Some of the best information that exists on this site comes from the readers through the comments that they make.  I was doing some research yesterday for my book I want to write, and re-read a series of comments related to forgiving infidelity.  I thought what this one reader said was wonderful, and thought it was something more people needed to see.  I hope you don’t mind Jenn!

What follows is a combination of three different comments Jenn made on the subject of forgiving after infidelity, as forgiveness was her resolution for 2011.

Here it is:

I LOVE this quote from ‘The Awakening’ article you have attached to this post:  “You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process, a sense of peace & contentment is born of forgiveness.”

Forgiveness is the key. I am not perfect, my husband is not perfect, and while I do not show my imperfection by having an affair, I have personality quirks that cause imperfections of my own. I may judge others, I may raise an eyebrow (in my mind) when someone says something I disagree with, I may tell a white lie on occasion (YES, I do LOVE your pig riding a dinosaur sculpture, daughter), and I may hurt beyond belief when I think about what my husband did.

But I know he is human, and he is trying to move past this horrible mistake. I have to be able to recognize that I am also a fallible human with the same predisposition to be wrong, imperfect, and just plain bad at times–no different than my husband.

I can’t expect him to hold all the keys to my happiness, and I can’t expect him to repay this debt that has an unattainable fee attached to it. There is NO way he can do enough, say enough, or act perfectly enough to repay me for the pain and crap he brought into my life.

That’s why forgiveness releases me of this heavy burden of disbelief, humiliation, and betrayal. It doesn’t release the fact that he ruined a part of my life, but there is still so much yet to be lived, and I refuse to allow 10 months of junk to ruin my future.

He has turned, apologized many times, and is making efforts. Only time will heal the trust issues I have, but I am determined to have a happy life, hopefully with the same man I married 12.5 years ago, and have 2 beautiful children with.

He made a horrendous mistake, but we don’t have to sit in the gray clouds of his affair. I truly believe it is no longer an issue, but it will take a long time to heal. Forgiveness is the key, though. Release yourself through forgiving the one who betrayed you (he/she can never repay the debt anyway!), and healing can begin……..

It (forgiveness) is NOT easy. It took a LOT of self-examination on my part. I am a Christian, and that helped tremendously. A book I read, “When Forgiveness Doesn’t Make Sense” by Robert Jeffress changed my viewpoint. 

I realized that my husband was not perfect, and tried to understand what led to his affair. It was all him. In a 3 year time span, his beloved stepfather died, he was in a horrific car wreck where he could have been killed, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when I was 6 months pregnant, we had the 2nd child which causes additional stress in the marriage, and he did not handle these stressful events in a mature manner. He looked elsewhere for fun and lightness to escape the weight of his reality.

It had nothing to do with me. Although the betrayer will lead you to believe these things to justify the horrible treatment of you, it’s not you. Once I came to terms with the fact that he is human and is not my “golden husband,” I had compassion for him and what he did. He hurt me more than anyone has ever hurt me in my life, and I grew up in an abusive home. I NEVER thought he would do anything like this, but he did.

I prayed to God for my husband to come back to me, and it’s getting there. We are not where I want us to be, but we are getting there. And the forgiveness process is a process, but I had to see enough from my husband to know he was no longer involved with the OW. And I had to let go a little – I had to let go of some of the pain, and it’s like holding onto a rope that someone is pulling. The harder I held on, the more hurt I would experience–after loosening my grip, my hurt lessened somewhat. Forgiveness does NOT mean releasing your husband of what he did, but it allows YOU the chance to get rid of some of the feelings that you hold onto as a result of his actions.

A few more things–I did NOT settle for halfway. I made it very clear what I would accept and what I would not. The OW would NOT be a part of our life in any way, shape, or form, and I told my husband I expected certain things from him also.

I KNEW he could be better than he was, so I tried to encourage that in him. I don’t want you to think I was a wallflower, “just wait and hope” sort of wife when it came to this. I told him he would either come back as my husband and everything that entailed (devotion to me and our family, making me a priority, etc….), or it would not work.

We also sat down together, and wrote a list of what we would commit to for each other. We read it regularly to keep the focus. Another thing we do together is a nightly devotional. It gets us together daily to focus on each other and what is important.

