The Whole Truth: To the Christian Woman Who Just Discovered Her Husband's Affair

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Your husband did not make the choice to have an affair because you were not enough. He made the choice because HE was not enough.

Breathe.

Stop for just this moment and breathe. Feel the air enter your nostrils, flow into your lungs, and exit again. Feel your heart beat; hear the sound of your pulse in your ears. Feel the weight of your body. This is life.

But, this life, it won't ever be the same. Because what you fear is true. It is true. You've spent the last hour, day, week trying to come up with a different explanation, to find a way for what you know to be true to be something other than it is. A mistake. An error. A misunderstanding.

But it is not. It is true and from this point forward there will only ever be Before and After. Not Before and After his choice, but Before you knew and After you knew. Before the weight that is now crushing down on your shoulders. Before the vacuum that is consuming you from the inside out. Before your dreams and hopes were suddenly and irrevocably snuffed out.

Breathe.

Stop and breathe. Feel the air enter your nostrils, flow into your lungs, and exit again. Do not think. Simply feel your heart beat; hear the sound of your pulse in your ears. Feel the weight of your body. This is life. And there will be an After.

But you must know the Whole Truth. You must discover a few more things, no matter how impossible it feels. No matter how scared you are, no matter how tempted you are to ignore it. No matter how much you want to preserve Before, you must know the truth.

The truth is that this is not your fault.

This is not your fault.

This is not your fault.

This is not your fault.

Your husband did not make this choice because you weren't pretty enough, available enough, submissive enough, talkative enough, quiet enough, sporty enough, or smart enough. He did not make this choice because you've spent the last five years pregnant or breastfeeding. He did not make this choice because you've been in the throes of hot flashes or because your skin hangs in wrinkles around your neck and bags under your eyes. He did not make this choice because you were not enough.

He made this choice because he was not enough.

And to survive—to make it to After—you must know this: He was never enough. He was never enough to fulfill your dreams. He was never enough to silence your self-doubt and insecurity. He was never enough to love you perfectly. He was never enough to be faithful.

At this point, if grace is at work—and I pray that it is—he knows this, too. If grace is at work, he knows how inadequate he is and how miserably he has failed. If grace is at work, he feels the weight crushing down on his shoulders. He feels the vacuum consuming him from the inside out. He knows that your shared dreams have been suddenly and irrevocably snuffed out. If grace is at work, he knows the truth.

And if grace is at work, you will know it, too.

Today you learned that your husband is not enough; but soon, you will learn that there is One who is enough. You will learn that there is One who can bring beauty from ashes. You will learn that there is One who can breathe life into death. You will learn that there is One who will carry you to After.

I promise you, if grace is at work, you will learn the Whole Truth.

You will learn it hour by hour, day by day, week by week. You will learn it as you care for your children, as you feed them and bathe them and do homework with them, even as your soul feels like it is dying. You will learn it as the body of Christ, as your brother and sisters and mothers and fathers, surround you with grace and fill you with patience and hope. You will learn it in the midst of the divorce, when the two-who-are-one are split in half, broken and bloodied. You will learn it in the midst of the reconciliation, when the proud are humbled and the unthinkable is forgiven. You will learn it in the nights of silent tears, when joy and pain are so confused that you can't tell them apart.

But you will learn. You will learn the Whole Truth. And when you do, you will be able to move into After. You will breathe. You will fill your nostrils and the air will flow into your lungs and out again. Your heart will beat. Your body will stand tall.

And you will live after all.

By Hannah Anderson

 

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