Have you ever thought of how special you are?
We can view our identity from two different perspectives, a miracle created by God, or a miracle converging from millions of years of evolution. Whichever way you choose to see the world, you are a miracle, and you are very special.
Most betrayed spouses find their self-esteem plummeting, because of their spouses choice to be with someone else, and many unfaithful spouses also find their self-esteem plummeting, because of the guilt and shame. But is it true? Has your value as a person diminished?
I’m presenting two ways of seeing this, one faith-based, and the other non-faith based. You may choose to read only the section that applies best to you, but I recommend you read both, regardless of what you do or don’t believe, because both sections have great value, and you’ll find help in both. Take what works for you. Discard what doesn’t.
Faith based persepective:
First let us consider you as created by God.
You are someone very special. We love to have people communicate to us how very special we are to them. When our spouse has an affair, we receive an opposite message, that we aren’t special. This is a lie.
You are very special to God. No one else on the entire planet is exactly like you. No one else has the same details in his or her life. You are God’s treasured possession. So often our perception of God’s loving thoughts to us is colored by the love or lack of love communicated to us through the years by those closest to us. We tend to feel of worth or no worth depending on how we think other people think and feel toward us, but this is a false foundation. Our value as a human being does not diminish when our spouse chooses to sin. If anyone’s value diminishes it is theirs, not yours. They are the one who has done something wrong not you.
You are deeply loved. God has made you with a need to love and to be loved. The marriage relationship is the most important relationship to nurture this need beyond our childhoods. No wonder it hurts so much when our spouse tosses us aside for another.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword (or our spouses affair)? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 5: 35 – 39, NIV
You are full known, yet fully accepted. God does not withdraw his acceptance of you, because of any weaknesses or failings you may have. His acceptance, like his love, is not conditioned on your performance. You are loved because you are you, and being you is more than enough. You don’t need to BE anyone else.
You are a person in process. God uses trials and tribulations to develop the right qualities in us, yes even this affair trial. To be clear, your spouse’s affair was not God’s plan or will. That was a failing of your spouse, but now that it’s happened and it can’t be undone, God will use it to help you grow, and that’s the key to finding a better life on the other side of the pain. We hate the trials. We don’t want to grow. But if you’re dealing with an affair, it has happened, and try as you might you can’t get away from the pain. Instead it’s best to lean into it. Don’t be afraid. Do your personal work, and know that if you do, you can and will get beyond this pain.
You are forgiven, God’s redeemed child. Christ Jesus paid the price for your sin, and that price is enough. This price, this forgiveness, however, does not absolve us from our responsibility, nor from the consequences of whatever we have done.
You are a person of value. Some of us have the idea that the “daily drawings” of our daily lives are worthless, of no use, good only to be thrown out at the end of the day. We are wrong. God affirms our value to Him by calling us to work with Him.
You are uniquely designed. No one is exactly like you. God has a unique job for you, which no one else has done or possibly can do. It’s okay to have weaknesses. The greatest people in the world had weaknesses. You are created exactly the way God wanted you to be.
You are designed for a purpose. Happiness in life is found in finding and fulfilling your purpose. Often times in marriage our identity, and even our purpose have been lost. We often become so wrapped up in our roles as husband, wife, mother, father, that we’ve forgotten that we exist beyond this. Finding our identity and purpose can become a powerful, stabilizing force to help us navigate and move beyond the pain of an affair. This is one of the focuses of our Take Your Life Back retreat for the betrayed spouse. Who are you anyway? What do you want in your life? (I want my spouse to change is not the right answer, because that’s about them. What do you want?)
You are given an assignment. You are a personal representative of the living God on assignment to make God visible to others around you. God wants to show people of your world what Jesus Christ is like. And he wants to do it through your life. You might think, well how can I be special to God, when there are 4 billion people on the planet? In the same way as in large families, parents love all of their children. God is God. His capacity is beyond our comprehension. There might be 4 billion of us, but he knows exactly how many hairs you have on your head today, and everything else that’s going on with you, because you are special!
When you start hearing those voices in your head that tell you, you’re not as good as other people, you’re no good, or your stupid, or you’ll never make it, or no one will ever love you, or you can’t be forgiven. Whatever your negative “tape” might be, recognize it as that, a lie. Stop listening to these lies and believe the truth about you instead.
