The story below is from a brother of mine. He and his wife have a powerful testimony about how God restored their marriage after his affair. Names have been changed. I pray that my brother's testimony will bring healing and hope to many. – Jamie
I'm thankful for my Christian heritage. I have parents who feared the Lord. I was raised and reared in church ever since I was a little fella.
At the age of ten, after some good preaching, I realized I was a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart and save me, and He did. I was later baptized by my maternal grandfather, who was a pastor. This was very special to me.
I wish I could say from that point forward that I walked a consistent faith walk with the Lord, but I can't.
I burned and yearned for God from ten years old into high school. However, while in those teenage years of high school, I allowed the enemy to gain a foothold in my life of sexual promiscuity. I used to think it was cute. I would say to my football buddies, “Yeah, I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs, but I like the ladies!” This is something I'm not proud of, but it's reality.
I met my wife, Hope, at the local Wal-Mart photo lab, where I was working soon after I graduated high school. It was pretty much love at first sight. Our backgrounds were very similar. She was a Christian who grew up in a good home just as I did, and man, was she beautiful! Truly, Hope was a blonde bombshell!
We started dating and we fell head over heels in “love”–or, should I say, the tingles. Unfortunately, I didn't conduct myself like a good Christian young man when I was dating her.
After about a year of dating, Hope became pregnant. What should've been a joyous time contained in the bonds of holy matrimony became a “shotgun wedding.” No, really it was a beautiful ceremony performed at our little country church, but she was pregnant.
Since we were then legally married in the sight of man and God, I wish I could say that after repentance, we settled into married life and became a very young, happily married, Christian couple, but I can't.
You see, this was a very trying time for us. I was working full time in a different job. I was going to college taking a full course load. Hope was now managing the photo lab where we met and fell in love. Did I mention that we had a little baby girl too?
Needless to say, we were extremely busy and stressed. In addition, Hope was a type I diabetic, diagnosed when she was ten and was having health issues, including female problems–which hampered our physical intimacy.
Instead of pressing into God during these difficult times, I pressed into a female co-worker who was giving me some much needed attention and affirmation. Before long, I was having an extramarital affair. That stronghold from high school never got dealt with properly, and it reared its ugly head in our new marriage.
We lived in a small town. It wasn't long before an acquaintance spotted me with my girlfriend, and promptly notified Hope. I quickly confessed my sin to Hope, not really with a truly repentant heart ,yet hoping she would forgive my despicable behavior and keep our young family intact. She didn't…but she tried.
It was during this time that Hope became pregnant with our second daughter. Then she moved away from me to live with her parents, who were living in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Hope filed for divorce. Thus began a looooooooong, drawn out divorce process of a year and a half, at least.
Before this, I was still in hopes of reconciliation for our marriage (believe it or not)! It was during this time that I felt like my life was stuck in pause. I eventually moved to Chattanooga after obtaining a job there, so that I could be near my daughters and begin cultivating a relationship with them.
However, after being there about a year, our divorce became final. Soon thereafter, Hope remarried and moved to southern Alabama, along with my daughters, due to her new husband's military commitments. I had only fulfilled one year of a two-year contract with my company. So, I was stuck in a city without my daughters or any other family (unless you counted the “outlaws,” or in-laws, depending on what perspective you used).
This began a very dark time in my life where I began to drink alcohol and continue my behavior of sexual promiscuity. The one bright spot during this storm of life was that I found a wonderful church home, the same church home where we are currently. Hope had actually suggested I try visiting this church, knowing my background, and thought I'd enjoy it and find a home there. She was right. Yes, even during this time of fulfilling my passions of the flesh, I was attending church. Deep down, I knew where I was supposed to be.
During this time, Hope and I became like mortal enemies.
We couldn't stand each other. We hated each other. I loathed all the pain and grief she caused me by moving away. The animosity and mud-slinging between us was terrible. Also, the trek from Chattanooga to Montgomery, Alabama, for visitation with my daughters every other weekend was terribly exhausting. It was well worth it to see my daughters, but it was a hard time.
Hope and I were divorced for about six years. It was during the fourth year that Hope and the girls moved back to Chattanooga.
