Husband's shock text: 'You should leave'
"You deserve better than me".
Emily was working when she spotted the unusual text from her husband.
"I knew my marriage was stressed but I had no idea it was about to snap like a twig," the mum-of-two first wrote on Love What Matters.
"I thought the tension was from juggling a new baby and a toddler.
"I asked what was going on.
"'You should leave me'," was his response.
"I was shocked and instantly felt tears sting my eyes and fear rip through my gut."
Emily raced out of work, driving straight home to him, praying the entire time that the worst hadn't happened.
Six years ago, her husband had given up drinking after it began to affect their relationship.
She desperately hoped that he hadn't started again.
But that was exactly what had happened.
"He was drunk," she recalled.
"Six years of sobriety gone in a flash.
"Then he looked over and said, 'I need to tell you something, but you will leave me.'
"My response was unkind but honest in that moment, 'I might be leaving you either way, so you might as well be honest'."
Emily had thought the drinking was a betrayal, but what her husband confessed next shattered their marriage into a thousand tiny pieces.
He had been having an affair.
She sat in complete shock, feeling like she was sitting next to a complete stranger.
"He was the last person I ever thought could do such a heinous act," she said.
"I was appalled. That night was a blur, but I know I asked questions.
"They were along the lines of 'did you love her?', 'How long,' and 'why?'
"He slept on the floor while I cried myself to sleep upstairs."
In the weeks that followed, Emily's entire body ached with the pain of the affair as she struggled to maintain a sense of normalcy for her kids.
She had no idea how her family was to survive this.
All she really wanted was an end to the agonising pain.
"I wanted to come up with a solution and fix it," Emily said.
"I'm a problem solver.
"My husband pleaded for a second chance.
"I finally agreed to go to a counselling session with him.
"The therapist reassured us we could overcome this. I didn't believe him."
But over time Emily realised that regardless of what happened in her marriage, she needed to forgive the affair.
She sent a text to the other woman that said "I forgive you".
It sounded crazy but Emily found the only way to ease her own pain was to forgive them.
She also threw herself into learning about divorce and how it affects children.
"I knew that divorce wasn't always the best for children, but I had no idea the deep and long-term effects," she said.
"My role as a mother had been my priority.
"I felt like I would be failing my boys if I didn't give my marriage more of a fighting chance."
She realised that the situation with her husband was not beyond repair.
Through counselling, they worked out a plan for how their life and marriage could be turned around.
"I was lucky to have a husband that wanted to reconcile," Emily said.
"I had a husband who was working hard towards to trying to fix the damage he had done.
"Our home life was not negative or nasty.
"My children were not in danger of a raging alcoholic father.
"Things were good, I am lucky."
Since then Emily and her husband have worked incredibly hard to repair their relationship.
At first, she felt herself sinking into despair each time she thought of her husband's betrayal.
But over time this has changed - with her husband standing by in those difficult moments to offer much-needed reassurance.
"I show up daily for my marriage and my children," Emily said.
"They will know a story of grace and forgiveness.
"That life isn't easy, but even in the mess it can become beautiful.
"This has been a long, hard road - but divorce isn't always the answer.
"Know there is no shame in trusting again, in loving again."
If you or someone you know is battling addiction, help is available. Call the Family Drug Helpline on 1300 368 186, DrugInfo on 1300 858 584 or Youth Substance Abuse Service on 1800 014 446. For a complete list of services by state click here. If you believe you are in immediate danger, please contact police on 000.
This story originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished here with permission