Or, rather, these past few years? Has it been that long since I last wrote? Yeah. It has.
That's pretty sad.
Nearly two years since my last update. Yikes.
So, where to begin. A lot happens over the course of a year, doesn't it? Let alone two!
It has been a long road, this re-building of a marriage. Trust is something that I am still working on. Beloved helps, though. He makes it possible to breathe easy--easier, at least. He understands that I have a lot of fears and hurt because of what he did. He doesn't snap at me when I question him. Or when I get panicky.
For example, some months after he came home (so, like, the end of 2009) Beloved got a call from a friend who got tickets to a local college football game and invited him along. Now, Beloved is all about Football. Especially college football. The friend was going to meet up with former neighbors to tailgate before the game. I should probably explain here that when I say 'local' I mean within our state. It was still a few hours away to the game.
I started to have a panic attack. I didn't want him going. How was I to trust he was really going with his friend? Beloved said he would just call 'Joe' back and let him know he couldn't make it. I didn't want him to do that. I didn't want him to have to miss out on normal things just because I was freaking out. Looking back, I think it was totally legitimate for me to have him stay home if I was feeling that way, but that isn't what I did.
Instead, I told him that he could go, but that I'd have to drop him off at his friend's house, talk to 'Joe' to make sure I felt comfortable that he was really going where he said he was, and that 'Joe' would either bring him home, or I would pick him up from 'Joe's' (wow...where the heck does that apostrophe go?!) house.
This sounds like I was treating him like a little kid. And maybe I was. But the point is, that he was totally okay with that because it was what I needed to feel comfortable.
I have access to all his emails, and his phone is on my account and I see everything if I want to. A few months ago Beloved was asked to travel internationally for business and he waited for weeks for me to pray about it and decide if I was ok with it, even explaining to his boss that he needed to know that his wife would be okay first. I was, in the end. But I know he would have foregone the trip if I had asked him to.
Beloved has a lot of hurt that he has to work through. I think there is a mourning that he must go through. I know he feels the loss of who he was before this all started. But I try to remind him that he is more than the sum of his mistakes. We all are. Thank goodness for that, am I right?
There are days when all Beloved can think is that he left. That I hurt because of him. He feels that he is worthless, that he's a monster for nearly throwing his family away.
I try to remind him--I say try, here, because I fear it doesn't sink in as much as I'd like--I try to remind him that he isn't just the man who left; He's the one who came home. He didn't throw away his family. He returned. He made the right choice and continues to make the right choice.
We did go to marriage therapy/counseling for a little over a year. That truly helped. Especially in the beginning. Seriously, people, I am so thankful for that counselor!
So, do I get sad? Heck, yeah, I do. Do I get angry? You better believe it. But the thing is, as time goes on, I find those times are fewer and farther in between.
My therapist gave me a book to read. It was popular a while ago. You probably heard of it. I'm typing this all out as I'm trying to think of the name of the book. Ha ha. Oh! The Shack! That's what it's called. I liked it. One part in particular resonated with me and this situation (and here I will be just summarizing, since I don't actually have the book).
It was when some characters are discussing forgiveness. One explains to the other that forgiveness doesn't have to be a one-time thing, i.e. 'I forgive you for the affair', said and done once and it is over. Forgiving can be done every day. Some days you have to forgive that offense fifty times. Then maybe only 20. Then 10. Then it comes to be days before hurt or anger bubbles up in your heart and you have to forgive again.
That was a lightbulb moment for me. I was like, 'What?! I can do it over and over again?' Why this was such news to me, I don't know. It sounds silly, doesn't it? But it is true. It felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest.
In no way am I saying I am perfect in this. There are days I feel a little like singing Eliza Doolittle's refrain, "Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins, just you wait!" But I'm doing ok. I'm trying. I get angry or hurt, and I forgive all over again. And I feel better. It's what works for me...you know, when I'm not humming along with Eliza.