Our Story (Part One)

In mid-2006, I stepped into an affair. This man… and his wife were couple friends of ours long before the affair began.  However, the affair took flight after working deeply in ministry together.  The affair lasted two years.

Even though Brian and I had become “glorified roommates”, I knew I still loved him. I obviously didn’t show it with my actions.  I knew I never wanted to leave Brian… but I couldn’t believe how quickly and deeply I had fallen for this other man.

Could it be possible that I married the wrong man?

He knew my biggest dreams… my deepest hurts.
He could finish my sentences.
He knew my thoughts just by looking at me.
He pursued me.
He gave me confidence.

This man wasn’t an evil predator that seduced married women for his own gain.  We were (inappropriately) BEST FRIENDS.  Though he had made that first move, I was the one who hooked him and didn’t let go.  Instead of seeking God or going to my husband, I used this other man to fill a very empty hole in my life.  And because he was/is just another hurt human being in search for something, we fell deeper.

In the confusion of thinking I was in love with TWO men, the one person I really didn’t love…

… was myself.

As most do, my affair ended.  I tried to LIVE with this deep, dark secret. I knew the other man would never say anything. No one would ever know. I thought I could live AND DIE with this secret.  I thought I was protecting Brian and my kids by keeping this secret from them, when in reality, I was just trying to protect the very little of myself I had left. I was convinced that if I kept this to myself that I could MAKE this work. I knew if anyone ever found out, I would lose everything. Worst of all, I locked God out of my life.

I lived every day trying to make what I did wrong… right. It was all works based. I said to myself, “I CAN DO THIS!!!” And by some standards, I did.  I was FINALLY being a “good” wife. I was dedicated to Brian… to my children… to my church. But, I felt myself withdrawing from life.

In the end of 2008, I fell into the deepest depression I had ever experienced. I blamed it on post-partum (partially true) but I knew where the root of my personal hell was coming from… and the worst part was, I didn’t allow anyone to come and help bear my burden. Not even Jesus. ESPECIALLY not Jesus.

Fast forward to April of 2009. A couple (who are now very good friends), Justin & Trish Davis shared their story with us. Long story short, Justin had an affair with Trisha’s best friend. In the pain of it all, they chose to work through it and stay married.  I had HEARD about things like this happening but had never PERSONALLY known real people who stayed together after a full-blown affair. The part that stuck with me the most was how much God had restored Justin and Trisha’s relationship with Himself.

This was my hearts biggest desire.

I needed to tell Brian. I knew I could possibly lose everything. Brian could leave me. He could take the kids. I would be left friendless… family-less. My reputation that I had worked so long and hard at would be ruined… and I would deserve every bit of it. This would be the end of me.

I told him anyway.

(… to be continued …)

37 Responses to “Our Story (Part One)”

  1. Mike Mahoney October 13, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    For the record, my wife and I stayed together after a full-blown affair… mine. It was long, it was hard, and it was painful (and sometimes it still is) but oh, so worth it.

    We never would have done it (or had the desire to) without God.

  2. jenni October 13, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    mike… never would have known. thank you for sharing, friend.

  3. tammit October 13, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    i love you and brian more and more every day!

    thank you for this.

    mike – praise God!!

  4. Brian October 13, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    Jenni,

    Thank you for your honesty and courage in sharing this with the World. God has and will continue to honor you in your humility. Through it all I feel God moving us closer together and deepening our love for each other. I love you more every day!

    Mike,

    I echo what you said, you could not and would not have had the desire to get through something so painful without God’s help and love. He makes all things possible!

  5. pa3cia October 13, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    ur story brings healing to my soul. it helps me try to understand the “why’s” of my mother’s affair and helps me to see her in a different light..instead of operating on the “pain” that it caused our family. =] thank you for sharing it.

  6. misty October 13, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story. By sharing you will help others heal and draw near to Jesus.

    My husband and I survived after a full blown affair (mine – five years ago) and just celebrated our 11th anniversary. God has restored our relationship completely and our marriage is better than ever!

