Infidelity. Love lost. Brokeness.
My friend shares her marriage’s darkest hour…
Agony. Desolation. Chaos. Darkness.
It is with a sincere honesty that I can attest to the soul-destroying life that is breathed into those words when one loses sight of the One True Light due to a blindfold of self. That said, I want to begin by expressing gratitude to a life-giving merciful Saviour, who saw fit to remove the blindfold that I so stubbornly knotted into place. This is an account of restoration and healing, but the beginning scene opens in the sickness of sin.
I have always placed a high amount of pressure on myself to be “perfect”. Do not stir the pot, keep your opinion quiet, do exactly what is expected of you or better… certainly no less. This destructive mentality bled into every aspect of my life. Going into my marriage, my self-imposed role as the “perfect” wife began and this marriage would have perfect results. An obviously unrealistic feat.
Nothing crushes you more than failing before you even begin.
Instead of striving to strengthen my identity in Christ, I sought identity in making my husband happy.
To be clear, it’s wonderful to desire happiness for your spouse, but it is not your main responsibility in life. For years, I suppressed my own feelings, opinions, and desires to make sure there would never be conflict between Scott and I because surely conflict must be an imperfection. This translated into no communication, so, for Scott, and all onlookers, everything was, for all intents and purposes, “perfect”.
But it was not… and only I knew that.
With a slowly hardening heart, I saw every frustration and conflicting opinion from my husband as failure on my part. He was clueless. Through a particularly long stressful period at work for Scott, I struggled with how much it affected his demeanour. His unhappiness meant I was not enough. I pleaded with God to change things, to change the situation. It did not change because I did not do my part to change it. I did not share my feelings or concerns with my husband.
I don’t love you anymore…
A stiffness toward God began to creep into my heart. We moved to Woodridge, which I told myself would make Scott happy because I knew he loved living in the bush. Perhaps this would be just the thing. Wrong. Blindfold securely in place, we moved away from family, supports, lifelines. Now it was just us, imprisoned in a secluded paradise in the woods.
I felt shackled, suffocating, and I couldn’t handle it.
I had to break free.
I told my husband that I didn’t love him anymore.
Never underestimate the power of words, weapons of mass destruction when wielded by a hard heart. The serene picture of a wonderful life obliterated in a sentence.
The following days were turmoil and a few months later, I decided some time apart would be beneficial. I stayed at my brother and sister-in-law’s home for a short period, and then, due, in part, to their loving and wise counsel, I decided that I would go back home. Scott and I would attend counselling. We remained in separate rooms at home where every moment and action was strained. Self continued to knot that blindfold tighter, blocking out the sight of the consequences.
“I’m in love with another man…”
In October of 2010, I accepted a position in Winnipeg and told Scott that I was moving out. During this time, I found out how easily we can be led astray. Never allow yourself to believe the lie that you are above certain actions, this can cause you to become complacent and let your guard down. Without God, anyone can succumb to self. A situation I would have never imagined possible, I was suddenly drowning in a deep thick quagmire of.
A place to confide.
I told my husband and family that I was in love with another man.
More hearts broken, illusions shattered. Darkness took hold… the darkest days of my life. After enduring pleading from loved ones, hearing every type of counsel, from loving to extremely harsh…. deserved, but harsh… and, yet, standing firm in my thick mire as though it were a lush meadow, I was presented with an ultimatum.
Quit your job, cut all ties with the other man or you will be dead to us…
The blow strong and painful enough to crack the hard heart. This did not sit well with me, I had devoted my life to being the perfect daughter and sister, but had now caused so much heartache and suffering that it would be better to be rid of me?
I did some soul searching and it seems I still had one.
Upon resignation from my position in Winnipeg, I accepted an offer of employment from my dad. Working in Fargo every other week, juggling my schedule with my 2 little boys, I no longer had connections to the other man, but I felt I could never forgive myself for what I had done to my husband.
