Friday, November 13

Mahlatse Ramatseba

Broken Vows - Diary ya ga Obonolo Chapter 141

Dygo 141
It is a sad fact of life that unfortunately some partners cheat, sometimes for valid reasons and sometimes for no reason at all. Many people are simply unable to forgive and move on but until a person has been in that situation they will never really know what they would do. When a partner cheats it is devastating and really feels like the end of the world but in time feelings change and the pain lessens. Recovering from an affair is hugely challenging but when there are children involved the desire to keep the family together encourages a lot of people to try and make things work. I never expected it would happen to me and at times I didn't think I would ever get over the shock!
Affairs are devastating and isolating. There’s much blame placed on the wife. Our culture supports a narrative that is blatantly untrue. That the wife must have been frigid. That she probably “let herself go.” That she must be a nag. That anyone who stays with a cheater is a doormat. I beg to differ, because I believe when it comes to matters of the heart , one should follow their hearts.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all response or textbook answers to betrayal. For some, leaving the marriage is wisest. For others, reconciliation takes them where they want to go. Whichever the choice one makes, it has to come from within and you need to be ready to wholeheartedly try to stand by your decision to forgive. Everything lies on you not the person you forgave. Yes he would have to work hard to earn and mend everything that he broke, but because you said you forgave them. You need to stop referring to what happened, reminding him of what he did, or judging his every move ,action or missteps for what he did. You see when you choose to forgive, be prepared to completely let go and work towards healing. Yeah, easier said than done, but that’s what Forgiveness requires of us.
Sometimes it is impossible for people to move passed the betrayal and I have huge admiration for those people who choose to walk away, it takes real guts to start over but for some the hurt is too great. I wish anyone who has suffered this kind of hurt all the very best whichever decision they make and hope they go on to find the happiness we all deserve . Although I know that the grass is never too greener on the other side, all we need sometimes is to be patient, water and prune our own grasses and with time we will begin to see the grass looking greener and healthier than the neighbour’s.
Sure, I agree and I know Kevin was no saint. He was way far from being perfect, nor to even make it to the list of any trusted or honourable men, but so was I. No one is perfect. One thing for sure Nyiko did not put a gun against his head to force him into anything, so as Sheryl, but for him to finally admitting that he had messed up and wanted to fix things, gave me hope. My decision came purely from weighing a lot of options. I had to think of my kids, my families, my church, my vows, my promises and what God would honour, but above all, I was following my broken and peaceful heart, I loved my husband and thought he deserved a second chance. Don’t we all do?
Personally I feel sad for people who say one mistake, one fallout ,one bad choice and one betrayal means their relationship or marriage with their spouse and their children's parent is over. When I found out what really happened, I was beyond hurt and disappointed but I knew I had to try and work at my marriage, fight for my marriage and give it a second chance. I didn't want to always think 'what if'. I thought my marriage was worth trying to save and so did he, that was the most important reality (to me) than anything else. I agree both have to want the marriage to survive and be happy. Especially him. He had to constantly make sure the kids and I were not compromised.
I don’t believe I would still be in my marriage if my husband hadn’t told me he wanted to become the man I fell in love with, the man I grew to love and the man I thought he was…and that he promised and assured me that he would take the necessary steps to fight for our marriage. When you truly love someone, and you had trusted them so much, when they wrong you, or hurt you and or mess things up you just don’t forget the good they brought into your life, nor lessen or minimize the impact their presence or absence would do to your life, you also remember that you married them for other important qualities they possessed. I needed to search my heart and decide what was important to me. Love ? Trust? Divorce? Regrets? Honesty? Integrity? Forgiveness? Of all the qualities, trust was broken, but was it enough to end my marriage? Was all lost ? What about my Love for this man?
I remembered the love scripture in the thirteen chapter of 1 Corinthians. The first three verses could mean only one thing. Whatever else a person did, whatever other sacrifices or acts of kindness or talents that person demonstrated’ the entire sum of them meant nothing if a person wasn’t motivated by love. Further through the scripture, verses 4 – 8, I was reminded of the true and specific definition of what love was and what it wasn’t.
