Marriage at its Worst

 

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…to have and to hold,

from this day forward,

for better, for worse,

for richer, for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love and to cherish

till death do us part.

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At weddings we dream of the good times, knowing there will be bad times too but never fathoming how bad it can get. Marriage is a commitment and something that isn’t always pretty or easy.

I asked Kris if she would share a story from her life. Instead of chatting with me via facebook she sent me something she’d written a few years ago. After some edits to make it blog pretty….here it is in her own words.

 

Marriage and wedding day

Today, I am a happily married woman of 15 years and mother to four beautiful daughters.

But this wasn’t always the case.

My husband and I married when we were both young. He was just 21 and I was 23. The following year found us expecting our first daughter. I knew there were some things that my husband and I both needed to work on in our relationships with God, but I felt confident that we would both conquer any hurdles together.

In October of 2003, I gave birth to our second daughter. By this time, my husband and I were very distant. I began taking to medication to help me with nursing our daughter. I was unaware of the side effects which included fatigue, severe irritability, and depression.

I distanced myself even further from my husband because of this medication. There were many nights I sat at home alone with a crying baby, waiting for him to come home from work.

He began working longer and longer days. It seemed he had no time for me. The gap between us slowly widened until I felt married to a stranger.

In January 2004, I found out my husband was involved in an emotional affair with a co-worker.

My world was devastated.

People will tell you that an emotional affair is not as hard to live through as an ‘actual’ affair, but those people lie or have never experienced it before. Those first few nights after I found out, I just cried. What had we done to our marriage? Could it even be fixed? Did he even want it fixed?

I recall begging him on bended knee to please save our marriage and go to counseling. This was the single most humbling thing I have ever done in my entire life. And it worked. He agreed to counseling and we began the long process of picking ourselves up out of the bottom of the pit.

My first instinct was to berate him for all the things he had done wrong to cause us to get to this point in our lives. Those first weeks, I raged against everything: him, the girl who had coerced him away from me, even God. But then my attitude slowly started to change.

God quietly began speaking into my heart some painful truths regarding myself and my marriage. I resolved that I had to forgive many people, including me, for wrongs suffered. Such a hard thing when all you want to do is hit the girl who had (in my mind) caused the affair.

I resolved that I couldn’t change anything about my husband, even though there were a few things (ok a LOT of things) that I wanted to point out he was doing wrong. I let God instead be in charge of convicting, judging, speaking mercy, and redeeming my husband.

[Tweet “I resolved that I couldn’t change anything about my husband, even though there were a few things (ok a LOT of things) that I wanted to point out he was doing wrong.”]

Instead, I decided to let God speak to me and tell me what things I could be doing to become a better wife and a better follower of Him.

The first months of that year were truly a literal springtime for our lives.

We took the advice of counselors and friends and chose a devotional to read together. We worked through the book, “Fall in Love, Stay in Love” by Willard Harley, Jr. We also read a Psalm together every night and talked through how it could apply to our own lives and situation.

To say this was a difficult time is certainly an understatement. Committing to spending time with someone who has broken your heart and trust is never easy, but I stood on faith that this is what God wanted us to do. One of the key verses I stood on during that time was a promise from God:

The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those with a crushed spirit. Psalm 34:18

This verse, along with a few others sustained me when all else looked bleak. I wish I could say things healed immediately, but I’m a stubborn redhead and uphold every single stereotype you may have heard about us.

Kris and Paul have fun

Things between us slowly started to look better.

It was only due to our diligence in keeping our word about being brutally honest with one another that we were able to work through issue after issue. Issues that had caused the initial downward spiral into the darkest time in our marriage. There were times when I didn’t want to allow him to hold me again or comfort me, but I had committed to keeping our marriage and that meant making myself emotionally vulnerable again.

Time eventually passed and my heart began to heal. God was faithful in sustaining us through what was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever done in my life: surviving and thriving in a marriage after an affair.

[Tweet “What Satan had meant for a great evil and destruction became a testimony of redeemed love.”]

In the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to speak our story to the women at my church during a retreat. Many women have come to me, some without knowing my own story, and said “My husband is having an affair, what do I do?” What Satan had meant for great evil and destruction in our lives became a testimony of redeemed love, commitment, and faithfulness of God towards broken, crushed people.

