josh’s part: lindsey’s story {part3}

Posted: November 13th, 2009 | Filed under: life | 10 Comments »

Lindsey posted her story here a couple of days ago. You can read {part1} here and {part2} here.

This is her husband, Josh’s, perspective:

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taking responsibility

One night, I was surfing the internet on my home pc. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, was really just passing time. On a whim, I pulled up the internet history.

Little did I know that one act would be the catalyst for a life change that would turn my marriage and faith upside down and inside out.

I found history of an email account I knew nothing about, and I had also started becoming suspicious of my wife’s constant texting. I would check the phone, but she had always deleted the messages. Things hadn’t been going well for a while between my wife and I and these were huge red flags to me. We were arguing more then usual, and in between the arguments were cold conversations about separation, disappointment, and moving on.

We worked for the same company, and a few days after I found the email account, she told me her phone had died. I left early that day, taking her phone with me to ‘charge it’ hopeful that it had died before she could erase any messages. I didn’t know what I would find, but I was sick to my stomach for the entire drive home. Then I plugged in the phone, opened her text messages and my worse fear was realized. There was just one message and it was incredibly graphic. I nearly threw up as I read it, both because of the content and because of who it was from.

I knew this man, was friends with him, respected and admired him.

Shock set in, the thought of my wife having an affair absolutely unbelievable. She had always been distant, detached, quiet, and reserved. The contradiction between who I had always known her to be and the evidence in front of me seemed unreal.

When she came home, I asked her a question I never thought I would have to ask, “Are you having an affair?”

A look flashed across her face (Relief? Pain? Guilt?)

Her quiet reply, “Yes.”

I slept in a separate room that night. I couldn’t be near her. I was disgusted by her, by him, by this thing they had brought into my house. I cried more that night than I can ever remember crying in my life. It was as if the final piece of the façade of my life had fallen and I was exposed.

All the while a voice was growing louder and louder in my mind. Through my rage and tears were questions.

Where have you been?

Did you protect your wife from this?

Is she the only one to blame?

God was whispering in my ear, making His presence known in my darkest hour. He didn’t condone what my wife had done, but He used that moment to demand that I look at my own heart.

And my own heart was very dark.

Where have you been?

The reality is that I abandoned my wife long before she abandoned me. I had been gone for years emotionally and physically, pursuing a life that didn’t involve my family at all. I was training for triathlons, playing hockey, mixing in a little golf, and working long hours at a job I loved. The little time I was home, I was inattentive, irritable and unhelpful. I didn’t care what my wife needed, what my children needed. I was a selfish husband, a distant father, and an even worse provider. I was too busy obsessing about and pursuing what I needed to bother with caring for my family.

An addiction to pornography had also consumed me since I was a child. I never really learned how to pursue my wife because I had no need or desire to do so. It was easier to spend two minutes finding the website of choice than spending two minutes pursuing intimacy with my wife. The women on the Internet didn’t say no, didn’t require an investment, and didn’t make demands.

Did you protect your wife from this?

The saddest part of all of this is that I knew this man; knew they had a relationship in and out of work, even knew that he made her uncomfortable sometimes with his comments. But I admired and respected him as a peer and as a Christian leader. He had a great family, a great job, and was very active and well-respected in his church. I just didn’t think their relationship was any big deal, so dismissed the few concerns she raised.

Is she the only one to blame?

I had been involved with another woman at work for quite some time. It started innocently, flirting and joking. We started emailing, some days sending 20 or more e-mails back and forth, full of innuendo and unspoken desire. Emotionally, she made me feel respected. She admired my dedication to work, to my sports, and made me feel attractive and wanted. While things never became physical, the emotional attachment was sucking every last bit of my attention and energy. In just a few short hours the full weight of that question crushed me. The horrifying realization that while my wife made the choice to have a physical affair, I might as well have driven her to his house and walked her to his bed.

As I looked at my wife the next morning, I knew I had taken her and our marriage for granted. More importantly, I knew that I still loved my wife and as much as she had hurt me, I had hurt her in kind. I couldn’t walk away, because I was just as responsible as she was for the destruction of our marriage.

