Thursday, April 28, 2011

It Takes Two

Though God supernaturally lifted a burden from my shoulders the evening that I revealed my secret to Lyryn, I knew it would take us a long time to find healing.  I was immediately aware that my attention needed to be entirely directed at Lyryn and in finding ways I could help heal the wounds I had ripped open.

It felt strange coming back into a marriage I had denounced just days before.  For a moment I caught a glimpse of what God must see in us when we cry out against him while in our sins, and then run back.  I didn’t deserve to receive forgiveness from Lyryn, but she had chosen to extend it.  However, it wasn’t a "forgive and forget" kind of forgiveness.  This forgiveness would require me to continually work at earning it’s “renewal,” so to say.

I would have to prove to Lyryn daily that I was sorry and that she would really want to continue to extend grace to me.  Over the next several weeks and months I made sure that Lyryn was very aware of two fundamental things.  One, that I loved her.  Two, that I was sorry for being so selfish.  If I could reinforce those two things frequently enough I was sure to be helping to move Lyryn in the right direction, right?

Even though I knew all of this, I wasn’t prepared for the unbridled anger that was about to be unleashed on me.  I had put Lyryn through one of the most miserable times of her life and she was going to repay it in kind.  As best as I could I took it in stride, trying to dodge the repeated blows, turning the other cheek and responding in humility and love.  I did this because at my core I knew that I didn’t really deserve anything.  So I held out.  Continuing to grit my teeth and run through it, hoping that “time would heal all wounds.”  This old adage turned out to be partially true, just not in the time frame I had imagined.

While I tried to humble myself and submit to a rigorous security regimen (one that included regular phone “pat downs” and frequent check-ins when going places or running late),  Lyryn made sure that I understood her pain.  She wasn’t going to allow me to regain my place in our marriage so easily.  I was going to have to earn back tenfold every ounce of trust I had lost.  I would have to prove my faithfulness and honesty every step of the way.

In reading these first several paragraphs I make Lyryn out to be a monster and paint myself as a meek dog being beat upon.  This isn’t entirely fair to Lyryn and wasn’t always true of me.  Lyryn did let her guard down at times and a wonderful breath of fresh air was breathed into our relationship.  Those moments reminded me what I was fighting for and helped keep me honest and grounded.  On the flip side, I wasn’t always a quiet little church mouse.  I got angry and very loud at times, beating my chest like a defensive gorilla.

I also struggled.  I couldn’t keep thoughts of Lauren far from my mind.  Despite having put in my resignation the day it all came out I came to an agreement with my supervisor that I would stay on board until they found a replacement for me or until I found a new job.  This kept me in my position for quite a bit longer.  Unfortunately, it also kept me in the building and room where the affair had been centered around.  This was often challenging.

In the beginning so much reminded me of her and my thoughts were constantly turned towards her.  All I could do was try my hardest to refocus my mind when these thoughts would bombard me.  I used two techniques, both with wildly varying success rates, to try to redirect my attention.  One was to memorize a scripture each week and then speak it out (externally or internally) whenever I was distracted by a thought I didn’t want.  The other thing I tried was to redirect my attention on to something I really liked about Lyryn.  Sometimes these things were very helpful, other times they didn’t make a darn difference.

After months of fighting back against these thoughts and against the onslaught of negative attacks from Lyryn, I gave in.  I felt helpless and hopeless.  I think I rationalized contacting Lauren by telling myself that I was just reaching out, seeing where she was in her own walk of healing.  In some of our first conversations we both actually encouraged one another to continue to seek healing with our marriage partners.  But this was na├»ve or maybe even just a cover for the underlying intentions.  I can’t truly speak for Lauren, but it quickly became clear that both of us were hurting and wanted someone other than our spouses to tend to our wounds.
The emotions that had taken root from the initial relationship quickly took hold again. But despite the renewed relationship and all of the new communication, I was more conflicted than ever.  I knew I couldn’t support the healing of my marriage and any kind of relationship with Lauren.  I had begun communicating to Lauren my very strong dissatisfaction with Lyryn and my desire to finally leave her.  I had even typed up a very detailed email that outlined the consequences of doing so.

Thankfully my rekindled affair was discovered by Lyryn just in time.  God interjected and nudged Lyryn just enough to get her to uncover my unfaithfulness.  Unlike the first time and without any hesitation, I made an about-face.  I immediately owned up to my selfishness and secrecy.

After typing up that email I had received a revelation; when looking back over my life as an old man I didn't want to see anyone other than Lyryn.  I also could not fathom trying to face my son and explain to him how I could justify being so selfish without fabricating elaborate lies. I now knew I had to face down my demons and fight alongside Lyryn to win back my place by her side and restore myself as head of my household.


Tonja said...

I like it when you post too! It helps me realize that I am not the only one out there who has done such a thing, nor will I be the last. But I think it also helps people see that the spouse who did the cheating hurts and carries around shame just as much as the spouse who was cheated on.

Raven said...

wow, ok so I read every word. This was very heartfelt, very raw and true and encouraging. I really hope you guys make it back to where you once were and I will keep you in my prayers. Such strong people you two!

More Than Words said...

I still think this is wonderful to hear both of your parts. I really feel this should be printed!!! My heart goes out to both of you. :)

Hailey @ Me and My Boys said...

I'm with Alicia, y'all should write a book or something. I like hearing from Jesse too. It helps to understand where his head and heart were in all of this.

Amy Silver said...

It's funny, I find myself going through all the emotions with you guys, anger, pity, mouth dropping open while reading one post and then in another wanting to cry.. This is a really brave thing you are doing, I think we can ALL agree on that!