Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gratitude Journal Entry # 8

Gratitude Journal Entry # 8

I am so thankful that my Father in Heaven is loving, full of grace and forgiving. I am so grateful to have a second chance at my marriage. I am so glad I heard the voice of God calling out my sins and calling me back into reality. I am so thankful that I despite my prior disobedience I decided to follow God. He has blessed my life and my marriage 10000000000 times over.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Message Board

Scott and I have started a new habit. It might seem a little silly but it all started with a message board I found on Pinterest. (http://www.lifesweetlifeblog.com/2012/01/free-printable-i-love-you-because.html)




I was so inspired by this board that I made my own. We write notes to each other but have also included the kids.


We love it so much that we not only take the time to write on the "love you" board, but we have added a white board on our refrigerator. At first we started writing notes to each other, but it has evolved into drawing pictures. It might seem silly, but I always look forward to the cute pictures that Scott draws. It makes me laugh. It keeps up connected. One of my love languages is words of affirmation and it means the world to me that Scott takes the time to write me little notes or draw me silly pictures.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Conversation I Will Never Forget

I had pushed God out of my life. I am sure He tried everything to get my attention. Finally, when God was shouting at the top of His lungs, I heard him call my name.

My affair has been brought to light and at this point I was not remorseful about the choices I had made. In fact I was still spending time with Ozzy. I had prolonged my decision making long enough and decided that for my own sanity, I needed to choose who I wanted to be with. I had sent Scott to his parents house for the week and in turn, told Ozzy that I needed the week to think things through. I didn't talk with either man for the entire week. My choice was to start a new life with Ozzy but that was before God got my attention. I ran across the Bible verse from Psalm 37 "Delight yourslef in the LORD and he will give you the desire of your heart."

Twenty four hours ago my bags were pack and I was going to leave my husband for a man I was having an affair with. This verse was a turning point in my decision making and resulted in the following conversation with God:

God's voice called my name, "Shannon, what are you thinking? Are you questioning my plans for you? I know your heart and I know your desires. Of course if you leave Scott I will have a plan for that road-however if you choose to stay on this road, stay with Scott, the plan is amazing! The future might be bumpy at first but it will be more than you ever dreamed. Trust me, Shannon, I know the desires of your heart. Trust me. Love me and delight in me and you will see how amazing life can be."

I fell to the floor weeping. It was so great to hear God call my name, it had been so long. I had given up on God. My sin was too terrible to have God forgive me. But hearing my name reminded me of His sweet grace. He is a God of second chances. "God you are right. Who am I to think I could possibly fulfil my own desires by my own hands. Who am I to question your plan for my life with Scott? God, I know you placed Scott in my life for a reason. I want to delight in you. I want you to give me the desires my heart truly needs. God I don't know how I got to this place, my life is a mess. My marriage is broken. I've lost friends. Help Lord, what am I supposed to do."

"Run to Scott. Say good bye to Ozzy and run full speed back to Scott. He will forgive you. He will take you back. It is going to take work, but your marriage will make it."

I called Ozzy and we made plans to meet the next day.






Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Making A Choice

Making the choice, between staying with my husband or leaving for my lover, was one of the most difficult decisions I had ever made. In the mist of the affair, and during the aftermath, I had no clue how to even go about making the choice. I didn't have family or friends who were very helpful because none of them had been in a similar situation. I felt as if the world was weighing on my shoulders. I wanted to protect everyone who was involved from being hurt any further. Different books have all agreed that taking your time to make the decision is important. Several books have mentioned that deliberation should take a couple of months so that you have a chance to pull yourself out of your fantasy world and regain your emotions.

If you find yourself in an affair and needing to make the choice between stay or leave there are a few things you should consider before making your decision:

