The third aspect of grace we've been discussing is intimacy (restoration of relationship). We grew closer through letters while Ben was away at training for the Army Reserves, but were unable to sustain that closeness afterwards face to face.
Ann: In addition to not being able to do conflict well, we reverted to an old pattern of relying on sexual intimacy. Our relationship was sexual within the first month of dating. If there was tension we didn't know how to talk it through. Eventually, we'd have make up sex and just go on without dealing with the issue.
When looking at your story it is important to look at it all the way back to the beginning. It all matters. It just didn't start on my wedding day.The early years of our marriage were so hard. I had people asking me why didn't I divorce Ben. He drank a lot and didn't keep a steady job. We merely existed in the same house.
Post affair I was able to tell Ben how hard the early years were for me. I first had to admit it to myself and then to him. He was able to hear me, and own the ways he had hurt me back in the beginning.
On a broad scale, much broader than just the affair, we learned to own our pain, and to give and receive forgiveness. Part of that grace is not expecting the other to be God. We put too much pressure on one another to take away all our insecurities, fears and shame. We were demanding that the other touch the core that only God can touch. And He does so imperfectly (or the process is imperfect) while we are on this planet.
We learned to laugh at our idiosyncrasies. I can be clumsy. I break glasses and plates like a Russian who has had too much vodka. Only not on purpose. I don't drink vodka. Really. And Ben, his dresser top and office desk often look like he just dumped a couple drawers on them. He still manages to find what he's looking for on them most of the time but not always.
These quirks, and many others, used to lead to great upset between us. Now, we accept and enjoy these parts of who we are. They make us unique, flawed and imperfect. Who wants to be perfect anyway. By accepting our quirks it helps us to know the other one is not God and in that not demand the other perfectly meet all of our needs.