"The unforgiving heart clings to the past, refusing to extend to others what our heavenly Father has extended to us. As a result of a resentful attitude, there will be certain negative consequences in the life of an unforgiving person. One of the most significant repercussions is that bitterness takes root in the heart, and then it spreads its poison to choke out every godly trait there.
The truth is that people choose to be unforgivingit is a deliberate decision and a self-inflicted pain. We carry the illusion that other people have caused our misery, but in reality, we have elected to take on a form of self-imposed bondage. It is a spiritual acid that eats through the spirit within us. Few people realize the terrible effects of unforgiveness.
My ex-husband and I were both in the military...both officers. From the very beginning, it was obvious that it would be difficult (if not impossible) for both of us to have successful military careers and a family. It's not easy coordinating jobs for two careers in the military and raising a family at the same time (some people do it, but often times it's the families that suffer for it). After 7 years on active duty, they were going to separate us, and we had two very young children, so I made the choice to get out of the military and resign my commission. (Later, he would say that's when our marriage ended for him, but that was only one in a long list of "reasons" he gave me.) Once I became a military spouse, I found short term jobs, but they didn't pay nearly as much as my officer salary. I took care of the kids, the house, and the moves, but somehow my husband didn't see my value no matter how hard I worked. After 11 years of marriage, he got deployed to Afghanistan. I missed him SO much! He was only gone for 4 months, but it felt like forever to me. While he was gone, he became deeply involved in a relationship with a woman who worked for him at our home base. They could talk daily on military phone lines, while I only got to talk to him a couple times a month. This was pre-Skype. At the end of the deployment, he came home to her, not to me. I fought as hard as I knew how to give our marriage a chance. I didn't want our children to grow up without him, but I knew they would if we left, and I loved him and the life we had built together. He stayed in our home, but continued the relationship at work (while telling me it was over). She left her husband and made herself completely available to mine shortly after his return from the deployment. After about 18 months, it became completely obvious that she wasn't going to let go, and he didn't want her to. (Long story, but he was lying to me and deceiving me the whole time...telling me one thing and doing another.) When I caught them the final time, he finally looked me in the eye and told me he would never be faithful to me and I needed to leave. So, I did...no job, no home, no savings...nothing. Just me, my two girls, our dog, and a small car...and a 3000 mile trip from the west coast to the east coast. We lived with my brother for a few months while I tried to figure out what to do (and prayed daily that my husband would realize his mistake, fix it, and we could go home! That, obviously, did not happen.) I decided to become a high school math teacher, since I had a math degree and I thought it would be "perfect" for a single mother. Meanwhile, the mistress left her two children with their father and moved 850 miles away from them to move in with my husband (long before we had even seen a lawyer, let alone filed for divorce.) I worked my tail off to earn my teaching certification (it took a total of 4 years), but I was able to teach while taking classes. Our divorce was finalized two years after he kicked us out, and he married his mistress a few months later. He has paid his child support regularly (I guess I'm lucky in that), but the girls only see him 1-2 times per year. He's gone on to have another child (and another on the way.) It's still extremely painful for me, and the feelings of abandonment and fear often still wake me up from a sound sleep feeling panicky. BUT...I have survived. My girls are beautiful and intelligent...the divorce has affected them (how could it not?), but they are well-behaved and have not gone down the path many kids of divorce do. Thank you, God! I was able to purchase a small house for us, and we have everything we need. I actually enjoy teaching more than anything I've ever done, which surprised even me!
It took me 5 years to decide to start the annulment process, because I first had to accept that he wasn't coming back and also come to terms with the idea that I wouldn't go back even if he did. I wouldn't allow myself the freedom to date until it was finalized. My annulment was granted without any issue two years ago. Finding someone with my values has not been easy. I've tried this site a couple of times with no luck, but I just keep telling myself God has given us what we needed every step of the way, and He will provide a companion for me when the time is right..in His own time. While I sometimes still have those feelings of helplessness, fear, and loneliness, I am a survivor...more victor than victim. I just hope "His time" comes soon!