I learned a hard lesson this year. A lesson that I never thought I would learn and a lesson that quiet honestly I would have rather not had to learn. In April of 2013 I found out my spouse was addicted to pornography. I was shocked. My world turned upside down. I didn't know how to react and didn't know what to do next. I felt like my whole marriage was a facade. Nothing was actually real and he couldn't have really loved me, right? I reached out to those around me for support and direction. We were given support groups to attend, books to read, programs to look into and therapists to see. It seemed like a lot to do but something that would help solve "the problem." My husband started attending meetings and was doing well, I thought.
I very clearly remember telling him "One more time and I'm done. You mess up and I'll file for divorce." I gave him the WORST ultimatum that I could have given at that point in time. In my mind I thought it would be enough of a "threat" to keep him away from the "temptation". I thought at the time I would "save" him by telling him what he needed to do in order to keep our marriage in tact. What I didn't know is that I was pushing him away.
He didn't need me to "save" him. He needed to save himself. He needed to have the desire to change for himself with me supporting him through the hard, trial filled, imperfect journey he had in front of him. Looking back I wish more than anything my response would have been "We will get through this. We can do this together. There will be bumps in the road and that is ok because we will be honest and open with each other."
I didn't realize how detrimental my word choice was until I was told by my husbands ex-mistress that "He didn't tell you he messed up six months after he told about his problem because he was afraid you would leave." Yes you read that right. My husband through a series of choices that ruined a friendship, trust, and marriage, had an affair.
As you can tell, by me posting this on this blog, it is something we are both very open about. It has shaped us, created a stronger bond, and made us realize that keeping our story to ourselves will hold back the benefit of so many others.
How do I heal from the regret that I have? How can you learn from my regret? That is something that I know all too well. In the moments of hurt, I pause. In the moments of betrayal, I pray. In the moments of distress, I take a break and realize that my words will not be taken back. I want to handle each of those moments with love and compassion. Each moment we interact, communicate, or parent we have the chance to shape the way those around us view themselves. We have the chance to shape the way those around us view each other. We have moments to create memories of love instead of memories of regret.