Mostly because he was repentant and probably also because it had happened so long ago. I want you to know how difficult it has been not telling anyone. While I still believe this is the right decision, at least for now, it has been difficult that my parents and my closest friends and family have no idea what has rocked me to my core and absolutely changed my life (for the better, if you can believe it).

I want you to know that if you know someone who is trudging through this right now, please be FOR her, but don't be AGAINST her spouse. Your friend may tell you things that she probably shouldn't, and she may give you too much detail, and she may call you when she's completely irrational and upset. The very next day she may want to take back everything she said because she really loves her husband and he's not a monster. Please be sensitive to the roller coaster. Do not join in when she bashes on her husband, just listen.

I want you to know that my husband is not a horrible person. He is a great dad, he is my best friend, he is successful and smart and funny and compassionate, and he loves me. He made some really bad decisions while intoxicated, that he has paid for. He has suffered the consequences and he would take back his actions if he could. Because of what they cost him, because of what they did to me, because of what they did to the other women, because of how they hurt the heart of God.

I want you to know that it's okay to forgive your husband if he's cheated on you. It's okay to stay with him, and it's okay to even love him again. It's okay to be intimate and even for a few days to unintentionally forget that anything ever happened. It's okay to move forward and repair and rebuild and renew your marriage. You don't have to leave. You can heal. You can be made whole and your marriage can be saved.

(I'm not saying this is the case with all husbands who've been unfaithful. Some just aren't repentant, some are not willing to stop, some are downright dangerous. I get that. Seek counseling if you need to, and seek divorce if that's necessary)

But what I want you to know, if you've been hurt by an unfaithful husband, whether you've left him or stayed with him, forgiven him or not, that the words of Isaiah 61 are true and proven in my life, and can be in yours too.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
   because the LORD has anointed me
   to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
   to proclaim freedom for the captives
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
   and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
   instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
   instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
   instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   a planting of the LORD
   for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
   and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
   that have been devastated for generations.

He does heal broken hearts. He does rebuild the ancient ruins of your heart. He does create beauty out of the ashes of your life. He is ENOUGH, and He is waiting for you to cry out to Him to be healed.

I want you to know that it has been a long process, and sometimes I have to re-forgive my husband, but I want you to know that the wound is healing up and closing. I would never want to be the person I was seven months ago, before I knew my husband had been unfaithful. I would have missed out on this better-than-life relationship with the Lord, that never could have happened otherwise. You don't need a Healer if you aren't wounded, right?


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