The past few years have been, by far, the worst of my entire life. But my husband's infidelity wasn't the most painful part. Nor was the eighteen months of lies, or hearing him say he was leaving me for good.
The most agonizing part of it all is something I have difficulty explaining.
The four months from when his affair was exposed until he voiced his decision for divorce were unequivocally the most painful I've ever lived through.
He planned to leave me months before he made it official. And as I hung on, wanting to see our marriage restored, he deliberately and willfully messed with my heart.
He kept me on a string like a yo-yo, bouncing between two extremes. He'd push me away and then pull me back again. He'd tell me one day that he was willing to do the hard work of repairing trust and rebuilding our marriage, and the next that he'd never loved me to begin with.
Those months were a living hell for me.
I've blocked out many of the details of that time, but I recently read back through some emails I'd sent friends during those months. And I was horrified by what I read.
Being reminded of how cruelly I was treated made me sick to my stomach.
There aren't words that can do justice to the pain my heart endured at the hands of my husband. The English language simply doesn't run deep enough for that.
I wouldn't wish those things on anyone.
Not even the other woman.
And in the moments when I'm being most honest with myself, I have to admit:
I wish I’d valued myself enough to get out.
I should have made the choice to leave. But I was too afraid.
Afraid of the people who wouldn’t understand my decision. Afraid of being alone. Afraid of not being the good, Godly wife. Afraid to stand up for me.
And while I knew what I would have told anyone else in my position, I couldn’t bring myself to make that same decision for me.
So I stayed in a situation that was harmful and unhealthy. I allowed my husband to continue his cruel and intentional abuse of my heart.
I sacrificed me for the sake of us.
An us that didn’t even exist anymore. An us that he’d walked away from a long time ago. An us that was an ideal rather than a reality.
While I ultimately desired restoration in my marriage, I shouldn’t have clung to that hope at the detriment of my own heart.
Because it just about ruined me.
But yet here I am, another year-and-a-half later, and my heart feels more whole than I ever thought possible.
God is redeeming even this.
He doesn't waste a thing.
Everything can be made new. Everything can be redeemed. Everything can be made whole.