It clearly tells us that , love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end. There is the gift of speaking what God has revealed, but it will no longer be used. There is the gift of speaking in other languages, but it will stop by itself. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will no longer be used.
To me trust was something I had but my husband cheated, so what was the point of having trust Influence my decisions? I once thought that by trusting my partner 100% meant he was unlikely to cheat, but that was not the case, however I trust him enough to accept that he was sorry for what he did and he was prepared to work 150% to mend our marriage and rebuild and regain my trust. I was looking forward to working with him to build a lovely future. I vowed to support him for better for worse. I had to honour the vows I made to God, and to him. My conscious was clear, I did what was pleasing to me and to God. He will face the judgement day for his broken promises and vows. God will judge him not me.
I made a conscious decision to forgive. It didn’t happen instantly. For some time I struggled with resentment and the fear that Kev would not be committed to making the marriage work or get involved in yet another shady dealings, and or Sheryl rocking up to stir things up again. There were many times I asked him, ‘How could you live with yourself? How could you look me in the eye and lie for months? Why did you do this to us blah blah..’ But to get closure, I demanded that he becomes as open and honest about everything, his comings and goings. I needed him to tell me everything I felt I needed to know, whenever I asked him questions about every last detail of the affair. I must say at times it was extremely painful for Kevin to answer my questions, asking and begging me to stop torturing myself or reliving those days, but he was obliged to give me what I wanted, answers. I must say he did so with humility.
Forgiving him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but his honesty made it easier. He agreed that we will go for counselling with our pastor and marriage counsellor. I know how much Kevin hated opening up to people about his personal life, but for him to agree without reservation to commit to seeking help from Church and also professionals, showed me he was really trying to save our marriage. Him seeking Godly counsel was more important than any promise he could and had ever made.
Kevin confessed and confided his wrongdoings to two of the senior pastors from our church. The three of them began meeting each week to pray together and discuss their faith and the importance of marriage. I appreciated that he wanted other people to hold him accountable. He was really committed to fix the damage he did. I’m grateful that I gave him the chance. I’m grateful my children have the benefit of a dad who’s also taken steps to become a better father.
My husband also found a therapist to help him figure out why he risked everything that mattered to him for a woman who didn’t. I allowed him to go alone at first so that he could be extremely open and honest for him to heal. We planned to go for marriage counselling once he was half way through his one on one with his therapist.
During that period, it was tough for both of us. We sometimes fought over petty stuff, I would accuse him of taking me back, I would look at him and remember what he put me through. I cried a lot, and prayed even more to honour my decision to forgive.
There were days I could barely function. I tried to take care of my kids. I don’t know how I managed, but the first month after the confrontation and everything was the most difficult one. Thanks to my helpers who helped me to get past the awful times . Honestly speaking, Kevin was also trying and doing his best.
Kevin and I prayed together, spend a lot of time together. We were focussing on building our marriage again. The road has been hard for us at times . Now and then I would be reminded of that painful time in our married life. But I was trying hard to erase that time with all my heart.
Few weeks after Kevin’s confession, before our couple sessions with our marriage counsellor, I eventually decided to come clean about that night at The Duncan. After much contemplation, procrastination, planning the approach and telling it like it was, I finally decided to clear my conscious. All through the time I was battling whether to withhold certain information especially the almost made love part and the drinking alcohol part or completely reveal all.
When you know what lies can do to one’s heart, you will never want to deliberately conceal the truth in the name of protecting a person and sometimes your own self. I knew how it felt when I learned that my husband did some horrible things behind my back and consciously hide the truth from me thinking he was protecting me, meanwhile he ended up breaking my heart. If I expected him to be honest, open and truthful about his betrayal, it was only fair that I also do the same. Hard as it was, I needed to tell him the truth. I had to tell him everything. From my whereabouts that night, who I was with and what we did, etc.
