Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Perspectives from the Rear-View Mirror

In both blogging and marriage, days quickly dissolve into weeks. Weeks, in turn, cascade into months. It all flies by and becomes this hectic blur of colors as you ask yourself "where did all of my time go?"  It's been awhile since we've actively updated this page, and I recently began soul-searching as to why this has been the case.  In the process, I've discovered some insights about our healing journey that I feel compelled to share with everyone who has faced the sting of infidelity as we have. Let me summarize it by saying this: I have some good news for you.

I've said it before and I will repeat it again -- marriages are measured in seasons. Every new phase of your life comes with its own themes, motifs, and obstacles. Where are you right now? How would you describe the season that your marriage is traveling through? For many couples who have dealt with the burden of an affair, much of this depends on how long it's been and how your initial recovery process went. The logistics of piecing your relationship back together, one shard at a time, are complicated. I fear that many people stagnate in this introductory path to recovery, stuck in bad habits and poor communication. Couples don't struggle with a lack of intention to stay together -- they struggle in figuring out how.

That brings me to the issue of why we haven't been as active here lately. We are in a new season. This February marks three years since my affair took place. Although it is still on our horizon, we are blessed with the distance that time provides. The era of our relationship now is utterly different -- the defining issue of our life is not my affair anymore.

Instead, we are increasingly facing the issues of our extremely busy schedule. Both Hannah and I are full-time college students. We are part-time youth pastors at a church. I teach music in the evenings and I have a day job too. Hannah is a stay-at-home mom and that, in itself, is enough to exhaust anyone but she is also a part-time nanny to a sweet little boy. Our battle is a grey one, where there is no bad guy or enemy at which we can redirect our efforts. We are facing the entropy of adult life and the moonshot of changing careers. It's a different kind of struggle entirely, and we are blessed to be facing it.

Now, please don't misunderstand me. The scars are still there. We aren't just "over it" now... There is no "over it" as far as I'm concerned, there is only the daily walk towards a better future. The pain still throbs and my infidelity still has a murky, ambient influence on our life altogether... but it doesn't define us. It may have defined one of our seasons, but it doesn't define our whole lives.

That's my good news to you. Whether you are on day 1 of the aftermath, or day 101, know this: the affair does not define you. It may define this season, but it will not define you. You are more than the sum total of your grievances. Trust me when I say that the image from the rear-view mirror looks very different.

It's our sincere desire to begin writing here again -- but the tone may change a bit. The outlook of our marriage is one where the infidelity looks different, because time and experience has molded our vantage point. So, we encourage you -- talk to us, share your stories, and help us share the one we've chronicled on our page. Ask us questions and give us suggestions. In marriage and in testifying about experiences, we are not done. We are just moving forward.

You are reading The Meaning of Repentance, a blog about The Hartsfields and their journey to recovery from infidelity. We encourage you to subscribe via e-mail for regular updates or follow us on Facebook!