Friday, April 11, 2014

I’m Going to Fight.

Note: This is my first official post on The Meaning of Repentance. Beware: I am not a writer like my husband. So bear with me! - Hannah


On February 27th, of 2012, my life changed forever. My husband and I had been experiencing some turbulence in our marriage and I knew that something big was about to shake the foundation of our relationship. I had no idea that it would be this major of an issue. My husband came home on the night of the 27th and confessed to an affair with a coworker. Never in a million years did I expect for this to happen. But there we were, dealing with the aftermath of this heartbreaking tragedy. So what did we do? How did we survive?


I could share all the details of what happened, how it happened, and how I responded but I don’t think that it would be helpful. What I do want to share is a very real concept that could save your marriage... if you choose to embrace it.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of dealing with infidelity in your relationship, whether you’re the transgressor or the victim, you need to decide right here and now that you are going to fight with each other to save your marriage. My husband has blogged about this idea in the past, but I wanted to write about it from my perspective as well. The idea is simple: 

I'm going to fight.

Both husband and wife need to decide that they are going to put everything they have into fighting for their marriage. This may mean that other things get put on the back burner for a while. Ray and I put everything on hold for the first few months of the healing process. We worked and took care of our family, that was it. Our hobbies, friends, church activities, etc., all became last on the priority list. Our focus was survival

Very early on, I made a decision that I wasn’t going to wallow in the victim mentality. After experiencing this kind of betrayal, it is natural to want to crawl under the covers and never face the light of day again.  That can’t happen. Not if you want to survive this. Not if you want to defeat this very real threat that could rip your marriage and your family apart. I chose to fight with my husband to salvage our relationship.

For me, this was only possible through the power and strength of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is my ROCK and without Him, I would not have been able to carry this burden. I know that not all of our readers are Christians, and that’s ok! We don’t ever want this blog to become a platform for preaching at people. But in the spirit of transparency, I can’t tell my story without mentioning Jesus. 

Only by the grace of God are we still fighting this battle together. It will be so easy to turn against your spouse throughout this journey. As the victim, you’ll want to attack the person that has broken your heart. As the adulterer, you’ll want to fight back and defend yourself against those attacks. Neither can happen if you want to make it out alive. Fighting against each other will kill your marriage. Fight together.

Take a few minutes to watch this video: Cheater. *Disclaimer* This video may be hard to watch, but it contains a valuable perspective on this issue. Resolve to fight for your spouse and for the future of your marriage, because it is a battle worth waging.

(New to The Meaning of Repentance? Click here for an introduction and visit our About section for more info on the Hartsfields.)

11 comments:

  1. How do you fight? How do I not feel victimized when the betrayal is a consuming force every minute of every day?

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  2. For the victim, fighting can mean simply not giving up. Choosing to stay even when you have every reason in the world to walk away. One of the hardest parts about recovering from infidelity is that, as the victim, there really isn't a lot you can do. So much of the burden rests on the one who violated the marriage vows. The one that has done the cheating has to fight too. They have to work 10 times harder than before to rebuild the foundation of your marriage.

    Making yourself vulnerable to the person that has already broken your heart can be almost too much to bear. That was the hardest part for me in the beginning. Staying meant opening myself up for more hurt and betrayal from a person that has proven they can't be trusted.

    Practical things that you can do: Pray, confide if a friend, go to counseling or meet with a Pastor, find a good church. As a Christian, so much of my practical advice is going to revolve around Biblical principles. That's why Ray and I very rarely give specific advice. We never want to sound preachy or push people away with religion. But like I said, I can't tell my story without mentioning Jesus. I honestly don't think I would have made it through the recovery process without my faith in God's ability to restore all things.

    I hope this helps! Don't hesitate to ask more questions. We are willing to help in any way that we can!

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    1. Thank you so much. You don't sound preachy at all and I appreciate this blog and your advice more than I am able to express. I am a Christian and don't think I could continue to function if I couldn't pray. How do you get over the feelings of inadequacy? I feel like I will never be thin enough, pretty enough and I am always getting older, not younger. This is so hard to really open up to him again.

