4 Reasons I am Thankful for My Husbands Affair
A few weeks ago, Jason wrote a post titled 5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Cheated. Jason writes most the posts on thehookahaffair.com and I am typically behind the scenes researching and acting as a sounding board for his thoughts and ideas. But I have to admit that when he told me he was writing that post —
I was not happy.
But not for the reasons you may suspect.
You see, when he first explained the direction of that post, I thought he was trying to say that he wishes he could take it back or that he never had the affair. And while the affair was temporarily devastating to our marriage and family, it ended up becoming one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me and our marriage.
As I mentioned, I was devastated when I found out he had cheated on me. In fact, there were several days during that time that felt like it was the end of everything that was important to me. The fights, the crying, the loneliness and the subsequent hours and days of therapy were brutal.
So before I go any further, let me be clear:
I would never, ever say or do anything to minimize the pain caused by his infidelity or the pain you may be experiencing that was caused by a cheating spouse or some other circumstance.
What I am saying is that God was kind enough to not only heal our marriage but He continues to show me things through our broken marriage that I would never have seen had it not been for Jason’s affair.
Please note: It has been nearly four years since the affair, so it has taken a long time for me to understand many of the things I am about to share.
So, with that in mind,
Here are 4 reasons that I am thankful for the affair.
1) The affair created in me a greater intimacy with and trust of God:
I had significant trust issues before I was married so within a few days of catching Jason in the affair, I told God that I didn’t know if I could ever trust Jason again.
God immediately told me that while I couldn’t trust Jason, I could trust Him.
And part of trusting God meant that I had to let go of trying to manipulate and control my husband. I didn’t have control over him then and I don’t have control over him now.
So the affair created a humble and sometimes resentful dependence on God as I learned that I was powerless to change the situation on my own.
Now I find myself free of the burden of trying to control my marriage.
That means I not only had to stop but I was given permission to stop checking Jason’s phone and email. God is in control, not me.
God loves Jason just as much as He loves me so I had to trust that God would somehow turn my incredible pain into something beautiful.
Understanding our own inadequacies is key to experiencing real power because we have to acknowledge our dependence on God before His power can impact our lives.
2) It *invited me to deal with wounds from my childhood:
I had my last panic attack about a year before the affair. And it was pretty bad. During that time, I was begging, BEGGING God to heal me from my lifelong battle with an eating disorder, anxiety and (as I would find out later) significant distorted thinking and broken core beliefs.
Immediately after the affair, we (Jason and I) found ourselves in the offices of some amazing therapists.
It was there that I learned that I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that stemmed from my childhood. From there, I was able to experience two different types of therapy (CBT and EMDR) both of which were instrumental in how I began and continue to deal with and heal from my broken past.
That therapy along with a number of great books (i.e. Boundaries) and resources led to significant healing from lifelong addictions and destructive patterns. For example, today, I can say that I am well on my way to being free from my eating disorder that has haunted me my entire life.
The process of dealing with my childhood issues was very painful. But I can say, without a doubt, it was worth every tear.
*An important side note: I used the word “invited” here because I could have very easily chosen not to deal with my childhood issues. But I have learned that the problems we face will often manifest themselves differently in our lives until we choose to deal with the root of those problems.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
— Helen Keller
3) It revealed my purpose, made me more courageous and gave me my voice:
One of my first thoughts after the affair was “how am I going to support myself and the kids if I lose Jason?”. I was terrified. So, when I mentioned that fear to one of my therapists, she told me that every man and women should be able to support themselves financially.
That created a new problem.
Not only did I not have a career to speak of, I didn’t even have a high school diploma at the time.
So, through the affair, God revealed my purpose. I have now completed my high school education and am enrolled as a college student where I plan to pursue a career in counseling for trauma and addiction.
By voice, I mean that through therapy, I realized that I was a people-pleaser and couldn’t say no.
“Women aren’t supposed to have needs, they’re supposed to take care of others, not themselves.”.
Not only is that a lie that is rampant in many of our churches, it was also part of my own distorted thinking.
Today I am learning what my needs are and how to voice them. This doesn’t just apply to my marriage but also to my other relationships, professional and personal.
And I can confidently say that I have learned to say no.
4) It gave me empathy and compassion for other woman dealing with infidelity:
The desire and ability to provide empathy maybe the greatest gift of suffering.
I have learned that feeling isolated is one of the hardest parts of suffering. Feeling alone in your pain makes it so much harder to endure. And I often felt completely alone when I was hurting the most.
To have someone come along side me during that time and say “I know just how you feel because I have been there” would have been priceless!
As we have mentioned before, Jason and I rarely fought prior to the affair. So, when other women would talk to me about their marriage problems, I would often find that I was unable to relate to their pain.
So now, to be able to say to someone with integrity, “I know how you feel” or “I’ve been in your shoes” when they are hurting in an attempt to comfort them is a gift.
In fact, that is why we created www.thehookahaffair.com. This blog is our attempt to let you know that you are not alone in your pain.
The growth and healing I have experienced in these four areas have put my life and our marriage on a path that we would not have realized without the affair. Not only do Jason and I get to benefit from the work God has done and continues to do in and through our marriage but our children and generations to come will be impacted as well.
Now, I need to end with an important note.
Ultimately, the work that I have done was not exclusively about my marriage. No, the work I have done and will continue to do is about my own personal growth and journey. A healthy marriage is the result of both you and your spouse choosing to do the work necessary for healthy personal growth. Thankfully, Jason has also chosen to continue to grow as an individual so that our marriage can flourish.
A healthy marriage is a bi-product of two people choosing to get better.
So, while I pray that you and your spouse both choose to do the hard work that is necessary for a healthy marriage. I hope that you decide to get healthy regardless of what your spouse may or may not choose to do.