I walked in the door of a brick building (ironically located in the same building as our marriage counselor) and began crying as soon as I gave the receptionist my name. Moments later a lovely woman at a wooden desk told me my options, explained the pricing, then left me with this advice: “You don’t have to rush this. Make the decision when you’re ready.”
I left the building still sobbing into a wad of soggy Kleenex.
For the next several days, I took a one-day-at-a-time approach toward working through the hurricane that had made landfall on our marriage.
This was also a piece of advice I recieved over and over again in the beginning…and it was awesome advice.
1. I sewed 40 yarmulkes for my cousin’s wedding! OK, not all this week, but I finished the order. I learned how as I went along. I found a tutorial, but it was little more than a pattern, so there was a lot of trial and error. Here is my Ian modeling the first one.
The bride and groom have a love of New Orleans culture and the groom is a chef. They wanted a fabric to reflect their personal interests that as opposed to the standard black suede or velvet.
2. I got through another week of simultaneous football/tennis/cross country/karate. We did do McDonald’s one day.
3. My husband and I want to thank you for all the kind responses to my update post . They were amazing and strengthening for both of us.
4. Uh oh, running out of quick takes…I think I folded 22 loads of laundry since Sunday? Can I include that even though it’s standard???
5. Moving ahead in our home school. Since I put the older ones in school a few years back, the youngers have been lagging a bit at the “start”. Totally my fault and my lack of organization skills. I have finally realized that the scenario I had that worked with my older ones does not work with the batch I’m teaching now, so I feel like I’m stating from scratch.
I also decided I can’t continue home schooling anymore. I will continue with the ones now until they reach eighth grade, but the ones from here on out who start school will go into school. I’m getting too old.
6. Almost completely fell off the wagon with the diet and exercise routine, but came back again. I’m at the point where time after time, I go back to my old lazy ways, but I’m keeping up with it.
7. Um, I’m out of ideas. That laundry thing again? Mass amounts of dishes I wash?
. . . we need to recover the use of the word “confession,” while quietly dropping “the sacrament of reconciliation.” We need to hear the blunt word, because, before everything else, we want to say, “I did this and I’m really sorry.” That’s the appeal of confession, the chance to get it all out in the open. To emphasize the result is a bit like renaming the emergency room the “healing center.” It’s true, but not as helpful or as encouraging as you’d think, particularly when you really have an emergency.
Emergencies. Sin makes you stupid. When you are in a situation where you need graces, when you need to keep your wits about you, when you need a confessor to help you through, this sacrament has so much to offer.
The problem in my diocese is this (along with Confirmation) has become one of the scarcest sacraments. Of course you can request it. Yes, there’s a chapel that does Confession nearly constantly 25 miles away. But a 45 minute window on Saturday afternoon? Is that really enough?
Why is this sacrament so brushed under the carpet?
Danielle Bean nails it:
Palin is both widely popular and widely despised for the same reasons. Those of us who recognize, respect, and celebrate the unique God-given strengths of women — as nurturers, as relationship-builders, and as fierce protectors of children and other vulnerable human beings — find an inspiring role model in Sarah Palin. She is a strong woman who finds joy in motherhood and a traditional family life,
It’s been nearly one year since I posted this. I was thinking of waiting for the one year mark, mostly because I just didn’t know what to say or how to say it. I also wasn’t sure in my heart until pretty recently that it’s all going to be alright, so I didn’t want to jinx anything. Also, something about the whole St. Blog’s Pantsapalooza Event of 2010 made me think here I am actually in possession of some knowledge I should perhaps pass on. In many of the comboxes, in between the yays and nays for pants, there would be talk here and there of not one, but of few couples someone might know, Catholics with large families, breaking up. I stumbled the other day on a statistic that only 1/3 of couples survive infidelity. I cannot even begin to understand why us. I have no idea, except God allowed, chose, helped…He did it. So I guess it was time to write…something. I hope it’s not lame.
As of now, we are surviving, we are building a new marriage and our old marriage is dead and gone. It’s is withered and decayed and the new one is bright and filled with hope. As of right now, I love my husband more than I ever have. We are not merely “riding it out”. Everything is new again. I place the “blame” on you, Dear People. When this broke, my husband was very lost. He will tell you he was in the darkest place he has ever been. He was evil or surrounded by evil, not sure. He was depressed, he obviously wasn’t thinking straight and the more he made bad choices, the worse he felt, and in turn would make more bad choices. He was just piling more “spiritual muck” onto himself. As Mark Shea says “sin makes you stupid”. So many men I see who take the route my husband have become literally unreachable under all that muck. When you all reached out and prayed, my husband will tell you it was around that time he started to wake up and come out the fog. This wasn’t an immediate process and at first, he fought it, but it was a way for God to grab him and take hold and slowly start clearing that muck away.
I cannot underestimate the practical help as well, the donations, the words of encouragement. I was…hysterical. I was scared, confused. At the time, the kind words I read and the support kept me going. I desperately needed it because while I was receiving support here, I was hearing equally…um, “non-supportive” words from some of the icky people my husband allowed to influence him. One of his family members told me it was my fault because I had so many kids. Seven is ridiculous, I should have stopped at three and my husband clearly didn’t want any more but I refused to listen. I must have had those kids to keep him around. She, other family, the girlfriend all told me it was because I “was a bad wife”. So yes, hearing encouraging words was necessary at that point because I didn’t know what was right, what was happening, what was real and my self-esteem struck a huge blow so it was easy to believe I deserved it all for doing things like having children, and being a boring housewife.