  1. Be deliberate with your decision. Take the necessary time to weigh your options. 
  2. Don't make your decision on feelings alone. Feelings change. The more time and energy you invest in a relationship the stronger you will feel towards them. If you are in an affair, you are spending your time and energy with wanting to be with him/her. What would happen if you put your time and energy into your marriage?
  3. Take into consideration that your relationship with your affair partner is secretive, which brings about more excitement and romance.
  4. In your marriage you have responsibility like paying the mortgage, fixing the leaky facet, and perhaps caring for children.  What would these responsibilities look like with your lover?
  5. Are you willing to work hard to repair your marriage? It is a slow process and you have to be willing to work diligently at it.
  6. Do not make your choice simply by comparing individuals because it is not fair to compare secret romance to a stable long lasting marriage.
  7. Would you still want to divorce your spouse if you knew that down the road your relationship with your lover doesn't work out?
  8. Talk to someone; God, a non-biased friend or family member. Don't be afraid to seek the advice of a counselor.
  9. Take time to be alone. 
  10. Replay your marriage in your mind...what is about your spouse that you love? Why did you choose to marry him/her?
Please don't base your answer off these questions alone. These are just some questions to help you make a decision. Take the time to research by reading some books about affairs. Please take the time to realize that you are in two very different situations. Take your time and carefully make your decision. Also, know that you are not the only one with a decision to make. Your spouse has biblical grounds for a divorce. They too need to take the time to think about fighting for their marriage, working on the relationship and forgiveness.



Reading Suggestions:

After the Affair, Updated Second Edition: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been UnfaithfulTorn AsunderNot

 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making Up My Mind

My secret was revealed. My husband found out from a friend that I was having an affair with Ozzy. I had tried so long to hide my tracks, keeping the affair a secret for as long as I could. 
Despite the fact that Scott knew about the affair, I still went out Ozzy. I would inform Scott that I was going out and I didn't know what I time I would be back. I was relieved that the secret was out. I wouldn't have to lie anymore. I was not remorseful about my relationship with Ozzy. It felt right. I had no regrets. I loved the person I had become when I was with him. He loved me passionately. I never knew love could feel that way. We talked about what our future would look like. I continued to see Ozzy.

At home, life was unpleasant. I was withdrawn from Scott. I wouldn't let him touch me. In my mind, I knew I needed to stay with Scott. In my heart, I knew I needed to be with Ozzy. I was paralyzed. No matter the choice I made people were going to be hurt. I didn't want the responsibility of hurting someone. I figured if Scott would choose to leave me everything would resolve it's self. BUT Scott chose to fight. The husband that I had known to be emotionally quiet suddenly was wearing his heart on his sleeve. He would tell me how mad he was at Ozzy. He was disappointed in me. He was hurt. He was devastated. My mind was spinning out of control because I was the one who did this to him.
 
 At this point I was getter pressure from both partners to make a decision about what was going to happen next. I felt as if I was sinking in quicksand. My world, in a matter of days, came crumbling down. I needed space to breath. I needed time alone to think without others pressuring me. I sent Scott to his parents house for a week and I told Ozzy that I was going to take the week to make my decision. Both men agreed. I didn't talk to either one of them during that week. I went to work and I came home. 

I didn't know the best way to decide so I tried lots of things. I made a pros and cons list. I made a list of what a future would look like with each person. I cried myself to sleep and agonized over the situation. To take my mind off the problem, I would clean. Scott and I lived in a small 2 bedroom apartment. I scrubbed every inch of that home trying to shut my mind off. My brain felt like mush and my heart was in pieces. 

I made my choice. I decided that I would have a better life if I left Scott to be with my lover. I was going to ask Scott for a divorce and start my life over. I was sad for the fact that I messed up the marriage. He deserved better. I was excited to have made a choice. I was looking forward to spending a life time with a man who passionately loved me the way I needed to be loved.

I continued to cleaned our apartment. I was dusting the book shelves in the living room. I removed all the items on the top shelf dusted them and the shelf and neatly returned each item to its spot. I moved to the second shelf and was about the remove all the items when I came across a small gift we had received at our wedding. It was a set of scripture cards. I took it in my hand and read the card that was on the front:

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.~Psalm 37:4 "

I fell to the ground, tears streaming down my face, I cried out to God. What was I doing? What have I done? I caused all this to happen all because I was looking for my own desires. Who am I to decide what my desires are?  I was not delighting in the LORD I was running in the opposite direction. I had been running from God, but God was the answer this whole time. I was selfish and living in sin. God put Scott in my life for a reason. God knows my desires better then I could and I wanted to know what God's plan was.