Surviving the aftermath of the affairs have been full of pain and anger and beauty and hope. God stepped into our lives, and offered His hand and His grace to pull us out of our pit of destruction.

Even so, our life isn’t perfect. We still argue, still hurt each other, and are still tempted by sin. The only saving grace that holds our marriage together is our Lord and Savior protecting us and binding us back
together.

I wouldn’t wish what we have been through on anyone; but I also don’t regret one second, because this brought us to God.

And because of Him, I can say with all sincerity to my wife “I love you, I always have.  I will never leave you, and I am sorry I did not protect you from this.”

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Josh, thank you for sharing your story here. Your ability to hear God over the scream of your pain is one of the most beautiful examples of Grace I’ve seen. If you were doing this on your own, you would be bitter by now. I hope this inspires many….  -Serena

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10 Comments »


10 Comments on “josh’s part: lindsey’s story {part3}”

  1. 1 April said at 3:49 am on November 13th, 2009:

    beautiful family. beautiful grace. I had an emotional affair. I told my husband. I wanted him to be my knight and shining armour… but he just didn't get it… didn't see it as an affair b/c it was not physical. I was deeply hurt by his indifference. I asked God to show me how to love my husband, and he said to me… "love me". I am still on this path of loving my Savior and trusting, even though my husband doesn't fit the image of what I think I need… I am trusting. Thank you for sharing your stories.

  2. 2 Larry said at 5:16 am on November 13th, 2009:

    Josh,

    So many aspects of your story I understand and have lived. I didn't have an internet, or text mistress… My mistress was ministry. My heart was in the right place, but I wasn't Present in the present when I was home. Life holds us accountable for how we live, and if we don't listen to the lessons we certainly become blind and deaf to the reality of who we are. Honesty and clarity are certainly the beginnings of hope. I'm glad you two are cherishing each other. God certainly still turns water into wine. Be intoxicated with love with the wife of your youth…

    lw

  3. 3 Jason said at 6:08 am on November 13th, 2009:

    Thanks for sharing your story. The way you owned your part of all of this is inspiring.

  4. 4 Traci said at 7:42 am on November 13th, 2009:

    Thank you Josh, for being honest as well. Thank you for choosing, to love Lindsey.

    She has become a dear friend of mine, via this little thing called the WWW.

    I love her, and I know you do as well. Love her every day… always be tender with her, kind, affectionate. Be patient, as she is choosing to be obedient with telling her story about her childhood.

    You both, are a shining light for Christ.

    Traci

  5. 5 Chrissy said at 8:54 am on November 13th, 2009:

    Wow. I am absolutely floored by the fact that even in the face of something so hurtful to you, you saw that you might've played a role in it and you owned up to it. It takes a really big person to do that. Lindsey is very lucky to have you.

    Marriage is hard. Even in good times, when there's no cheating involved, it's a tough job. I sincerely appreciate that the two of you to continue to plug away at it.

  6. 6 Lindsey @ A New Life said at 8:56 am on November 13th, 2009:

    I am completely undone by your love sweetie.

    Thank you.

  7. 7 Jill said at 10:59 am on November 13th, 2009:

    Wow, I cannot tell you how powerfully your example of love and forgiveness has moved me. What an incredibly humble and Christ-centered posture to adopt. God bless you and your marriage.

  8. 8 Rachel said at 4:58 am on November 14th, 2009:

    WOW! What an amazing example of love, forgiveness and humility. God bless you and your marriage!

  9. 9 Sharon said at 6:17 pm on November 14th, 2009:

    Josh…

    Thank you for sharing your story. What a precious Lord we have…to meet you at your time of need so you could respond to Lindsey as you did that morning. It was the beginning you both needed.

    We love you guys!

  10. 10 lisasmith said at 6:33 pm on November 17th, 2009:

    Lindsey, you know I love you. Josh, you have brought me to tears. Y'all have a beautiful story of redemption. God has a mighty plan for your family. lisa

    Serena, I am so glad to have found your blog. Your book is amazing and I can't wait to hear your story and get to know you more here. Blessings to you! lisa