Even with forgiveness asked for and granted, my past actions haunted me. Scott made hesitant attempts to reconnect a few times, but I brushed these opportunities aside. Why couldn’t he just move on? While we always got along very well where our boys were concerned, I had accepted that it would be impossible to move past this together as a couple.
God’s Little Voices
Time spent with the boys was cherished, but the 50% of life without them was lonely and hollow. Consequences taking on a very visible and heavy presence now. The Holy Spirit spoke through my little boys. Keagan’s innocent inquiries, “Mommy, when are you coming back home?” Hearing their pleading prayers at bedtime, “Jesus, please bring Mommy & Daddy back together.” Heart-wrenching every time. The voices God uses to engage us in dialogue are plentiful if we take the time to listen.
A couple from my old church reached out to me, in spite of me having begun regular attendance at Springs church. Sensing the nudging of the Holy Spirit, they met regularly with me, providing support, encouragement, and guidance. Ted, never afraid to ask poignant personal questions, provided so much food for thought. The personal interest this Godly couple took in my life, my walk with God, my shattered marriage, was so foreign to me. God’s love loosening the blindfold.
No Longer an Option
Though the horizon seemed bleak as Scott and I began to toss around the word “divorce”, the Lord’s hand in perfect orchestration made His presence known. On March 27, 2012… Scott came to me with a renewed resolve to be forever committed to our marriage regardless of what action I chose. Divorce had been officially removed from his list of options. At a hopeless time in my life, the words he said to me were so powerful!
This revelation, solidifying the transformation I witnessed in him during our separation, sparked a need for some deep introspection. I literally sat myself down and said to Self, like a wake-up call, “My husband loves me. I don’t deserve it, yet out of his commitment to Christ he has set aside his “right” to disown me and move on. He is not forcing me to make a decision, he is just telling me his…. And that is to love me unconditionally. He is a wonderful man, faithful to the end, strong in character and integrity. He is the man that God has chosen for me. He is the man that I have promised to love forever!” After a lifetime of suppressing, it was time to look inward, clear off the layers of built up clutter and examine the core of my being.
Do or Die
The length of my introspection period seemed to conflict with Scott’s plans, understandably, as he had been living in limbo for almost 2 years, so on June 29, 2012 he took me out for supper and firmly requested a definitive answer on how I would proceed with our future. Before the end of our meeting, I was to commit to a yes or no in regards to making steps towards restoring our marriage. There it was. Do or Die. This strategy had proven to gain positive results from me in the past. As before, there was only one right answer. Blindfold dropped. The conversation was torturously long and painful but was brought to a close with nervous excitement about the future. Yes, we were doing this. By the grace of God, there was a hope and a future.
Hope and a Future
When we heed His will, we see, as stated in Jeremiah, He has “plans to prosper us and not to harm us”. The painful slow healing process began with regular meetings, we established a weekly date night, began to express and work through thoughts and feelings we’d simply kept to ourselves for 12 years.
Our mentor couple began to guide Scott and I as a couple, always at the ready with personal questions. Gently prodding us to forge ahead, sharing our triumphs and struggles. The Love Dare daily devotional became a key reconnecting point, as we committed to sharing that devotional time together. We trudged through fires of tribulation and, by God’s hand , have been pulled out of the ashes to experience restoration that could have only taken place with His healing and our willing hearts.
I pray that those suffering in a hopeless darkness can hear our story and find hope. Nothing is impossible with God! For our 13th wedding anniversary in May 2013, we celebrated with an intimate restoration ceremony. “Forgiveness” by Matthew West was played to signify that thread woven into our journey of healing.
By the blood of Christ, God has forgiven me.
By the strength and mercy provided by God, my husband has forgiven me. With that, I publicly asked my church family to forgive me.
As my story continues daily, as Scott and I learn to better communicate and connect through Christ, I am grateful that, by seeking God’s will and daily dying to self, I can also attest to the joyful revitalizing life that is now breathed into these words.
Hope. Restoration. Light. Love.
If you have similar struggles or need some encouragement and would like to connect with Terri-Lee, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She would love to connect with you!