I have a wonderful marriage to a truly wonderful man. However, it hasn’t always been like this. We are a couple whose marriage has survived infidelity.
Just before our fifth anniversary, my husband confessed that he had previously had three affairs over the course of those five years and that he wanted to start dating another woman.
I packed Ray’s things and walked him to his car. At that time, I was pregnant with our third child. In the state I lived in, a couple wasn’t allowed to divorce when the wife was pregnant. So I wasn’t able to do anything for a few months. Even though I was not yet a Christian, I knew God could heal my marriage.
Survived Infidelity Starting with Prayer
I prayed every day that God would open my husband’s eyes so that he could see what he was doing and that he would understand what he was throwing away. Of course, my prayers also were for myself, that I would be able to just “live.” I was devastated. I did the seesaw thing with my emotions.
One day I hated my husband. How could he do that to me? It wasn’t fair! Then I’d cry and cry because I loved him so much. I couldn’t stand the thought of living without him. Over the next couple of months, I learned to rely on God for my happiness (which, quite honestly, there wasn’t much of) and my strength. I even began to look to God for meaning in my life. Also, I prayed every day and read my Bible.
Approximately two months after my husband left me, our baby was due. We found out that I was going to have to have a cesarean section. My husband wanted to be there for us during my recovery. Although I wasn’t sure it was the best thing to do, I let him move back in to help with our little boys.
During the two weeks of my recovery, he decided he really didn’t want to throw away our marriage. He went to a friend’s pastor and told him everything. Then he prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
Survived Infidelity Step by Step
After talking with me about it, I went to church and did the same. We became Christians within a few days of one another. This was probably the happiest time of my life! My husband and I decided to work on our marriage. We knew that with God’s help and our determination we could get past our past.
Eventually, everything settled down. Ray even quit his job because it wasn’t conducive to healthy family life. He took another job that was supposed to provide him with more time at home. We attended church together. We also spent every evening together, and did more things as a family. I believe it was easy for me to forgive him because I had just been forgiven of all my sins. God, I was sure, would always be first in both our lives—and that there would never be any more affairs.
…I began to grow spiritually by leaps and bounds. God was daily taking me closer to the place in Him where I would be able to stand through all the mess that He knew was soon to happen.
I have to stop right here, though, and say that God didn’t cause the negative situation. It was never His fault. If you are in a situation similar to mine, please don’t fall into the trap of blaming God. Yes, God knew that it was going to happen, but no, He didn’t cause it. Looking back to the things that led up to this era of our lives, I can clearly see God trying to lead and direct us to prevent this very thing from happening.
During this time, my husband took another job. He was in training away from home for longer than any man should have to be away from his family. He began to lose touch with us. Ray still loved us very much and missed us like crazy. However, in the everyday things, we weren’t there. He gradually began to adjust to that.
When his job required many hours of work, it was easier to stay and work than to come home and get reacquainted with all of us. He began to work from 8:00 A.M. to midnight or later. This happened even on the days he was supposed to be off. Before long, he was missing church every Wednesday and every Sunday. Finally, he even quit trying to go to church. He’d just stay at work.
Then he started counseling a woman he worked with who was having trouble in her marriage. This led to the two of them developing a friendship. This “friendship” in turn developed into much more than that.
Survived Infidelity Once, But Then…
At first, I only knew that he no longer wanted to go to church. I didn’t know he was having an affair. I prayed for him all the time and I asked other church members to pray for him. So many people were holding him before God every day that he didn’t stand a chance!
One Sunday evening, during the praise and worship time in our service, I was standing and singing when suddenly I had a mental vision. I saw my husband in a very dark place. It was utter darkness. From the right corner, I heard a voice in my mind say, “The power of the enemy is broken in Ray’s life. The enemy is now defeated in Ray’s life. The enemy no longer has any power in Ray’s life.” These statements were repeated several times.
Then I saw my husband surrounded by the enemy. They were in a circle around him so tight that you couldn’t have passed a piece of paper between their shoulders. I saw bodies only. They weren’t as tall as Ray, who is six feet, but maybe a little stockier. Mostly what I saw was the darkness that surrounded them. The scene made a real impression on me because of the complete darkness. Still, I could see Ray and the others clearly.
Seeing Troubling Signs
…During the next few months, things began to grow worse and worse between my husband and me. I began to see signs in his actions toward me that pointed to him being unfaithful. He never wanted to be intimate. He’d stay at work really late. Plus, he wouldn’t be where he was supposed to be. Also, it would be quite some time before he finally got my messages. He’d be really impatient with me if I asked what his plans were for a particular day. He would never be home when he said he would be. If I asked what kept him, he’d get mad.
