This post is another excerpt from our talk at the Restoring the Glory conference. It descibes our emotions and worlds leading up to the revelation of the affair. We also touch upon the chaos that ensued immediately after the revelation. The affair is an unfortunate yet important part of our story and we do hope you treat it with tenderness and respect. Feel free to ask any questions you desire if you feel the answer may help you deal with your current situation.
Scripture says, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness. But rather expose them. Everything exposed by the light becomes visible for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said wake up oh sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you."
The revelation was painful but it was also a place where Christ did shine.
So the knowledge of the affair came out. Life was flipped upside down. It became so chaotic. Everything that felt solid in my life was no longer solid when I found out.
I had had suspicions; we lived in Springfield, Missouri. A guy who used to be in Ann’s life had showed back up. He was pursuing her to come and work for his company. I felt uneasy inside. Where has this guy been, I thought. I haven’t heard his name in a while. Ann is calling me saying, "Hey I can get a job in medical sales making a lot of money. I’ll have a company car, yadayada. We’ll have to move to LA."
"No way", I said, "I’m not moving to LA." She calls back later, "How about Detroit?" "No." "How about Kansas City?" "Ok, I can do KC, that’s not very far away." We went up to look around. I found Midwestern Baptist Seminary and decided to go to school there. We sold our house, for cash no less. I started thinking, ‘Wow God is really in this’. He was, just not the way we thought.
We moved to Kansas City in May. I thought it would be one of the best summers in my life. We lived about a mile from a golf course. There was also a lake right there with a swimming beach. It was all right there and it would be the kids and me playing all summer. I thought it would be terrific.
Ann had told me she would have to travel with this guy for about a month for training. I told her I could deal with a month. But it went on. "Why are you still traveling with him?" She would get mad. "I don’t know. I can’t control where he goes." So then I would feel like it was my fault for questioning her.
This went on for a while. My suspicions got stronger and stronger. I needed to know. But we had this dance; I would ask and she would lie. I would shrink inside. I wanted to know but I really didn’t. Intuitively, I knew the pain that it would bring to feel that truth.
We went to her parents for Labor Day in 1994. We got back home on Monday night. Before we had left for the trip I had figured out how to get into her voicemail at work without telling her. I don’t apologize for doing that. I think it was the right thing to do.
One, I had the right to know the truth about my own life. Given my suspicions I believe it was the right thing to do. It isn’t in normal circumstances, but I believe it was ok in this instance. Two, when someone I love is in danger, their life and their soul in the balance, I’ll do whatever is necessary to bring that danger into the light. She was hurting her soul in the affair so it was a good thing for her that it was brought out. It didn’t feel that way at first but it was.
We got home that Labor Day night. I listened to her messages that pretty much confirmed they were having an affair. But it was just veiled enough and now I realized that she was a good liar. I went to seminary the next day. When I got home after class I asked her if he had called. She said no. I knew she was lying because in his message he said he was going to call the next morning after I left for class. He knew my schedule and when I would be gone.
I told her I needed to confess to her. "I have figured out how to get into your voicemail."
She said, "What did you hear?"
I told her and then she led me into the living room and told me that she’d been having an affair.
I had never experienced such an explosion in my heart. It was amazing the energy that came out, the shock, the anger, and betrayal. My heart was shattered. It felt like it was in Portland, Maine, Seattle, Washington, San Diego, California and Miami, Florida instantaneously. I learned what the saying meant to hold your heart in your hand.
It was so painful. My heart just ached. I literally had an image in my mind of holding it in both hands and knowing that all I could do was to look at it and feel it ache.
During that summer, before I found out about the affair, as I anticipated going to seminary, I was wondering what was wrong with me. I was miserable. I’d tell myself I should be so excited. I am getting ready to study God’s word. I am preparing to serve in ministry. I’m not working. I’ve got a lot of free time to do what I love. But I was miserable. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
I listened to a lot of Sheryl Crow at that point, still do. She has a song on her first CD called I Shall Believe. I prayed this song. I put it on repeat, listening to it over and over. This was before the affair came out and a lot after it came out. The lyrics that hit me were… not everything is gonna be the way you think it ought to be. It seems like every time I try to make it right it all comes down on me. Please say honestly you won’t give up on me and I shall believe. I shall believe. That was my prayer to God to not give up on me while I was such a mess.
So if you can imagine what the revelation was like for Ben it was just as devastating for me. Like he said I had gotten very good at lying. At that point I could lie my way out of just about any situation. I could even turn it around to where he felt like he was the one in the wrong. That wasn’t a very good place to be.
I had been found out. My lying had to end. My lying had to stop. When I sat Ben down on the couch. I also was in shock because, like I said before, my family didn’t deal with stuff. If we did we just swept it under the carpet and pretended it never happened. That was a dynamic that was present for Ben and I as well. If stuff came up we completely avoided it or minimally dealt with it.
But you know what, my rug was standing up about head high. It was full under there. That rug needed to be lifted and shaken out; all that stuff needed to be spread out and dealt with.
Even if I thought he might find out I certainly didn’t expect the type of confrontation we had. I didn’t expect the anger that Ben expressed. I was reeling from the horror of the truth of who I was because all that time I was not only lying to Ben, I was lying to myself as well. The horror of the truth finally hit me. I really am that woman. I really am a woman who is capable of having an affair.
At the same time I felt relief. I don’t have to hide any more. I don’t have to keep this from him, this man that I really do love. I don’t have to keep this from anyone else any more. I can finally get it out in the light. That’s what was important. It was finally out in the light.
That night I am so thankful that we didn’t have anything in our house stronger than Tylenol. I was ready. I did not want to deal with the pain. I did not want to deal with the hurt. I did not want to deal with my emotions. I didn’t want to look at all my failures, my bentness, all these idols I had been worshipping. I didn’t want to look at all that. I felt we’d just be better off if I just ended it.
But all we had was Tylenol and all that will do is just make you really sick.
I worked in a hospital so I knew. I’d seen people take the charcoal to bring everything back up. I didn't want to do that.
So, I lived in the chaos. We lived in the chaos.