My Husband Cheated: Healing and Thriving after Infidelity

I begin my story by giving all the glory to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him, this story would have a completely different ending. It would have ended in divorce as most marriages with infidelity do.

My husband and I were happily married in 1991. We both wanted children but initially struggled to get pregnant. After a few years, God gave us the beautiful gift of a son.

On the surface everything appeared to be going well. We both worked full time jobs and were raising our child. However, we were so busy working and taking care of our son that we forgot to pay attention to each other. Although we didn’t have intimate relations anymore, we never fought. There was no physical abuse or name calling. We went to church every Sunday and sent our son to Catholic schools. We were a family. We were looking good!

shy-863056_1920Then one day in the fall of 2006, my life fell apart. I learned through my two brothers (they all worked in the same office for my uncle’s company) that my husband was cheating. He was having an affair with a woman in their office. I was completely devastated and filled with anger.

I cried. I screamed. I yelled! I tried to gather myself to think of what to do next. Not only had my husband betrayed me, but my own family had also betrayed me by not coming to me or my husband when they first suspected the affair (many months prior).

During our crisis, my family and even some close friends distanced themselves from us. They completely abandoned us and did not speak to us. One family member handed me information to see a divorce attorney. It blew my mind.

My family may have abandoned us but God showed up in a big way! He sent His angels to support us through our tough trial. My husband’s family was also very supportive. They wrapped their arms around us tightly. They walked with us and encouraged us to fight for our marriage. I also had a dear friend who stepped in and worked every day with both my husband and me. God truly anointed her to nurture us back to see His love and grace. She spent many long hours listening and reminding us of God’s love for us and our marriage.

I needed to separate from my husband in order to begin healing. My husband moved in with a relative so my son and I could stay in our home and keep our routine of school and work. Through this separation we stay connected and maintained a relationship through our shared commitment to our son. He was our first priority.

We placed our faith in God and asked for His help and guidance. My husband had reached out immediately to our pastor at our church. Knowing God was with us and having immediate access to confession and the Eucharist was such a comfort. The sacraments began our healing process from the inside.

We both started going to a Christian counseling center seeing different therapists. We did this for many months and slowly started to talk and see where we had neglected one another for so many years. As our eyes opened, we began to realize and address how each of us had failed to care for each other and our marriage. Then we began seeing my husband’s therapist together.

I struggled with forgiveness in a big way. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It took a good year to truly forgive my husband and I had to check myself on that at times. My faith is what enabled me to forgive. I would contemplate what Jesus endured through his passion and crucifixion and it helped me through my struggles.

It was very difficult for me to forgive my family. I found it harder than forgiving my husband. I have made a great deal of progress but still struggle on occasion. I pray about it every day as most of them still do not speak to me, my husband, or son after nearly 10 years.

The healing process took time but we eventually grew in our relationship. I must say I never felt like giving up only because I saw the work my husband was doing and the change that took place in his heart. God, in His mercy, allowed me to see that first hand. Our faith in God did not allow us to end what God put together.

Today, we are not a surviving married couple, we are a thriving married couple! We make the time to pay attention and really talk to each other every day. God gave me back a new husband and I became a new wife for him. We are better connected today than when we dated!

There is always hope. Hope in Jesus Christ. He died for all of our sins, even the ones not yet committed. He saved our marriage when there were many people who kept telling me it would fail. The naysayers now stand back years later only to see we have defeated what this secular society believes should end in divorce. Every day I thank God for where He has brought us and where I know He is taking us.Praise the Lord for He is merciful! To Him be all the Glory!

Healing Through an Annulment

My husband and I recently celebrated the first anniversary of our marriage in the Church – even though we’ve been married six years. We were originally married civilly in a small ceremony in October, 2008. But this year we had our marriage convalidated, which is the official recognition of our civil marriage by the Catholic Church, elevating it to a sacramental marriage.

4641589345_a74996f89f_qMarriage means so much more to me now than the first time I said “I do.” I now know that marriage is a gift from God, and not to be entered into lightly.

Most of my friends and family know that I was married before. My ex-husband and I had dated for five years before we married. We lived together beforehand, and although we were both cradle Catholics, neither one of us lived a very religious life. We attended the required pre-cana training for months, had a Catholic wedding ceremony, and then continued on with life as we always had. Nothing we learned or experienced changed our thoughts or values, or what marriage meant to us.

We divorced civilly less than two years after our wedding day. We chose to do this as amicably as possible. We had no children and didn’t share any bank accounts or property, so the separation was easier than many couples experience.

Within two weeks of the finalization of my civil divorce, I was diagnosed with leukemia, which made me question my life, death, and what was important to me.  I received the Anointing of the Sick and spoke with a priest who said that God loves each of us, even if we are divorced. At one time during my treatment, I felt a deep sense of peace that I was loved by God and that everything would be all right, even if I died because of my illness. It greatly affected how I viewed my life from then on.  I met my second husband shortly thereafter.

I didn’t begin the Catholic process of annulment until two years after that, when I was already civilly married to my second husband.

I had been back and forth with wanting to be “whole” in the Church for a few years before I actually sought an annulment. The process of civil divorce is quite different than the process of annulment in the Catholic Church. Depending on the state you live in, civil divorce can be mostly about filing the correct paperwork and paying the required fees. But divorce doesn’t exist in the Catholic Church. An annulment means that your marriage was never actually valid.  It was missing one or more of the required aspects that make it binding in the first place.