Times when he used to be gentle with me or tease me about something, he was now either indifferent or impatient. I remember on New Year’s Eve he told me he’d be home before midnight so we could celebrate the New Year together. Finally, at 3:30 A.M., after not being able to reach him at work where he was supposed to be, I called the police. I asked them to stop by the restaurant where he worked and check on him. They called back and told me the place was dark and all locked up. Nobody was there. Finally, about two hours later, Ray came home. He denied the accusation that he was having an affair.
Even in the face of all these signs, I didn’t want to believe that Ray was involved with another woman. One day, the other woman’s husband openly accused my husband of being involved with his wife. Ray denied it, saying that the guy was upset that they were getting a divorce. He said that he was looking for someone to accuse. I chose to believe my husband. After all, we were Christians.
Revelation Through Prayer
…Many other things happened during the time that followed, and God revealed much to me through the reading of His Word. One of the most significant truths came when I was praying one night. This was the only other time I have literally heard God’s voice speak to me. I had prayed and cried and prayed some more, then finally quieted down and rested in God’s presence. All of a sudden I heard Him say, “You can pray for Ray with all the same authority and confidence you pray for yourself because you are one flesh.” It was a turning point in my life.
Almost one month later, I called my friend and asked her to pray for me that day. I knew deep inside that Ray was going to tell me everything. I suddenly accepted that he was having an affair, and I was ready to face it. About two hours later, he called me from work and asked if I’d be free in a little bit because he wanted to talk to me. When he came home, he told me everything, and then asked me what I wanted him to do. I told him he needed to face the consequences of his actions, and I’d have his things packed for him after the boys went to bed that night.
I went to the lawyer’s office to sign divorce papers on a Monday. The following Wednesday the kids and I packed a couple suitcases and drove to Mom’s. She put us up for the week so I could look for a job and a place to live. On Sunday Ray called. Only a week lapsed from the day I signed the papers to the day he called. He told me he couldn’t stay with his girlfriend anymore. He just couldn’t continue in that relationship. Ray asked for an opportunity to talk things over with me.
The Next Step
…I stayed at Mom’s until the next Thursday. Then I went back home and, after work, Ray came over to talk. Actually he talked a little and then listened while I took all my pain and frustration out on him. He was so humble. Ray sat there and took it, and apologized over and over. He said to me at one point that he didn’t know what else to do except apologize. He couldn’t undo what he’d done. On the other hand though, he wanted to try to make things right again.
A battle was raging in my mind and in my heart. I wanted to make him hurt as much as he’d hurt me. But I also wanted to let God do what He wanted in our lives. I sat precariously on the fence between forgiveness and retaliation for most of the night. But God had become so close to me over the previous months that I couldn’t turn my back on Him. I had to give Ray another chance. I had to forgive him. Not because I wanted to, but because God wanted me to. I had to honor God in my marriage.
It took many months before trusting Ray became natural again. As a matter of fact, the hardest times were only beginning. After everything was brought out in the open, Ray lost his job for fraternizing with an employee. Then the other husband began following him home after work at night. He’d slash two tires on our car every night. I believe it was by the grace of God that we had two spares, and the guy never slashed three tires. I’ve never put so many used tires on a car in my lifetime! I became afraid for our safety.
Working Through Problems
Ray and I began to pray together for the first time. Additionally, we attended marriage classes to work through our problems. We started dating one another every week. Tuesday was our “date night.” We made this commitment to each other, and nothing else took priority over that. Ray told his employer that under no circumstances could he work on Tuesday nights. What was great is that he was honest about the reasons why. His employer honored his forthrightness and never asked him to work those nights.
All our troubles weren’t over, though. I still had to learn to really trust Ray. I had chosen to forgive him. But I had to keep reminding myself of it every day for months. Trust doesn’t happen because we forgive. Just as forgiveness is a choice, so is trust. I had many opportunities to wonder if Ray was being faithful. But each time I had to choose to believe he was. I prayed many times that God would help me not assume Ray was out with a woman when he was a little late getting home.
Additionally, I learned that if I showed trust in Ray, he proved to be more trustworthy. When I’d get upset about him being late and start sarcastically asking whom he was with, he’d begin to lose hope that things could be right between us. He realized he had to re-earn my trust. But I also had to show him I was willing to try again. Ray knew he’d been wrong and that he’d hurt me. But now he was trying to be the husband he was supposed to be. It would frustrate and hurt him when I’d bring up his infidelities.
It has now been six years since Ray’s last affair. His relationship with God is better than ever. Our relationship as husband and wife grows stronger each week.
