Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It has been nearly 10 years now since I discovered my wife's affair, which she ended immediately. I've tried to be an ambassador for hope and what God can do in the direst of circumstances. I remain glad that we decided not to divorce after the affair, and that God helped us follow through on that commitment.

Honestly, though, sometimes I think it would have been easier if we had not stayed together. Not better, mind you, but easier. The affair still rears its ugly head on occasion. I still, after this much time, bear the scars. I have friends who split up after an affair and moved on to new marriages. I'm not saying that the affairs were not tough on them, but I have a feeling that it may be easier for those guys to put it behind them, as much as is possible. When both parties choose to salvage the marriage, the affair just doesn't go away. Something triggers a memory. A minor slight has greater significance. No matter how much time has passed, you know she has done it once and could do it again. Of course, anyone is capable of cheating, but going through it once provides irrefutable proof.

I don't know -- recent spats that ought to be forgotten as quickly as they come up seem to have bothered me more than they should. I still struggle with insecurity, with trust, with daily forgiveness. At the moment, I am a little depressed that a ten-year-old affair is still such a part of our lives. It is only a small fraction of what it once was, but still there nonetheless.

I just have to remind myself that I made a commitment -- not only when we first married, but again when we decided to stick together after the affair. It was the right decision for us, and I'm glad we made it. Of course it's hard -- marriage is hard, period, even without contending with an affair. If I thought that surviving an affair would bring us so close that we would never have problems, that I could develop selective amnesia, that she would be so greatful for my forgiveness that she would never disrespect me, or that all our problems (including those unrelated to the affair) would suddenly be over . . . well, that was rather deluded of me.

You go to school when your partner has an affair. You learn a lot, but you never, ever graduate.