“You have nothing else but God.”

Today’s post was written by “Pansy” for her blog, Pansy and Peony — and she graciously allowed me to re-post it here today.  Pansy is a young and lovely mother of seven, who discovered a year ago that her husband was having an affair.  She wrote to readers for prayers, and has this grateful update.

I was going to edit it for length, but it’s a fairly quick read, and I think you will appreciate her candor and her expressive language.  I found this essay moving and, frankly, fascinating.
Please note:  this essay was written by a real person who has clearly been through enough.  Comments criticizing her actions will be deleted immediately.

UPDATE:  A link to this post also went up on Mark Shea’s blog.
————————-
It’s been nearly one year since I posted this. I was thinking of waiting for the one year mark, mostly because I just didn’t know what to say or how to say it. I also wasn’t sure in my heart until pretty recently that it’s all going to be alright, so I didn’t want to jinx anything. Also, something about the whole St. Blog’s Pantsapalooza Event of 2010 made me think here I am actually in possession of some knowledge I should perhaps pass on. In many of the comboxes, in between the yays and nays for pants, there would be talk here and there of not one, but of few couples someone might know, Catholics with large families, breaking up. I stumbled the other day on a statistic that only 1/3 of couples survive infidelity. I cannot even begin to understand why us. I have no idea, except God allowed, chose, helped…He did it. So I guess it was time to write…something. I hope it’s not lame.

As of now, we are surviving, we are building a new marriage and our old marriage is dead and gone. It’s is withered and decayed and the new one is bright and filled with hope. As of right now, I love my husband more than I ever have. We are not merely “riding it out”. Everything is new again. I place the “blame” on you, Dear People. When this broke, my husband was very lost. He will tell you he was in the darkest place he has ever been. He was evil or surrounded by evil, not sure. He was depressed, he obviously wasn’t thinking straight and the more he made bad choices, the worse he felt, and in turn would make more bad choices. He was just piling more “spiritual muck” onto himself. As Mark Shea says “sin makes you stupid”. So many men I see who take the route my husband have become literally unreachable under all that muck. When you all reached out and prayed, my husband will tell you it was around that time he started to wake up and come out the fog. This wasn’t an immediate process and at first, he fought it, but it was a way for God to grab him and take hold and slowly start clearing that muck away.

I cannot underestimate the practical help as well, the donations, the words of encouragement. I was…hysterical. I was scared, confused. At the time, the kind words I read and the support kept me going. I desperately needed it because while I was receiving support here, I was hearing equally…um, “non-supportive” words from some of the icky people my husband allowed to influence him. One of his family members told me it was my fault because I had so many kids. Seven is ridiculous, I should have stopped at three and my husband clearly didn’t want any more but I refused to listen. I must have had those kids to keep him around. She, other family, the girlfriend all told me it was because I “was a bad wife”. So yes, hearing encouraging words was necessary at that point because I didn’t know what was right, what was happening, what was real and my self-esteem struck a huge blow so it was easy to believe I deserved it all for doing things like having children, and being a boring housewife.

The donations helped in more ways than the obvious as well. My husband left and came home in February. Yes, he did support us, but in his very “rational” state, he did not think about what it costs to support a family of 8 in one spot and the cost of supporting himself in the New York City area 3 hours away prior to leaving. The donations helped with practical matters, but it also gave me a great deal of confidence that some how, some way, if things go badly, I’ll make it. I think it also sent a signal to him that despite surrounding himself with nitwits like the family members I described who had his ear, most people looked down on his actions to the point they were willing to donate money! (Incidentally, when this happened, I became adept at finding email accounts, decoding passwords and an ex girlfriend came out the woodwork who had been lurking on this blog to congratulate him on finally getting rid of the “old ball and chain”, to tell him to contact her and to let him know “do you know she’s asking for donations?” I deleted it.)

There has been talk that maybe people should not say bad things about Bud McFarlane Jr for leaving his wife in the comboxes lately. No. He should know that the general population looks down on such actions. Admonish the sinner. It’s not simply for the sake of “siding” with Bai, but for the sake of his own soul. My husband, on his own accord went to confession, and spent an half hour bringing the priest up to speed. Mass that day, ended up starting late because of it. I’m not sure if that would have happened if things did not play out the way they did. Every piece of this had it’s purpose.

So what happened? I cannot even begin to start, it would take a book. It was the hardest year of my life. I now have grey hair, crows feet. I have these permanent bags under my eyes from crying everyday (great product: ).