A good marriage doesn’t just happen. It takes work and commitment. A couple must decide to stay together and work no matter how hard life gets. I learned that adultery is one of the hardest things a couple could ever deal with. But in God’s eyes, adultery is a sin like any other sin. God classifies every transgression in the same category: sin. Jesus died to provide forgiveness for our sins.
Ray hurt me when he had affairs, but I discovered through his deeds that I had been unfaithful to Jesus. Anytime I don’t obey when I know God wants me to do something, I’m being unfaithful. Anytime I put another person or activity before God or my relationship with Him, I’m being unfaithful. Jesus hurts when I’m unfaithful, just as I hurt when Ray was unfaithful. Who am I to say that I won’t forgive Ray for his wrongdoing, when I expect to be forgiven for mine?
Many women might think it would be easier to get rid of men like Ray. After all, the Bible does allow for divorce in the case of fornication or adultery. But would a divorced life really be better? I can attest to the fact that many times I’d look at other men in the church and think, he’d never do what Ray did. I wish I had a husband like him.
No One is Free From Temptation
But I learned that one of the men I had assumed would never even look at a woman other than his wife wanted our church to address the issue of adultery and remaining faithful. I had thought he’d never be one to struggle in that area. No one is free from temptation. Don’t trade your husband in on the chance you’ll get one who doesn’t make mistakes.
God is truly able to bring good out of the pain and hurt you’re facing. He may not give you a vision; He may not speak to you like He did to me. But He will walk with you, and many times He’ll carry you through situations you come up against. He won’t leave you alone; He will draw you closer to Him. It’s up to you to take the steps He’s asking of you. He wants to hide you under the shadow of His wings and give you the strength to stand with Him through all your pain.
But you can’t have a pity party when God doesn’t make everything perfect overnight. Life is a journey—a journey that causes you to grow and mature. Walking the path of forgiveness will stretch and strengthen you if you’ll let it.
Forgiveness and trust are a choice. No one can earn forgiveness; it has to be given freely. Pray until you are able to truly forgive. Choose to trust. When you feel bitterness and anger flare up, pray. Release those feelings to the Lord, and ask Him to help you. He will give you the ability to forgive and trust again.
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned. (Song of Songs 8:6,7)
The Facts of Marriage
If you are thinking of leaving your husband, realize that even another marriage with another man stands the chance of unraveling. When you divorce one man and marry another, you are essentially ripping your soul in half. You are then attempting to merge it with another. The wounds take years to heal. And the likelihood of a second-marriage divorce is much greater than that of a first-marriage divorce.
We fool ourselves when we believe we are going to find “Mr. Wonderful.” It’s fantasy to think we will blend our families into one big, happy unit with very little struggle. “The Brady Bunch” seldom exists in the real world. I encourage you to take every healthy, God-ordained measure you have available to make your marriage work. Never enable sin or selfishness. But do live Christ with every fiber of your being!
The Facts of Children
If you have children and think divorce will not affect them that much, please think again. My own parents divorced, and I speak from personal experience. Divorce is an emotional abortion that will devastate your children. While I don’t believe a woman should stay in an abusive situation or enable sin, legal separations are a great alternative to divorce in worst case scenarios. If divorce proceedings occur, seek God long and hard to make sure you are following His leading.
The Facts of Real Life
In the real world, men divorce their wives as well. And people get divorces then find the Lord. There are also many bad situations that might lead to divorce for the safety of the women and children involved. If you are already divorced, take heart. If there’s any way to reconcile, pray that the Lord will give you the courage to obey.
But if you are in your second or third marriage, believe that while you cannot go back to your first marriage, God can and will give you a dose of His grace that will bring healing and wholeness to your past and your current marriage.
I don’t believe divorce is God’s perfect will, but I do believe God takes us where we are and moves us forward. He forgives, chooses to forget, and holds us up in His amazing love.
This testimony comes from the book, Romancing Your Husband: Enjoying a Passionate Life Together. Debra White Smith wrote this testimony in her book that was published by Harvest House. This book reveals how you can create a union others dream about. From making Jesus an active part of your marriage to arranging fantastic romantic interludes, you’ll discover how to: Make romance a reality, become a lover-wife, not mother-wife, find freedom in forgiving, cultivate a sacred romance with God and more. The objective of this book is to help you to experience fulfillment through romancing your husband. But as they say, “Don’t be surprised when he romances you back!
Even though this book isn’t primarily focused on the subject of infidelity (even though this part of it is) the rest of the book is helpful to ALL women who want to make their marriages healthier. You may want to obtain this book, both to read the rest of this testimony, but also to learn the rest of what the author teaches you.