Religion was always very important to me. My WS was very religious, and it's partly what attracted me to him. He used to say things about how he believed that being faithful included being faithful in your mind, such as things like not watching porn or staring at other women. He used to quote bible verses all the time, and talk about what it meant to him to be a good partner or husband. I LOVED that about him.
And then he had a ONS and a 3 month A. And now I can't stand it if someone quotes a Bible verse at me. It makes me sad, because religion used to be a big part of my life.
I have been insisting on him doing IC or us doing MC, and he found a husband/wife couple that does MC for couples going through infidelity. They do it as part of their church, but the husband is a physician assistant. My WS met him when he got tested for STDs after Dday, and we are going to meet with them next week for counseling. I'm feeling very anxious about it. I'm worried that they are going to say something like he won't cheat again because it's the moral thing to do, or quote Bible verses at me about forgiveness. I could be completely wrong and they could be good, but I'm nervous.
I feel bad that Bible verses upset me now. I've always been religious, and I hate that the A distanced me from that.
We occasionally have discussions that include Christianity now that I'm stronger. Generally speaking, though, I'm like you. I simply cannot and will not abide bringing religion into a discussion if someone is trying to tell me what to do or how to live my life. I am VERY careful in what I will allow myself to listen to or even sit still & pretend to listen to.
P.S. If you don't like bible verses, don't read my tag line. ;-)
And then I realized it wasn't my faith that failed me, it was my very human husband who did.
**If I edit I'm correcting a typo!**
My IC is a Christian counselor, but in our very first meeting I told her how I'd had my faith used against me and would not be open to any discussions of theology.
Maybe I'll try that next week. I'm still very religious.. but I don't feel like religion is the solution to infidelity. I feel like WS has personality issues that religion can't fix.
He keeps saying that he knows what he did wrong, and he won't do it again. But it's just not that simple to me. I don't think he ever thought that he would do it the first time, but he very clearly did. He doesn't see the need for counseling. He is willing to go to counseling since I'm depressed and struggling, but he doesn't think that he needs it. He thinks he can just say that it won't happen again, and that's enough.
Then came DD 3. Not only was my world rocked but my faith was rocked too. My relationship with God has been on a roller coaster as much as my relationship with my husband.
Even though I know in my mind my husband did this to me, I still struggle with why and how this was allowed to happen in our lives, especially when I was praying so fervently for our marriage and for protection from further infidelity.
After DD 2 we were in crisis and our pastor was out of town. He referred us to a pastor and his wife (a counselor) to talk to us. They did not throw bible verses at us. They did pray before and after. Mostly we talked about what was going on and they gave us some guidance. Validated our feelings etc.
We have since seen several Christian counselors and I don't really recall any of them using verses in our sessions.
The whole counseling process is nerve wracking. It does gt better and you might even find that you look forward to it.
I know my first IC appt after my 3rd DD there was a mix up and my appt didn't get put in the book. I broke down in tears when they told me she couldn't see me that day. I so needed to purge all that had been going through my mind.
DD 1: 3/12 numerous PA from 95-05 resulted in me confessing to brief PA prior to marriage
DD 2: 4/12 RA with prost.
DD 3: 11/12 RA with old professor
Hoping for R but doubtful
Except it wasn't this experience...it was the experience of being raised by a father who had been abandoned by his father's infidelity, followed by his own affair, my mother's RA, and ultimately their divorce.
I was raised in a devoutly religious home. Our family was supposed to be together forever. There were "sacred" temple ceremonies and covenants and all kinds of made up scripture. Polygamy was a part of our family history for many generations. Men were catered to, and women were taught they could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven by their own merit. I was taught from a very young age that I could never be "worthy" enough to go to Heaven without a "worthy" husband to grant me access.
When I was 18, I was supposed to be looking for a "worthy" man to marry quickly so he could get laid and I could start having babies.
Or at least that's how I saw it.
I went to college and started my nursing career instead.
By the time I was 23, I was done with the whole rig-ama-roll. I was the 1st person in 6 generations to walk away from all of it, and never look back.
My mother followed.
And my brothers.
Meanwhile, my father still claims the entire fraud as truth and found himself a new family, complete with new kids and new dogs. Just like his father had done before him.
I got married when I was 28 to WH. Together we began studying Christianity and the Bible. We found a non-denominational church. We had a family. He serves on our Security Team, we've hosted/led Small Groups, we go to church every weekend........
And he's had multiple affairs over the course of our (almost) 13 year marriage.
This time I haven't lost my faith in God.
I've lost my trust in man.
[This message edited by kickboxer at 8:52 PM, August 22nd (Thursday)]
But instead I found out and realized it wasn't me. I was still ok. I wasn't awful. He figured out what was so broken in himself. So everything does happen for a reason and you may not understand that right now. But don't allow someone who uses religion as their platform to push bible verses down your throat to convince you to stay or that it's wrong to question what he did.
Stick with your gut trust in it you will be ok.
(((( and strength ))))
The OW is a divinity school grad and minister (she left her position in a mainline denomination to head up a non profit). She used her position to start her personal conversations with my H.
