Ben Wilson 720-378-2327
Full Disclosure

Yep, We Were Pretty Messed Up

Our Story {Ann}


“You f*@#in whore!”
Ben’s first words after I told him about my affair.

Fast-forward 20 years. Now when people ask me about my marriage, I frequently paraphrase a Winnie the Pooh quote. “ If Ben lives to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live a day without him.”

Today, our marriage is great - not perfect but really great. We’ve developed a beautiful rhythm. Ben cherishes me, my soul. I am more aware of his soul - his grief and his joy. Not that we don’t occasionally miss each other’s hearts. We are human. It happens. But we talk it through and regain our rhythm much more quickly than before.

We hang out on our red leather sofa or around a crackling firepit in our backyard. We enjoy being adventurous, from new culinary attempts to traveling halfway around the world with friends to counsel missionaries.

Ben completed his first Ironman last year and keeps me from drowning as I train for my first triathlon. We are silly with each other. I enjoy Ben’s quick wit, and I delight in his humor.

A co-worker once told me I wouldn’t understand her impending divorce because I had such a great marriage. I told her it wasn’t always so. She looked stunned as I told her of our journey. We went from an unhealthy dating relationship (we thought we were fine at the time), through the years of denial and my affair, to healing years of searing pain and honesty with our own stories, with each other and with God. The marriage she sees today reflects love, respect, tenderness, laughter, life, light, grace and growth.

How does a couple go from screaming cuss words to tender devotion after an affair? It’s hard.
So let’s back up.

As a high school senior, I walked out of Kwik Check, the local convenience store, and heard someone say, “Hey girl, can you tell me where Thad Wilson lives?” I direct Ben and his college friend to Thad’s house and go on to meet my date for the evening. Our relationship began. Pretty classy, eh? Not so much. Providence was at work that night, because if I had walked out five seconds sooner or five seconds later, this book would not be in your hands right now.

That fall, I attended the same college as Ben and his friends. Ben and I had exchanged letters over the summer, and he was so smitten that he left a note on my dorm room door the day I arrived. In fact, as I called the number on the note a knock interrupted the call. I opened the door to a tall, handsome guy with great hair in white shorts, red t-shirt and dark legs from continuously walking the golf course.


We enjoy fond memories of those early days. Looking back, though, Ben likes to say that he knows I was somewhat messed up because I chose to date him; and in retrospect, he realizes his messy internal state. In the beginning, Ben liked that I didn’t require much of him, and I liked being in charge. This relational dynamic significantly backfired on us a few years up the road.

I cleverly hid my heart in those days, too. I could chat with anyone about anything, but no one really knew me. I made sure that no one saw the real me. I didn’t know the real me very well either, so how could they see her when I couldn’t? This made it difficult for Ben and I to become genuinely close. Oh, we enjoyed hanging out together and all, but I never allowed him access to the deepest parts of my soul.

We were sexual early in our relationship. As we didn’t know how to manage conflict, makeup sex served as a usual ‘fix’ for any fight. We would bury the conflict beneath the sheets only to surface later in an explosive way. Our sexual sin eventually led to pregnancy during my final year of college. Ben shared years later that he was on the verge of ending our relationship when I told him.

I started work at the university hospital after graduation. We married soon after the birth of our daughter. Two years later, we had a son. With a job, two young children and a home to take care of, I became preoccupied with the responsibilities that came with those roles and grew more and more distant from Ben.

Ben played golf in college after being a two-time state champion in high school. He played professionally but didn’t have the skills to succeed at the top level. Without tournament golf he lost the primary source of his identity. Then, undiagnosed depression enveloped him as he attempted an unsuccessful sales career. Unbeknownst to me, he pondered suicide. Fortunately, Ben called out to God before he attempted to kill himself. Three months later he quit drinking which had been a constant habit in his life since high school.

After he got sober, Ben lived a more reflective life. He explored the impact his drinking had on him as a man and a husband. He had always been a good dad when he was home but now realized the damage drinking in excess had on his soul and our relationship. His masculine soul emerged leading him in new directions as a man while I was still shallow and ‘in charge.’

To help with our financial situation he joined the Army Reserves. He attended training on the East Coast for five months. Before he left we took a walk on the dusty roads around my parents rural home. He asked, “Through all my drinking and everything, why did you stay with me?” I told him, “I always knew there was something good inside of you.” This moment held a deeper connection than we were used to, a more honest conversation than we typically engaged in. Hope emerged in my soul.

And then we lived happily ever after. Not!

I moved us from Ben’s hometown while he was at training as he anticipated a new career with a friend. He felt he would never ‘grow up’ if we didn’t relocate. So, we began a new life in a new town. Exciting but also somewhat dangerous. Meeting new people in this new place contributed to our downfall.

Our new locale wasn’t all bad. We began to attend church there, too, and became the ‘perfect’ Christian couple and family. We were at church every time the doors were open, contributing to our already busy lifestyle. I realize now that I sought out church hoping for God to rescue me from the affair I felt brewing rather than hoping for a relationship with God that would rescue my soul.

With our newfound Christianity, Ben became considered the good guy at work rather than the party guy - a new role for him. Others admired him, and it felt good to be admired, especially when he didn’t feel so admired at home by me due to my hidden and not so hidden criticism. He began going to lunch every workday with one of his female co-workers. His heart opened to her, but he always rationalized being a good Christian man by not having sex.

His attachment to her left me lonely and detached from him. That’s when a salesman waltzed into my lab and pursued my lonely heart. I won’t deny that it felt good, being pursued, especially when I didn’t feel so pursued at home by Ben. Church didn’t do what I hoped for. It didn’t rescue me from allowing myself to be caught in an affair. I jumped in and out of the affair for three years.

I was out of the affair when a job came open in medical sales. Unfortunately, my affair partner worked for the same company. Not knowing about my affair, Ben supported the idea of moving again and leaving his high stress job in the office of a large trucking company. He enrolled in seminary. Once again, we felt God guiding our paths, and He was, just not in the way we thought.

I thought I could handle traveling and training with my former affair partner, Bob. I was wrong. Ben and I agreed I would travel with Bob for a month. When the month ended, Bob and I continued to travel together. Ben became suspicious, and tensions grew between us over that summer.

I felt like a hypocrite and lower than scum. I knew what I was doing was wrong, so why still do it? I wanted to stop but couldn’t. What does that say about me? I asked my affair partner, Bob, if his marriage also suffered because of our relationship. He replied, “Sex with my wife is great!” I felt used and deflated, so I decided to finally end the affair.

As August drew to an end, Ben figured out how to listen to my voicemail. He heard a message from Bob saying he would call the next day while Ben was at class. When Ben came home he asked if I had talked to Bob. I said no.

Ben confessed he listened to my voicemail. I felt like the breath was knocked from my lungs. I could barely squeak out the question, “What did you hear?” He told me. I realized I could hide no longer. I had to speak truth. That’s when I heard, “You f*@#in whore!” The inquisition began. I answered question after question after question from Ben’s broken and shattered heart. Once he could stand it no longer, he slammed the door on the house, and I thought our relationship ended.

I curled up in a ball and sobbed. I wanted to kill myself, disappear or find Dr. Who to take me back in time to make different choices. But that wasn’t going to happen so we had to journey back in time ourselves to uncover what had led to our disastrous choices and heal them.

Come walk with us.


Betrayed and Betrayer: Rescuing your marriage from the affair.