Part V: Boiling Point
So, what happened? How did we get to the point where my committed man slid across the boundary line of monogamy for an extramarital liaison? Well like the song says, “It’s a slow fade…people never crumble in a day” (Casting Crowns).
As 2014 faded into 2015 arguments ensued. Seemed we couldn’t agree on anything, I stopped listening to him, we didn’t make time for each other anymore and we were not on the same page financially. Although he gave his blessing for me to enroll in an expensive coaching and speaking certification program, he really didn’t want to spend the money. I was insulted, just couldn’t believe that he didn’t think I was “worth it.” I was spinning too many plates at once. I opened my own counseling practice, launched a new church plant as the lead pastor and completed my leadership coach and speaking certification, and I worked part-time at a psychiatric hospital…all at the same time.
I was passionately pursuing my dreams, I was singularly focused and success driven. Yet I was passionless toward my marriage and neglected my husband. He didn’t even rank on my top five list and the saddest thing is that I never realized the damage I was causing. I’m not saying it was my fault he cheated, affairs are never the fault of the betrayed partner, but I do hold a responsibility for the deterioration of the relationship and I own that.
Spring arrived and Todd took a new job requiring frequent travel. Although things were at an all time low between us, the subject of separation and divorce never presented and he continued to pledge his love to me daily. Still, I suspected something wasn’t right for weeks and I asked him at various intervals if there was someone else, which he always denied.
The boiling point came when he returned from his final business trip to California. He exited the aircraft rude, irritated and detached from the entire family. Out of nowhere this new personality possessed my husband. Four days later when there was no change, I recognized whose handiwork I was observing; I’ve fought this enemy before and his strategies never change. I left the office early that afternoon, grabbed my Bible and went to my war room where I advanced against an unseen opponent.
I knew this was a spiritual battle and I needed my Ezer Kenegdo (God’s military name meaning Mighty Strong Power) to fight for me. At the end of my prayer, the Holy Spirit confirmed in me there was indeed another woman. All I needed was tangible evidence and a confession.
I visually spanned the room wondering where I might find such evidence to prove what I knew in my spirit to be true. I noticed Todd’s suitcase lying on the floor unpacked. I rummaged through his things until I found a stash of receipts in a hidden pocket. As I examined ink on paper, my heart sank; I now had my evidence. I sent the kids to a neighbor’s house for the evening and waited for him to come home.
Twice I queried, “Are you seeing someone else?” Twice he replied with a weak “No.” My gut told me differently, so I pulled out the receipts I found indicating two guests, two entrees, drinks and one dessert along with others of similarity. As I read each one to him, he dropped his head and remained silent. Minutes later, he confessed to an emotional affair. I would soon learn the first confession is never the full story. As the evening wore on, he announced he would be moving out by the weekend. That’s it…18 years of marriage, two children and it was that easy for him to just walk away!
I cried out like a woman in labor as an invisible sword pieced my soul; the first wave of pain swept me off my feet. Panic wrapped its wicked fingers around my throat and squeezed the breath from my lungs. “I’m a therapist,” I thought to myself. “I can do this…” “breathe,” “breathe deeply,” “count…1, 2, 3,” “you can do this!” I had to be my own cheerleader; my husband’s arms were not for me that evening. My only source of comfort was Christ Jesus, who I knew was for my marriage and not the affair. Broken and emotionally hemorrhaging, there was one ray of hope that night: the secret was finally revealed. Now I could plan my strategy for winning back his heart.