I have recently come across a beautiful Japanese concept that has helped me to visualise and articulate what has been happening in my marriage following the disclosure of my husband’s affair. Disclosed to me by the other woman via a text message! The disclosure occurred on August 3rd 2012 and the effects of the ugly and hateful message smashed everything that I had thought was the truth. At the time I felt as if my marriage had broken into loads of pieces and that I would never be able to rebuild or repair it or consider our relationship whole again. However, almost two years on, I feel very differently about us. We are not the same and neither is our relationship but I believe that our marriage is more beautiful now, following the work we have been doing together to repair it.
The Japanese art of ‘kintsugi‘ or ‘kintsukuroi’ means to repair pottery with gold so that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken. What a truly wonderful idea – ‘Golden joinery’ – turning ugly breaks into beautiful fixes. You see, mending an object with gold aggrandises the damage; when something’s suffered damage it has a history and becomes more beautiful. I like to think that the work that my husband and I are doing is a form of golden joinery and that our marriage will be more beautiful because we will have managed to find beauty where there once was shame.
The gold paste is still being made by us as we have not ended our journey. I still have cracks that will not join, but as long as we keep using the same recipe for repair I am confident that we will become fully repaired. The recipe was forged in a furnace of fire. Words could not describe how angry I became or how the rage I felt engulfed us. My throat would be sore from shouting and I behaved in ways that I now feel very ashamed about. But the man that could not face up to me and tell me his secret when he realised he was in too deep, found the courage and determination, in the face of certain loss, to contain and hold all my wrath. For the first time in his life I think he became a mature man.
Eventually, the anger subsided (it still crops up unexpectedly) and our communication took on another style. I began to accept what was (I do not think that I have forgiven him yet, but I find acceptance easier) and he accepts my continuous questioning. The questions have reduced because he has provided answers but some questions still keep popping up because I cannot seem to find a resolution and he is at a loss in answering. The recipe for repair includes honesty – no more lies about what happened then or how we are feeling now, no matter how uncomfortable and includes us making every effort to be present for each other and to share activities whenever we can. It also includes lots of touching and kissing.
“The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places” Ernest Hemingway
Image Credits: Red Heart Shapes With Ribbon by Victor Habbick; phone in hand adapted from Girl Sending Text Sms At Cell Phoneby David Castillo Dominici. All courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net