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    2. I also struggle with these feelings as I try to move on from the heartbreak of my husband's infidelity. Even writing the words "husband" and "infidelity" in the same sentence is painful. But one thing I cling to when the thoughts of my own inadequacies threaten to overwhelm me is the knowledge that his actions are not about me. They were HIS actions and point back to HIM. No matter what he says or who he blames, only he can be responsible for his decisions. Which means I am responsible for mine. And no one deserves this kind of hurt. I am special; you are special. Hugs and healing to you.

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  3. What if the offending person doesn't want to talk about what happened when questionable things come up? He says it's in his past but for the one offended it is very much present and even future because it is so hard to trust that person again. To me part of the healing and rebuilding process is being able to talk about it when doubts arise.

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    1. I absolutely agree with you. 100%. The offender *must* be willing to talk about the issue. It is my opinion that healing must happen on the offended's terms. For the person that did the cheating, it can be hard to talk about what happened because it takes humility to discuss your mistakes over and over.

      For us -- Ray had to come to understand that my wanting to talk about things over and over wasn't my twisted way of making him miserable or me trying to punish him. Once he realized that talking about it was actually bringing me healing, he was much more willing to discuss things more openly.

      If you haven't already, try explaining why you need to talk about things to him. It's not about living in the past. It's about coming to terms with a traumatic event and learning to live with it as you move forward. If the issue gets swept under the rug because "it's in the past" then you won't be able to really move past it.

      It could be that your guy feels like he's trying to protect you by not talking about it anymore. Ray thought that talking about the details and rehashing things would just torment me... and to some extent, it did. But hearing the details helped me come to terms with what happened so that I could move past things.

      Hopefully your guy will see things through your eyes and understand that, in order for trust to be rebuilt, he has to be an open book at all times for you.

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  4. I just stumbled on your blog tonight through a comment from Relevantmagazine.com I believe (?-I saved it as a bookmark way earlier today & just finally got around to reading some of it). I've only read 2 posts so far, but just wanted to say how awesome and inspiring I think you guys are for sharing this. And honestly, I just wanted to say that I love the way you write (& your husband writes). It's very easy to read and understand; and yet, still really passionate and creative. haha. Yeah, enough. But seriously, after reading that it's your first post and how you think your husband is probably much better, I just had to commend you on your writing style because I genuinely loved it and finding out it was your 1st time, had to share that fact. :) Please keep sharing and being vulnerable. God's strength is made perfect in our weakness as you know and His strength is mighty through you guys. Thank you for your willingness and bravery to let Him use the hard times in your lives to be an inspiration to others. :) I'll be back when I have more time as I made sure I "pinned" your site just in case. ;)

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    1. Thank you so so much! I think Jesus knew that I needed encouragement this morning. I am just now reading your post this morning and I've also had several encouraging texts from friends about my newest post. It really means more than you know! Thanks for reading!

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  5. My husband has a emotional affair Who knew it would of went to physical if I didnt find out when I did. He said it was over and he had no contact with her for over a year and we would doing great 40 years of marriage and then I read a text on his phone from her and talk to him about it said he find her number on a paper
    in his work truck so he text her to see how she was doing. He cant seem to understand why I am so hurt about it and I asked do you want her in your life it wont be both and he said No I want you and we will work this out. My trust and my feelings are killing me inside and I having a hard time letting this go I truly love him but my heart is hurt and I pray on this evryday for the both of us.

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  6. Hannah - thank you for your blog. Quick question. It says your husband came home and confessed. Do you feel it would be different if you caught him and he lied repeatedly instead? That's my situation and there were multiple affairs.

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    1. Honestly... I do think it would have been different. I've often said that things unfolded in the.. best possible way. That sounds weird, I know. But for me to get through this and trust Ray again, I needed things to come out the way that they did.

      I don't know if I could have stayed had he been "caught". I say that... but I also said I would NEVERRRRR stay with a man that cheated. Period. That was the ultimate deal breaker. But here I am... do exactly what I said I'd never do. I think you don't really know what you're capable of overcoming until you have to.

      What makes reconciliation ultimately possible is a repentant heart. If your husband is simply sorry he got caught, then working past this will be virtually impossible.

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