I’d love to begin with a Happy New Year blog but there’s a burden stirring within so I’m going with that!
Over the past twelve months, the world of affair recovery has seen three power couples (for the lack of a better term) sorrowfully reach a point of separation.
For those of us who have been encouraged and inspired by their stories, authenticity and commitment to overcome infidelity, these announcements weighed heavily on our hearts and we might wonder if our own relationships will make it.
Up until a couple of years ago, I’d never heard of James and Peggy Vaughan but way back in 1980 they were the first couple to ever openly share their story of overcoming infidelity on the Phil Donahue Show.
Forty-two years ago—could you imagine the mic drop after that segment!
Over the next 30 years, Peggy pioneered a way for couples, individuals and marriages to thrive and prosper despite intimate betrayal. Beyond Affairs Network was birthed following the public reaction they received and Peggy became known as an expert in the area of extramarital affairs.
Thankfully Peggy and James bravely gave voice to an unspoken and largely misunderstood human experience. Shattered marriages from all over finally found hope and a safe space to heal following the incapacitating damage of infidelity.
Brian and Anne Bercht stepped up to continue Peggy and James’ work after Peggy passed away in 2012. James and Peggy remained married for fifty-seven years until she died. Brian and Anne are thriving and continuing to support others on this journey.
For the hundreds of thousands of marriages around the globe impacted by infidelity, there is only a very small percentage of people who are prepared to go public in the hope that their stories might help others who are hurting—so when we hear of three very courageous and influential couples deciding to end their marriage, of course, we are devastated.
Ashlynn and Coby from The Betrayed, the Addicted and the Expert broke their news in May 2021 then Samuel shared that he and Samantha were parting ways not long after. Both of these announcements sent shockwaves through infidelity circles and speculation as to the reasons behind their decisions were rife in online forums.
The latest bombshell to drop has been that Lysa and Art Terkeurst have separated. After reading Lysa’s announcement yesterday, one might assume that Art has again betrayed Lysa in some form, “As many of you know, three years ago, Art and I renewed our marriage vows after a painful separation. It has crushed my heart to know that he has broken these vows.”
Here is where I want to add my two cents worth—and please note—these are just my personal thoughts…
As sad and disheartening as the break up news is, let’s take a moment to remember that there are literally thousands of couples in every country who are continuing to heal their relationships quietly.
To anyone facing these challenges, your recovery, healing and success are not reliant upon anything else apart from God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness and the relationship we have with Him, ourselves and others. He is love!
Our own marriages may or may not survive after infidelity but this is never dependent on anyone else’s experience.
We know that there are truckloads of destructive covert behaviours which accompany cheating, most of them driven by a false sense of identity.
Shame, entitlement and lack of self-worth can destroy any relationship. If a couple decides to split after infidelity, it may not necessarily be directly affair related. If Lysa’s husband has cheated again after being shown so much love and compassion, my flesh wants to scream “Art you absolute MORON!” But this is neither kind nor Christlike! No matter what has gone down, he is loved.
All of the people I’ve mentioned above plus the likes of Rick Reynolds, Wayne Baker and others have shared invaluable personal insight through their books, podcasts and socials. I for one am incredibly indebted to them and our marriage is blessed (not perfect) because of the vulnerability they exhibited and the truths they shared, even when exposing their own failings and shortcomings.
Sometimes hearing the truth can be brutal, we may not agree with the sentiment or ideas, we don’t have to but I believe that each one of these Bravehearts deserves gratitude and respect.
Take from their stories anything that resonates with you and is beneficial for you and your circumstances. Don’t judge anyone’s decision to stay or go, we don’t know what it took to make that decision, I’m 100% certain it was not done lightly and please, never base your own progress or outcome on theirs.
We may share similarities but the truth is we are all unique and no one has ever fully walked in your shoes. No one knows you or your situation as you know yourself, there is only one exception—Jesus. So fill your backpack with the tools you need for the marathon—humility, compassion, kindness, love, joy, peace, and patience—strap on your boots and keep walking towards your own victory!
Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow― Albert Camus
Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend”
For what it’s worth this much I know, regardless of any personal biases, every single person who has lived the gut-wrenching tumultuous pain of infidelity and continues on with their own healing and wholeness is a legend. I know that Ashlynn, Samuel, and in due time Lysa, will continue encouraging and inspiring people around the world to live their best lives regardless of the pain and calamity caused by infidelity.
For those of us who dare to go public in the hope of encouraging others with our testimony—please pray for us—there is plenty of opposition out there!
Peace, love, compassion and HNY!