Healing a Marriage
By Tom Archibald and Suellen Beatty, as told by L. Wang
Suellen likes to introduce me as her first and third husband because it surprises people. I can see why some people think it’s shocking and I guess it is, but I am so grateful to God that I have the privilege of being her husband today. A marriage with God in it is so different from one without. We had to learn this the hard way, after much pain, difficulty and tears.
But let me first tell you how it all started and Suellen can fill in the parts I miss, or tell what it was really like.
In the beginning…
Suellen and I went to university together and started dating at a very young age. She hates it when I say this, but I think she was probably the best looking girl in Saskatoon. She was even in a Miss Canada pageant! She was a beautiful woman and still is today. Our work careers started out and I stumbled into the healthcare field, through the finance area, and then I quickly became the CEO of a healthcare organization. That organization merged with two other ones into a new organization and I was named one of the 50 best bosses in Canada by MacLean’s magazine. Externally, everything in my life seemed to look good, but that wasn’t enough for me. I was always looking for something else.
My looking for something else led me to start a relationship with another woman. This brought a five-year saga of pain into my life that drove me to illness. All the things I had worked for started to fall apart. Although Suellen and I both professed to be Christians, I wasn’t allowing God to be active in my life and I didn’t actually have a relationship with him at the time.
I was completely devastated when I found out Tom was having an affair. As the youngest of four daughters, I was an over-achiever. I learned to please. I was a competent and independent individual, which is what I think attracted Tom to me in the first place. I knew Tom was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and I tried in so many different ways to be the woman that Tom wanted me to be. Tom was never really satisfied with anything, so I always felt like I had to be better.
My whole world fell apart when I found out Tom was unfaithful to me but I didn’t turn to God for help. I felt like I did something wrong and didn’t do enough to be the woman Tom wanted. I had made a commitment to Christ long ago, but I didn’t actually have a relationship with God at the time. I was so consumed with Tom’s affair it took me a long time to realize that I needed God’s help to get through this. During this horrible time, Tom tried to come home about five times, but he left me every time, over and over and over again. It felt as if he came back each time to say, “You’re not good enough.”
Tom got married again and I foolishly remarried also. We regret hurting two other people. As we allowed God to be at the center of our lives He began our healing journey.
During the five-year period our marriage was broken, I felt that I had to turn to God because I wasn’t getting anything done myself. I was a complete mess. I think God was telling both of us that our own plans weren’t working.
Right after my second wedding, I knew very quickly that I had made a mistake. Tom wanted to come home again and he said, “You know what? I’ve got God sitting at the center of my life. He’s in control now.” And I watched him change. Over a period of time, I realized again that this was the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. People thought I was crazy! My three older sisters told me not to trust Tom because he was going to hurt me all over again. I felt my credibility as a reasonable and sane person was at stake.
A happy and different ending
I didn’t trust Tom, I trusted God. We both made God the central part of our lives and sought a relationship with him, individually and together. We got married again. That was 10 years ago and it’s been a miracle that God could take the mess that we created and kept making worse and worse, and turn it into the beautiful relationship we now have. When you put Jesus right at the center of the marriage, it works differently and works well. We have to get up each and every day and say, “Jesus, I want you on the throne of my life,” because that’s the only way it can work.
Our marriage has changed and improved dramatically. But the real story is that none of this would have been possible without God. I believe God’s love is continuing to be shown through our lives and that is why we’re happy to share our story with others. We want everyone to know that when you give up your life to God and allow him to be the center of your marriage; he can heal every wound and make any marriage work.
We’re here together as husband and wife to serve God together in any way we can. Every day we thank God for how things have turned out for us. We are also thankful for our son Brett.
There are some things in life that we feel can never be mended again. If you’ve ever felt this way, there is hope. Jesus can bring healing to anything. God gave us his Son Jesus Christ on the cross to die for our sins so that we can be made new again and have a relationship with him.
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.