There were times I despaired that I would ever love my husband again the way it first had been upon our wedding day. I’m sure he felt the same way. There were times it was a lesson in obedience only that we even spoke to each other in a civil manner. Whole days when we thought things would never ever be okay between us again. And yet, we stand strong today.

Kris Family photo

Today, I am a happily married wife.

That newborn baby from 2004 is a gloriously beautiful almost eleven year old redhead with two younger sisters who would have never existed had we given up on our marriage.

I can’t imagine my life without all four of my babies together. I can’t fathom that there was a time that my husband didn’t dote on me or cherish me, because that simply isn’t my story any more.

Friends wondered then why I chose forgiveness and trust over throwing away a marriage and a husband. They wondered how I could possibly be ‘strong enough’ to start over again with him. Some openly mocked our decision to stay together telling me I was setting myself up for pain and heartache again.

I’m so thankful I listened to God on this one and not ‘man’. The years of happiness that have sprung forth from that desolate time in our lives has truly all been 100% worth every single night of struggle and wrenching desperation spent in redeeming our marriage.

 

 

Thank you Kris for sharing your story about love, grace, and redemption.

 

 

Every Thursday I like to share your stories. Stories of grace and redemption, stories of overcoming, stories of living life the best you can, stories of happiness and contentment, stories of real life. If you would like to share your story, please click here or on the “Share a Story!” tab above.

 

Post shared on:

Though Provoking Thursday

Thriving Thursday

Friendship Friday

Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop

Beauty Observed

Motivation Monday

Mondays Musings

Soul Survival

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Jul 24, 2014 @ 09:00:15

    What a remarkable story of God’s faithfulness. I especially love these words, “What Satan had meant for great evil and destruction in our lives became a testimony of redeemed love, commitment, and faithfulness of God towards broken, crushed people.” Thank you Kris!

    Like

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  2. jane Alexander
    Jul 24, 2014 @ 14:34:40

    Oh sweet girl,I am so proud of you for giving your story to others. This will bare amazing fruit for many years.I pray for blessings upon blessings to come upon you and Paul and your children.

    Like

    Reply

    • Crystal
      Jul 24, 2014 @ 18:54:22

      I will pass on the message to her Jane just in case she doesn’t see this. Kris’s story is certainly an inspiring story and great testimony. Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

      Reply

  3. Janine
    Jul 24, 2014 @ 21:06:00

    Your marriage is a gift to your community, too! A testimony to tenacity (and a little redheaded stubbornness!).

    Like

    Reply

  4. Tania Vaughan
    Jul 25, 2014 @ 07:30:40

    Such a beautiful and heart wrenching and yet heart warming story – God honours our faithfulness – bless you and your family x

    Like

    Reply

  5. Yvonne Chase
    Jul 25, 2014 @ 11:35:19

    To God be the glory!

    Like

    Reply

  6. Michelle
    Jul 25, 2014 @ 13:30:48

    Kris, this is lovely and you have a wonderful family.

    I am visiting from Friendship Friday.

    Like

    Reply

  7. inspiredbyjune
    Jul 25, 2014 @ 20:45:31

    A beautiful, redemptive story. What a lovely family you have – you bring God glory with your obedience and faithfulness.

    Like

    Reply

  8. normaleverydaylifeblog
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 19:05:06

    What an example of God’s faithfulness and blessing when we obey and act on what we know is right and not on our feelings or the advice of others. Thanks for sharing! Visiting you from where two or three are gathered.

    Like

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    • Crystal
      Jul 28, 2014 @ 06:01:29

      You’re welcome. Kris’ story inspires me on so many levels. I will pass the message on to her. Thanks for stopping by. I’m enjoying our little group that Heather started.

      Like

      Reply

  9. Priscila
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 14:54:10

    Beautiful testimony Of God’s grace and forgiveness in a marriage. May God continue blessing her marriage and precious daughters. Found your blog on The Angel Project 30 day link up. Priscila

    Like

    Reply

  10. MySaltHisLight
    Jul 30, 2014 @ 15:06:55

    Beautiful and encouraging story! Thanks so much for sharing. What courage and awesome love!

    Like

    Reply

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