Seeds Of Doubt
“Imagine being in your FINAL stretch of grad school and while chatting with your classmates, you get a call.
It’s your husband.
He rarely calls in the middle of the day, so you step away.
On the other end you notice his usually self-assured and cut to the chase voice has a slight nervousness mixed with excitement in it.
He has news. But it’s not news you’re excited about hearing.
His job is putting him on a three-month project in Florida…5 hours away from home.
Your heart sinks. You ask him if he said yes. He told them he’d think about it but… you can tell he’s going to say yes… actually he WANTS to say yes.
You ask, ‘Well, what about graduation?’ And ‘How am I supposed to finish the semester without you?’ And ‘Did you ask when it starts?’
He says he’ll call you back.
Now imagine 20 minutes before that was the last time you felt happy and safe at the same time.
I never felt right about the trip. I argued and fussed the whole three weeks leading up to it because it just didn’t seem right.
The day he left, I remember someone at my church looking at me and saying, ‘Don’t worry, he won’t cheat!’
Two weeks later I came face to face with the harrowing realization that not only did he cheat, but it was with someone I knew.
As a matter of fact, our families were close. It was a betrayal of epic proportions.
People often ask how I found out. And my simplest answer is the Holy Spirit. Within the span of two weeks, our phone conversations were getting shorter, it was getting harder to reach him, and when we would speak, he seemed to be distant…like he wanted to be elsewhere.
Even prior to him leaving, our intimacy had diminished and it seemed like at a time where we should’ve been growing closer, we were actually growing apart.
However, after days of built up frustration and his first visit home leaving me confused and devastated, I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit whisper to me, telling me to check his email. I had never done this before, but due to the level of openness in our relationship, I had the information. It did not take long for me to find what was only the beginning of the betrayal I was to face.
Working Things Out
After a grueling conversation and an emergency flight back home, he confessed to an emotional affair. I was devastated, hurt, and angry, but I wanted so desperately to see my family whole again. So, I packed my things and moved to Florida for the remainder of my semester, only returning briefly for graduation. Soon after my arrival, however, he began to grow resentful of my presence, but my faith in God’s ability to shift our circumstance was deeply rooted, so I stayed.
I began each morning in prayer, worship, and often, tears. I was desperate for the direction and strength to endure whatever hardship may come with the day emotionally, mentally, and relationally.
I had friends who I trusted to tell my deepest concerns and pains and they were faithful to listen and pray with and for me.
The End Of It All
We began individual and couple’s counseling and after two months there seemed to be some good changes in our interactions. We seemed to finally be turning a corner.
One night, after a considerably positive counseling session, I went to cook dinner as we discussed what Netflix would entertain us with while we ate. Out of nowhere, he walked over to me and grabbed my hands. He looked at me in my eyes and said every beautiful and kind thing I’d hoped for months to hear. I inquired where this sudden conviction came from and he said, ‘Because I’ve been lying to you… there’s more.’
At that moment, time stood still as he confessed that not only was there an emotional affair with someone I knew, but there was, in fact, physical contact.
I asked why he was telling me this information now and he handed me my phone. A family member of hers had texted us both letting us know that she had missed her period and was concerned of pregnancy.
I was honestly unmoved.
I simply told him that if she was pregnant, I would not stay. However, at this point he was still unsure of if he even wanted the marriage any way.
Days later we found out she was not pregnant, but by then something in me broke. I began behaving erratically and came to such a such a desperate state that I reached out to a high school ex for some semblance of emotional support.
I needed to feel seen and considered.
Life After Separation
Soon after, I packed my things and returned home. It didn’t take long before I sought the comfort of the aforementioned high school ex and boundaries were crossed. Though we did not have intercourse, what transpired was enough to make me feel guilty. I informed my husband of my transgression and he stated that we were now ‘even,’ and he no longer felt obligated to work things out. I asked for a separation, to which he agreed. I immediately fell into a severe depression – I didn’t eat, cried incessantly, and only got up from bed when necessary.
His assignment ended and he returned home but the weeks to follow were tense and anxiety-inducing. I got a job and would purposely look for reasons to come home late, and though we were in the same home, we lived two different lives.
He received a call for another out of town assignment, and in my heart, I knew it was finally over. He moved out, our lease expired, and I got my own apartment.
One day while at work, I distinctly heard the voice of God say, ‘What do you want?’ I could’ve broken down at that moment because never had anyone asked me that in months. My answer was ‘Peace,’ regardless of what that looked like.
The next day he called me and said he was filing for divorce. I felt the immeasurable peace of God wash over me, and I knew I was ready.
Inspiring Authentic Relationships
I had gone on hiatus from blogging on my platform, Authentically Wed, because most of it was built around my experiences as a millennial wife. I was not sure if and how I would pick it back up again, but I began to receive new vision for it.
As I journeyed through the various pains and discomfort of divorce, my faith, support system, and determination stood strong. Eventually, I found myself laughing and enjoying life again.
I rebranded my platform and after things were finalized, I announced the divorce and relaunched Authentically Wed to be a platform dedicated to helping people become their healthiest and most authentic selves, and creating and sustaining healthy relationships. We now have an amazing leadership team, an active and thriving Facebook community, several successful events under our belts (virtual and physical), products, and more.
I would never wish my journey on my worst enemy, BUT without it I would never have become a bolder, stronger, more faith-filled, and AUTHENTIC version of myself. I have seen triumph after triumph, and I feel beyond blessed. I am excited to see what the future holds and am expectant that only the best lies ahead.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Vernique Esther. You can follow her journey on Instagram, her website, and learn more about her conference here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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