By Neysa Ellery Taylor
My husband cheated on me and I’m a better wife because of it. Yes, you read that right. My husband cheated on me and I am a better wife because of it. It’s true. But before sisters start rolling their eyes, let me first back up a bit.
No one deserves to be cheated on. No one can make a person cheat or prevent a person from cheating. I can honestly say that dealing with the infidelity – and the long-term emotional scars from it – are something that I wouldn’t wish on my enemy.
My husband had an affair that resulted in the birth of twin boys. That sentence alone is enough to send most people to divorce court. Initially, that was my reaction. I was quick to say “adios!” But honestly, God kept bringing me back. And each time I looked at how messed up the situation was, I kept seeing cracks in my own armor.
What does that mean? It means that my husband did the unthinkable and had to slay his own dragons. But the situation made me face my own demons.
What demons? I had to deal with my parent’s divorce. I had to stop crucifying my father for his own missteps. I had to let that baggage go and define my marriage for myself, not as a carbon copy of theirs.
I had to slay the judgemental demon. I was quick to say “I would never..” and “If that happened to me, I’d do…” I learned that you can not judge someone’s decisions or journey. While I was judging others, I had a fear of being judged. I had to put that fear down and learn to live as a flawed but beautifully authentic person.
I had to slay my tongue. (Actually, I am still fighting this on.) I learned that the childhood saying – “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” – is a lie. Words hurt. Words linger and have power. Words can eat away at the soul of your spouse. As a wife who wielded words like a sharpened sword, I learned the power of staying silent. Of allowing my spouse to make a mistake without saying “I told you so.” I learned the power of speaking words of praise and love. I learned how important it is to sometimes lose an argument but gain harmony in the home.
I had to kill my idea of what my marriage could be or what my spouse could become. I mistakenly thought that pushing my marriage and mate to be their best was my job. And part of that is true. But not at the expense of appreciating where they are right now. I have to love my husband exactly as he is right now and encourage him forward, but not nag him forward.
I had to battle my false idols. I had to quit worshiping material things, my kids, and my spouse. In my darkest hour I had to seek God and rely on Him. I had to get to the point to where I honestly believed. And once my faith in God was restored and I was seeking Him, everything else fell into place.
I can say I am a better wife now, than I was 3 years ago. The reason I can say that is because I am a better person now than I was 3 years ago. And I had to go through the proverbial valley to learn to deal with my demons. Someone once asked me “knowing what you know now, if you had to do it all over again, would you? The pain? The tears? All of it?” That question made me pause.
While I wouldn’t rush to sign up for the agony, I’d like to think I would go through it again if those 3 years of hell were minor speed bumps on an 80 year loving covenant. But I would rush to do it again, if I knew that the painful lessons have made me really get to know myself and more importantly, my Father. For Him, I’d gladly repeat the class.
Neysa Ellery Taylor lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Chris, and their 4 children – Asyen, Maya, Preston, and Patrick. An Emmy-Award winning journalist, she hopes to share her passion for marriage and God through her writing. You can read more of her work at www.myriadthatisme.blogspot.com.