Unbeknownst to me, Hope was having problems with her new husband. I thought this move was a temporary one until she and our kids would go out West, where her husband was being stationed. Regardless, for this season, I was thrilled that I wouldn't have to make that dreadful trip down into Alabama to visit my daughters. How nice…how convenient…what a blessing. And yes, I was still attending that same church. Get this: after being encouraged by several members, I actually joined the choir, too. God was working!
One early September day, Hope asked me for a meeting. Before that, Hope had had a habit for dropping some pretty big bombs on me, but I guess you could say the same for me, considering my infidelity. So I figured Hope was going to tell me that they would soon be leaving for sunny California to join her husband.
Instead, however, she told me she still had feelings for me. She said she would regret it the rest of her life if she didn't tell me so.
Needless to say, I was speechless, but only for a moment. Then I began to yell at her! “How could you say such a thing?” I retorted. You know that saying, “That's water under the bridge?” Well, we didn't even have a bridge. All those years of turmoil, strife, animosity and legal woes had washed that bridge long gone, leaving behind a wall erected around our hearts.
On that day, however, God began bringing that wall down…brick by brick. I found out that she never really “loved” this new husband. He was more a source of security and stability for a young single mother of two. I found that hard to believe, but she eventually convinced me and we began to see one another.
Her divorce became final and soon she became pregnant with our son. Much like before, we rushed into a marriage. I couldn't believe we were remarrying. This was insane! This was impossible! This was God working! Little did I know that on each of her birthdays before she would blow out her candles, my daughter had made a wish (prayer) that her mom and I could get back together. Imagine that.
I know what you're thinking though, “Some people never learn!” Well, this testimony isn't over yet.
Hope was now older. If you know anything about diabetes and pregnancies, they don't mix very well–especially when the mother is not a young 19 or 22 years old.
Hope developed several complications during this pregnancy. Because of the complications, our son was born eight weeks premature. He was in the NICU for a month.
It was the start of another hard time for our family. Hope soon developed diabetic retinopathy. She became blind for a season, before God miraculously restored her vision.
It was during these new hard times that strongholds which had not been completely dealt with began to resurface.
Despite realizing the significance of God's miraculous restoration of our family, I began to stray down that same path of unfaithfulness with another coworker. BUT GOD! It was around that time, that an older, female, Christian coworker who was becoming a spiritual mentor to me introduced me to Moody Radio. On Moody Radio, I began hearing powerful, sound Bible teaching.
Providence would have it that at the time when I began to slip, there were three different teachers and preachers airing on Moody who were all teaching about the same subject…infidelity. The Holy Ghost was working me over real good then! It was on my lunch break on an early summer day that I went out to my truck and got “right” with God for real.
When I got right with God, I remember lots of tears and crying out to God to change me. Also, I remember praying parts of Psalm 51, asking God to create in me a clean heart and to renew a right spirit within me. I begged Him to wash me until I'm clean and to blot out all of my sins.
It's hard for me to describe this in words, but something supernatural happened when I asked the Lord to change me.
The Bible says man looks at our outward appearance, BUT GOD looks at our heart. When He looked at my heart, He saw that I was genuinely sincere in my desire to be changed. My faithful God answered that cry and I've never been the same since.
That day marked the first day of the rest of my life. Since then, I have been in a mad love affair with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I just can't seem to get enough of Him. I immediately broke off that wrong relationship with the other woman, and eventually got rebaptized to mark this life change.
All I know is that I'm not the same person that I use to be. There has been a beautiful, spiritual paradigm shift in my life. My wife knows; she has witnessed and is witnessing the transformation and metamorphosis. Thank you Jesus!
God restored my marriage after I had an affair. What are you dealing with in your marriage right now?
No matter what it is, God can bring healing to your situation too. Nothing is too hard for Him. If He can take two people who were full of sin, hatred, bitterness, and unforgiveness like my wife and I were and change us so radically, He can do it for you too.
Here are some encouraging Scriptures to leave you with:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
If you will yield control of your life to Jesus Christ, asking Him to change you too, He will change your heart and make you a new person. No matter what you are going through, there is hope for you!
Image courtesy of Jenn Durfey on Flickr via creative commons license. As usual, text and graphics have been added to the image.