Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Life Returns to a New "Normal"

Life Will Return to a New "Normal"

I've mainly posted examples, thoughts, and experiences of mine that have to do with the challenges, struggles, and emotions that go along with the decision to restore a marriage after infidelity has occurred.

Our story needs to be told. People need to hear that there is hope for a marriage, even in the most dire and heartbreaking situations. The common and popular "solution" of divorce, is not the only option. Divorce doesn't solve anything in most situations. Usually it complicates matters. It divides lives. It tears people apart. It shakes the foundation of children's complete existence. People will tell you, "Don't worry about it, kids are resilient." Well, guess what? Children suffer tremendously when their parents get divorced. Don't believe me? Check out this article: How Could Divorce Affect My Kids?

In light of that, I also wanted to give a glimpse into the daily routine of my life. I wanted to let those of you who are considering restoration, or beginning the restoration process see that life will one day again return to normal. The seemingly insurmountable storm standing before you does not represent everything you are going to face.

Yes, you will face sorrow, regret, depression, anger, frustration, and possibly even a small taste of insanity. BUT, you will also face happiness, joy, laughter, wonderment, good times, and even the "normal' day-to-day kinds of routines you once knew.

I Am Not Who I Once Was

There will be one distinct and unshakeable fact that is quite different than before. You will have stepped into a deeper realm of awareness, maturity, humility, and wisdom that you never knew existed. The phrase, "I'm not the person I once was," always seemed so annoying to me whenever I heard anyone say that before. Now, I can attest that it is truly possible to change. I am not who I was before.  Most importantly, this process of healing, forgiveness, and restoration could not have happened without Christ Jesus. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

A Day In the Life of a Forgiven Cheater

The alarm goes off. I grab the phone and opened the Our Daily Bread app. I'm not perfectly consistent, but I am trying to be intentional with morning devotions and prayer with my wife.

I dawdle around in the bedroom as my wife heads downstairs to make breakfast.

I make my way to the children's bedrooms and wake them up. 

We all head down to help out with breakfast and morning chores.

During breakfast, we have to intervene in an argument between one of our older boys and one of our younger boys. The situation quickly changes gears to a couple of jokes and some laughter. The topic shifts again to ideas about the day's itinerary.

Throughout the day, I hug my wife and kiss her a few random times. I do have a deeper appreciation for her now. When I look at her and realize I could have lost her because of my own stupidity, I am so thankful that she's still here and that she still loves me.

We run errands, go shopping for a few grocery items, and even walk aimlessly through a mall, as I try to distract my wife's attention from some of the Home Goods/Pier One types of stores. I hate going into those places.

Later in the evening, we try to leave the house after the kids are in bed. We coax the older kids into "babysitting duty," with nothing more than the freedom to play video games into the late hours of the night.

I give my wife a ride on the motorcycle into a decent L.A. shopping area. Motorcycle rides on date nights are fun. We grabbed some frozen yogurt and then caught a late night movie.

Almost nothing was discussed about the past, the affairs, trust, sadness, or anything else other than regular everyday 'stuff.'

You see? Life can be normal once again. Take heart. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I've Fallen Out of Love

I've Fallen Out of Love

How many times have you heard that? How many times have you thought that it pertained to your relationship? How many times have you believed that to be true? Is that phrase a reason to consider divorce? Is that phrase a reasonable justification to cheat?

I believed that I had fallen out of love with my wife. I argued with myself, and in fact convinced myself that I had never loved my wife.


I had never fallen out of love with my wife. Truthfully, I had lost the initial infatuation, the zing, the newness, and the butterflies that go along with almost every new relationship, along with the painful confusion from my past that I was trying to sort out in my mind. I previously touched on the details of my history here: "Shapes From the Past."

That premise - falling out of love -  is the foundation and justification for most infidelity, divorce, and broken relationships.

How Long Can it Last?

The initial newness/infatuation of a relationship only lasts as long as superficial masks are in place. Once a couple encounters their first conflict (and they will encounter conflict), the mask and illusion of "happiness" begin to crumble.

The one thing I learned from marriage counseling was, "P + P = C." Meaning, Person plus Person equals Conflict. Two egos, two opinions, two flawed, and sinful people...one perfect recipe for conflict.

