I have promised here long time ago to include Charlie’s side of the story. He attempted a few times to write down his thoughts but never got too far with it. I could try to find excuses for him, and probably would find many, but the bottom line is – it still isn’t done. Hopefully some day it will because it’s worth hearing.
He goes away once a year for a “boys weekend away” – a time with his old friends to relax and feel ‘young’ again. Their last trip fell in the same time as the second anniversary of our D-day. Thoughtfully, he left me a letter to read on that day which, after agreeing it with Charlie, I am partially going to share:
“To my darling wife,
Well, by the time you read this I should be safely over the border. Thank you for allowing me to go – on this weekend of all weekends. I am sorry to leave you to the painful memories of two years ago, yet am so grateful to you and thankful to God that we are in a place that this is possible.
The past two years have been an incredible journey together- from the darkest of days to the present where we continue to see such enormous blessing in every area of our life – it’s actually mind blowing! The change in me had been phenomenal and though, I remain less then perfect (!), I am SO MUCH HAPPIER in myself and consequently in our marriage and in our family.
You have given me the space to change. If you had reacted differently, I know I would be alone in a terribly dark place. Your faith in me, your continued belief in me has transformed my life – and I will never, ever forget that. I know that it is your faith in God that allowed you to show me such mercy – and I will never forget your initial reaction to the revelation of my sin – to lead me to salvation. My life, my happiness and my sanity is forever in debt to you.
Two years on, the future continues to shine bright and I know we are safe in God’s hands. We will celebrate the renewal of our vows on the 24th of October and reflect on all the Lord has done for us since we rededicated our marriage to Him.
We are in a great place and I love you with every ounce of my strength. I am committed to you and to our shared future. Please God we will have only brighter days ahead – but no matter what, we will have each other and we will walk through this fallen world together, certain of His protection. I want this blessing for us. (…)
I love you now and always,
And thus, I have reached the end of our story. A story of life, love, betrayal, forgiveness and most of all: salvation. We have been saved from sin, saved from years of bitterness, saved from divorce. Saved to live a joyful life, as a family, in the fullness of God’s blessing.
Three things made it possible: God’s grace, Charlie’s repentance and my forgiveness. We couldn’t have made it without any one of those things.
I know of at least two married couples who split up recently because the husband wanted to follow his new dream. In both cases there are children involved. Both husbands feel completely entitled to exercise their free will in pursuing new relationships without looking at the consequences. Both believe it won’t have any impact on their children because “children are resilient” and “they adapt easily”. It is heartbreaking that a father could actually buy into this way of thinking.
What makes it the hardest to forgive and move on in these situations is the refusal to admit guilt, admit “I hurt you”, refusal to say sorry. The betrayed person gets stuck in its own pain, feeling like it was somehow their fault, like it was them who had failed.
What carried me through our darkest days was the pain I saw in Charlie’s eyes, his presence beside me when I cried, awareness we were in it together. He never tried to shift guilt but looked inside his heart and dealt with the issues that brought us into this mess. In return I found it easier to address my problems knowing he loved me just the way I am: his decision to stay together didn’t depend on me making changes.
If you want to keep hearing from us let me know, otherwise I will say goodbye.
Let all your stories be the happy ending ones. And if you have to go through a valley of darkness and brokenness, let God use it for your advantage because “…we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28
And be sure to remember as well that:
“…I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
He is the Only One you can trust and He will never disappoint you.