I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, an employee, but none of those things define me. I am a hot- head, a complainer, a gossip, a jerk, but praise God that none of those things define me either.
Over the past 4 months I have been sharing the story of my husband’s infidelity. In doing that, I feared I would become the woman who suffered and survived marital adultery, but that does not define me either.
At the end of this year, my husband and I will celebrate eight beautiful and very hard years of marriage. I have been reflecting on how our anniversary could have easily become my least favorite day in the year. It could have been a day that caused me to mourn a marriage that once was, instead of celebrating a marriage that has been redeemed.
There is nothing like watching the groom’s face as he sees his bride coming toward him down the aisle on their wedding day.
I always chose to watch him instead of the bride. Very rarely am I disappointed in his countenance. As the matron of honor at my dear friend's wedding this past weekend, I had the privilege of witnessing this from a very front row. Tears welling his eyes, a perfect smile and a slight lean forward in an effort to make her journey toward him just a little shorter.
There are a lot of the things in this world that cause us to feel hopeless. The truth is that we live in a broken world full of pain and heartache. No one escapes it. Not one.
Hope by definition is a feeling of expectation, a desire for certain things to happen. I spent the earlier years of my marriage hoping in my husband to "complete me" in a way that only my creator can. But, like us all, he is flawed and he failed me, like he was bound to do in one way or another.
Very rarely do prisoners actually escape, nor do they even try. They are in prison with the intention of staying there. Someone has to set them free.
We all struggle with patterns of sin, causing us live like trapped prisoners. My husband has been no stranger to that. I recall him saying with certainty a few years back, “This will always be my struggle.” Praise God that he has granted him a deeper understanding of his freedom from the bondage of sin through Christ.
The Lord disciplines us because he loves us just as we do our own children.
That concept in itself is easy for me to appreciate as a parent, but I struggle to understand the complexity of God’s discipline.
About a year after my husband’s affair, I became pregnant. We were feeling blessed to be in a place of joy again. First, my husband’s new job showed promise of advancement and now a new baby was on the way!
Then, 12 weeks into the pregnancy we found out that I had miscarried.
I want to trust my husband, but the truth is he has not been trustworthy.
So, how do you trust someone who has not earned the privilege of being trusted? After much wrestling I have come to the understanding that it is okay that I just do not right now. At least not to the depth that I desire.
I remember so clearly the day that the head-knowledge understanding of bearing another’s burden connected with my spirit. God has been faithful to reveal to me sin that my husband had concealed. On this particular day, I knew that I needed to confront him about something that he had not confessed from his past. And I was tired. I really did not want to deal with trial anymore, but for the first time my spirit sorrowfully ached for his spirit and it was no longer about me. My heart was broken for him.
I mentioned in my last post that after re-building the wall in Jerusalem Nehemiah was blessed to see repentance of the Israelites. As I began to work toward “re-building” with my husband who had slipped into adulterous sin I desired a deeper understanding of repentance. I want to know that there is a turning away from sin back to God and not just sadness that he had wronged me.
As I struggled to understand my husband’s unfaithfulness I knew there must be a lesson in all of it for me, but the one that God gave me was not what I expected.
I prayed over and over for a year (at least) that God would show me where I had sinned and how I had failed as a wife. I studied loving my husband better because I was certain I had failed there. I repented for not praying for him enough because I most definitely had not. I prayed that God would tame my tongue because I was certainly not the respectful wife that he calls me to be. I sought God to be my healer. I worked through fear that was not of him.
The battles of my husband’s sexual impurity has increased our awareness of the weight we carry in raising boys who will become men.
God has so deeply placed on our hearts the importance of teaching our children Scripture early and young. Oh, that they might have the Word of God hidden in their hearts, keeping them from sin against him!
I talked last week in “An Un-Canonized Psalm of Anger” about my responsibility to rebuke my husband’s sin in love. I am so thankful that the Lord has taught me that I also have to be willing be rebuked for my own sin.
I have previously referenced the study on settingcaptivesfree.com and the Biblical Counselor I see. They both encouraged me to ask my husband for insight of the sin I bring to our marriage, specifically in the area of respect.
A great sin tendency for me is anger.
For some reason it makes me feel in control, but is never good!
Can you relate?
Each time I fail to tame my tongue, choose to roll my eyes, scowl, breathe heavy, go to bed with my back to my husband (I am sure I could keep this embarrassing list going, but you get the idea)… It never, ever satisfies my spirit like I must believe it will in the moment.
Fear can be so stifling!
I did a quick search of the word “fear” on biblegateway.com and found 437 verses. I think there is a very good reason that it is addressed so much throughout Scripture. Unhealthy fear is sinful distrust in the Lord and I believe it is a common temptation among man.
One Sunday after church, we had the brilliant idea to take our 2- and 3- year olds out to lunch. Although typically naptime, we thought that dealing with tired toddlers at Bob Evans outweighed the burden of figuring out what to do for lunch at 1:30 in the afternoon.
Needless to say, it did not go great.
Regarding the troubles in my marriage, the phrase, “You don’t deserve this” has been spoken to me on many occasions by very loving and well-meaning people. They tell me how nice I am and how they cannot imagine someone hurting me. Perhaps they even think that my husband doesn’t deserve me. It’s hard to disagree with that - especially when pride is a prevalent struggle for me! My flesh immediately wants to respond (and has responded) with “I completely agree!” just before moving into pity party mode.
In the midst of the most trying time in my marriage, God encouraged me through the story of King David. He didn’t stop there. He continues to point to a great cloud of witnesses that have gone before me – from Biblical times through the 21st century. My desire is to encourage others by sharing those stories.
So here is the raw truth of my journey. Two years ago my husband and I were welcoming our second son to the world. Within a week of his birth, we closed on our first house (as real adults do).
Two weeks later, my husband lost his job, his relationship with my family was suddenly fractured, and my trust in him crashed - all because his adulterous affair was brought to light.