This past week marked quite the milestone in my family's life. My oldest child turned three, and we passed the two year mark in rebuilding our marriage.
In a way, I am surprised at how it passed so quietly. This time last year, I was anxious and untrusting. I checked all our accounts for suspicious charges and felt queasy. I had dreams about finding out new horrors, and I felt cold and detached. I was considering individual counseling because every morning I would wake up and steal a few moments to myself in the shower or getting ready for the day and the time alone would bring new questions and new things that I wanted answers to. In a way, I think I wanted to hold on to the anger I felt because I was scared of what would happen if he sensed I was not angry anymore. The anger was comforting to me and destructive to us.
Time after time I would pick an argument or blurt out honest yet insensitive things. I would talk about being happy overall, but still angry. Or how I was in love with him over all, but I was struggling to love him in the moment. After more instances of this behavior than I would care to admit, I began to see that he was staying true to his words and his promises. He truly had turned a corner and was rather patiently waiting for me to acknowledge it and be comfortable with it. He was rock solid while I was faltering.
While I was in the hospital having out first child, he was in and out: one night he did not come back at all and another night he was out until 4 am. I had called him, exhausted the second night, asking where he was as the baby was not cooperating and he told me he would be there soon and called the nurse from his cell to come and take the baby. Once I was aware of the affair that had been going on around this time, I confirmed that he was in fact where he had said he had been, but it shook my confidence in him as a husband and a father to know that there was even a chance that I was recovering from surgery and delivering a child and he was not there. After I had given birth to our second child, things were just amazingly different. We had family in town and it was difficult for him to be there the entire stay, but he was attentive and loving and just wanted to experience his newest child's first few days. In a way, the birth of our second child marked the birth of our new marriage more than the vow renewal. We started spending the nights talking about how amazing our children were rather than dwelling on the difficulties of our past. I began to see him as the devoted father that he truly is, and that he really truly did love me, but had never experienced unconditional love before.
On this two year mark, I look at him with loving eyes and a warm heart. I see an incredible man that needed the opportunity to make things right and to save his family. I also see in me a woman that needed the strength to grow patience and mercy.
I do not believe that the affairs were God's will. I believe that God's will was to allow us the free will to make the choice between good and bad time and time again. I believe that we all make poor choices from time to time. When I desperately needed God's love and strength to stay and work through the problems in our marriage, it was right there on the table. I needed only to embrace it, and it was mine. I would like to own the strength myself: to say I am a strong and brave woman, but really I just felt myself give it up. When my natural instincts were to cut and run, I stayed because I needed to, and my family needed me to.
I have never been more grateful for courage in my entire life.