Our story began in 1983. I met my husband on a Saturday night, and we had our first date the very next weekend. We were still in high school and it was love at first sight. There was just “something” about him. A comfort, an expression, a familiarity, that was there from the beginning. We dated three plus years. We had our one and only son seven years later. We argued rarely. He worked. I worked. And life became routine. Around the time our son turned four, we had the first warning sign. I blamed the internet and chat rooms. I never looked inward as to my role, perhaps that my lack of attention had anything to do with it. I was betrayed. I became even more distant. He asked for forgiveness, and my broken heart said, “I will,” but my bruised soul said, “I can’t.” Perhaps, it was even, “I won’t.”
Ten years pass by and we decide to build a new home, our dream home. And almost six months to the day we broke ground, January 17, 2009, my life changed. On a clear, cold winter morning, I woke up at 4:30am and I knew what I needed to do. I went outside and retrieved his cell phone. I sat there looking at all the erased messages, erased phone calls, erased history of searches, and at 5:30am a new message came through. It had only two words, “Good Morning.” It was from a woman I did not know. And at that moment, everything began to make sense, the distance between us, arguing over every little issue, working at the house until two in the morning, not answering my phone calls.
Bruised, broken, devastated and lost are the only words that could describe how I felt. Not only had I lost my husband, I had lost my best friend. I was angry for a short second, but revenge never overtook me. I was in a state of shock. We separated and tried counseling, but my husband’s heart was closed to me. I remember telling him, “Snap out of it.” He became even more bitter, mean and narcissistic. Mid life crisis some call it, but I felt he was truly in a battle for his very soul.
I begged God, I prayed, I wept, and I stood. And while I stood for my marriage, God changed me. I guess I thought at first, that my husband was the one who needed to change. He sinned. I didn’t look at my own contributing behaviors or attitudes. But, as I read God’s word, I began to see myself, my own sin, my own heart and it was just as impure as his. “Secret sin.” Not visible on the outside, but harbored deep within our hearts.
I would have loved for this fairy tale story to have had a quick and stress free ending. But it took three and a half years, three separations, three churches twenty-four hour prayer watch, two counselors, two homes, and many nights on my knees, and one broken man for our marriage to begin a turn towards restoration. And now, five years since that devastating text message, our marriage is better than either of us could have ever imagined. Not because we fixed it, but because of the mercy and grace poured out to us from our loving heavenly father.
Standing for marriage is not easy. I could not have done it without a strong faith, wonderful Christian parents, a body of believers that prayed unceasing, and many other people that crossed my path with words of encouragement.
I'm not without sin, are any of us?