This book had a transforming effect on my husband and me. A major crisis hit us when years of infidelity was confessed...we didn't know where to turn. I (wife) began reading this book and it made me realize that I wasn't alone...and that I could and should be honest about what I needed to know. My husband began to read it, begrudgingly, and realized he needed to come completely clean. Gary and Mona Shriver shared their experience in such a way that it ministered to exactly the parts of each of us (my husband and me) that needed to be ministered to. God has an incredible of way of meeting us where we need to be met. And He did that for us through this book!
Along with Debra Laaser's book, Shattered Vows, this book gave my husband and me the perspective and hope we needed to realize that we could not only recover from adultery, but our marriage could be healed by the Almighty and made beautiful from the ashes. We were put on the right path, the right considerations planted in our hearts and minds, because Gary and Mona had the courage to write a book about the hope and healing God brings when we submit to Him and do things His way.
There is also a lot of practical information in this book, from the struggle itself to the boundaries that we need to think about when we finally make the commitment to see our marriages through as God would have us do. I would (and have) recommend(ed) this book to anyone who is going through adultery recovery--or even considering taking that difficult but rewarding route.
One note: Gary and Mona's story is about a "limited" amount of adultery (if there is such a thing). Debra Laaser's book is geared more for those who have been dealing with sexual addiction or adulterous behavior that is more than just a once or twice scenario, which is what my husband's and my experience was.
This book certainly helped me to understand the journey ahead of me. Mona & Gary do a great job of explaining the experience from their perspective. In many cases, me and Mona could be the same person. This also helped me to understan what my husband is feeling as the infidel. He is not great at expressing his own hurts and he tends to hold everything in and that could look like uncaring. I feel if my feelings are likened to that of Mona's, he must have some common feelings like Gary. I certainly am more willing to see from his perspective and looking forward to healing.
In the midst of the darkest days of my life this was one of the first books God brought me. I felt like I was going crazy with the hurt. In one chapter the Shrivers related how they felt like they were "overreacting or going crazy" and they heard a broadcast on focus on family about a woman who endured the holocaust. That woman witnessed horrific atrocities most of will never experience or understand ,yet when she came to the states , married and endured her husbands affair with him leaving her, she stated :"That experience was the most painful experience of her life." That story, along with the sincere retelling of the Shrivers personal and others they share, brought empathizing to my very lonely heart I sometimes wonder if I would have died without it. Well meaning people show up out of nowhere at the worst times, full of advice , and cause More pain . Books have the power to do that if you end up hearing a list of "you shoulds ." The pain of an affair is a very isolating and very alone grief. Grief is lightened if you can share it , but who listens to such intimate details of sexual betrayal? To be heard and believed is a vital part of healing from sexual betrayal. The Shrivers write in a way that validated my deep pain. Still pain, but heard. They don't leave you there either. There is a lot of direction they give that slowly brings you to a place of even believing there IS light at the end of this dark , long tunnel. The timeline of ESTIMATED healing at the end of the book is worth it to me. I re-read that to my husband when I sense he is creeping into being impatient with me. Betrayers commonly want to "move ahead" a LOT faster then the hurting spouse, causing even more pain. The chapter on forgiveness is sensitive, hard and vital to healing. Mona went through many scriptures helping the hurting to know what forgivenes really is , and what it is NOT, how it feels and does not need to feel to be real forgiveness. I am still wearing out my copy , it is well marked up. The only caution I will warn to the hurting spouse is about the chapter on Admitting Our Roles. In discussing the distance that can happen in a marriage from failures in both the husband or wife ; at first I was in such pain I had to skip that part until I had felt a little more understanding from him, and felt a little heard. Maybe that chapter could have fallen later in the book. The point is to heal the marriage, not just recover from this horrific betrayal. The chapter on emotional affairs was very excellent and should be read by every married couple , in my opinion.I saw understanding come to him a little more as I read the stories of others to him. Its a slow healing process, this book was a big help,along with the Lord and others who have survived affairs.
This book was a tremendous help for me. I found out in August that my husband had been embroiled in TWO affairs over the past four years. You just don't know how in the world you can proceed, but with God's grace you can, as the Shriver's so openly and honestly shared. It was helpful - even though painful to read - to be able to hear the 'infidel's' feelings/perspective. As the victim, it's hard to really care too much about the one who has just ripped your heart out, but so good to come together broken, find out what caused the weak link that allowed vulnerability, and HEAL. When you take into account what you have BEEN forgiven by the Lord, I just don't think you can withhold forgiveness from someone who is truly repentant, truly sorry, and willing to recommit to the marriage. I am so incredibly grateful that out of all the marriages falling apart, God chose to intervene, to move in my husband's heart, and that he chose me, chose to take the hard road of broken honesty and rebuilding.
The section on emotional affairs was so dead on - if that doesn't make people understand they need to always be on guard to protect their marriages and their hearts, nothing will. You don't have to go looking for trouble, it is always there waiting for you! Build that wall of protection, value and cherish each other so that no evil can come between you.
Thank you, Gary and Mona, for sharing your story of hope.