Monday, February 3, 2014

The closest thing to a guarantee

This weekend, Amy had the opportunity to meet with a friend who was there during our "fall out" days (a.k.a. earthquake). Meeting with her friend was one of those "God moments" that was very touching, encouraging, and honestly, quite amazing. The meeting wasn't to talk about our "fallout," but there were parts of the conversation about it that impacted Amy and I deeply. 

When Amy shared with me how teary her friend got when talking about those early days and how amazed she is by what God has done, it was very humbling and emotional for me. I still get amazed by people's love, care, and grace. What God can do despite our sin is remarkable. What He can do when we trust Him and don't give in to sin is remarkable, too. I prefer the "not giving in to sin" part of that equation.

Though Amy and I haven't done our recovery perfectly, one thing I believe we have done well is kept the door open for communication: with each other and with others who were affected by my betrayal. It's not easy to talk about or walk through the pain, but if it was easy, then there would be a higher survival rate for marriages facing adultery. Thankfully, whether it's easy or not isn't how we have based our decision during this recovery process. As John the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30, NASB). We have had to surrender our will, our strength, even ourselves so God could have His way.

I am thankful for friends who have seen the hand of God work in and through our situation and are able to still be our friends. I expect them to still be Amy's friend since she isn't the one who betrayed me. However, when they choose to befriend me, that is nearly too much to fathom. I suppose it is tempting to let my shame and feelings of unworthiness or guilt get in the way of receiving such grace. It is very helpful to me to hear how God has worked in their lives since that awful August day in 2011. I also need to be reminded of the pain I caused them. It's a reality check that gives me proper perspective. I never want to minimize the terrible effects of sin and betrayal. .

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees how things will turn out when adultery strikes a marriage, but walking through the pain and seeing the pain of others, especially your own spouse's, can play a major role in recovery. Dave Carder, author of Torn Asunder and Close Calls, has a great perspective on responding to spouses who want a guarantee their spouse won't betray them again. He says:
One of the first things an angry & grieving spouse wants is the guarantee that this will never happen again. Often Christian spouses think that if they can just get their infidel partner to walk . . down the alter, confess his sin . . , read his Bible daily, or be convicted by the Holy Spirit or disciplined by the church, all will be well. But nothing could be further from the truth. . . . . . The closest thing to a guarantee . . . is for him to feel fully the pain that he has caused the wounded spouse…. promises to ‘behave’ won’t endure; neither will artificial boundaries . . . . The only lasting remedy is for the infidel to feel the agony he has caused the spouse.

I needed to "feel fully the pain" I caused Amy (and others). I can attest that this is true and has helped me heal over the past two and a half years. Running from the pain or not dealing with it would have caused major problems for me and our marriage. Amy's willingness to share her pain took great courage as well.
Amy wrote a blog post in June 2013 about this idea of "no guarantees." 

When I was confronted with Scotty's unfaithfulness and the deep remorse that followed, I was completely confident that I wanted to stick it out and work on our marriage. I had no doubts about that. However, as you might expect, I did/do experience occasional anxiety over the "what ifs" of our future.
·         What if Scotty does this again in the future?

·         What if the thoughts of what happened are ALWAYS a part of my life?

·         What if Scotty can't deal with the fact that I STILL have bad days years into the healing process?
This list could go on..... and on..... and on.......
And, the frustrating thing about this list is that there are no guarantees. Despite our best intentions, we just don't know what will happen in the future. Scotty could attempt to assure me that he will NEVER do this again. But, he didn't really PLAN to do it in the first place.
The many books that I've read and the therapists we've seen can tell me that my undesirable thoughts that pop up out of nowhere will lessen with time, but they can't PROMISE that they will.
Do you see what I'm saying? THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES!!! And, honestly... that's unsettling.
I wish I could guarantee how things will turn out for any of us in this journey of adultery recovery, but I can't. I, like everyone else, has to take it one day at a time. I have to humble myself daily and seek after Christ with my whole heart and soul. I have to surrender my will and ways and let Him do His transforming work in and through me. I am grateful for where Amy and I are today. It is nothing short of a miracle. I love miracles. I am thankful God still performs miracles.


Matthew 18:11, (NASB)

11 [[a]For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.]

No comments:

Post a Comment