I like to keep things pretty positive on here.
But something has been laid on my heart to share and put out into the world for quite some time. And it’s not something pretty, it’s not something people talk a lot about, and it certainly has nothing to do with home decor, my kids, organizing, beauty products, whatever it is that I typical share with you on the blog or social media.
But it is a part of my story.
And then Russ WENT AND WROTE A BOOK ABOUT IT.
So, well, there you have it. Cat’s out of the bag!
And because of that book and the incredible reactions he’s getting from it, from people coming out of all corners saying that it actually might change their life, or that it resonated with a personal, private pain they just felt so deeply alone in, I realized that sharing MY side of the story could have an impact greater than me, could actually help somebody in a similar pain that I went through.
Vulnerability helps people to connect. And connection is why I do this, my blog, posting on Instagram. I love connecting with other moms and women out there.
Russ has all these launch schedules and timelines for his business, for his speaking engagements, for his coaching, for his show, his book. I wondered “when would be a good time for ME to share this big, very vulnerable part of me, with MY community, with my followers, with my friends and even my family?”
Well, friends, there’s no better time than now, right? And after hearing Meg Marie Wallace speak at my MOPS group this morning, and after experiencing small moments of clarity and connection with others on this topic, over and over and over again (got the message, God!) and thinking “could this be something that could help others?” I decided to just put it out there.
About how our marriage almost ended.
But we decided to save it. God saved it.
So. What happened?
In 2012, on the morning Reese turned 2 months, I found out Russ was having an affair.
When they say that the “rug gets pulled out from under you” – this is exactly how it felt. As I held a tiny, swaddled Reese and confronted Russ, I felt like the world had ended.
I remember I shook as I took Reese to her 2 month check up that morning (I couldn’t forsake my mom duties) and then came home and did what any sane woman would do – I kicked him out, smashed every picture in the house, moved all the money out of our joint accounts into a personal one, and downed a bottle of wine.
I was a wronged woman ON FIRE.
The next thing I did? I went to church.
And then I let Russ back in.
And then we went to counseling.
We discussed divorce.
And then . . .
Russ got sober.
This is where our new story – our new marriage, our new life together, our real relationship, began.
This morning I was moved by the phrase ” to live and love from a scar-filled life.”
Russ and I went through HELL together. I spent two full years completely living in unforgiveness and pain.
PAIN. This is what I see so much in the lives around me, whether it’s an affair, substance abuse, physical abuse, depression, fear, anger, divorce, unforgiveness, jealously, insecurities, loneliness, addictions, etc. There is pain everywhere.
And that pain is what drove Russ to drink, to have an affair, to really stand at the edge of a crumbling life.
Sobriety allowed the TRUE Russ, the man I saw inside, the one I saw deep in his core when I married him, to come out from a shell of pain. And, in his sobriety, our lives have thrived beyond our imaginations. It is what restored our marriage, what allowed me to forgive, and rebuild a foundation of trust that is unlike any foundation we ever imagined our marriage to stand on. It is a stronger foundation.
While I would never wish an affair upon anyone, it was what it took for us to open our eyes, to drop our facades, and realize that you CANNOT coast on automatic in a marriage. Despite the scars it left us with, we are grateful it happened to us. We would have inevitably faced another challenge down the road, or lived a very surface-level marriage together.
When I was going through the pain of the affair, I was very much alone. I felt very lonely and certainly carried a kind of shame. I didn’t like that so many people in my life didn’t know what was really going on, but felt zero strength to share. I knew nobody that had gone through an affair themselves and was able to tell me that they could relate. I’m sure they were around me – but nobody opened up.
This post is not to tell you how we worked through our marriage and continue to do so. That will be for another time. And there is SO MUCH MORE to tell you.
Today is to simply share, to raise my hand, and tell you a very honest part of Russ and my relationship. The reason WHY I chose to share is because if I went though it, I know others have too, and maybe are currently in it. Maybe you’re the one that had the affair. Maybe your marriage is in a season of the busyness of kids (I hear ya, we’re there, too!) but you’ve let your marriage fall to the wayside and you’re feeling alone. Maybe there’s an addiction that is wedged between you and the person that is supposed to be your best friend. Maybe you’ve been betrayed in some way and struggle daily with the inability to forgive.
If any of that resonates with you, please know this. There can be an actual bright light at the end of the very dark, long tunnel IF YOU CHOOSE TO SEE IT AND KEEP WALKING. It’s really hard to see, I know. But it’s there, it will take work to get there, but it’s worth the hard walk. Because it can lead you to a much more loving place.
You can actually go through infidelity and have a better marriage afterwards.
If you want to find out more about Russ’ side of the story and his path to sobriety, please take a peek at his book, The Sober Entrepreneur. I am a little biased, but it is the best book I have ever read.
For everyone, now you know a little more about me. So the next time you see a post about an organized space in my home, or an outfit I found, or something about my kids, or a recipe I tried, know this – that is authentically, 100% me. That’s all who I am and what I love. But so is a more private but now very open part about me that I hope will help literally even just one person, just to know that I experienced it and am actually better because of it.
P.S. If there is ANY part of this post that spoke to you, please let me know. I’m a DM on Instagram, an email, or a comment below away to just LISTEN to you from a non-judging, loving place. Seriously.