This can ONLY work if your husband is committed to the marriage, completely. I had to “fight” to get him back, but our family and history was worth it. I’ll go ahead and post it here, in case someone can be helped by it:

COMMITMENT:

1. We are married.
2. We will talk with, not at, each other in a way that glorifies the Lord and invites productive dialogue.
3. We will share without the judgment of others.
4. We will not fight without praying either at the beginning or the end.
5. We will pray together, period.
6. We will counter negatives with something positive. (If we can’t come up with something positive then we have major problems.)
7. We will celebrate what works.
8. We will forgive the past (not forget, forgive) and focus on what lies ahead.
9. We will be sensitive to THE OTHER PERSON’S NEEDS AND FEELINGS when we talk. We are not two islands, we are one body.
10. We will provide (our children) with a sense of security and peace in their lives despite whatever may be happening in ours at the moment.
11. We will honor each other in actions, thoughts, and speech.
12. We will commit to reading relationship books on a regular basis and discuss so we can learn and grow.
13. We will learn each other’s love language and commit to giving each other what they need and not what we think they need because we don’t always know.
14. We will not allow pride to blind us of our faults in a situation. Apologize first.
15. We will tell each other we love each other each day.
16. We will appreciate each other verbally and physically.
17. We will not take issues inside our marriage outside of our marriage.
18. We will forgive me when I (my husband) don’t always get this right.
19. We will not leave unless physical harm is threatened.
20. We will strive to recognize a need and not view it in a negative light.
21. We will strive to BE married, not just talk about being married. (This means actions, not simply intentions.)
22. We will realize what matters/is important to the other person, and be sensitive to that, making efforts to participate.
23. We will realize that our marriage is the most important relationship we have, and take efforts to protect it from harm.
24. We will not associate with people who are not true friends of our marriage outside of a civil relationship.

I just think this is great stuff, and I appreciate Jenn for making these comments.  In fact, we appreciate all of the comments everyone else makes, and the constructive support that each of you give towards others who are in pain.  It’s unfortunate that any of us have to consider forgiving infidelity, but it’s good to know that we can get some support from each other!

 

    9 replies to "Forgiving Infidelity and Making a Commitment"

    • life

      My H has apologized and continues to be reflective about his affair. He shares insights with me and is putting these terrible lessons to work in our marriage. He asked me for forgiveness just the other day, something he had never done before. Asking for forgiveness is so much more important to me than an apology. I know hes sorry……….and now I believe he understands what he needs forgiveness for.

      I have forgiven him , but still struggle with all that forgiveness entails for my own healing. Forgiving really is a gift you give yourself. I have yet to leave this all behind and often feel as though I havent embraced forgiveness in full yet. That will just take time I suspect, and has alot to do with fear of experiencing the early pain and trauma of d day. I never want to return to that grief again.

    • sexaddictwife

      This was such a great post! I agree- forgiveness is so essential to healing a relationship, and is the ultimate gift. For me, hanging onto resentment and anger at my husband was a way to avoid my own issues, my own reality, and avoid what I needed to work on in MY life. Not that I caused the affair (no one can “cause” another person to choose infidelity) but I definitely am not perfect and can’t expect my husband to be. We are both deeply committed to each other AND to working on our own healing and our own relationship with God. Forgiveness may not make sense logically, but it is amazing!

    • Donna

      My goal this year is to leave the past in the past. In doing that I am not sure I am ready to forgive. In time I really hope that will come as I know that will release me of so many things.

      One thing worried me from your post though, it reads… ” I don’t want you to think I was a wallflower, “just wait and hope” sort of wife when it came to this. I told him he would either come back as my husband and everything that entailed (devotion to me and our family, making me a priority, etc….), or it would not work.”

      I appreciate what was written, and I don’t think I have been a wall flower, however if I demanded the above of my husband and I guess in a fashiopn I did it would and did only push him away. I guess what works for one won’t always work for another. Just like the pro’s say not to tell your husband that you love them. Well for me that was not the right thing. My husband even though he know’s I do, has not been upset at me for letting him know. As I said, I have not been a wall flower, however demanding certain things of my husband will also not work. I would argue and get all upset and it got me know where.

      My husband needed to come back to me and his children in his time and I know if I had pushed he would have pulled further away. So I guess what I am saying is that I have literally had to give my husband the time and space to be able to do this. He has been home full time since Chiristmas Eve, went away for 3 weeks and came home and has been here ever since. Lived out of a bag that he took away with him. I wanted to ask why he didn’t just put his clothes in the cupboard but chose to not ask. As a result, the other day he moved a few things of his into drawers, then lastnight I went to get changed and he has emptied his bag and put his clothes in the cupboard. Now he still has 90% of his clothing elsewhere, however if I don’t ask and don’t push I know he will bring them home eventually. My husband is slowly moving back home in his time because he wants to be here, not because I have forced him. As much as I wish it had been sooner, I have needed to to allow him this time and patience on my part as hard as it has been to be here because he wants it.

      He doesn’t tell me he loves me, he does not always touch me, he does not always sit and talk to me and I sometimes feel awkward, however hopefully in time that will get better and when he is readsy to talk or share feelings I am here.

      I am glad that what worked for Jenn worked, I am so glad that you are in the place to be able to forgive, I really wish I could be however know it is a process and I look forward to it. I guess I just wanted to put out there that just because you may not demand certain things of your spouse does not make you a wall flower or a door mat. We all have such different personalitites and situations and although they the cheaters are so alike, they won’t all react the same to demands. Anyway, I hope I have not offended you at all Jenn, I just wanted to make my point in my situation.

