Friday, September 12, 2008

Family Friday: Communication, Counseling and Forgiveness

Warning: This posting is of a sensitive and personal nature. Those who have known me
in my personal life are aware of what we went through 5 years ago, but for many of you this will be the first time learning it. I have discussed this with my husband and he is aware of me posting it and is ok with it. While this story does not portray him, well his past, in the most positive light, please know he is a wonderful man, an amazing father, and a loving husband now. He defies the common saying of "once a dog, always a dog."

My husband and I had an awful beginning to our marriage. We had no clue how to function as a married couple and the emotional closeness we one time shared turned into a vast chasm. Eventually, my husband found another woman and moved out. We filed for divorce and I began to move on, still holding onto hope that we may somehow fix what was wrong. We began to date each other again, and after a few weeks he left his "girlfriend" and we decided to get counseling. Through counseling we both realized the mistakes we were making in our relationship and we began to correct those mistakes. As our relationship improved we then were able to focus on working through the affair itself. On my end, once I realized how my husband was feeling prior to the affair, I understood how it happened and that I was responsible for helping create those feelings in him. Do not get me wrong, I do not accept responsibility for him cheating, just in sharing the responsibility for creating the environment that he felt he needed to cheat. It was in doing that, that I was able to forgive him and move forward as a couple.

We were able to not only salvage our marriage, but to turn it completely around. We never did finalize our divorce and now 5 years later we have 2 more children and are happier than ever before (hence the title of this blog). We no longer take each other for granted and we learned how to communicate effectively. We know what makes each other tick and rather than push those buttons like before, we go out of our way to make sure those things don't happen. The irony of the whole situation is that I trust my husband more now than before. Do I ever think about what happened? Yeah, and I would be lying to say it doesn't still hurt a little, but part of forgiving is not bringing up what happened. We do talk about it when I feel I am thinking about it too much (this happens when hormones are especially high, like when pregnant or experienceing PMS) and my husband tries extra hard to make sure I know our relationship is secure.

So why am I sharing all this with the cyberworld? So often, marriages fail due to problems that could be overcome. I have discovered that communication and forgiveness can not only save a troubled marriage, but turn a humdrum one into a spectacular one. If you have tried and tried to improve the communication in your marriage and it is still troubled, do not be afraid to get counseling. It is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of being human and realizing when you need help. My husband had asked for us to go to counseling in the beginning of our marriage and I refused to believe we had a problem that *I* could not fix. By the time I realized I could not fix it, the damage had been done and my husband did not want to go to counseling. I started the counseling alone (2 sessions) and discovered what I could do to improve things on my end. As I did that, my husband wanted to be a better husband and quickly joined me in the counseling process. If, by sharing what we went through, one marriage can be helped, I will be thrilled.

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