Many people believe that if you offer the Church enough money, you can get an annulment no matter what. This is simply false. I paid nothing to the Church in the process of my annulment. Some people may offer donations, but there is no guarantee what the results will be. You have to wait and hope throughout the process.

And what a process it is. You are required to meet with a priest who is part of a marriage tribunal and verbally recount your story.  You also do this in writing. Your ex- spouse is also encouraged to participate. Other friends and family on both sides are asked for their testimony.  It can take years. Mine took two years from start to finish. Every piece to this process is inspected closely to come up with a final determination. There is a back and forth with the responses to each inquiry.

It is a challenge to wait, especially if you have already moved forward with another relationship in your life. I often questioned all the “rules and regulations” that the Church had for marriage and living one’s life.  I would try to become comfortable with the philosophy that my father and many friends had, that if you were a good and loving person, you were OK with God (if He even existed) and everything would be all right; that sin really didn’t exist as I had learned it. But there was something so deep and eternal about the Church and at mass that seemed to go beyond the feel-good philosophies I was trying to adopt.

Our parish priest met with me frequently during this time and helped me to understand what I was feeling, and why an annulment did indeed matter for me.  He helped guide me to start the annulment, and redirected me at the times I drifted away again during the process. I also couldn’t receive communion during this time which made me feel like I was missing out on the grace that might help me get through the ordeal.

I may not have made it through without his support. But it was totally worth it. There were many times I simply wanted to give up and tried to convince myself it didn’t matter whether the Church granted me the annulment. But deep down I knew it did.

My husband and I celebrated when my annulment was granted, and then began the next step of having our marriage recognized. Since then we have been blessed with a son and are currently expecting our second child.

To those of you who are divorced and ready to start dating, begin the annulment process, and finish it first before they begin dating.  It has a healing quality that may be helpful before you date again.  It helped me to understand just how important and sacred marriage is.  This is essential to understand for any faithful Catholic who is considering dating. The waiting is difficult, but ultimately is a wonderful time to draw close to God, to discern his will for our lives, and how we are to live moving forward.

To all those contemplating starting this process or who are already in it, stay the course! No matter the result, you can find consolation and healing. Pray often and ask Mary for help and courage to make it through. I will be praying for you as well.

Marriage, Divorce, and Forgiveness

I’m proud to be Catholic and try to live my life by the 10 commandments. But sometimes, just sometimes, we have to do the unthinkable.

I think marriage is sacred and never in one million years would I have imagined I would be divorced. I found a great man, fell in love, we shared our faith and eventually got married. God blessed us with two wonderful children. We had a loving and wonderful marriage. Everything seemed perfect.

One day I found myself married to a stranger. I didn’t even like this man anymore. I remember thinking, “Who is this man and why is he sleeping in my bed, living in my house?” He had gone from an occasional glass of wine to more, and more, and more. I tried to talk to him and worried about alcoholism but my message wasn’t getting across. I tried sympathy, worry, love, compassion, anger, intolerance, threats: nothing worked. This was not the example I wanted my two small children to have.

It was like that for more than two years. We tried marital therapy, acupuncture (to treat cravings, my idea), yoga (again, my idea), conversations with priests, interventions, rehabilitation clinics, etc. I can say I tried it all – but this was the problem: I was trying, he wasn’t. He finally lost his job and he was completely removed from my life and our children’s lives. The children didn’t see him for days at a time, they would think he was on a trip or something. They would be shocked to see his car in the driveway. I had three priests tell me it was time to leave. “This is NOT what ‘in sickness and in health’ means,” said one. I prayed and prayed and prayed and finally decided to separate, move, file for divorce, and start a new life with my children. While extremely difficult, the divorce gave me my dignity back and saved his life.

The divorce was amicable. He didn’t have a leg to stand on, really. I gave him visitation privileges but under supervision. I didn’t trust him. What if he drank when he had the kids? While I felt compassion for my husband and an incredible amount of worry, I have to tell you I hated him. The relationship after our separation was strictly business. We endured three years of suffering and the destruction of my family, my life, my finances, a broken heart, accumulation of debt, and much worry.

He finally sobered up (if he hadn’t, he would be dead now, it was UGLY). For my children’s sake, I never spoke ill of him and I made the effort to get him Father’s Day presents and have the kids spend time with him. Boys need fathers – not drunk fathers, but he was finally sober and I caught glimpses of the man I had married.

Some time has gone by and I can honestly say that there has been a miracle. I prayed for a miracle, not the one I got, but God knows best. The miracle happened in my heart. I have forgiven him fully and my children are enjoying a different kind of family, but a family that cares for each other. He just celebrated 2 years of sobriety, he is always welcome in my house, and he spends all the holidays with us. I see him and while we are not legally married, I know he is my husband in God’s eyes. We are friends and I wish the best for him.

There must have been a lesson God wanted to teach us. I still don’t like to think of myself as “divorced” but I do like to think of myself as living the true Christian value of forgiveness. I struggle in other areas, but I can say forgiveness is wonderful. It brings peace, it sets a great example for our children, and I like to think that maybe, only maybe, I am a little closer to Jesus. I have no interest whatsoever in meeting another man. I want to dedicate all my energy to being a mother and I want God to feel pleased with the way I live my life. I don’t know what the future will bring. “One Day at a Time” is good not only for alcoholics. St. Padre Pio said, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

Submitted from Alabama