When Life Turns Our Plans Inside Out

I started the new year back home in Mexico, and as always, I find myself in a world of color and contrasts among a people who know how to make-do—another way of saying they accept that it is what it is. If life is hard, they deal with it. Just yesterday as I pulled into a grocery store parking lot a young man with window washing liquid in one hand, soft cloth in the other stood waiting, hoping for customers. Like many here, he is doing is best to find a way to work, even if he can't find a job. And even if washing someone's car windows only earns him 10 pesos.

“Senor,” I called, as I stepped out of my car. Quickly and eagerly he came, a broad smile spreading across his face. The conversation that followed, interestingly in perfect English, told me this young man was really making do. Turns out he—Jesus is his name—was born in Mexico but his mother moved to the United States when he was very small. He grew up in Arizona and Colorado. However, when the immigration laws tightened in Arizona a few months ago, he left a good job and the woman he loves, and returned to the country of his birth rather than run into trouble because he was in the United States without papers. Jesus is making-do; he's accepting that it is what it is, even though life has turned his plans inside out.

Like Jesus, we partners of men who struggle with “extracurricular”sexual behavior must also learn to make-do with our reality—to accept that it is what it is—even when life turns our plans inside out, and everything in us screams “No!” My friend Jenny provides a heartbreaking—yet courageous—example of how making-do can look in the life of a sister on this journey.

When her email came into my in-box early last week, the subject line only read, “Sad news.” But those two words did not prepare me for what followed.

Dear Marsha,

My husband died suddenly of a heart attack here at home on Dec. 30th. Tonight I am finally alone and I am letting myself wonder what all of that heartache and struggle was for. Of course I am grateful that we got to a better place of compassion, forgiveness and understanding, but I am devastated that we did not have more time together to enjoy that. I have been encouraged to continue my work at S-Anon and I guess I will. I will also continue to see my CSAT counselor. Right now though I am really pissed off and find that nothing is giving me any measure of comfort. Lots to talk to my counselor about - right? Seems like there are lots of books out there for wives of sex addicts but none for widows of sex addicts. Surely I am not the only one. If you know of anyone I would love to connect with them if they are willing. This is still a lonely road.

Have to say thank you to you for leading me on this journey of self-discovery and forgiveness. I cannot imagine what it would be like if my husband and I had not done the work together to start to heal ourselves and our marriage. I will be forever grateful to you for that.

Blessings,
Jenny

As I read and reread Jenny's email I felt kicked in the stomach by her news. I can't even imagine what Jenny must feel. Why God, why? I wondered. Yet over the years of talking to hundreds—perhaps thousands—of women, I knew I had heard stories similar to hers, so I know Jenny's not alone. And as I considered the process and healing I knew she needed, I felt prompted to invite her to share this new journey with our readers. And to my delight, Jenny said “yes.”

And so it is that this month I introduce you to Jenny's Journey, a blog where Jenny will share with our readers what it's like to have done the work required to accept her reality as the wife of a sexual addict, to adapt to that reality by healing her own heart, and healing a marriage damaged by years of addiction, only to have the one she did it with taken out of her life suddenly. I am reminded that so often I've heard shattered women say, “It would be so much easier if he had just died.” Now, through Jenny's eyes we will learn that though each of our paths are similar, they are unique as well. And none of them are easy. I hope that as you share in Jenny's experiences by reading her blog, you'll find wisdom and insight to help you in your own journey on this often treacherous trail.

With your healing at heart,

Marsha