I knew that the road before me was going to be a difficult one. I had to say goodbye to my best friend, lover and soul mate. I had a marriage to mend. I had a lot of explaining to do.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude Journal Entry # 7


Gratitude Journal Entry # 7

I love to laugh. This week I am grateful for humor. I am glad that my parents knew how to take the time to make us laugh. Laughter heals the soul and makes bad situations better. I can think of a couple of times that humor really changed the outcome of bad situations. (Sorry, both these examples involve elderly people. I love the elderly very much and I am not picking on them.)


females,people,persons,signs,symbols,women,women's bathrooms,women's restrooms,women's toiletsIn high school, my BFF and I were having an argument in the ladies restroom over a boy. I know big shock right. Well, we were fighting back and forth when a cute elderly lady entered the restroom. My BFF and I were quietly arguing when all of a sudden the older lady let out a humongous toot*...my best friend look at me, we covered out mouths and ran for the door as quickly as we could before laughter erupted from us. That old lady and her gas, saved my friendship.

One day, while driving in the car, Scott and I were having a heated discussion. I don't remember what the discussion was about but it was not sitting well with either of us. We were stopped at a red light, when all of a sudden an elderly man, who had the right of way, sprinted across the road. His little old legs moved so quickly. As he ran, he didn't bend his knees behind him, nope! He ran with his legs out straight in front of him, almost like he was high stepping.  Scott and I looked at each other and all the tension in the car melted away.

"Above all else: go out with a sense of humor.  It is needed armor.  Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life. " ~Hugh Sidey

"Humor is the great thing, the saving thing.  The minute it crops up, all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place. " ~Mark Twain
 




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Betrayed and Confused (Scott's perspective)

My wife has asked me to write a post about the day I found out about her double life.  I know that God has a plan for our story.  I know that Shannon will help countless people that are going through what we went through.  I know that we can provide hope and encouragement when the world seems to be crashing in around them.  Even though I know all of this, it is still very hard to write about those days.  We have talked to people about our past before, but for some reason, sitting down and thinking about the details, writing about events in a more chronological order, and thinking about how we actually felt at different times of the story really brings back the emotional turmoil that I went through.  I have never been the type of guy to rub other's mistakes in their faces.  I grew up learning to forgive and forget.  Everyone makes mistakes and it doesn't do anyone any good to continually remind them of things they have done wrong in the past.  For this reason, it is still very hard for me to talk about my wife's sin openly.  I don't want her to feel like I am rubbing it in or somehow trying to say I am a better person or deserve different things.  I certainly don't.  I have my own sin's I struggle with and I am not going to let her take the full blame for her affair.

I grew up in a christian home, full of love and support.  My dad worked extremely hard to provide for our family.  This is the example I had of how a marriage works.  Shannon was going to school so I naturally took on the burden of earning income for the house.  I worked at a Pizza Hut as a shift manager and I was good at it.  I was immersed in all things of the store and was well on the path of moving up in the world should I ever want to.  The hours were completely opposite of Shannon's, but that was OK with me.  We still had a couple days off a week together and it would only be until she was done with classes.  In any case, we didn't see each other very much.  I did begin to notice her withdrawing from me emotionally, but I just figured it was the stress from her classes and the little time we got together.  I was too busy with work to give any of the other signs much thought.  I even vaguely remember a conversation we had one evening after I got home from work.  I was physically and mentally exhausted from a real late night at Pizza Hut.  I just wanted to come home and go to sleep.  I thought Shannon was asleep already when I got home so I just slipped into bed and dozed off.  Little did I know that we were about to have a conversation that should have changed our lives.  She woke me up a little while after I'd laid down.  It turns out she wasn't sleeping, but she was struggling with something that happened that day and really really needed to talk about it.  Being the good husband I was, I sleepily told her we can talk and promptly fell back to sleep.  I was exhausted, seriously, but when your wife wants to talk guys, get out of bed, stand up, splash water on your face, jump in the tub with ice cubes, do ANYTHING but fall back to sleep!  Anyway, she woke me again and this time I tried to sit up and really listen.  She mentioned that she was out with Ozzy that night just talking in the park.  She told me that at the end of the night, he kissed her, and she kissed back.  WHAT?  Most people would freak out right?  The reasonable thing to do would have been to get out of bed, yell and scream, throw a pillow, respond in some angry way right?  Well, I am telling you, I was EXHAUSTED.  I was working too much and too hard to react in any reasonable way.  What did I do?  I kissed her forehead, gave her a loving hug, told her I forgive her and went back to sleep.  Honestly at the time I thought I was being the good guy.  Like I said, I like to forgive and forget.  It comes very easy for me.  For her to stay up late and have the courage to tell me was enough punishment, I was perfectly happy leaving it at that and moving on with our wonderful marriage.  Shannon said later that my reaction had a hidden message of uncaring.  Me showing no emotion what-so-ever to her kiss, told her that I didn't really care about her at all.  Certainly the opposite message that I thought I had given her.  After that night, things went on without her telling me about them.  I thought we were back to normal and she thought that I didn't care at all.  Definitely a great foundation for a marriage :).

