In October of 2013 my husband asked me for a divorce.
His request blind-sided me. His words turned my stomach sour. My brain turned fuzzy as the sting of betrayal made it difficult to process what he was saying and I reminded myself to breathe. I made out phrases like “I don’t love you anymore” and “Don’t you want me to be happy?” He explained to me there was no one else. He simply was no longer attracted to me, and he hadn’t been for quite some time.
Like any author anticipating a first book to be released, I’m over the moon. Becoming a published author has been a dream come true. My publisher has been great. They have lined up interviews, podcasts, scheduled guest blog posts, secured news and media outlets spots all to promote my book, A Fierce Love. How exciting, right?!
Except my book launch is not like most. While I imagine most new authors are clamoring to get their voice heard by creating lots of fan fare for their upcoming release, my story begins with my husband’s affair.
See now? Didn’t that just throw a wet blanket on the fun we were about to have?! The A-word sure is a fun-sucker in conversations. When I give my candid answer that my book is about my husband’s infidelity, I can clearly see I have put the listener in an awkward spot.
We went from BOOK LAUNCH, YAY! to the affair-part and you can almost see the party balloons fizzling in the background. I still don’t know how to make my book not sound like a buzz-kill when I try and tell you about it.
But you have to know that we’re ok, my husband and I! It’s not awkward for us. We can not only talk about the past affair, but we are ready to celebrate this book launch together! How is that possible? (You can pre-order here and find out.)
I actually told the first person who asked it was a devotional! 🙈 Then my answer for a while after that was, “It’s a marriage book.”
In avoiding the awkward and not talking about it, I realized not only are most people not talking about infidelity, almost NO ONE is talking about it in the church. But I’m a church girl, and I can’t separate my personal life from my spiritual life. It’s all just my life.
So I keep talking about it anyway. Why would I do that? Why would my husband and I launch this intimate book into the world with my husband’s faults on full display and my own vulnerability to be shared eagerly around like Christmas cookies? (almond shortbreads, obviously.)
Here’s the thing with traveling through the trenches of despair. Once you’ve been a visitor along those dark paths, even after you claw your way to the surface and find yourself eventually back on your merry way, it’s hard to forget that there are still others trapped in that place of immense heartbreak. So many couples experience infidelity in their marriage.
The church is not doing a whole ton to address it, other than saying, “Infidelity is unbiblical, don’t do that.” Well, that’s not super helpful once you’re already there and that advice is lacking any practical tips of how to go about navigating life after infidelity in your marriage.
In my searching, I found there are so many minstries out there for “Pastor’s Wives” and “Women in Leadership”, etc. I mean, why is all the good content out there targeting the gals who have it all together? I kind of resented that. I kind of felt like I needed resources the most! Me, the train wreck! I realized women like me needed support, guidance, encouragement and grace. Oh, and grace. Extra, heaping, over-flowing helpings of it with a side of grace and extra grace to go, please.
That’s why we share our story.
I didn’t intend to write a marriage book. I would have spit-laughed right in your face if you would have told me that years ago. I just began journaling to cope with my emotions and writing down the things I heard Jesus whispering to me in the quiet. At the end of that season, I had a full manuscript, and a restored marriage.
I’m promoting my book for women who may need to hear that there is hope. All that Jesus stuff that he can heal and restore, and will never leave us and has good plans for us? It’s all true! My marriage has been restored, but probably even more importantly, I found my true identity and guess what, ladies? It actually had nothing to do with my husband!
If it helps another couple, or individual, then we are happy to share our story, A Fierce Love available for pre-order now.
This article originally appeared at ShaunaShanks.com.