Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.
— Lewis B. Smedes
When I look at my husband’s infidelity and try to evaluate why and how it happened, sometimes it doesn’t surprise me. I mean on the outside everything was happy and perfect. But that was somewhat of a facade. We were happy and involved. We have friends we enjoy spending time with. We enjoy spending time together alone. We are both involved in our children’s lives–coaching, volunteering in their classrooms and whatever they ask. We went on vacations and spent time with our families. We did love our life.
So why doesn’t it surprise me? Because we weren’t making time for our marriage and making sure our love was safe. Our sex life was dwindling. There were times when we only made love once a month. We both not only wanted and desired more intimacy but were afraid to communicate those needs. WHY? HOW did we get there? We are very comfortable together in bed and communication has never been an issue. I noticed he was changing in bed…. his erections weren’t as firm and a few times he would lose it before the fun began. I knew it was natural and part of aging (he’s in his mid-40s)…. but I thought if he didn’t want to talk about it then I shouldn’t force the issue. But then we were both avoiding the issue. Pretending intimacy was not a integral part of marriage. The facade began to build….
And the more we ignored the issue the more we ignored other emotions. I don’t blame myself for his decisions and choices. I blame myself for not speaking aloud the thoughts in my brain. I thought we needed to see a sex therapist but never said it. I thought he seemed to be pushing me further away in bed but ignored it. I thought he seemed upset about something–something unrelated to me–and I ignored it.
I guess, I thought marriage was easy. I think I actually said that a few times. I thought if you truly love someone and he loves you–then nothing could ever challenge that love. The truth is we are all human. We all have weaknesses, self-doubts and insecurities. And if someone is looking to capitalize off our insecurities and self-destruct, they will.
Marriage is sacred. It may not be perfect or protect you from pain and suffering. But a husband and wife need to protect the marriage. Put the marriage above the menutia in life. For better or worse–those are the vows. When you say them you never can imagine what worse will mean to your marriage. You can only envision happiness and purity. This is my worse… my worst fear, the worst thing he could have done to me & our marriage, the worst pain. I will take the memory of this infidelity and make myself and our marriage stronger. We will grow from this and become better more fulfilled people.
In an effort to strengthen our marriage and heal we are dating again. We are talking about our insecurities and desires. We are making love… multiple times a day. And the sex has never been better. [Don’t worry, we’ve been tested for STDs and are practicing safe sex.] We take time for each other first–before the children, work, everything. Our love is actually stronger right now than it has ever been. I am not afraid to reveal my pain and fear, and neither is he. I may never forget his affair but I am on a path to forgiveness.