I can say that this was a spiritual battle for sure. At first our progress was teeny tiny baby steps and a lot of uncertainty. It wasn’t until late June that I decided I would stay married to him. Before that, I don’t think he was certain about staying married to me until February-when he decided he wanted the marriage, I was sick, fed up, done with him. Since June, the progress was slow and then started snowballing. Spiritually, each time we made a large step at progress, Satan was right there with a rebuttal. Every stinking time. This is still the case. It’s almost immediate. We actually can see it for what it is and more and more it gives me the confidence that we are “meant to be”. The only way things will continue to work from here on out is relying on prayer and the sacraments. Satan has a foothold in our lives. No way around that.

I want to share some things I learned for anyone going through this:

1. Pray, pray, pray. You have nothing else but God. I made the Novena to the 13 Blessed Souls a few times, the St. Rita I don’t know how many times. Our Lady Undoer of Knots, St. Jude, St. Joseph the Flying Novena to the Infant of Prague in addtion to tons of rosaries, Chaplets of Divine Mercy, the Angelus everyday for months. I said a Magnificat every time it popped into my head. I don’t even know how many novenas I made. I begged for prayers. I debated a lot between telling people and asking for prayers and keeping my dirty laundry to myself. It’s a tough call because people who love you and see you suffer will not want you to reconcile with your spouse, which is 150% completely understandable. Still, I think the reason my husband turned around was the prayers.

There will be times when you will doubt if God even exists. Pray harder then.

2. Read Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson. And/or implement the “180″ as soon as possible. This will keep your head on straight when you think you are loosing it, and may help get your marriage back-if that is what you wish.

On a side note: we Catholics do a good job in having a preliminary outline how to keep a marriage Godly. We do not have a lot of resources to turn to when things go bad. we have Retrouvaille, but that works only after both parties decide to work it out. There is nothing to stop a man (or woman) in stuck in “the fog” dead in his tracks and let him know what he’s doing. We need something. Now. Maybe Greg can help us with that?

3. Take care of yourself. I did a little, but only after everyone else was tended to. I would only work-out as reward if I finished all my chores, which of course, were never finished. I figured once the kids were gown and out, I’d have “me” time again. Through all this I was tired, defeated, depressed. I started drinking. By most people’s standards, not heavily, but I know I wasn’t doing it “for the right reasons”. So instead, I knew I needed an outlet and it would either be negative (drinking) or positive. I hit the gym, I started getting pedicure, I actually bought clothes for myself, I decided to try once a week and get to a restaurant if I could. Being cheated on is a huge self-esteem killer. People stopping you constantly and telling you how good you look, and then finding out you had seven kids, and in front of your husband…priceless!

4. Sacramentals. I said before this is a spiritual battles. Holy water, blessed oil, blessed salt. I mixed all three up and made crosses with it over every window, every doorway. I spiked my husband’s food…

5. Get support from people who have been through this. People who have been through this have a very unique perspective. It all seems very black and white, cut and dry until it happens to you.

7. Outside professional help. Get counseling/therapy. Find a priest or a few and talk to them. Appraise your medical doctors, midwives, pediatricians what’s going on. My family practitioner knows everything. I have found myself in the emergency room a number of times this year and since my doctor knows what is happening in my life, diagnosing the problems was easy. Did anyone know that you could have panic attacks in your stomach? I didn’t.

6. Some good books:

Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson

Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

The Love Dare

Here’s one I haven’t read, but I want to read desperately:

Transcending Post-infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD): The Six Stages of Healing by Dennic C. Ortman

The Bible!!!! This is nothing new and it’s nothing the good book didn’t warn about. Read Proverbs 5

Websites:

Marriage Builders

Surviving Infidelity

Four Stages of Grief (apparently, I’m at “anger” right now).

Lastly, I’m talking mostly about me here. I’m talking a lot about what my husband did wrong. I give a lot of credit for the prayers and help people gave me, but I have to also give credit to my husband. It takes a lot to totally admit you are wrong and to allow God to break you down and build you back up again into a new person. I have not made it easy. Yes I prayed, yes I tried to stay “right”, but I haven’t been a saint on this journey. I’ve been downright evil and wretched at times. The fact that he stayed when he was unsure if he should to begin with, when he was not raised with a background where people are married is simply amazing. The fact that not only did he decide to stay, but change, that he recognized his bad choices were not the key to happiness…many people can’t or do not even know how to not exist in their lies.

7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance. ~Luke 15:7

Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • gussie

    Prayers for you this morning. Sounds hopeful!

