Since revelation of the affair and through the recovery process, I’ve learned a lot about myself – who I am, who I thought I was, how others perceive me. I’ve also learned a lot about my wife.
I used to think I was the good one in our marriage. I cooked, cleaned, took care of the kids, worked hard at my job to provide for my family, etc. My wife on the other hand struggled to keep up with house, rarely cooked, and seemed to be supervising rather than raising our kids. I thought she was weak and lazy.
Then the affair happened and everything changed. I realized I had been selfish and self-righteous all along. I realized that what my wife needed wasn’t more help with the house, but unconditional love and support from her best friend.
But in spite of how I had treated her, she still loved me. I had utterly crushed her with the revelation of what I had done, and yet she saved me. She hurt more than I can imagine and yet she forgave me. She showed me mercy and grace when I know I deserved to be publicly exposed and shunned by everyone.
That first week after the revelation I was going to kill myself. I couldn’t live with what I’d done and I had convinced myself that everyone would be better off if I just killed myself. I thought my wife in particular would be happier if she didn’t have to leave me. I thought if I killed myself she wouldn’t even have to think about me anymore because I would cease to exist. I wished I had never been born.
So I came home from work on that Friday in a pretty good mood because I had decided I was going to go take a drive on Saturday never to return. I was still a little sad, but I accepted that I had finally found a way to bring peace to everyone, and that thought gave me peace.
As I pulled into the driveway, my wife waited for me at the door with a smile on her face. She kissed me and put her arms around me. I forget what she said exactly, but they were words of love and forgiveness. She led me to our bedroom and we made love.
I don’t think she had any idea how much it meant to me at the time, although I told her later. But her love saved me that night. I realized if my wife could still make love to a wretched man like me, then maybe there was a reason to live after all.
After what I did to her, I don’t know that there are many women who would have treated me that way. I’m pretty sure I could not have done what she did if the situation were reversed. I’m not proud of that fact, but I don’t think I’m that strong. Because what she did that night took strength as well as love – strength to be vulnerable again with the man who had broken her.
Throughout this whole situation, she has shown me incredible love, grace, and strength. In spite of everything, she not only tolerates me but finds little ways to show me she loves and cares about me. And because I’m trying very hard not to be a selfish bastard, I see it. I realize that if I had been giving her the love and attention she deserved all along, if I had been talking to her and really getting to know her, she would have flourished and blossomed into the person we both want her to be.
I realize now that I’m not the good one in our marriage, I’m married to an equal. Not only that, but in a lot of ways she is better than me and I have a lot to learn from her about love, loyalty, sacrifice, and forgiveness. I thank God for her every day, because my wife is awesome.