  7. jenni October 13, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    pa3cia – i’m so sorry! i hope you find the peace you’re looking for. i don’t know your mother, but what i CAN tell you is that your mother didn’t do this to hurt you. we are all flawed human beings. maybe you can have an open conversation with your mom about it.

    misty – PRAISE GOD!!! it sound like the timing of all that you guys endured is about the same as ours.

    tammit – love you too… lots… i miss seeing your face.

    Brian – my sweet Brian… you know i couldn’t do this without you. i love you more than words!

  8. gitz October 13, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    so proud of you, jenni and brian. you are a great example for so many.

  9. Crystal Renaud October 13, 2009 at 11:44 pm #

    so
    proud
    of
    you.

  10. Rindy Walton October 14, 2009 at 1:14 am #

    Jenni–so proud of u to not only tackle it head on, but to share it with those who need to hear it from an open, honest, and humble perspective.

    As the ‘product’ of an affair (my mother’s) and the ‘victim’ of another (my ex’s), I appreciate your honesty.

    Praying for u as u continue to move forward. Proud of ya!!

  11. David October 14, 2009 at 5:06 am #

    We love you guys!

    So happy you’ve chosen the hard, narrow road to recovery. God is truly awesome.

  12. alece October 19, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    thank you for this. really.

    my story is very similar to yours. and yet very different. my husband decided to leave me after his affair came to light.

    i so respect and admire your openness and transparency about your journey. thank you.

  13. jenni October 19, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    i am blown away by how our story is NOT a rare one. it saddens me, but at the same time, i see how not alone we are.

  14. Kristina January 20, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    I just found your site from Refine Us. I am so amazed how God continues to transform even the messiest situations to His glory! Praising Him for your restoration… and the so many others out there in the making!

    • jenni January 20, 2010 at 8:27 am #

      welcome, kristina! thanks for joining us here! God IS good!

  15. JD August 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    Love to see the hope, redemption and restoration in your story — while it’s not necessarily ‘rare’ to hear stories of affairs, what there needs to be more of is stories of hope. It’s powerful.

    You.are.loved.

    • jenni May 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

      thank you so much, JD. our story is definitely still in progress. just so grateful for second chances.

  16. fENZOMANI May 30, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    Whoa.I’m not married though but you guys are truly amazing.Especially Jenni, who just at the flick of Brian, confessed to almost all her closed ones without even thinking about herself (One question,didn’t you feel embarrassed). And Brian rep++ for forgiving.All the best for the rest of your life.

    • jenni May 30, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

      hey fenzomani. thanks for the comment and thanks for reading. to answer your question: i was totally embarrassed. it was honestly the most humbling thing i ever did. i thought i’d lose all my friends. and even if i didn’t lose them, i was sure they would judge me and talk behind my back for the rest of my life. so many of our friends and family proved me wrong though. thankful for that!

  17. JoAnna November 1, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Thank you for a truly inspiring and uplifting story. Before we were married my now husband had several affairs with different women. Two of the the women became pregnant just months apart. I stayed with him and we got married. I believe that during our marriage he has had affairs. Recently he left me this year in May because of some text messages he had read in my phone. I did have an affair after all the many years of being faithful to him. Since he has left the home. He doesn’t communicate with me regarding the issues nor does he seem to want to talk to see if things can be worked out. I really don’t know where to go from here. I am totally confused as to where our marriage is headed. He tell me that counseling don’t work for him. He has basically shut me out of his life as far as our marriage is concerned. We don’t talk about the event that lead up to my affair. All I get is that he don’t know. The affair has ended and I have been reading and studying the Word of God. I am applying what I am learning daily to my walk. I have forgiving my husband to the past heartache and pain but he doesn’t want to communicate with me or forgive me at this point. I don’t know what else I can do. I love him and will do whatever it takes to restore our marriage. Any suggestions would help and I would appreciate it.

