Cassandra: “I found out recently that my husband of 15 years was having an emotional affair. I am not sure if it was also physical. Now that it has been exposed, everything has stopped and we are in the process of restoring our marriage. However, I can’t seem to get the questions and thoughts out of my mind. I pray and seek guidance from the scriptures, but ever so often I get depressed and I want to dwell on what happened or what might have happened. It is difficult. Will I ever get over this?”
The Voice for Love: “Precious One, it is completely understandable and natural that you would dwell on this unfaithfulness and worry and fret over what did or did not happen. Please do not judge yourself so harshly for this, nor expect more from yourself than you can, at this moment, give. You are hurt, you were betrayed, and you are left with confusion and many questions. You are putting upon yourself a burden of understanding and lovingkindness toward your husband that you do not in truth feel, and so it weighs upon you.
“You must acknowledge your hurt and feel your feelings in this matter. For to repress or ignore or deny them does not make them disappear; it simply pushes them to the back of the closet. They are still there, and will only grow if ignored. Please take the time to acknowledge and feel these feelings, as painful a prospect as this may be. It is no different than if you had fallen down the stairs and twisted your ankle; would you then ignore your injury? Or would you sit down, prop your foot upon a pillow, apply an ice pack, and wait for the swelling to go down? To try to continue walking upon that foot without tending to the injury would only make the injury worse and perhaps cause permanent damage. You must tend to your injury if you expect to be able to go on with your husband in health and healing.
“He cannot do this for you. Your healing will come from your connection with God, not your connection with your husband. For the trust you gave your husband has been broken and tarnished. Forgiveness of your husband is, of course, necessary for complete reconciliation to occur. Yet before forgiveness can be attained, you must be true to yourself, the extent of your injury, and tend to your broken heart. That depression you feel is your indicator that you have anger and hurt that are yet unhealed and unacknowledged. Your anger is not wrong, dear one– it is a gift. For it shows you where you stand and what is important to you and what matters most to your heart. Do not push yourself to forgive what you are not ready to forgive.
“Ask God what you need to move forward. A period of couples-counseling may be in order, and even counseling for yourself. It would not be untoward of you to ask for this. You will need support to restore your marriage. You will need to understand and set boundaries going forward. Your husband has put himself in a place to have to prove his trustworthiness to you. This will be a process that will strengthen him and serve him, so do not take it away from him with false forgiveness. When you forgive (and you will), it will be from a more healed place than you have yet arrived.
“This experience has been as a storm that has rolled through your marriage and left damage in its wake. This damage can be repaired, one step at a time. You need not punish your husband nor hate him. But rebuilding is a process. Focus on your healing first, and your healing as a couple second, for the one cannot happen without the other. It is not your job to heal your husband; that is his work to do. Get support and get help, and allow yourself the time and grace to grieve what you have lost.”