Interview: Healing and Restoration After Adultery ~ Part Two

Yesterday we shared part one of an interview with a couple whose marriage suffered infidelity. Today they share further about the struggle in that and their journey toward healing.

CN: How did you identify the problems in your own marriage and address them?

DH: We had help. We were counseled by a couple who had problems in their own marriage. they also seem to be particularly gifted in counseling and have helped many couples. They were able to identify areas in which we were undermining transparency in our relationship. One major area was that I had a history of being a controller and DW had a history of being a pleaser. The controller believes every thing is fine as long as they get their way. The pleaser is fearful of speaking their mind. That particular dance does not lend itself well to real intimacy.

CN: What is important for the husband and wife to do in order to for healing to come to the marriage. I’d like to hear from both of you what you required of yourselves and of your spouse.

DH: Two things come to mind for me.

  • I needed to recognize that DW could be doing the best possible job at loving me and affirming me but that still was NOT able to bring me the healing I needed. Only GOD could do that. It was when I really began crying out to him for healing that healing came to me. This is one of those things where “all things work together for good”. I love my relationship with the Lord and would not go back six years in time for anything!
  • Honesty . I require honesty of myself and expect honesty from DW. Honesty can hurt. However,it’s only when things are out in the open that they can be dealt with and healing can come. Things that remain a secret are deadly.

DW: The hardest thing for me was to forgive myself. I cried a lot. Just when I thought I had recovered, something would set me off and I would cry again. It was worse when I would listen to DH as he struggled and asked hard questions. There were times when I kept things from him because it seemed as if it just increased the pain and I wanted to spare him. That only made it worse. It is tempting to fall back into the “pleaser” role to make things seem better but in the long haul, it is better to be real. I had a lot of help from others in this area, especially from our very compassionate and merciful church, but it took a very long time to really forgive myself.

DH: We both felt it was important to start building NEW, POSITIVE memories together. We did not want the old marriage back. We wanted a BETTER one. For example,soon after our reconciliation DW bought tickets for us to see a Christian comedy show together with our kids. It was wonderful to laugh together. I’m glad she had that insight. Another example is DW had wanted to learn ballroom dancing together for years. I didn’t want to and dragged my feet every time it was suggested. The affair was a wake up call for me in that department. I quickly scheduled dance lessons for us at our “adult education” classes run by our local school district. We had such a good time with that and I wonder why in the world I had reservations about it for such a long time. We both love to dance together. Sometimes I think I love it even more than she does! LOL!

DW: In the sexual department we took it slow on the advice of our counselors. That turned out to be wise advice.

DH: Yes. The sex was emotionally painful at first. For me,particularly after the sex was over. You know, the after effects? What should have been an “after-glow” was just a “trigger” for more pain. Just knowing from our counselors that there was no need to rush the sexual healing, gave us enough space to allow the Lord to bring us together in his way.

DW: I think the only thing I required from my husband was that he accept my answers to his questions. He told me he wanted honesty, but there were times he tried to argue with me once I answered him. My initial reaction was to not want to answer at all.

DH: Yes. I needed to learn to respect her thoughts and feelings. Love does not mean that we agree with each other on everything. “Boundaries in Marriage” was a helpful book for me in this area.

DW:On a practical side, it was also important to me to return all the gifts from the other man. I didn’t just throw them out. I wanted him to know that I know longer wanted them. I also wrote a letter of apology to his wife. I felt the need to ask forgiveness of all the people involved.

CN: What is the condition of your marriage now and what was the road like getting here?

DH: I’m very happy with my marriage. I let my wife be the judge of how good it is. I think that only our partner is qualified to say how good it is. We’ve been married over 30 years. We’ve had ups and downs. We both felt like we were relatively happy for the 1st 24 years. We both feel that it’s far better now. Speaking for myself, the road to recovery from DW’s affair has been very difficult for me. I don’t think it’s been a piece of cake for DW either. I’m sure that living with my woundedness, anger, grieving, brokenness and questions have NOT been easy for her. I do think that in the long run it’s helped us to know each other better.

DW:  I love my husband and my new marriage. The affair was a Romans 8:28 for us.  It worked out that our relationship is much better, more open and real than it ever was before. I would say the road is long but it gets easier the farther one travels down it. On my end, even as I write about it , it is as if I am outside, looking in on another person and events.

CN: Describe your relationship today.
DH: We were just discussing this recently. We are BEST friends! We love each other more than ever.
DW: We have just become empty nester’s ( almost, our youngest is in college) and I told my husband that I enjoy being alone with him. On that note, I have to add that even the sex is the best it has ever been for me and I know my husband likes the fact that there is more of it.  I did not think that would happen and it is a wonderful blessing.  We continue to grow.
DH: Yeah, there’s more sex, which is great, but even better is the fact that my wife is truly engaged with me. It’s not obligatory sex. She loves it / loves me and I love to please her. It’s an extension of the rest of our lives together. We’re always looking out for the interests of the other. We see so many marriages that struggle with infidelity. We want folks to know that God is able to “restore the years the locust has eaten”. If you are struggling with this, your marriage can be better than it’s ever been before. There is hope.

CN: What resources did you find helpful in your journey to healing and restoration?

DW & DH: We both agree that there are probably no set formulas to follow. Each situation has it’s own personalities and problems. That being a given, here’s what was most helpful to us:
We took advantage of any marriage retreat, seminar or video teaching for the 1st 2 or 3 years after reconciliation. We took advantage of a lot of resources (Harley, Rainey, Smalley, etc.etc.) Our new Church was really helpful that way and has a strong marriage ministry. The church we had been attending during the affair did not handle things well and did not have much emphasis on marriage. It may be helpful to find a church that can be supportive if your church is not. We went to marriage counseling. The 1st counselor was not so good and quite expensive ( about $100 per hr ). The second counselors were a husband/wife team who did more for us in 2 hours ( for FREE! ) than half a dozen sessions with the first counselor. It’s OK to shop around and find a good fit. A good counselor will be able to spot dysfunction in the marriage and help find a healthier way to relate to each other.
Books that were helpful to us:

  • We both read “The five languages of Love” by Gary Chapman
  • We both read ” boundaries in Marriage” By Cloud and Townsend
  • DW : “Every Woman’s battle” by Shannon Ethridge
  • DH : “Passionate Marriage” by David Schnarch ( this was especially helpful in DH’s healing )

I know that many people will be blessed to hear your story. Thanks again so much for your willingness to be open and transparent with us.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing. My husband just admitted an ongoing affair he was in and just repented. He had told me he loved this other woman but changed it all up today and said after prayer- that he loves me and realizes this woman was an infatuation. Our situation is similar- I have control and self esteem issues. At the moment I have been on my knees asking for healing, I am,at present, disgusted at the thought of him even touching me due to what he did, but I love him and want to get past this. We are scheduled to go to a marriage weekend Nov 6 and currently he is working out of town so all our communication has been over the phone. I am praying that there will be healing. Sex is a very important part of his life but I am just grossed out at the moment. I want to believe him and I know only God can take care of this.

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