Our Answers to Your Questions: Marriage Edition

by debi9kids on July 13, 2011

It’s my 24th edition of Debi Says.
Where I answer the questions that you ask πŸ™‚
Now then, to explain why I decided to do these posts instead of Sunday Sound-Out…
well, it’s because I’m lazy, or busy, or just terribly inept at keeping up with questions that are asked of me during the week.
So, it’s just 1000 times easier to answer the questions that are either posted here in the comment section each Sunday, or the questions that are posed to me on Saturdays.
Ok, and now I’m just rambling….
… it is what I do best πŸ˜‰

And this week… I’m changing it up and instead of it just being me answering your questions, it’s both Russ and I, hopefully answering your questions for us about our marriage and how we have come to a place where we can finally say again the we’re in love πŸ™‚

I do want to say that my reason for wanting to be this open with everything is because I know how hard it is to go through this and I know I have readers who are walking the same path and I want to give them hope.
Marriages can be saved.
You don’t have to walk away.
Forgiveness is possible.
And no matter what your family or friends may say, it is your life.
Your decision
.
And no one can know what is right for you but you.
Listen to your heart and you will get there.

1. I am honored to say to others that I have a dear friend that fought for her marriage!! I probably have tons of questions, but mostly I’m wondering if The Love Dare has been any help to either if you? And how? Is their one thing about each other that you’ve noticed now, but didn’t notice before the day? . ~ Heather
Debi: The Love Dare has been an awesome tool for me in finding focus and making me realize that a lot of the “issues” in our marriage weren’t just Russ’ fault. It’s very easy to place all of the blame on the “cheater” in a situation like ours, but the truth is, there is no way it was all Russ’ fault. The Love Dare got me to see where I was also responsible and also put my complete focus on healing our marriage through faith and not just on trying to forget and move on. One thing I have learned about Russ through all of this is that I need to force him to talk to me when he seems to be shutting down. Before I used to just take him at his word that he was “fine” and I wouldn’t press the issue, now I don’t do that. I also have learned that he loves me for who I am and not who I have wished I could be. I have spent so much time in the past trying to “be better”, “be prettier”, “be skinnier” and in the process, I haven’t been a happy person to be around. And why? All this time, he loved me for me and it was just me not being happy with who I am and that made me unappealing to be around πŸ™
Russ: It’s helped me by looking at our relationship through the eyes of God instead of just being selfish. I’ve noticed that I can see my flaws easier and I no longer point the finger at others for them. I am able to pray to God and thank Him for creating me the way I am and able to find the focus to work on those flaws to be a better husband, father, man.
Of course I have noticed how strong Deb’s faith is. I always knew she was a faithful woman but I don’t think I ever realized just how strong her faith is until now.

2. I just have to say that I am very impressed with how you handle the situation and your openness and honesty. You are amazing!
So I guess my question is just in general how you do it? I have not dealt with infidelity, but I don’t think I could be as selfless as you. ~ Kimberly
Debi: Believe me, I don’t feel selfless. If anything, my original decision to stay together was selfish. I was not going to let her have Russ, nor was I going to be a single mom to 9 kids and allow Russ to “live the single life”. Of course, I was also dealing with so many emotions at the time. I was hurt, and angry, and just plain old sad. Now, I still don’t feel selfless, but I am definitely not just focusing on what I want for just me either. Every decision I have made from the beginning was based on what was best for us as a family and as a couple and every decision I have tried to make has been based in love.

3. I have had to work through infidelity about 15 years ago when I foundLink my DH with another woman. I had a hard time dealing with it but decided that I loved him enough to try to make things work. We have been married 23 years and the last 10 years have been the best. My questions is: Is it just me or are there times that you still feel really hurt by being betrayed ? ~ Tammy @ Love My 2 Dogs
Debi: You are not alone. The one thing I have learned the hard way is that the pain never completely goes away. There will always be something that is a reminder of the betrayal and no matter how well we rebuild that love and trust, that hurt and pain just doesn’t go away. One of my dear friends likened infidelity to death and I think she’s right. Much as the hurt of losing a loved one becomes lessened with time, the loss never goes away πŸ™ I have found that by surrounding myself with other women who know where I am, what I am going through, has been a tremendous help.
Russ: There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I did. Not a day that goes by that I am not sorry. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how badly I hurt Debi and the kids. It’s very hard for me because it’s in my nature to be a problem solver and I hate the fact that there is nothing I can do to ever completely fix the damage I did.