When is true and lasting love ever described as easy? I've personally never heard it described that way. I have heard that true love takes hard work. Ruth Bell Graham, the late wife of Billy Graham said it so well, "A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers." That's basic Christianity 101, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13). 

You've heard the phrase, "It's so easy to fall in love." Let's rephrase it into the realm of reality: It's so easy to allow myself to fall into patterns of lust and infatuation. If we look at relationships through the lens of truth and reality, then we should expect those fleeting feelings to dissipate. Otherwise, we'll perpetually chase infatuation for the rest of our lives, never experiencing the act of cleaving/uniting/becoming one with our spouse the way God originally designed marriage (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:31, Matthew 19:5).

What Does True Love Look Like?

The Bible describes how a wife is to "submit to your own husband[] as you do to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22). It also describes how a husband is to love his wife, "just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25). Where in that description does it command a husband and wife to remain infatuated with each other? How does the Bible instruct us to submit to the Lord? How did Christ specifically give Himself up for the church? (A little Bible study/research is required on your part if you don't know the answers to those rhetorical questions.)

What about the most famous description of love in the Bible? You know, the one that has been quoted so often at marriage ceremonies as the bride and groom gaze lovingly into each other's eyes, imagining flawless, painless, and easy days ahead? "Love is PATIENT...KIND...DOES NOT ENVY...BOAST, IT IS NOT PROUD...DOES NOT DISHONOR...IS NOT SELF-SEEKING...ALWAYS PROTECTS...ALWAYS PERSEVERES" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

If you're ready to throw in the towel simply because temporal feelings have vanished, are you truly honoring, protecting, and persevering? Are you self-seeking because your lustful teenage feelings are gone? Are you possibly envious of the feelings you see falsely portrayed as lasting and genuine on TV, in the movies, or in some kind of book you're reading?

A Message to Myself (Pre-Affair)

Don't do it!!!! Are you serious?? You've "fallen out of love???" Or better yet - you "never" loved her? First of all, you're an IDIOT! Take a moment and look back in time to the moment you first met. Just ignore whatever "issues" you're presently dealing with. Can you see her eyes? Do you remember that feeling in your gut? You know, the one that said, "I can't see any of my future days without her." That's right, there was something there! There were feelings! 

So what happened????

Life. Deep scars and pain emerging into the light of day. P + P = C. Reality.

Get help. Get therapy. Get counseling. Get some accountability. Pray. Read the Bible with intentionality. Be a man - a REAL man. Put your selfish ego aside. Apologize. Cleave. Realize that you are ONE with your wife!!! 

Most importantly, do NOT betray your wife, under ANY circumstances. Period. Ever. Do NOT violate the covenant of your marriage, regardless of all the lies, justifications, reasons, and excuses you could ever possibly come up with.

Oh yeah, lastly...those feelings are supposed to end! That's the threshold into the land of true love. Beyond those feelings, a vast galaxy of uncharted adventure awaits. Take your wife by the hand, and venture forth into the unknown - TOGETHER. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. This is love. This is beautiful. This is what few people grasp, understand, or dare to experience these days.

A Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,
Although I am not able to go back in time and rethink my sinful choices, considering the experience and knowledge I have today, I pray that You can use me. Use the voice You've given me to reach others who haven't crossed the line yet. Speak to those who are considering unfaithfulness, separation, and divorce. Protect the marriages that haven't yet been broken. Restore those that have. Revive the value and sanctity of marriage in our country.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Rebuilding Trust

Many elements are included in the process of restoration, but the absolute most important element is that of rebuilding of trust.

My wife has said on many occasions that being cheated on is the worst kind of pain anyone can experience. She has articulated it like this,

     My heart felt like it had been ripped out. I gave you all of me - my heart, my commitment, my
     love, my devotion, and my full trust. I was betrayed on so many levels. I felt sick to my stomach.
     I couldn't eat for days. I questioned my own worth and value as a person. I prayed and asked
     God to allow me to die, so that you could have exactly what you wanted.

