This is my story. A story I have wanted to share before, but out of fear, I have kept silent. I have begun to share my story with friends and family, and each time I do, I meet someone whose heart has been shattered by the same pain that shattered mine. As God opened my eyes to the truth that I am not alone in my journey, I have decided to share my story here. My only goal is to encourage other women with similar stories to mine and to walk with them on the most difficult journey of their lives. So with shaky hands, tear-filled eyes, and a racing heart, I begin.
I wish I could say betrayal hasn’t happened in my marriage or that I have no idea how being betrayed feels.
But I do.
Unfortunately I understand too well the devastation that follows betrayal in marriage. I understand too well the heart shattering truth that my marriage was filled with lies. I also understand that I am not the only one who is familiar with the pain of intimate betrayal. So today, I want to speak to you: the woman who has walked this difficult road. Today I want to reassure you of five truths that might be difficult to believe about yourself, especially if the discovery of betrayal is relatively new in your life.
Here are five truths for you to hold onto as you walk the difficult road of betrayal.
Truth #1: You are not alone.
A few weeks ago I walked into a support group for women with stories like mine. As I opened the door, tears filled my eyes. These were not tears of sadness, but tears of relief. Looking around the room of strangers, I felt safe. I felt safe because I knew in this place I was not alone.
In the early days of discovery, I didn’t want to tell anyone my story. I was so embarrassed that “this” had happened to me. Every Sunday when I walked into church I felt like a fraud wondering if people would know just by looking at me what was going on in my personal life. And even though I was faithful in my marriage, I was still ashamed.
I isolated myself from church events because I didn’t think anyone could relate to the trials I was facing. I didn’t share my struggle with anyone at work because it seemed inappropriate. And I didn’t even tell many friends because I wanted to protect my image. All of these decisions left me feeling more alone.
Now, three years later, I have begun to share my story with other women. And, sadly, many women can relate. I go to coffee almost every week with a different AMAZING woman who shares a similar story. I know you feel alone, but you aren’t. If you feel alone and want to talk to someone who has walked a mile in your shoes, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I personally check this email and would love to connect with you.
Truth #2: You are not crazy.
A few years ago when I first found out about the betrayal I felt crazy. One minute I would do anything to save my marriage, and the next minute I was filled with hatred. One day I sat on my bathroom floor with tears streaming down my face hour after hour. I was so broken I couldn’t move. The next day I would feel like I could win a boxing match with the energy fueled by my anger. I felt like a crazy person, and I was exhausted from the roller coaster of emotions.
As I’ve listened to the stories of other women, I have heard over and over again that this roller coaster is normal. When I began counseling, I asked my therapist, “How long will this craziness last?” She told me probably about two years. For me, it did last two years. Now the roller coaster has mellowed out. I still have days that are more emotional than others, but my highs are less high and my lows aren't quite as low. I am not completely off the roller coaster, but I have more stability in my days. I have found a peace that passes understanding that allows me to function in my daily life.
Truth #3: You are beautiful.
When betrayal entered my marriage, I began to question everything about myself. I questioned my worth, my beauty, my body, my talents, my parenting skills, my abilities at work, my abilities to do anything in life. As my world crashed down around me, I didn’t know up from down.
But hear me friend, you are beautiful. Your partner's choice to betray you is not because you aren't beautiful. It isn't because you haven't lost the baby weight. It isn't because you cut your hair. It isn't because you wear yoga pants more often than you wear a dress, or that your makeup isn't done or that house isn't clean.It has nothing to do with your body or your beauty.
I know this is one of the biggest lies you will be tempted to believe, but please hear me, friend. You are beautiful. The same God that created the mountains created you. The same God that carved out the seas, carved your sweet face. The same hands that hung the stars in the sky wove you together in your mother's womb. Nothing can change that truth.
Truth #4: You will survive.
When I told my best friend about the devastation she told me one thing, “You are the strongest woman I know.” Surviving betrayal in your marriage will be one of the most difficult things you will ever face. For me, it has changed my life forever, but not all for the bad.
Three years ago this week, I committed to use this part of my story to grow deeper in my walk with Jesus and to become the woman I could have never become without walking this lonely road. I don't have it all figured out, but I do know that committing to getting well and not letting this destroy you is the first step in finding victory in your life.
Truth #5: You are chosen.
During one key moment in my healing process, Jesus spoke these words of truth to me:
“You don’t have to be chose by a man to be chosen.”
Rejection and betrayal wreak havoc on our self-esteem. But listen, my friend:
Jesus died for you. He chose you. And now you have the opportunity to choose yourself. For many years I sacrificed myself thinking that my sacrifice was a way to show love to others. But I discovered the hard way, that sacrificing myself, just meant I wasn’t choosing me. I was neglecting my needs. I wasn’t working out. I wasn’t spending time with Jesus. I was working all the time and every minute I wasn’t working I was giving to my family. I lost myself somewhere in those dark years.
But now, I have the privilege of finding myself again. And I often find myself at the feet of the One who chose me before I was born. My Savior and My King: Jesus.
One of my commitments as I work through this trial is to continue to choose me. I was important enough for Jesus to die for, so I am important enough to prioritize in my own life. And so are you.
I don’t know where you are on your journey, but I’m glad that God allowed our paths to cross. I am committed to walk with you along this difficult journey. In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing more with you about my next steps in supporting you through your betrayal. But for now, I have one extra piece of love I’d like to share with you. It is three keys I would share with you if I could sit down with you face-to-face. These three keys helped me jump start my own healing process. I would love to share them with you.
You can grab them here: 3 Keys to Jump Start Your Healing Process.
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