I don't remember how long it was after that before I found out just how much worse my marriage was.  I do remember that I was in charge at Pizza Hut that night, going about business as usual.  It was another busy night and we were already short handed.  I was working with one of my best friends who was also a shift manager, but he was just helping out as a peon that night.  It was past the busiest time of the night, but we still had a lot of business when he got a phone call from his wife that changed my life.  All of the sudden, the world stood still.  You see these scenes in the movies of people freaking out, unable to focus on things around them and it appears that everything is spinning out of control.  Well, let me tell you, that is exactly what it feels like.  Betrayal, anger, confusion, hatred, love all spinning around in your head at one time, it's amazing that I didn't pass out on the spot.  Suddenly, nothing else mattered.  I have to give my friend credit, he was amazingly helpful that night.  He took over all the management responsibilities and let me leave.  I left everything behind and just want for a walk to try and get my mind around the events that were unfolding.  Our store was conveniently right by a park by a lake, a great place to grieve and yell at God.  Our God is wonderful, he allowed me to let out all my emotion and take it out on him.  He was there for me to cry, for me to shout my confused questions, and to hold me when I finally calmed down.  I eventually came back to the store to help close, I didn't really want to go home just then anyway.  I finally woke up from my dream that everything was going the way it was supposed to.  After my walk in the park with God, I knew two things.  I was going to fight for my marriage with everything I had and I was also going to give it all up to God.  If Shannon was going to leave me for Ozzy, there was nothing I could do about it.  It was up to God to take the reigns of our marriage and for me to stand back and watch the magic happen.  Let me tell you, amazing things happen when you finally get out of God's way.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Secret is Out

Ozzy and I walked hand in hand down the halls of the mall. We were on our way to the movies. We sat in a over-sized chair together and he put his arm around me. We were comfortable. We were in love. We were spotted by a very close friend of mine who happened to be working at the mall.

My friend didn't come up and say hi to us...instead that friend called her husband, who happened to be working with my husband. Oh, did I mention that, this night, my husband was at work. Ozzy is not my husband, but rather the lover who I had been secretly been seeing for some time. My husband had no idea what I was doing behind his back. I am sure he must have noticed me withdrawing from his affection and my staying out late. He must have noticed that I was spending all my time with my best friend, Ozzy.

My brain has pushed lot of this memory out of my mind. Until this point, I was happy. Yes I was lying and cheating and breaking my marriage vows. I was happy to be with Ozzy. He was my soul mate and the love I was meant to be with. When my husband found out about the affair I was having, I remember his laid back personality tensing up like a tiger on the prowl. The husband I married never showed much emotion, and when everything was laid on the table, Scott was angry, betrayed, and afraid to trust others.

While working, Scott's boss pulled him aside and relayed the information that I was seen at the mall with Ozzy and that we were holding hands. Scott asked to leave work early while he tried to wrap his head around everything that just happened.

In the days that followed, I told Scott that I wasn't sure what I wanted. I didn't know if I wanted to fix our marriage. Whenever Scott and I were together he asked many questions regarding the details of the affair. I was shocked that he would want to know and at first I didn't want to tell him anything. I wanted to keep everything a secret. It was my secret. I was also trying to protect Ozzy, because that is where my heart was.

However, when I was with Ozzy after the secret had been opened to the world, he seemed to be frustrated and a bit withdrawn. I remember him telling me he was sad for Scott. I felt terrible because here I was, the very person who caused this mess...now dealing with hurt everywhere I looked. I was sad because I didn't know what I wanted to do. I didn't know who I wanted to choose. I didn't want to hurt anyone any longer so I prolonged making any type of decision regarding the future. Scott told me that he was willing to fight for our marriage. Ozzy told me that he needed me and that we could start over. No matter the choice I made, someone was going to get hurt more. In my opinion, losing love is one of the most painful experiences in life and I was the one with the responsibility of choosing.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gratitude Journal Entry # 6

Gratitude Journal Entry # 6


I am grateful for song writers and singers who can take truth from the Bible and put them to a song. These songs really help me remember the Word of God and keep them close to my heart. I sing these songs to myself as a prayer to God. Here is one particular song that I have been singing a lot of lately.