After DDay I struggled to get back to attending our church on a regular basis. On one of my first Sundays back guess who walked in? Yep, the OW. We do not even attend a church in her denomination. She had no reason to be there. Needless to say I have not been back often. Even my sacred space was violated.
We are moving to another city and maybe someday I can go back to church. In the meantime, I just pray and try to stay good.
I tell people I am tired but really my heart is broken and I am sad.
Both WH and I are practicing Buddhists and the practice gives me a strength that my Christian roots haven't given me, and results that were tangible that strengthen my belief and my faith in the practice.
I still believe in God and Jesus Christ (contradictory, I know), but I'll explain my choices to them when I get the chance to meet them. However, I'm sure that they'll know my reasons regardless what happens, or what enlightened state I'm in, when I go to meet them.
All that has changed now. I believe that WH needs a religious community and it wouldn't be terrible for the kids either. We joined a temple and are putting the kids through Hebrew school. Amazingly, we all like it. I like that the Jewish religion still believes in stoning adulterers (although not practiced) and the kids like being able to question religious belief. I have read all the stats on repeat offenders and it looks like belonging to a religious community keeps the mistresses away so I'll all for trying it out.
So yeah, I'd say it affected my belief.
Before confessing to the A, he was very caught up in sharing his new philosophy with our two youngest--to be "honest" and "open" with them. I said no way. Funny how he hasn't felt such a need to be "honest" and "open" with them about his A. Funny how that worked out.
Really not sure if WH will return to his religious roots someday or if pride will keep him on the atheist path. Maybe it's conviction? Maybe it's a desire to excuse the "sin" of the A. No God? No commandments.
Back in mid-February, on a long auto trip with him still pretty thick in the fog, we passed a series of road signs listing the 10 commandments, one by one. He, the perennial joker (and, at that moment, CLUELESS), said "9 out of of 10 ain't bad!" NOT hilarious. Recently, I reminded him of that not-so-proud moment and corrected his math. Not only is adultery a "thou shalt not;" so is lying.
Any good counselor(s) will respect your beliefs. If you let the couple know that religion is a sensitive or trigger subject for you right now, they will not risk offending or hurting you.
As for allowing my H to distance me from my spirituality, no way. He's taken quite enough from me: my self-respect, my dignity, my good health, my name, my birthday, my dreams. He's not gonna get my God, too. Drawing a line. God bless!
Has the experience of infidelity tested anyone's religious beliefs?
Over time, our family was hurt by several other people in our denomination...from 3 different congregations, while others either jumped in when they smelled blood, or they looked the other way. All the fallout was because of WH's A.
We tried another denomination, and they told me I was "in sin" because I refused to keep my pain secret. They asked me to never speak derogatorily/never mention the A again. I refused. H went along with me. He too felt they were unreasonable.
I began to wonder why God allowed all this to happen, when I loved Him so much...I still don't know why.
We have not gone to church for a year...we're gun shy. But we have lots of Christian friends from many different denominations/churches. Many of them know about the A, and accept and love us. It feels safe that way.
I never gave up on God, just humans. I did feel far away from him for a few years post A, especially after reading about all the horrible A's and pain that are on the pages of SI.
Eventually when I read the Bible, it was just head knowledge, my heart was dry and numb.
Two weeks ago my heart and soul actually felt God's presence for the first time since the 13 day fast. I can hear His voice speaking to me again.
He didn't leave me, I was just in too much pain, anger and confusion as to be able to hear Him.
I'm hoping that the couple counselors are helpful. They do it for free, and that's good since WS can't afford C. I'm just scared that they're going to tell me I should forgive. Or say it's as easy as doing the right, moral thing. Supposedly, the man had an A, and that's why they counsel other couples now. I feel like it's probably either going to be really helpful or really bad.
I believe he used the A and a week later a tree falling on our house (just inches from where my oldest son was sleeping) to bring us back to Him. Not everyone would agree but I see the tree especially as a sign.
Finally this is R 8/14/13
"Forgiving is a journey; the deeper the wound, the longer the journey".
Yet, the whole time--he was leading a double life. Especially with the OW. How he could knowingly fall "in love" with another woman, knowingly commit adultery almost daily I just can not understand.
When I initially went to my community of faith for problems in our marriage all they could suggest were all the things he was already doing. Such as...ohhh if he just goes to confession than everything will right itself etc...he just needs to talk to a priest...yeah yeah. Perhaps that does help some people. I think it does for some. But, what they didn't get, is that he was already doing those things that are supposed to save you from adultery! We both were very religious/ spiritual already and yet this still happened.
God does not prevent anyone from sinning. Everyone--religious or not--has the same exact ability to sin. We all choose the same. Some people just choose to sin even when they know its wrong.
The thinking that God abandoned me is not the way to go--its that the adulterer abandoned the marriage.
Yet, I don't think most people realize this. They think God will save them from adultery. This is not true. No one saves you from it--everyone must chose their own path. You save yourself. If you don't want to be an adulterer than don't be one.
Anyway--yes faith has been a very integral part of this whole journey. I find for me that I am more reliant upon God now more than ever. Reason being is that I realize that I am on my own in this life. I make my own choices. The only one I answer to is God ultimately. My husband will not be there for me. Nor will anyone else. So in truth the only one I have is myself and God.