Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: What Happened?

I sat frozen with fear in the car in front of Caribou Coffee. It was September 1, and the months that had brought Greg and me to this spot had been some of the most difficult of my life. Today, things would change, but I didn’t know exactly how. We were in the same car, just two and a half years earlier, when I was gripping the passenger door, yelling at Greg to drive on the shoulder of the road in the middle of D.C. rush hour traffic—6 a.m. on a Wednesday. I intermittently punched the hazard button, to let the other people in line know that this car was about to have a baby. My contractions were just five minutes apart when we left the house. I was desperate, excited, pained in those 30 minutes that it took to get to the hospital. I was desperate and pained this morning too, but that excitement seemed like a lifetime away. That day, two and a half years ago, at any hour, our lives were about to change forever. Our lives would change in these moments too, but in ways that I would have never predicted. I wanted to switch on the hazards to let everyone else know that this car was about to lose a marriage.

Minutes before, we had dropped our daughter off for her first day at mother’s morning out. I’ve heard that this first day of pseudo-school can be pretty traumatic for a lot of moms, but that morning I was operating outside of my body, preparing myself for a confrontation I simply couldn’t predict. My body was numb and I was tired, so I couldn’t muster the strength to be sad as I waited in the parking lot and watched her walk up to the school gripping her dad’s hand in fierce anticipation of the morning ahead.

This was also Greg’s first morning back from his month-long trip to Europe. He had taken August to, in his words, “figure things out.” We acknowledged the night before that we needed to talk about the The State of Us, but we were both tired when he finally got home and thought it was best to save the conversation for the next morning.

He thought we should go inside the restaurant and have coffee, but I couldn’t eat. It had something to do with a giant lump I’d had in my stomach the last three months, since the moment he told me he didn’t love me anymore.

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We were at his brother’s house then, in June. It was late at night, everyone else was asleep, and the doors were closed to bedrooms, fans whirring behind them. I was already in my bedclothes, trying to be engrossed in a book on my side of the bed. He entered the room, sat down on his side, put his head in his hands, and then looked up and turned toward me. “I don’t love you any more,” he said, and walked out.

This didn’t take me by complete surprise, because the week before, while still at home, he told me, “I don’t think I love you any more.” I was floored. I had no way of responding to his statement at the time. It wasn’t like we were high school sweethearts who were breaking up because he was going away to work at summer camp. We were married. We had a baby together. Yes, I had felt the emotional distance of the last several months. Yes, I was angry and confused by his behavior up until this point—but what do you say? I knew when he finally said it he had meant it, but my brain couldn’t process that piece of information. We had a trip planned; our family was counting on us. A week
later, we were in the air.

Of course I was bewildered to hear him say those words, but at the same time I thought, no I knew, that all marriages have their ebbs and flows, and Greg had always been the one in our relationship to better quantify, to verbalize his feelings. I was helpless to know what to do, but there was also a firm resolve in me, that if I could somehow do something, say something, be more understanding, less intrusive and give him some space to figure things out, that he would see that I was worth holding onto, worth making it work. I knew that in just a few days or weeks he would feel differently. But in the week between our conversation at home and that night at his brother’s house, it was like a switch had been thrown. He was angry with me. Anything I did was annoying, offensive, and warranted blatant snubbing.

His brother lived in a suburb of Toronto, and the three of us had taken a trip into the city one day upon my insistence. We had gotten into a petty argument over parking but finally had found a spot for the car. I put the baby in her stroller, and I wheeled her up one block to an indoor/outdoor market. It was a beautiful day and I was looking forward to exploring some of the city blocks as a family, when he took the handles of the stroller and nudged me away and said that he wanted to be with the baby but not with me. He had started to walk away when I said, “Wait a minute. What’s going on? You can’t just leave me here in a strange city and take our daughter.” My throat was dry and I was starting to
feel panicky.

Finally, he turned around and said, “I’ll meet you back here at 1:30.”

That week was torture. My heart had begun to fold in on itself and I went for runs in the morning,  wanting to scream, wanting to cry, wanting to keep running. But I came back because I didn’t know what else to do. Throughout the week, he was often out by himself. We hadn’t seen his brother and family since they had moved to Canada about a year before, but Greg seized every opportunity he could to go off by himself, taking day trips into the city to be away from us.

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Now, months later, I thought it was best to stay inside the car, fearing what would come out of our conversation, or worse yet, what my reaction to it would be. He was seemingly calm and collected. I was a wreck. I hadn’t slept through the night in months, and I had absolutely no idea what to expect out of our discussion.

I sat in the driver’s seat and looked over at him, took a deep breath, and my exact words were: “I know you’ve been having an affair. You can tell me today, tomorrow, or next week, but I know you’ve been having an affair.”

Table of Contents:

Part I: The Big One

Chapter 1: What Happened?

Chapter 2: The Story of Us

Chapter 3: Leading Up

Chapter 4: My Response

Deep In the Heart of Texas

Part II: Recovery

Chapter 5: Coping: How I Got Help

The Conflict: Digging Deep

Seeking Help

Minding Body and Spirit

Calling in the Professional

My Counselor is Not My God

Chapter 6: Healing

Alone, Listening

Sloughing through the Muck

Boundaries—What Are Those, Again?

The Road to Wholeness

God’s Message of Waiting and What I Learned in the Interim

Chapter 7: Coming to Terms

The Rejection, the Hurt, and the Anger in Response

Self-Esteem: Super Model Astronaut and the Other Woman

Not the Why but the What—The Story of Broken Jars

Chapter 8: What’s the Rush?

The Opposite of Fun and That Bag of Doritos

The Power of Inaction

A Call to Rally

Chapter 9: What I Learned About Forgiveness: Where is Grace in All of This?

Love in Return

Chapter 10: Hope

Chapter 11: This Matter of Single-Motherness

Chapter 12: Relationships: What Did God Intend?

Redemption

Chapter 13: Falling Again and the Perfect Mate

Submission

Trust

Commitment

Love

Intimacy

Fidelity

Can I Handle It?

Chapter 14: Facing the Future

The Dream

The Marriage Feast of the Lamb

Epilogue
 

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