Non-faith perspective, as one woman put it:
“I was designed by the act of my parents coming together on their honeymoon knowing they wanted to have a baby. I exist in the form I'm in because of actions and chances going back millions and millions of years. Even if I just start with the rise of humans, the number of events that led to me (and every other person on this planet) is mind-boggling.
"A human man has millions of sperm cells, and a human woman has many thousands of eggs. That those two tiny cells came together from my parents, out of millions of possible combinations, to create me exactly the way I am is amazing enough. Now if I look back over my grandparents, great-grandparents, all the way back through over 100,000 years of human history, the number of combinations that were possible is far too great to calculate. Each of those couplings resulting in a specific person, a new person who had never existed before.
"Knowing that every single one of those countless matings went just the right way to lead up to me is humbling and awesome in the extreme. If I think further back to primates and everything that came before that, I struggle to find the words to express how amazing it is that so many events led to the specific form I have!
"As far as my specific form, I'm nearsighted, I have horrible sinus trouble, I tend to gain weight easily, I get cold very easily and warm up slowly, and in other words I do have my share of human flaws. On the other hand, just looking at the most basic idea of the evolutionary progress I believe in, every single thing about me was brought into form because it was the most successful form.
"For whatever reason, 10 digits on 2 hands and 2 feet worked. Not 8 digits on 3 hands, or 12 digits on 1 hand. In fact, many creatures on this planet share that same basic form. Two eyes facing forward, nearsighted though mine are, was the most successful form for the hunters we started out as. Prey animals like rabbits need the eyes on either side instead, and some flat fish that dwell on the bottom of rivers have both eyes on the same side. Those changes worked best for them.
"Flat smallish ears, walking upright, being mostly hairless, and so many things turned out to be the right way throughout millions of trials and errors that fell by the wayside. Going back to me specifically, I'm nice and tall, I have very strong lungs, when I do work out I lose weight and gain muscle quickly, I have an excellent memory, I'm able to write stories, I have eyes that changed from brown to partly green in my 30s for some reason, so many things I love about myself are part of that evolutionary heritage. Even those things I see as flaws were most likely advantages at another time or in another climate.
"For me, knowing how many chances went exactly the right way over so much time gives me a solid sense of who I am and why I'm here. I'm unique among the over 6.5 billion people walking the earth right now, and unique among all those who have walked before. My gifts are unique, and my weaknesses and tough experiences give me a unique chance to grow stronger and share that strength with others. I also draw great comfort, and great humility, from having a mind that can see and explore all of this and understand as much as I do.
"Looking at myself, other people, and the amazing variety of life around me is beauty and grandeur enough to last a lifetime. All of these chances and events coming together to put me on this planet at this time make me feel great self-esteem, a deep and lasting self-esteem that has carried me through hard times and good times. I have worked on making it stronger and will continue to do so, but that solid foundation is always there for me.
"The movie Watchmen from 2009 gave a very succinct summary of the way I feel about life. I was in tears in the theater hearing it said so well. Here's the quote from Dr. Manhattan:
"Miracles. Events with astronomical odds of occurring, like oxygen turning into gold. I've longed to witness such an event, and yet I neglect that in human coupling, millions upon millions of cells compete to create life, for generation after generation until, finally, your mother loves a man, Edward Blake, the Comedian, a man she has every reason to hate, and out of that contradiction, against unfathomable odds, it's you - only you - that emerged. To distill so specific a form, from all that chaos. It's like turning air into gold. A miracle. And so... I was wrong. Now dry your eyes, and let's go home."
So whether you’re the betrayed or the betrayer, remember how special you are today. Never give up on yourself, because YOU ARE AMAZING!
Do the work it takes to move beyond the pain, and get the life you want … and we, at beyond affairs, are here to help you get there, because you’re worth it.
When I conduct the life-changing “Take Your Life Back” retreats for the betrayed together with the beyond affairs team, I find myself in a room full of the most wonderful, beautiful, talented amazing people, and I hear the brokenness. I see their pain, and I feel angry. How dare someone treat these special people this way? How dare their spouses have affairs? Thinking of that, I wanted you to know how special you are today, because you may not be feeling it.
If you are struggling with intense pain, feeling lost, or stuck, consider how amazing and special you are, consider taking care of yourself first, so you can in turn help others, think about investing in yourself by attending a “Take Your Life Back” retreat, because your life is worth it, and it’s worth whatever sacrifices it might take, to give yourself this gift.
Believing in you, and cheering for your successful life beyond the affair,
©Copyright 2011 Anne and Brian Bercht. All rights reserved.