Before and during my affairs, I had emotionally distanced myself from Amy and from the feelings I was having while living in sin. I was miserable. I didn’t want to spend time thinking about how awful I was behaving. I worked hard NOT to think about how devastating it would be to my wife and kids, about the risks I was taking, or about the spiritual damage I was doing to myself, my relationship with God, and hundreds of people, such as kids, families, unbelievers, and the community.
This denial of my guilt and shame only led me to take my sinful choices deeper and more damaging. Had I come clean before my affair started, I could have prevented so much damage from occurring. One person hurt by my sin is one too many – to add hundreds, maybe even thousands is a hard pill to swallow.
I, like David in the Bible did before being confronted, initially tried to hide my sin and keep it from being exposed (see Psalm 32). My last few weeks at the church were about damage control. I knew I was about to be busted but worked hard to defuse the rumors that were flying around. I also tried to transition out of the church and resign BEFORE it all went down. It didn’t work out that way. I was busted and couldn’t deny it or hide it any longer.
When all this "junk" got exposed, I felt a wide range of emotions. Also, during the past two years, we have ridden the roller coaster ride of emotions that fluctuate between hope and deep sadness. The last few months it has been less intense of a ride, though there have been low points that occur from time to time. Prayer and dependence on Christ is crucial to our ability to endure this process well.
Numbing the pain, denying it exists, avoiding it, refusing to face it, etc. will not make it go away. As my friend told me in the beginning of my recovery, "Walk through the pain." That's what we have tried to do from day one. There have been days where we haven't wanted to, but God has been faithful to carry us and sustain us.
I put together this chart of some common emotions that we have experienced during this process. Many of them are common in life in general. Some are helpful, while others can keep you stuck in bondage. First acknowledging them and trying to understand them is a good first step. Next, it helps to see which ones are from God and which ones are the lies of the evil one.
Letting yourself feel them and then entrusting them to God is key. Let His Holy Spirit be your comforter and source of strength and wisdom. Your emotions can lead you astray. Therefore, resting in His truth rather than your emotions will enable you to "test and approve God's will; his perfect and pleasing will."
Difficult Emotions You May Experience
Emotions to Guard Against
(Particularly if you are the betrayed spouse)
Positive, Beneficial Emotions
Concern/Care for Others