  • Renee

    What beautiful courage. Thank you for this and you’re in my prayers. Keep the rest of us in yours please!

  • http://themoleshollow.blogspot.com/ Becca

    It is an amazing thing to see grace so clearly in this post. Prayers for you and your marriage!

  • Denise

    What beautiful courage indeed. God bless Pansy for her honesty and witness to hope after a horrible, frightening journey. May God continue to bless her and her husband’s efforts to trust again and heal!

    We knew a (non-Catholic) couple that broke up, and I saw clearly that evil advice vs. good advice working in the guy’s life – and sometimes the evil advice came from people I had (before this) liked and trusted and thought would support both the husband and wife! It was a losing battle for the few of us who begged him to try counseling, etc.

    I hadn’t realized the gap in concerted Catholic support/help for couples for are struggling in their marriage but are not ready for Retrouvaille. There must be so many – I hope that it can be addressed.

  • Charity

    Tears and prayers …

  • justine

    Thank you, both Simcha and Pansy for sharing this.

  • http://stmonicasbridge.wordpress.com Kristen @ St Monica’s Bridge

    This brought tears to my eyes. Fear, anger, betrayal, those feelings we most associate with infidelity can consume. Thank you for sharing and asking for prayers. God gave you a life-saver and you grabbed hold. Prayers continuing for you, your husband and your family.

  • Elizabeth Butina

    Pansy, God bless you and your family. I don’t know you, but have thought of you and prayed for you. I’m very happy to learn things are going well.

  • Sherry

    Did not know this story, but prayers and humbled by the show of grace, faith, courage and love in this post.

  • Elaine Miletic

    My son-in-law was unfaithful and they tried to stay together; she said she wanted to forgive him and wanted her marriage to last, so they stayed together. However, neither one has the Lord, both having rejected her Catholic upbringing, so that they had no resources. They did not go to counselling. They just tried to handle it on their own. Needless to say the anger grew daily. They are now separated and in the process of a divorce. Infedelity is like a sword piercing through the heart of a marriage, and I sincerely see no way for a couple to survive it apart from the total regeneration of the marriage by Christ Jesus. Your story will be a glorious witness to what God can do in the worst of circumstances when invited and allowed to do as He pleases. Even though we don’t submit overselves totally to Him, He is glorious in goodness toward us in that he makes new creatures out of the little we are able to give to Him!

  • Amy

    God bless you both for your strength and courage. I wish my parents could’ve felt the same. Its been almost thirty years since they split and I look at them now and think they wish they had tried to work things out. If only they had a stronger faith. I’ll be praying for you!

  • Sheila

    Thank you, Pansy, for sharing this story of love and grace. I don’t know you, but I have followed your blog for a long time because I value your sharp, perceptive mind and fresh voice. God bless and keep you both.

  • rh

    This is so beautiful. You are amazing, Pansy! You’re in my prayers.

  • Clare

    So glad to read things are getting better. I read a post last year sometime, cannot remember the names but it was a homeschooling mother of many children who had been a convert to the Catholic faith. Her husband had left and she was trying to hold it together. It must have been you or somebody like you. Anyway I told others about it and also prayed to God for this family situation. So thankful God is allowed to make things new again in your life.

    Take care.

  • http://guardianoftheredeemer.wordpress.com Walt

    You’ve probably noticed the growing number of Catholic Men’s Conferences around the country. Usually, somewhere behind those conferences is a network of parish-based men’s small groups. As a Catholic husband and father of 8, I cannot overstate the benefits of participation in one of these groups. Not a 100% guarantee against infidelity, for sure. But it sure helps when a man can share his weaknesses, temptations, and failures with other men, and receive their compassion, advice, and support…and even allow himself to be held accountable to them if he’s willing to go that far. Such solid brotherhood is simply priceless. Every Catholic wife should encourage her husband to participate in such a group.

  • Daniel

    My good friends parents went thru this way back in the 90s. He took off with his much younger Honey in the midst of a 7-kids most in their teens family time, and the mom was a stay-at-home without work experience since marriage. He was faith-less. She was a devout Catholic. Long story short: she accepted him back 6 years later and today (14 years after reconciling) after a LOT of work and love they are BOTH daily communicants, active parishoners, proud grandparents and a AWESOME inspiring couple. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL.

  • http://VERONICA.GARZA1@VA.GOV VERONICA

    ITS TRUE ALL WE HAVE IS GOD TO TURN TO AND HE WILL NEVER FAIL US.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X