The hardest one was telling him how I unknowingly drank alcohol . I was scared when he looked at me, shaking his head, and telling me that we need to pray hard and hope history doesn’t repeat itself. I went back to the time we lost Butterfly. I knew then that I could not lie about such information, in case something bad happen to the child or the doctor mentions it on our one of the following appointments.
Kevin was not happy to learn that I spend a night with Rich and even went with him to the Doctor. I did reveal everything that happened that night, as painful , embarrassing and obviously hurtful to my husband, I cleared my guilty conscious and I was ready to face whatever reaction from my husband. . It took him days before he finally told me that he understand what I did and forgave me.
The admission and confession had been hard on both of us. But we had to talk about the whole thing out with the counsellor. To both our relief, the knowledge that both had strayed became a source of mutual understanding as well as pain
Since my confession, I was particularly pleased with my progress in one area towards my healing – my thoughts of Richmond were less frequent than before.
Kevin didn't share emotions before, now we know everything about each other. There was no "aha" moment yet, though. It takes constant work and eventually ,slowly but surely we will move past the hurt and the betrayal. I was somehow beginning to be comfortable with him again.
We had the benefit of a fabulous marriage counsellor who helped us work through the fallout of infidelity. Who taught my husband how to just be with me in my pain and accept responsibility without flinching. She showed us how to rebuild a marriage based on honesty and transparency. She made it clear that no marriage was immune to infidelity. And that marriage was more than sexual fidelity. That’s a part of it, of course. But it’s much more.
We are still together. Him coming clean to me and me coming clean showed me that we were really committed and working hard to rebuild our marriage. What changed was time and communication. Everything has been a rollercoaster since the beginning and it took a long time for it to stop being painful. Through counselling we learned how to effectively talk to each other and communicate how we really felt.
It has been two months since I found out and we are still together and he loves me more than ever, as sad as it sounds his affair made him realise how good his life at home with us was.
It is very easy to judge people who stay with a partner who has cheated and I think we are often thought of as weak and naive. I actually see myself as being stronger for it, I have come through the worst time of my life and can hold my head high. I have 2 beautiful, happy little kids and the one on the way who I love more than anything and I am proud of the fact that I chose to keep us all together.
Kevin and I no longer take each other for granted, we both work at communicating to each other, we enjoy quality time together and respect each other's space. Despite all my insecurities I am sure I am happier with him than not. Although I am working at making myself stronger and more independent.
Every day I hear from women whose hearts are broken by the people who promised not to break them. They need compassion and someone to guide them toward healing, whatever that looks like for them.
Now, I’m even able to extend my sympathy to the women that our husband or partners cheats with. I’m convinced that no-one with any self-respect or decency knowingly participates in the pain of another person. These women are damaged. They settle for the ego strokes of an affair, the titillation of deceit because it makes them feel powerful. I wish they wanted more for themselves than to wreck or destroy marriages and relationships…at the very least, there would be a lot less women going through traumatic phase of infidelity, and the divorce rate will decrease and kids will be raised in better homes with both parents. If other women (and, yes, men as well ) refuses to participate in the deception, cheating and condoning infidelity, this marriage institution would be one successful and safest haven.
I will never forget the hurt Kevin had put us through. But to choose forgiveness helps us release the hurt, the animosity , the resentment and the tension within our hearts.
We took a lot of steps to ensure that our marriage was divorce-proofed. We were even planning to renew our marriage vows after the birth of our little one.
Yes I chose to forgive.....not for Kevin but for myself.
A wise friend of mine says that the concept of “forgive and forget” comes from chivalry, not from Scripture, and she described forgiving this way: “You know you have forgiven when you can remember the incident but not relive the feelings.”
I say: Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim--letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor and that doesn't mean you condone the behaviour or, in any way, make a wrong right. It just means you give yourself permission to release from your past -- and step forward with the mud of resentment cleared from your wings. ”
What is Forgiveness to you my Dygo family

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