A couple weeks ago, we had a glimpse into a young woman’s story, who allowed discontent to lead her astray from her marriage. (And a forgiving husband and gracious God that brought restoration!) This week, we’re “turning the tables.” If you’re sitting there, wondering how to respond to a husband’s confession of unfaithfulness, this is for you.
Dear friends of ours have faithfully begun sharing their story of God’s redemptive work in their marriage, as He brought them through a rocky journey of addiction, betrayal, choosing forgiveness, and healing. It has been beautiful to watch as they have allowed God to work His story through them.
Here is Emily’s story:
“My husband and I met, got pregnant, got engaged, and got married all within 8 months. I was 19 years old.
I had never lived away from my parents, aside from a dorm room just across town. I was young, naïve, uncertain of the plans God had for my life and needless to say, in the present situation I had gotten myself into, …quite scared.
For the first few years, our lives went along fairly even-keeled. There were family disputes and many unpleasant moments as we navigated differences with parents and learned how to be parents ourselves.
We both finished up college and within two years added another baby to the mix, several hundred miles of distance between ourselves and any family support, and just enough debt to make finances stressful.
There was a lengthy time span, mainly after the birth of our second child, where I wished often that something would come along that could end our marriage.
A year after moving back to Oregon and connecting with an amazing community,
I got my wish.
I was 5 months pregnant with our third child when my husband confessed his infidelity and long history of sexual addiction. As he poured out his heart with tears in his eyes the week before my 24th birthday, he believed without a doubt that I would be leaving.
But God had other plans.
I sure hated my husband in that moment. I cried my eyes out. I felt more pain and betrayal than I knew possible. I wanted to leave and never look back. I had no idea what I was going to do or where I would be after that.
We sat silently in the living room in the dark a few hours later wondering what the next step would be for our horribly broken and destroyed family.
In the stillness all that came to my lips was “I forgive you.”
It didn’t come from my own heart or even my own intentional thoughts. But the words were real and true. I wasn’t ready to truly forgive my husband in that moment but God was already paving that path in me right there in the stillness of that night.
We began to journey into a season of healing in our marriage. God’s grace and redemption were more present and powerful in my life those next few months than ever before.
I became involved with a women’s healing group and shared my pain, struggles, and joys with women I barely knew. These women have become some of my dearest friends. I struggled with understanding how I had been able to forgive my husband when I wasn’t always sure that I wanted to. God reminded me constantly with his presence and his voice:
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
Through this challenging time, much has changed in our marriage. We share our story often with the many people that God brings into our lives. There is a love and a respect that has grown in our marriage that we had never imagined possible.
God’s grace has transformed my husband. My relationship with the Lord has been renewed. Our honesty, our trust and our compassion for one another has deepened.
Our hope for the future has become real.
This is such a shortened snippet of my story and my experiences; I would love to share more of my journey, the healing of my marriage and the transformation I have experienced with any woman who desires it.”
As you journey through your grief, choosing forgiveness, and pursuing healing, here are some resources I recommend:
*Note: These books have some especially pertinent tips when establishing healthy boundaries and addressing adultery that is still ongoing, as well as “past” sin. There are important physical aspects as well as emotional issues to consider when addressing this particular area of marriage. This blog post is not an attempt to address those details; if you need further resources, feel free to contact me or Emily*.
This is Part 10, the final segment in our “Journey of Blessing” series this summer. If this series has ministered to you, and you would like to see it continued, let me know, and we can revisit these topics later. For now, I’ll be freeing up our Fridays for some new topics!
*Emily & her husband just celebrated seven years of marriage on June 14. Emily is blessed to spend her days homeschooling their three kids, ages 2, 4, & 6. They are embarking on a new journey as a family in the next month. They will be part of a church community living life and pursuing Christ through loving and serving people in the heart of Salt Lake City with Missio Dei Community. You can connect with Emily via her blog, Industriously Emily.