When I hear those words, I am not only ashamed and filled with remorse, but also completely disgusted with myself. Self-loathing is something I have to fight against. I am no longer in the midst of my sin. I have fully repented, and need to constantly remember, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

Sometimes I wish I was her new man. Someone who could hold her and listen to the stories of that other jerk-idiot-fool who had done those terrible things to her. I wish I could run into him in a dark alley, and pound his face in. The biggest burden I have to carry, is that I do run into him everyday- every time I look into the mirror.

Learning to see ourselves in a new light, as forgiven and blameless, with our identity and value anchored in Christ Jesus is another post for another day. I just needed to get that out.

The following ideas are not flawless and perfect. They are simply based on the ones that we've implemented in our restoration process. I would highly encourage you (those of you who are rebuilding and restoring your own relationships) to consider implementing these into your process. Also, please share any other ideas that you might have.


No secrets. Period. In a marriage, you are two individual people who have come together as one (Mark 10:8, Ephesians 5:31, Genesis 2:24). No secret bank accounts, separate bank accounts, separate vacations, separate plans for the future, goals and visions for your life that directly conflict with those of your spouse...and feel free to add any other number of things to this list.

All emails, phones, online accounts, anything requiring a password should be accessible by your spouse. Your spouse is your intimate ally, not an enemy from whom you are withholding information. This isn't some kind of prison warden all-access pass that requires constant monitoring. This is an opportunity for you to say to your spouse, "Every conversation, every account, every activity that I choose to partake in will honor you and our relationship. I have nothing to hide from you. Feel free to look and see whenever you like. You'll never find anything that hurts you, or compromises our relationship."

Leave your phone out in the open. Hand it to your spouse when you walk in the door. Don't ever take it into the bathroom with you. Keep it in a different room - other than your bedroom. Have limits as to when you access your phone. Keep work hours as work hours. Be present with your spouse when you are home. Limit your phone & internet usage when at home - and especially when you are out with your spouse at dinner, or on a date night.


Smartphones have location services. iPhones have a great app called "Find my iPhone." ENABLE IT. Allow your spouse to ALWAYS know where you are, and be able to verify it. Send your location via text. Be where you say you're going to be. Have integrity. Again, this isn't about giving your spouse unnecessary police-esque kinds of duties over you. This is about rebuilding their trust and confidence in you. This is about rebuilding the validity and trustworthiness of your word.


First thing - right off the bat - DELETE ANY AND ALL Facebook "friends" who are "exes" of yours, or people that you've had a past relationship with. Even if it's that cute girl who was your first crush in 1st Grade. It will not benefit your marriage in any way whatsoever. Remember the marriage vows you took, "Forsaking all others"? Cut off all contact with all of the people who fit into that category. You do not owe them an explanation. You do not need to worry about their feelings. Your only mission is to fight for and to protect your spouse.

Another idea is to eliminate individuality: Mike Smith's profile and Jane Smith's profile - eliminate one and combine the two. I know you've seen them every once in a while: MikeandJane Smith. One profile, one union, one intent.


All relationships with members of the opposite gender should be either cut off completely, or reduced to the level of acquaintance only. I'm not talking about close family members, but anyone outside of the family. If you are friends with another couple, it's fine for you to have a friendly conversation with both people, but never outside of that setting. Meaning, under no circumstances ever, should you have a private conversation that can't be monitored by your spouse with a member of the opposite gender (email, text, phone call, in-person...etc).

After that, you need to sit down with your spouse and talk about any other relationships that bring about a concern. If your spouse has concerns with any of your friends of the same gender, you need to discuss that in a civil manner. Listen to the concerns your spouse has about each person. Try and see it from their perspective.


There are apps for your computer and smartphone that can not only filter sexually explicit content, but also provide accountability. XXXChurch is a site that provides tools to help with porn/sex addiction, as well as a free app that can be added to your computer or mobile devices.

There are other filters and apps that provide some accountability, but XXXChurch is Christ-centered. I encourage you to check them out and see which ones will work for your situation.

These are some ideas to help get you started. I don't know your personal situation, but I do know that at the heart of the issue trust and integrity are key.

Monday, June 1, 2015

This Blog Is Moving To A New Home!

If you've been following this blog, please take a moment to check out the new site:

I'll still continue to post blog entries here for a while. However, once that site is finished, I'll probably discontinue posting new entries here.

Also check out the page with fantastic resources for husbands, wives, and parents who want to model Christ in their homes!