Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Chapter 16- Rediculous things I have done

I was so lost after learning of my wife's affair. The ground was pulled out from under me and I felt like I was thrashing about in the water looking for any safehold. At the same time, I lost all self esteem I ever had. Obviously, if she had an affair, I must be a terrible lover and have no sex appeal.

I wanted to feel better about myself. I wanted to feel sexy. In my mind, the way to do this was to be completely different from who I was, because who I was must not be sexy at all.

It seemed so very sane at the time.

I considered several activities and changes that would be out of character for me. A lurid affair of my own was considered and quickly rejected (see previous post). I thought of sky diving, but there was nowhere near my home that offered lessons and the cost was too great. I next thought of a tattoo. It would definitely be out of character, but it had a quality of permanance that, even in my haze of self-pity, I knew I would one day regret. I could dye my hair, but that was too abrupt an outward change for me.

So I made the logical choice and had my nipple pierced (God, I'm so embarrassed as I write this). It was outlandish, cheap, private, and reversible. Also pathetic, looking back, but it actually felt really good to live on the wild side.

Of course I couldn't show anyone. I was grounded enough to be embarrassed about it, and it would require explanations that I wasn't ready to give (remember, no one else knew what we were going through).

Anyway, I kept it for about a week. Then I took it out, everything grew back the way it was, no harm done.

Obviously, there were better ways I could have handled this. In hindsight, what I needed to do was to realize that my wife made a terrible decision that was not reflective of my merits as a husband or a lover. She didn't cheat because of who I was, and therefore it did not mean I was ugly or lousy in bed. I might be both, but that's not why affairs happened. Had I realized these things, I wouldn't have been so desparate to feel good about myself.

Actually, it is just this kind of desparation that leads some people to have affairs. For whatever reason, a person is desparate to feel special and loved, or simply gets caught up with the excitement of the moment, and they do something stupid and out of character. It took a nipple ring for me to get some insight into my wife's mind and make me realize how a good person could do such a foolish thing.

By the way, getting your nipple pierced hurts like a son of a bitch.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Chapter 15 - Spiritual Roller Coaster

I became a Christian at the age of 9. Young, yes, but it was real. Like everyone else, I have at times done much better than others in my spiritual journey. There have been times when I just felt closer to God than others, and that was always when I was doing a better job of spending time regularly in prayer and Bible study.

In the months before I learned about the affair, but when I realized my wife was thinking of leaving me, I was as close to God as I have ever been in my entire life. I needed Him and He sustained me during that time. In fact, I got to a critical point in my journey, which is the realization that if my marriage fails, I will be OK. If any other disaster strikes, I will be OK. If all I have left is God, that is enough.

But then I learned about the affair, and without realizing it I turned my back completely on God. I was pissed off. All those months of seeking Him and this is the thanks I get? Looking back, it was a lot of feelings that led to the distance. Part of me may have thought that it's the spouse who remains faithful who is the fool -- I was doing my job and keeping the faith while my wife was out having the time of her life, and then . . . .

after all that . . .

God is going to forgive her. She's going to get off scott free. It wasn't fair!

If I had remained close to God in the months after D-day, things would have gone alot better, and our recovery would probably not have been as long. I likely could have sooner reached a point of forgiveness. As it was, I did not even realize how far I had drifted for a couple of years. When I distanced myself from God, I lost sight of the fact that my value comes from being in Christ, and being with Him is the only place where I will always be accepted, where I will always be whole. When you lose sight of that, and you try to find your self-worth in your job or your marriage, then you don't know how to handle it when your job or your marriage fall apart.

Being distanced from God, forgiveness was next to impossible. I wanted justice! But in Him, I can remember that I have been forgiven so much, and I have no right to look down on any other person.

You would think that I would learn. When I take something out of God's hands and try to handle it myself, I muck it up. The recovery was no different. It was not until I remembered my place in Him and leaned on his power, not my own, that we made real progress.