4. Just wondering if you were able to get back to intimacy again, and if you are at the point where you thoroughly trust your husband again?
Also, are you going to allow him and his new baby a chance to bond together and have a healthy father/child relationship, or will you always hold it against the child for being born into this situation and prevent that from happening? ~ BaileysMama
Debi: I will answer your first questions and Russ can answer about Baby A. Yes, we have gotten back to being a normal, healthy couple πŸ™‚ I have learned through reading and my support groups that intimacy after infidelity is definitely a “to-each-his-own” situation, meaning some couples find its easier or better to re-kindle relations right away and some decide to wait until “the time is right”. Bottom line, it just seems to be best when you’re absolutely ready but it’s also a very important part of the healing process. Marriages NEED intimacy and healing from infidelity is best served if you’re able to share in every aspect of that, including a “normal” sex life. I will also add that most marriages that survive infidelity claim that their sex lives are better than they ever were before. Of course, those on the “outside” may say it has to do with the need for the spouse to keep their husband or wife from cheating again. But, those of us on the inside will likely say it has nothing to do with proving one-self but rather spouses finding a deeper respect for one another and building a love through faith that can’t be shaken. There can be nothing deeper, nothing more intense, than a love like that.
As for trust, it is slowly coming. Russ is earning it πŸ™‚

Russ: Deb & I will and can establish a relationship with the baby when the time is right for us. The problem is not between Debi, myself and the baby but rather because there is another person involved that will create a unhealthy atmosphere for the baby out of anger. As a police officer I have seen it time & time again what happens to kids who are put through those sorts of situations and the last thing we want to do at this point is create an unhealthy situation for the baby.

5. * How will you, Debi and Russ, continue to stay connected and put your marriage first? ~ Elyse

Debi: It requires serious focus, but most important is that we go out of our way to make time for ourselves as a couple (not an easy task with 9 kids πŸ˜‰
Russ:
what Deb said πŸ™‚

6. Russ-What has been your biggest learning experience through this ordeal? ~ Elyse

Russ: No matter how tough you think you are, things can effect you and cause you to do things you never thought possible.

7. What steps are you taking to stay connected with Debi and Russ now? ~ Elyse

Debi: I am just making sure that I don’t allow Russ to be the least important person in the family. Again, not an easy task in our home some days, but one I am doing my best to do. On days that Russ isn’t here (when he’s at work), I make more of an effort to talk to him often and not take advantage of the fact that I can run the household my way (whether he’s here or not, I need to treat it as if he’s here.)
Russ:
I spend time reading the Bible. I keep pictures of Deb and the kids on my phone and I look at them often. I call home to talk to my family and try to keep myself busy with work on the days I’m not here at home with them. I also switched my schedule at work so that I am able to spend more time with all of them than we were before.

8. How can you be sure that this will not happen again? ~ Elyse
Russ: Because I won’t let it happen again. You honestly can’t be sure of anything, but you can certainly do everything in your power to make sure you don’t do it again.

9. What have you learned about each other through this ordeal? ~ Elyse
Debi: I have learned that Russ needs more attention than what I was used to giving him and that often, he has trouble asking me for it. I have also learned that I, too, need to be more direct in letting Russ know what I need. Subtle doesn’t work. If I am unhappy, I need to tell Russ and not wait for him to figure it out. (why do women do this???)
Most importantly, I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought possible and that turning everything over to God absolutely works. He will provide.
Russ: We’re a strong couple and gifted parents and sadly didn’t take as much time for ourselves as a couple before. That was our failing, but now we are both willing to work on us and put 100% into our relationship.

10. How did school go for the children last year? ~ Danielle

Debi: Things started off difficult for all of them, as they started school just 3 days after finding out, but they have all made lots of friends, became involved in sports and activities and all of them ended up on either the honor or merit roll. It was way more difficult for me than it was for them giving up homeschooling and I missed them all very much, esp. in the early months after, but now it’s something we’re all accustomed to πŸ™‚
I still miss them, of course.

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