 Create in Me a Clean Heart

Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me
Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me

Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord
And take not Thy holy spirit from me
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me

Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me
Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me

Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord
Take not Thy holy spirit from me
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me

Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me
Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me

Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord
Take not Thy holy spirit from me
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Avoiding Fatal Attraction"


Dr. Shirley Glass - NOT 'Just Friends'




I have been re-reading a book entitled, "Not "Just Friends" Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity." It is written by Shirley P. Glass, Ph.D. with Jean Coppock Staeheli. This book is very informative and gives insight into the process of an affair from 3 different view points; the betrayed partner, the unfaithful partner and the unmarried affair partner.I wanted to pull out one section from the book that offers a few tips on how to "Avoiding Fatal Attraction". It's found at the end of chapter 1. You can find out more about this book and author here at http://www.shirleyglass.com/bookmain.htm

 
 
"Most of us would not want to live in a world where we didn't feel some magnetic attraction to otgher people. But it does make sense to develop personal strategy for protecting yourself and your relationships from the fallout of acting on such impulses. People who know how to safeguard a long-term relationship may not be able to say exactly how they do it, but you can be sure that they follow, consciously or unconsciously, these basic guidelines:

  • Know that attraction is normal. But just because you feel it doesn't mean you have to act on it. Being attracted to someone else doesn't mean that you've chosen  to be with the wrong person.
  • Don't let yourself fantasize about what it would be like to be with that other person
  • Don't flirt.
  • Avoid risky situations."

I know these tips seem so simple and easy.  A no-brainier. If you have not sat down with your spouse and set limits and rules for conduct with the opposite gender, please take the time to do so. Come up with a personal strategy to protect your marriage.





Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Living a Double Life

I had gotten myself involved in an emotional affair that turned physical. The more physical we got the deeper the emotional aspect took root in my heart. I was in love with this man and yet, I was still in love with my husband. At this time, my husband, Scott, had no clue about the affair. At first, it was a little tricky for me to cover up any evidence, but as the affair went on, the lies slipped so quickly from my lips that I didn't even have time to realize what I was saying. I was wrapped up so tightly in a double life that it is shocking to me now as I reflect on my past.

Scott and I had opposite schedules at this time in our marriage. This worked well for the affair but was devastating to our marriage. I spent my mornings in class, while Scott was home sleeping. Weekends I had a little more time with Scott in the morning before he had to rush off to work but  I focused my time and energy on my school work. I was studying to become a preschool teacher. I was stressed about student teaching for a second term. I was nervous and a bit uncomfortable about my new role as a wife. I was worried about our fiances. Scott and I would go out together once in a while and have fun. We would take walks or play cards. I was never "in the mood," and often avoided physical contact with Scott. Overall, I was becoming very withdrawn from Scott, but he didn't seem to notice.

I spent the evenings with Ozzy, while Scott was working. I was much more laid back with Ozzy. I didn't have to worry about money, school, or learning to be a wife. I found that when I was with Ozzy, I wore my heart on my sleeve. He was so easy to talk to. He was a great listener and really showed compassion towards the things that were going on in my life. When we were together, we almost always had fun. We went bowling, to the movies, for long walks, shopping, drinking...the list goes on and on. I didn't have  to worry about life and I could let my worries melt away.

I was very good at living in two worlds. I was compartmentalizing my life and it was getting easier and easier. I spent a lot of time thinking about what my life would be like if I would choose to leave Scott.  At first, when I was with Ozzy, I was really careful about the places that we went because I didn't want to bump into someone I knew while I was doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing. But I didn't spent much time thinking about what would happen if Scott ever found out. As the affair went on, I cared less about who knew my dirty little secret. I confidently held Ozzy's hand as we walked in places that other might see us. And then one day, while Ozzy and I were walking hand in hand at a local shopping mall, it happened. A friend of mine saw us from a distance. My double life was exposed.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gratitude Journal Entry # 5

Gratitude Journal Entry # 5 

I am so very grateful that the Bible reminds me of the hope I have in God. There are so many people in the Bible that struggled with sin yet God still choose them to be His. God used them for good. David, a man who committed adultery and tried to cover it up with murder, was known as "a man after God's heart." David loved God and learned to find real joy. David always repented and turned to God. I am so grateful that David is such a powerful example of faith and joy.


For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.