Can a Christian marriage survive an affair? Yes, mine did!
When Ron and I got married, both of us believed that it was the other person’s job to “Make me happy!” We soon found out—that was impossible.
I complained and criticized my way through our first year. Then Ron retaliated with the “I’m a bad husband because you’re a bad wife” defense. Our anger and resentment grew until they overshadowed our love.
That’s when I met Jake. He thought I was beautiful, funny, and smart. He only saw the good in me and he bathed me in compliments. We worked for the same company so it was easy to spend time together. We started meeting for lunches, then dinners, and eventually—dessert.
In June of 1980, I told my husband what he already knew, “Our marriage is falling apart…we’re both miserable.” Then I surprised him with, “So, I need some time to think—I’m moving out.” (I didn’t tell him about Jake.)
He begged, “I won’t yell at you anymore—I’ll be a better husband—please don’t go.” I ignored his pleas and moved into a hotel.
Jake and I started making secret plans for our future. He was married and had two children, but he was going to leave them—for me.
I had purposefully kept my Christian parents in the dark about my marriage problems—my mother had a connection with the Lord that made me nervous—and I was afraid she would “know” there was something wrong. Since they lived in a different state, I was able to keep my secret… for a while.
One day, while Ron was gone for a few hours, I went to our condo to pack some more of my things. Soon after I arrived, my mother called. She asked. “Honey, are you all right?”
“Sure Mom, I’m fine.” I lied.
“I don’t think you are. I think you’re in some sort of trouble because last night, I woke up and felt compelled to pray for you. I want you to talk to your father—he’s on the other line”
I am in trouble now I thought; I’ve never been able to lie to my father “Hi Daddy.” I whispered.
“Hello honey, your mother is convinced that you are in need of her midnight prayers. Are you?”
I hesitated. I knew I was opening Pandora’s Box, but since I had to tell them eventually, I said, “Yes. My marriage—it’s in trouble.”
“Tell us everything.”
I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and said, “I’ve moved out of the house and I’m going to file for a divorce.”
Long silence. Then my mother said. “Nancy, we love you. And because we love you, we will not support your leaving Ron. You’ve been a Christian for 10 years and you went to five years of Bible college, so you know what God’s Word says about marriage. It is a holy bond. Has Ron committed adultery? Has he ever hit you?
Then you have no biblical grounds to divorce him. You would be out of God’s will if you do.”
I hadn’t thought about God’s will in months. I felt a wave of panic, and the phone was slippery and hot in my hands. I couldn’t bring myself to a full confession, but I did concede, “I haven’t been a very good wife.”
Dad gently said, “But that can change. Now that you’ve been honest about your own part in this, the Lord can heal your marriage if you ask Him to.
Mom said, “I think we should pray.”
Dad prayed, “Dear Lord, King of Creation, we praise you and give glory to your name. Thank you for the gift of our daughter. We love her with all our hearts, but you love her even more. Guide her to do your will. Draw her to your side and wrap your loving arms around her. Lead her back into your light. We come against any influences of evil in her life. Help her to confess her faults to Ron, and to you, Lord. Please help them both to put you back on the throne of their lives and their marriage. Let tonight be the turning point. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Mother tearfully said, “Amen.”
I’m sure they were waiting for me to say it, too. But I knew that amen meant “Let it be so,” and I wasn’t sure I wanted what he’d prayed for. The thought of giving up my relationship with Jake seemed unbearable, so I just said, “Thank you Daddy . . . Mom . . . I’ll wait for Ron. I promise I won’t leave until I talk to him. I’ll call you in the morning. Goodnight.” Then I hung up the phone—fast.
Their prayer began to soften my heart and I wondered if there was any way out of the chaos I had created. I went into the living room, sank into the sofa, held a pillow to my chest, and called out —to God. I had been avoiding Him for months. My guilt, shame, and sin had built a wall between us. But, brick-by-brick—as I confessed each sin—I tore down the wall—and let the Light in. I prayed, “Lord, please show me your will for my life.” Then, I remembered the simple words that Jesus said to the adulteress woman.. “Go and sin no more.” I knew exactly what I had to do. I surrendered my will and my heart to the Lord and asked for the strength to walk away from Jake and make a full confession to Ron.
God answered my prayer. Later that evening, I told Ron the whole truth and begged for his forgiveness, and my husband, miraculously, chose to forgive me.
Then, we both talked to Jake. He was stunned when Ron and I told him that we were going to stay married—I cried as I apologized to Jake and explained why I had to quit my job and the reasons I could never see him again. Ron and I asked him not to call or have further contact and he agreed to honor our request. I told him that I hoped he would reconcile with his wife and restore his family. When we said goodbye, all three of us were crying, for three different reasons.
My feelings for Jake had not changed, I was still “in love” with him, but I chose to stay with my husband. It was out of obedience at first, but as I began to act lovingly, the loving feelings eventually followed. Ron and I recently celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary and I am thrilled to tell you that we are deeply and tenderly in love. With each other!
I played with fire, foolishly thinking that I would not be burned. But, my self- centered choices charred my whole family and Jakes’ too. Each lie I told and each sin that I committed affected others. My parents’ prayers, along with my own, were the keys that unlocked my selfishness. Though conversations with the King and obedience, despite my feelings, I found freedom, healing, forgiveness, and restoration. Ron and I rebuilt our marriage with Jesus as our new foundation and God’s word as our new floor plan. We planted a sturdy hedge of protection (safeguards) around our lives. Ron and I are living proof that no marriage is beyond repair.
What about your marriage? Is there anything you’ve done that you feel is unforgivable? Or do you need to forgive your spouse? Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for all our sins. The Bible says that Jesus died for our sins once and for all, He died for the righteous and the unrighteous, to bring us to God. If you ask Jesus to forgive your sins he promises he will. And he will help you forgive others who have hurt you. How would your life be different if you knew all your sins were forgiven forever?
You can receive Jesus 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.
Does this prayer express the desires of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus will come into your life, and forgive you of your sins forever, just as he promised.
Are you struggling with a broken relationship? We are here to talk and pray with you.