      My biggest concern now is that I want to move away from where we live. The ow only lives 1 and a half hours away and it is just to close for me at the moment. We live in a small starte separate from the main land and I just want my family to have a break. Not the right time to talk about this with husband so need to bide my time and wait for the moment.

      My husband says that even though he knows she is close, it shows his true devotion to me because he is with me. However I need to staret to trust again and I just don’t know if I can do this while she is so close. Especially if he wants to go up North for something, how do I begin to trust that? I just don’t know.

    • Jenn

      Hi Donna, everyone’s path is definitely different when it comes to trying to move past this. I was just determined that I was not going to allow him to ‘pretend’ at home when his mind was elsewhere and he was allowing a third party in our life.
      So far we are working, there have been many bumps in the road but the progress has been noticeable on his part.
      Hopefully someone else going through this process can gain something from this compilation–I actually needed this reminder today as I’ve been having a rough week ; ). The way I look at this now is this: if it was easy I wouldn’t appreciate what is to come.
      Thanks Doug & Linda for sharing your journey, and for allowing others to do the same as we try to heal and move forward. Best wishes!

    • Jessica

      This article hit home. I was wondering how much more can he do to make up for all this pain? And like the article said he can’t I know I need to forgive him and I am really trying. Every week we go to church and I pray for this pain to go away. I need to release some of this to a higher power it is at times too much for me to handle. I kept asking why? What did I do? and like she said it was him this was his choice. I have fought very hard to put this marriage back on track and now somehow I need to forgive him.

    • Yuki

      I am in the process of forgiving. I am no longer in as much pain as the first few days, and I have let go of a lot of the anger, but resentment is still there. I probably have not gone through enough yet to be where Jenn and Linda are, but I cannot look at his affair as merely a way of showing imperfection. It is not like doing something inconsiderate or hurtful, though it is both of those. An affair is a betrayal, a purposeful act of total disregard, disrespect and standing against your spouse. It doesn’t just happen. A person has to plan, connive, and deceive in order to make it all happen. Dr. Harley calls it a lot of hoops to jump through. Sorry – maybe it’s just been a bad day – and it has – but although I know I need to forgive, and I am working on it, I don’t know if reconciliation is possible for me. My head spins sometimes due to the conflict within myself.

    • Lori

      Great post and even greater responses. We’re all experiencing the same pain but each situation is unique and different. For those of you whose partner decided to stick it out with you and make it work, please realize how fortunate you are that you have that second chance. My partner decided not to make it work with me and he is keeping his ‘special friend’ in his life. I have to live with that fact and pain every day. I would have done anything to forget the pain of the past if he was committed to working things out with me. I know it wouldn’t have been easy, but I know it would have been worth it. Instead, I’m trying to heal and find things for me to survive and move on. I am partnerless, yet I still want him very much. However, there is NO room for three in our relationship and I know this is the right thing to do. Be strong everyone and thanks for helping me through this as well.

    • EGBH

      I am working in the direction of forgiving my wife, but I know deep down inside me it will take a very long time. As each day goes by, I feel a little better, and think a little less about what she did. But as Linda has written about before, it is the triggers that get ahold of me, and trying to deal with them without going back to my wife and ask her things about the EA, has been very hard. I think back about everything I now know, and what I have learned.

      There is not one day that goes by that I don’t wish I had a chance to do things over and maybe had a chance to stop this EA from getting off the ground. I look at my W sometimes and I am so sad and hurt over what she did too me, it truly has been hard. But something about this post made me think. My wife will NEVER be able to repay this debt to me……SO…..I am sitting back waiting for something that will never come to me, and will continue to wait…….WHY?.

      I need to make myself understand that she cannot pay it back. I think she would love to make this all go away and not have to deal with the fact that her husband has lost trust in her and will not forgive her for what she has done, (as of right now anyways). I need to understand that getting to the point of forgiving my wife will not only help her greatly, but will also help me just as much.

      When I found out about the EA my wife had, it almost killed me I thought, on the inside anyways. Now…..if I don’t work harder to get past this, life is not going to be very good for us. And I love our three kids too much to let that happen……..and…I love her….so…I think the best way for us to get out of this deep hole that we are both in…….IS TO STOP DIGGING!…..put the shovels down. Either get busy living or get busy dying.

    • Shelly

      Thank-you so much for posting. It’s comforting to know someone else has experienced the same excruciating situation that I (and so many others) have. We too are recovering from his infidelity. It’s getting easier, but there are still some really tough days.
      Our main struggle is that he still has moments that he wants to contact the OW to “see if she is okay”. He feels bad about manipulating her and pulling her into a painful situation as well. He knows that contacting her would be damaging to both me AND her, and this is (so far) what keeps him from e-mailing her. As difficult as this is for me to hear, I remind myself that at least he’s TELLING me how he feels and how he’s struggling. It never dawned on me that ending the affair with the OW would be as difficult as rebuilding your marriage after the affair. I keep hoping and praying that time, and God, will heal the wounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.