Surviving infidelity in marriage is possible. It may be a long and windy road to the other side, but there can be light after betrayal, and Warryn and Erica Campbell are a beautiful example of just that.
The couple, who have been married for 18 years, joined the 2019 Black Love Summit and shared wisdom on their experience with rebuilding marriage after infidelity by creating their own relationship “defibrillator.” Here are five takeaways from their honest conversation that helped them heal their wounds and rebuild their relationship — together.
Be accountable for your actions.
After discovering Warryn’s tryst with another woman, Erica says that he took full responsibility for his role in the affair. She shared how he became more accountable to her about the places he went and who he would befriend, which she said made her feel more comfortable in the wake of heartbreak.
When asked if he ever blamed Erica for his shortcomings, Warryn said, “No.”
“She didn’t make me do anything. She didn’t put a gun to my head and make me step outside my marriage. I’m a man. I do what I want to do. I got to own that,” he admitted.
Warryn added that “men need a safe place to come home and fall apart — to say we’ve been tempted.” While it may be a woman’s responsibility to create that “safe place” for men, it’s just as important for men to create the same space for women. (Yes, men. Women are tempted too.) There’s an accountability aspect for both parties to safeguard the marriage against secrecy, which can be a trap that leads to unfaithfulness.
Know your “why.”
Warryn insisted that couples should never forget their why. “Once I figured out why I wanted to marry her, an awakening happened within myself,” he shared.
When situations within your relationship flare-up, return to the reason you chose to love them. Because Erica had clearly discovered her why, she could see beyond Warryn’s betrayal. Her love for him ran deeper than the wrongdoing that, he admitted, could have “derailed [his] entire family.” She said, “I think he made a mistake; I don’t think he was a mistake.” The ability for her to differentiate between the two was key to accessing the grace she needed to forgive and remain in the relationship.