    Thank you

    • jenni November 1, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      JoAnna…

      I’m sorry for all the pain you’re feeling. The best thing you can do right now is pray. Our God is a God of miracles. I see Him at work all the time. But we have free will… and we also have consequences to all our decisions. Marriage takes two willing people. If he’s not willing, you can’t make him… but you can continue praying for him.

      I would highly recommend investing in counseling. If you can both go together, that’s great… but if he won’t go, you still should go on your own. Sometimes, restoration doesn’t include your spouse… it just means YOU are restored to where you need to be… and that takes a lot of hard work with good counselors and prayer warriors.

  18. Best Way To Get Him To Commit August 27, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    It’s going to be end of mine day, but before finish I am reading this fantastic post to
    improve my know-how.

  19. www.eguide.com.sg October 30, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    A good pair of custom socks can be worn at a formal gathering or while taking in a ball game.

    If you are giving wine or a wine gift basket, it is better to ask permission or
    get details regarding whether the person actually drinks (or
    might drink too much and not want temptation).
    The next thing you need to do is to customize these t-shirts with your company logo.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks:

  1. hangin’ at jenni’s : Grit and Glory - November 13, 2009

    [...] story is a beautiful picture of grace and redemption—God’s faithful response to our [...]

  2. Vow Renewal | jenniclayville.com - May 23, 2010

    [...] weekend, Brian and I got to publically redeem our marriage with 30 of our closest friends and family [...]

  3. Father’s Day « BrianClayville.com - June 20, 2010

    [...] for all the ways he has blessed this family.  For keeping us together and not allowing Satan to split us up even though he came very close.  I am so thankful for a partner in parenting that is so [...]

  4. New Series « BrianClayville.com - September 24, 2010

    [...]  Most of my current readers already know our story but if you don’t you can check it out here.  Further inspiration for this life change has come from meeting some incredible Holy Spirit [...]

  5. Leading and Loving It - June 29, 2011

    [...] sharing our story of my affair, Brian and I have received bulldozer (we don’t have a bulldozer, so I don’t really know how big [...]

  6. Leading and Loving It - August 24, 2011

    [...] So I lived my safe Christian life. I thought if I stayed safe, I could protect my heart and keep it from being trampled on. I kept my heart from everything. From my husband… and even from God. The only thing I fought for was control. Man, was I feisty when it came to control. And it worked… until I lost ALL control and broke myself. [...]

  7. Prayer | - January 21, 2012

    [...] Without people really, truly praying for me & Brian as well as checking in on us, I’m not sure we would have made it. [...]

  8. Leading and Loving It - February 14, 2012

    [...] Three years ago, I promised myself I would NEVER tell Brian about my infidelity. [...]

  9. Guest Post Mania | - February 15, 2012

    [...] Three years ago, I promised myself I would NEVER tell Brian about my infidelity. [...]

  10. FROM ADULTERY TO FORGIVENESS | People of the Second Chance - June 18, 2012

    [...] Those are my labels.  I can’t say I don’t know how I got here, because in July 2006, I intentionally chose to break my marriage vows. I chose to step into an affair. [...]

  11. Choosing Second Chances | - June 18, 2012

    [...] Those are my labels.  I can’t say I don’t know how I got here, because in July 2006, I intentionally chose to break my marriage vows. I chose to step into an affair. [...]

  12. Leading and Loving It - September 19, 2012

    [...] And then… I stepped out of my marital vows and chose an affair. [...]

  13. Faithfulness | - February 25, 2013

    [...] his family, his friends, his church and God. FAITHFUL. When Brian and I were struggling thru my infidelity, these two were constant prayer warriors for us. She texted me often to let me know she was [...]

  14. Together Is... | Leading and Loving It - March 3, 2014

    […] didn’t go on any mission trips for 5 years. Last year was my first Moldova mission trip since THAT last one and it was with ALL WOMEN. It was beautiful… but that can’t always happen. So this […]

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image