I came upon these herbs pots as we were preparing for hurricane Irma. “They need some lovin’,” says Caleb. Getting ready for the impending storm helped me to see how badly the plants have been neglected.
While pruning the herbs I smiled, thinking about our gardening days in Pennsylvania. Each summer, Scott and I spent hours planting, watering, weeding, and pruning the garden to yield a bountiful harvest in the fall. Those were happy times of building our home, growing our family, and dreaming of the future. We tended to each other like we did the garden and labored together to build our family.
Then, our building and dreaming came to a halt. We were moving south and the stress of moving and adjusting to a new place tested the strength of our relationship and our commitment to each other. It took a storm striking at our marriage for us to realize we had been neglecting each other. We had stopped dreaming and building together because we were busy leading separate lives.
As the storm in our marriage heighten and God gets a hold of my wayward heart, I am faced with a dilemma. I confessed to God, do I need to tell my husband about my emotional affair? I can move on without telling him. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him!
But God won’t have it. I don’t have one ounce of peace about moving on in my marriage as if nothing had happened. I hate that God is right. I know I have to tell my husband every bit of the story. Especially since we just renewed our vows on Valentine’s Day. But how? I’m ashamed to talk about it. What do I say? Where do I begin? What will he think of me? Will he forgive me?
These thoughts are driving me nuts! I can’t sleep well. I don’t have an appetite. I have to muster up the courage to tell Scott what has happened. So, I get on my knees every day and ask God for wisdom. “I need you to prepare my husband’s heart, Lord. Help him to listen, understand, and forgive.”
I put off “the talk” for several weeks. Finally, the time is ripe. I am more determined to get it over with so I can be free. While I feel brave, I better speak now or forever lose my courage.
It is Saturday night, our at home date night. Boys are tucked in and quiet, presumably asleep. Now is my chance. I’m anxious and nervous. I’ve known this man for over twenty years, why in the world am I scared to tell him another dirty secret? He didn’t run when I told him about my jezebel days in college? Why should I be afraid now?
Awkwardly, I spit out the words. “There’s this guy who is interested in me and I had feelings for him. I seriously thought about leaving you, but God literally removed him from my sight. I’ve confessed to God and now I’m confessing to you and asking for your forgiveness.”
“I wanted to leave because I’m not happy in our marriage. I resent you for always putting your work before me and our family. You’re concerned about keeping your job, but not so much about losing your wife and family. If God hadn’t intervene, I don’t know what would happen to us. My mind had already checked out of our marriage and my heart was following, had Jesus not reeled it back. I don’t know if I still love you or want to love you. But God told me to love you with His love. So this is what I am trying my best to do.”
Scott listens patiently. Then he apologizes for neglecting me and our family. He doesn’t judge or question my actions. He acknowledges his failure to be present for me and the boys in the ways we need. He asks for my forgiveness and promises to do a better job as a husband and father. Huh? Is this man for real?
I don’t know what to think or say. Instead of being upset, he owns his issues and wants to work on it in order to fulfill his responsibilities to his family. I am utterly relieved. We had a good cry together and prayed for God’s help in rebuilding our marriage.
How grateful I am to have chosen the path less traveled back into my marriage, even though it was rough. I stopped at the crossroads of divorce and marriage and asked for the godly way and here are a few things God showed me.
- I can leave my husband and go find happiness elsewhere, especially when things are grim. But other gardens have weeds too. I just can’t see it from where I’m standing.
- If I can’t be true to my husband, how can I trust myself to be true to someone else?
- Love puts others first. Following my desires into another man’s arms puts me first. Because I love God, I choose to put my husband and my boys first. Their lives would shatter if I quit being a wife and mom. My life would not if I stayed.
- Leaving my husband won’t resolve my personal issues which contributed to the storm in our marriage. If I don’t deal with those issues and move into a new relationship, my issues will come with me.
- God says the things I can see is temporary, it does not last. The excitement of being with someone new may be thrilling, but the newness will eventually wear off. If it’s not from God, it will not last anyway.
God helped me make the right decision to stay with my husband and keep my family together. I’d like to tell you everything has been smooth, but it isn’t true. We’ve had many bumps on the healing road. I’m continually working on loving my husband without conditions attached and he is doing better at putting me and our family before his work. We are dreaming and building together again. Slowly but surely, God is healing and moving us towards a good place.
Perhaps there’s a storm in your marriage right now. Maybe you’ve been unfaithful to your spouse, contemplating an affair, or considering divorce. I hope my story encourages you to turn your heart to God and your spouse. It’s never too late. Your family is worth keeping. Together your family can do more and better works for God, for one another, and for others. This is His purpose for your marriage and your family.
Jesus, the calmer of storms, will help you through your storm and bring it to a calm, if you’ll let him.