The donations helped in more ways than the obvious as well. My husband left and came home in February. Yes, he did support us, but in his very “rational” state, he did not think about what it costs to support a family of 8 in one spot and the cost of supporting himself in the New York City area 3 hours away prior to leaving. The donations helped with practical matters, but it also gave me a great deal of confidence that some how, some way, if things go badly, I’ll make it. I think it also sent a signal to him that despite surrounding himself with nitwits like the family members I described who had his ear, most people looked down on his actions to the point they were willing to donate money! (Incidentally, when this happened, I became adept at finding email accounts, decoding passwords and an ex girlfriend came out the woodwork who had been lurking on this blog to congratulate him on finally getting rid of the “old ball and chain”, to tell him to contact her and to let him know “do you know she’s asking for donations?” I deleted it.)
There has been talk that maybe people should not say bad things about Bud McFarlane Jr for leaving his wife in the comboxes lately. No. He should know that the general population looks down on such actions. Admonish the sinner. It’s not simply for the sake of “siding” with Bai, but for the sake of his own soul. My husband, on his own accord went to confession, and spent an half hour bringing the priest up to speed. Mass that day, ended up starting late because of it. I’m not sure if that would have happened if things did not play out the way they did. Every piece of this had it’s purpose.
So what happened? I cannot even begin to start, it would take a book. It was the hardest year of my life. I now have grey hair, crows feet. I have these permanent bags under my eyes from crying everyday (great product: ).
I can say that this was a spiritual battle for sure. At first our progress was teeny tiny baby steps and a lot of uncertainty. It wasn’t until late June that I decided I would stay married to him. Before that, I don’t think he was certain about staying married to me until February-when he decided he wanted the marriage, I was sick, fed up, done with him. Since June, the progress was slow and then started snowballing. Spiritually, each time we made a large step at progress, Satan was right there with a rebuttal. Every stinking time. This is still the case. It’s almost immediate. We actually can see it for what it is and more and more it gives me the confidence that we are “meant to be”. The only way things will continue to work from here on out is relying on prayer and the sacraments. Satan has a foothold in our lives. No way around that.
I want to share some things I learned for anyone going through this:
1. Pray, pray, pray. You have nothing else but God. I made the Novena to the 13 Blessed Souls a few times, the St. Rita I don’t know how many times. Our Lady Undoer of Knots, St. Jude, St. Joseph the Flying Novena to the Infant of Prague in addtion to tons of rosaries, Chaplets of Divine Mercy, the Angelus everyday for months. I said a Magnificat every time it popped into my head. I don’t even know how many novenas I made. I begged for prayers. I debated a lot between telling people and asking for prayers and keeping my dirty laundry to myself. It’s a tough call because people who love you and see you suffer will not want you to reconcile with your spouse, which is 150% completely understandable. Still, I think the reason my husband turned around was the prayers.
There will be times when you will doubt if God even exists. Pray harder then.
2. Read Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson. And/or implement the “180” as soon as possible. This will keep your head on straight when you think you are loosing it, and may help get your marriage back-if that is what you wish.
On a side note: we Catholics do a good job in having a preliminary outline how to keep a marriage Godly. We do not have a lot of resources to turn to when things go bad. we have Retrouvaille, but that works only after both parties decide to work it out. There is nothing to stop a man (or woman) in stuck in “the fog” dead in his tracks and let him know what he’s doing. We need something. Now. Maybe Greg can help us with that?
3. Take care of yourself. I did a little, but only after everyone else was tended to. I would only work-out as reward if I finished all my chores, which of course, were never finished. I figured once the kids were gown and out, I’d have “me” time again. Through all this I was tired, defeated, depressed. I started drinking. By most people’s standards, not heavily, but I know I wasn’t doing it “for the right reasons”. So instead, I knew I needed an outlet and it would either be negative (drinking) or positive. I hit the gym, I started getting pedicure, I actually bought clothes for myself, I decided to try once a week and get to a restaurant if I could. Being cheated on is a huge self-esteem killer. People stopping you constantly and telling you how good you look, and then finding out you had seven kids, and in front of your husband…priceless!
4. Sacramentals. I said before this is a spiritual battles. Holy water, blessed oil, blessed salt. I mixed all three up and made crosses with it over every window, every doorway. I spiked my husband’s food…
5. Get support from people who have been through this. People who have been through this have a very unique perspective. It all seems very black and white, cut and dry until it happens to you.
7. Outside professional help. Get counseling/therapy. Find a priest or a few and talk to them. Appraise your medical doctors, midwives, pediatricians what’s going on. My family practitioner knows everything. I have found myself in the emergency room a number of times this year and since my doctor knows what is happening in my life, diagnosing the problems was easy. Did anyone know that you could have panic attacks in your stomach? I didn’t.
6. Some good books:
After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful by Janis Abrahms Spring
Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson
Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
The Love Dare
Here’s one I haven’t read, but I want to read desperately:
Transcending Post-infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD): The Six Stages of Healing by Dennic C. Ortman
The Bible!!!! This is nothing new and it’s nothing the good book didn’t warn about. Read Proverbs 5
Four Stages of Grief (apparently, I’m at “anger” right now).
Lastly, I’m talking mostly about me here. I’m talking a lot about what my husband did wrong. I give a lot of credit for the prayers and help people gave me, but I have to also give credit to my husband. It takes a lot to totally admit you are wrong and to allow God to break you down and build you back up again into a new person. I have not made it easy. Yes I prayed, yes I tried to stay “right”, but I haven’t been a saint on this journey. I’ve been downright evil and wretched at times. The fact that he stayed when he was unsure if he should to begin with, when he was not raised with a background where people are married is simply amazing. The fact that not only did he decide to stay, but change, that he recognized his bad choices were not the key to happiness…many people can’t or do not even know how to not exist in their lies.
7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance. ~Luke 15:7
Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you.
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