Pornography. Adultery. Cheating. Lying. Abuse. Grief.
It's rampant. Nearly every day we hear of another friend, co-worker, neighbor, or family member who is filing for divorce. Nearly every day we hear of another marriage that is in crisis because of unfaithfulness, drug or alcohol abuse, or simply an unwillingness to sacrifice self for spouse. Every one of us has been negatively impacted by marriages that are failing to uphold God's design of "one man and one woman for LIFE".
The outlook for couples who face a major breach of trust is bleak. What I hear more than anything from women who have experienced the heartbreak of an affair, a porn addiction, or any other marital crisis is this:
We hear all of these stories of marriages that have ended because of infidelity or addiction and what we hear is, "Marriages that experience these things cannot survive." And if they do happen to technically "survive" (AKA, do not divorce), then we hear, "Okay. They didn't divorce. But they will never be completely happy again." Or, what's worse, "They will never completely trust again." And then, when our own marriages face these things, that's exactly what we believe.
As a result, all a couple in crisis sees is the seemingly inevitable destruction of their marriage and future happiness.
The one thing that helped me through our marriage crisis more than anything was finding out that several of the marriages that I admired and considered so strong had actually at one time experienced something similar to what my husband and I were going through. It made me realize that it is possible to recover and have a marriage that is stronger than ever.
It's time to start sharing our personal experiences of hope so that those in the trenches have a voice to listen to other than Satan shouting, "Save yourself from more hurt and walk away!" We have got to stop being so concerned with our reputation that we refuse to reveal our pasts to those desperate for help! After all, isn't that what the Gospel is all about? "Yes, I was there, too. But this is how God saved me..."
That's what this series is about. I want to share with you real stories of marriages that were seriously damaged but went on to glorify God. I want you to see the FORGIVENESS, the HOPE, and the BEAUTY that can come from the aftermath of betrayal.
Here's one such story from my friend "Anne":
"Several years ago, while my husband was away for work, his best friend and I had an affair. I threw my husband out, filed for divorce, and tried to end my marriage. By the grace of God, we worked everything out. We have since had 2 more children, bought 2 acres of beautiful land, and are in the process of building a home. We will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary this year, and could not be happier or more in love! As shattering as it was, it made our marriage stronger, better, and ironically more secure. (Not that I would EVER advocate adultery for ANY reason!) This is the nutshell version of our story.
“I guess the best advice I could give is to draw near to God, even if that is the last thing you want to do. While desiring another man (not my husband) and wanting to end my marriage, I ran as far away from God as I could get. Because I knew what would happen if I let Him get close. I'm so glad He caught me and softened my heart! And the heart of my husband. It takes a very strong person to forgive and move past adultery."God creates beauty out of chaos. He renews and restores. He died to bring that hope to your marriage. Will you let Him use your marriage to reach others for His glory?
"What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."
Has your marriage overcome a crisis? Do you have a story of hope that you are willing to share? Contact me at servingfromhome[at]gmail[dot]com to have your story featured here, or leave a comment below!
Part Two: Forgiven and Free
[Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net]