I will never, ever tell you that I’m glad my husband had an affair. Nor would you ever expect me to. When I tell you though that so much good has come from it, that is in effect what I’m telling you and I just cannot wrap my brain around this bittersweet irony.
The post I’m referring to has had over 10 times the readership of nearly all of my others. You guys read it and read it and read it. So did Thought Catalog, and then they published it. Why am I telling you this? Because there is value in this post and we can use it for good out there in the world. I know that because many of you wrote to me in heartfelt response to it, or told me in person how it helped you, and now it’s out there on Thought Catalog’s big, beautiful platform for the rest of the world to read. But the internet is vast and content gets buried and lost right quick. And so I need your help.
Once upon a time, I expected my husband and my marriage to meet my every need, fill every void, soothe every fear, supply all my joy… do you see where I’m going with this? I’ve filed this version of insanity away in my, ‘what the hell was I thinking?’ folder. It’s a fatty.
Love is multi-lingual. And like anything that speaks a language: a person, a body, a face; love can be misunderstood or hard to interpret.
So much in life is cyclical, here for a season, then gone. Like the feelings or emotions that we often mistake for love. So very little is constant. Including the ability to love people the way they need you to love them, for an extended period of time. Because that is some very hard work. Work akin to building Egyptian pyramids or calming a furious toddler. But as for that hard work, as the principle goes, what you get from it usually makes it worth it.
Even so, as worthy as the work may be, it can feel like churning butter, and not at all sustainable for the long haul. At least I think, because hello, it’s 2017 and so of course I have never churned butter. But I’m still fairly confident in this metaphor. And sometimes we need a break from the churning. Our loved ones will be ok with that, for a beat. But we do need to re-engage with that hard work, again and again. Because if we stop churning indefinitely, we won’t see the results we’re hoping for, our relationships won’t be solid.
I never thought about what I would do if my husband cheated on me. Because I never thought he would. I had no game plan, no plan of attack, no A or B, nothing. Throughout the years, no matter our difficulties, his faithfulness was the one thing I was always sure of. That surety was not so much a testament to me and my astounding capabilities as wife, but to him and the man I believed him to be. I never thought it necessary to ponder infidelity occurring in our marriage. Clichés are so cliché, but there is good reason to never say never.
My husband and I recently found ourselves at the brink of marriage failure and in clawing our way back we encountered the single best piece of marital advice we’ve ever heard. Actually it’s the only advice that’s ever rang true, right and doable over the very long haul that every marriage is. It’s advice that’s ethereal in its authenticity and power. When we encountered it we knew without a doubt that heeding this instruction was how we would get back to our set point and even soar beyond what we’ve been settling for and on to new heights. The reason we knew it was going to work for us is because we had not done it with much regularity in the 20 years we have been married and we recognized this to be where we went wrong.