Yesterday, you met my dear friend as she revealed the truth of an affair to her husband over a year after it ended. I asked her how it happened; after watching my own parents’ marriage ripped apart by an affair, I’m always on alert for my own marriage.
Her response not only helped me appreciate how quickly things can unravel, but also how differently women fall into affairs. The man she had an affair with had been an old boyfriend. They had dated on and off and reconnected after some time. He bemoaned the challenges in his own marriage. She said that after a few lunches and texts, it didn’t take long. After three months of the typical “passionate” affair most people think of, she shared that the remaining year found each of them trying to find a way out of it and trying to make sense of how something like this could have happened. Like I couldn’t end it if it really meant nothing – if there wasn’t a reason….
Based on nothing but antidotes from those in my life, I believe men can fall into affairs for the pure physicality of it. Women more often have an emotional connection to the person. A past relationship. A colleague. A fellow soccer parent.
After sharing her dark secret with a few friends, all advised her not to tell her husband. And yet, she wasn’t certain she could keep it from him. The secret that had been eating her up inside finally came out in the simplest of conversations when he happened to ask, “Do you have something to hide?”
Two months later he filed for a divorce. In response to the news, she pleaded, “How sure are you?” His reply, “about 50 percent,” gave her hope.
Here is the rest of the story in her words. If you pray, then join me in praying for a marriage restoration story.
While my relationship with Christ had been growing for months, it suddenly hit overdrive with my marriage in distress. The words in Psalms rang true, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
I started reading constantly. I wasn’t sleeping or eating, so I had a lot of extra time. Books that I’d had on my bookshelf for years, Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs and His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley, were read anew along with books new to me: The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, plus lots of books on being a spiritual woman. What I quickly learned was that I wasn’t a Godly woman, and I didn’t show love to my husband.
I embarked on The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. I won’t give the ending away, but I encourage anyone to do it. Even if you aren’t married, dare to love your children, your parents, your coworkers with God’s love as outlined in I Corinthians 13.
Through all of this reading I learned, really learned to my core, several principles of Christianity:
1) God loves me.
2) He is faithful to forgive. Grace is instant. I now see friends who are so complete and instant with mercy, just like God is to me. I long to reach that level of love.
3) By seeking God first, everything else I needed would fall into place. My husband didn’t die for me, or stay like I had hoped, but I know God did and does.
4) This life is just a moment, not eternity. It took months of hoping for earthly relationship gain with continual disappointment to reach the point that my hope transcends this lifetime.
I still pray that my husband will return.
I hope that he will recognize this amazing transformation in my life and want to join me in living with God at the center of our marriage. The purest picture of Christ’s love for his church is marriage. His church commits adultery every day by worshiping gods like work and possessions above Him. Yet His grace is instant when we fail, and His forgiveness is complete.
I pray my husband’s heart will heal, and my children will see God through this, but I no longer fear a future without him. My God is sufficient to meet all of my needs and to work for my good because I am working for His purpose.
My brave friend shared, at the end of our call, these words about her journey thus far:
I needed him to file for a divorce. I was never going to be who I am today without him filing. I have a relationship with God, a reliance upon Him, that I would have never found if he had never left. But I still pray for restoration. I still have hope.