“For there is a time and way for everything although man’s trouble lies heavy on him.” Ecclesiastes 8:6
It was a beautiful day, unseasonably warm for October. As we sat on the back porch, the sun was shining in between us. As I gazed at the sunshine and felt the warmth of the fall morning, I knew what I was about to say was going to make the gorgeous weather fade instantaneously for the both of us. It had to be told. I could no longer carry the secret.
We were coming upon our 14th anniversary when I felt God pushing me to confess. I had been emotionally unfaithful- not once, but twice during our marriage. I had no presumptions about what his response was going to be, I just knew with every fiber of my being that God was commanding me to tell him before another day passed. So, that is what I did. I didn’t realize what that jump off the ledge was going to lead to, or whether there was going to be ground to land on or not. What that plunge turned into was a month-long freefall filled with moments of raw emotions, and all-nighters consisting of much blood, sweat, and tears. There was more truth to be told in that month than there ever was revealed in our entire decade and a half relationship.
“He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world.” I had quoted 1 John 4:4 to myself silently one last time, took a deep breath, and out came the truth that had smothered me for years.
“I’ve had two inappropriate relationships with other men.” I blurted. I let the words spew before another moment could pass, allowing me to second guess my decision. I realized that I was taking a huge gamble. In telling the truth on my own, I felt my odds were going to be better at keeping the marriage together.
His face changed from a smile to bewilderment of what I had just unleashed. “What does inappropriate mean??”
Just seconds before we had been teasing one other in fun, totally oblivious that we were about to rock each other’s world by uncovering what disgusting human beings we were capable of being in each other’s absence.
“I had two emotional affairs. Both affairs included one kiss.” I felt so ashamed. I could feel his animosity towards me, but there was something I didn’t recognize mixed in there. Was that a hint of empathy on his face for a moment? Then it faded almost as quickly as it had appeared as he began to become angry.
“I knew it! You always got mad at me for me keeping tabs on you when I had every right! I knew you were up to something!”
I wept in silence. I deserved every nasty thing he wanted to say. What I had done was a complete breech of our vows and his trust. No matter how much I tried to justify my sin, it still was not what he deserved.
He went inside the house for a few minutes while I remained on the porch, sobbing. I knew it was a real possibility that our marriage was over. The truth was that I couldn’t live in the dark anymore though. I knew there were problems in our life together and that God told me to tell him, and tell him now. I feared God more than my husband. That is the truth. I didn’t know why God was pushing me to confess now, but timing is everything.
He finally came back out with a drink in his hand and sat in silence while I looked anywhere except at his face. I couldn’t. The embarrassment and shame were too heavy for me to lift my eyes to his. I didn’t deserve to anyhow. Then he said it. He unloaded his own confession. The weight he had been carrying was about to be transferred from his shoulders unto my soul.
“Stop crying. I have something to tell you too,” He finally blurted.
I almost vomited- from the wave of relief and anxiety, simultaneously. I had had a feeling he too had something to unveil, but I was unsure if I was prepared to see his demon just yet.
After several minutes passed, I finally asked, “What is it?” I didn’t really want to know, but I had opened Pandora’s box now and there was no undoing it.
“I had a one-night stand… 13 years ago.” I was silent for a few minutes, trying to process the information given to me. I had imagined in my head his reaction to my news, but I hadn’t imagined that he would ante up.
“When? Where? How did this happen?” My voice and body began to shake uncontrollably.
“I was out of town- when I worked for the laser company. We were at a conference- in Texas.”
The relief I had felt earlier quickly faded. Now I was left with anxiety and fear, sprinkled with now my worst nightmare- crashing right smack into my real world. I could no longer hold back. I don’t think ever in my life have I experienced such a visceral response to something someone told me as I did in that moment. I ran to the bathroom- taken over by multiple uncontrolled body functions now controlling me. I held the trash can with my shaking hands and arms while on the toilet-wretchedly hurling my guts up. Any fluid and food substance that was in my body no longer remained. Only a couple of times in my life have I had such a physical response. Once, when I had the flu, and then while birthing my children, but never simply after hearing someone speak.
After 10 minutes of expelling everything from my body, I was finally able to gather my composure enough to join him again on the porch, attempting to finish the conversation.
“I don’t even remember you going out of town. I don’t remember you going to Texas when we first got married,” was all I could manage to say.
Little did I know at that time, the whole truth was yet to be revealed, and it was much worse. I suppose it was God’s grace in the timing, because after the response my body had at the idea of a one-night stand, I might’ve ended what we had right then and there had I got the entire story in one setting.