To save my marriage I was called to allow my wife to grieve the loss of her affair partner. It would have been cruel and unusual punishment for me to listen to all that she missed about him and the relationship. Yet, it was necessary for her to have someone with whom to share that particular loss. For the desire to see him lessen, she needed to voice that he touched something deep within her soul, wrong situation that it was, and that she would miss it.
I didn't like this part of the healing process at all. I wanted her to be able to yell, scream and call him a jerk. Even if I felt he was a jerk at the time, I still had to acknowledge that my wife has exquisite taste and wouldn't choose a man without any redeeming qualities (::grin::). My part in this aspect of the grieving process focused around coming to a shared definition of her affair and acting on that message.
Ann appreciated having fun. I had become Mr. Serious Christian always seeking to be right and moral and forgetting about being dependent on God and having his lifegiving grace flow through me. She also wanted to be pursued and romanced. I had neglected and chosen not to do this for the most part. We 'needed' to have family time not romance time I rationalized. Ann did not feel I valued her or appreciated her as a woman. This is central to what she communicated to me by having the affair.
I was angry knowing that she found these important aspects of marriage with another man. I had a choice to make to let my anger become frozen and turn to bitterness (a quote from Henri Nouwen) or to allow my anger to lead me to my hurt to lead me to looking at my own failures in our marriage. I then chose to grieve and repent of my failures which gave me the freedom to truly pursue my beautiful, glorious bride in the midst of my pain, anger and my desire to forgive.
You did it; you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers ~Psalms 30:11-12