“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” – 1 Corinthians 13
“How was it?”, I asked my husband as soon as he started the car.
“The topic was repentance.”
He came from a discipleship meeting.
These past months, he’s been serious on pouring his life into knowing God and been wrestling with the scripture together with our Pastor.
He moved on with several filler stories until this.
“I need to let you know I have sinned against God and you.”
“On my bachelor party.”
“What exactly?”, I asked calmly while starting to prepare my heart.
“I did it.”
“With … a whore?”, still in a calm voice.
I looked away. My eyes started to engage to all things but inside the car, without blinking.
I wasn’t crying initially. I’m the type of girl who likes to process things slowly. I give my feelings a definition before I choose my emotion.
He got me discombobulated. I’m muddled with surges of anger, disgust, deception, hurt, disappointment, shame.. so much emotions that made that drive one of the longest we’ve taken for a while.
“I know it would be hard for you to forgive me. But you need to know and I need to free myself from everything that’s keeping me from surrendering my life to God completely…”
The rest of his speech had gone muffled after those words.
A flood of betrayal engulfed me. My face was streaming with tears as he tried to assure me he loved me and that it was only a mistake pressured by his peers.
“Love does not dishonor others…”
You know, as a woman, when you’re confronted by disloyalty, you tend to insist on picturing its sequence of events and every piece of detail inside it. You know it’s a creepy place but the urge is too strong, you get in bravely and blanket yourself with the pang of truth in full surrender.
So while my eyes were glued to the changing landscape outside his car, my mind started flinging the door to his crime place open.
I tried to recall the exact date. Where I was. What he said. His post-demeanor. Everything. I imagined what had transpired over that night.
I entered a dark room. I saw her, almost nude from her back, wearing the lingerie of every man’s fantasy, defining her body. She was sporting a lacy little rigged mesh garter skirt and moving slowly towards my husband’s silhouette… And this last scene keeps shutting. Like a frozen Youtube video that stops buffering, stuck in my brain’s cache and never continues. I couldn’t fathom to play more of the story.
I moved on to recalling the people present that night. Who among his friends planned it? Who among my own friends were there? Who were the accomplices? Who were the devil’s right hand?
I felt a mix of disgust for each of the men who were there. His bestfriend, his cousins, his uncles, his friends. I felt it was an ungodly, insensitive conspiracy against me. I was mad. I was angry. These were the exact people who celebrated our love with us on our wedding day, giving us the best of all wishes.
Bunch of quislings.
They just made a conscious contribution to the project of the enemy — a culture of sexual immorality.
How did men arrive to this point and age of embracing this twisted, diabolical rite? Like it’s the coolest imperative for celebrating a groom’s decision to bind himself to love and through God?
What’s up with the debauched pressure? and the faith shaming?
I couldn’t color my words more pleasantly. Those were my feelings exactly.
“..Love is not self-seeking..”
Looking back our relationship, I always thought what we’ve shown our guests on our wedding was a God-centered love story worth looking up to. We pray together, we seek God together, we plan our life with Him as the center of all our goals. I thought our love was floating on a Christian dreamboat.
But, the devil lurks around and sneaks at every opportunity, seeping into the tiniest cracks of every relationship striving to be godly.
The fall stomped on the sanctity of my wedding.
It lost the credibility of my husband’s vow. For those who have both heard his words and known what he did at the time, he practically showed them a million peso bull crap of love– on stage.
I remember a guy friend asking me days after our wedding if my husband told me what happened on his stag night. Clueless on what he actually meant, I said yes. I’m pretty sure he asked because he believed we had a culture of trust and that whatever happened won’t have caused a scratch to our relationship. If he ever had suspicion of my blankness, I must’ve looked so stupid, believing my husband and I both were saving it for our special day.
But, the stripper ran away and stole my gift.
She was a thief in the night. What I got after our wedding was just the scum of a sacred and precious gift.
I felt like my husband gifted me with a salvaged dress without telling me it was such. And I wore it without washing, despite its whiff. Parading as a fool like the kid-famous emperor wearing his invisible robe. Even thanking him for how exquisite and lovely it is.
I felt so cheap. It felt like he dragged me out in the streets to rebuke me as a romantic ideal foolishly believing in the glorified version of love.
“Love is not easily angered..”
So after what felt like a long drive, we finally reached home.
My husband was dying to hear a word from me. But, receiving his baggage of unwelcome truth is incarcerating. I didn’t know what to say or do. I feel like my limbs are locked up.
“God, how do I deal with a broken piece of super solid trust?”
My husband poured whiskey on his glass, offered me a beer (probably in the hopes of loosening me up) while we awkwardly watch our son wreaking havoc in the kitchen.
“Look at that, it actually stretched this long — toddler-long since he has kept this secret from me.”, I thought to myself.
I gulped up my beer from where I stood and it tasted nothing. I needed something stronger. I wanted to reach out to his whiskey even though I hate the taste of it. I just wanted to drown the day out and wake up the next morning realizing it was a dream.
Then I heard God, at the back of my head, handing me the key to my fetters.
“Forgive, my child.”, clear and crisp.
“..Love keeps no record of wrongs..”
Releasing one’s self from pains of infliction involves two things:
1) an action we can control
God promises that He won’t give anything that is beyond human capacity.
His compassion and mercy fills our lives to overflowing, arming us with a key to free us from this kind of emotionally imprisoning situations.
In my case, this key is forgiveness. It is within my ability, despite requiring a great deal of strength.
2) an action we cannot control
This is where God comes in. We achieve absolute freedom from the burden of hurting truth only by approaching the throne of grace, and asking God to reveal His purpose so we can leave the scraps of bitter emotions behind.
This, for me, is forgetting. I cannot rely on myself in getting rid of all this in my memory. Without the grace of God, the whore will haunt me up to my grave. My anger will decay together with me.
I need to cling to God’s promise that when I do my part according to his will (1), He will carry it on to completion (2).
So I started with my mental process of deliberation.
My husband could’ve kept lying until it becomes too irrelevant. Or, I could’ve been clueless eternally. But would he have put me in a better place if he took those roads for me?
No. I don’t think so.
Because I know that confessions and forgiveness are the primary catalysts of trust in a relationship.
Confessions are like white truffles, they come rare and expensive especially these days when it’s not in season anymore.
Forgiveness is like home-made breads. Sure you can buy from the store but the beauty found in bread is not just in the taste, but in everything that goes into kneading, waiting and baking. In the hard work, patience and love involved in the process.
Does forgiving make me a weakling and a doormat?
I don’t think I am deserving of the mistake. But clearly, my husband thinks I’m worthy of truth.
The fact that my husband chose to bring it up to me voluntarily matters. I give credit to his bravery, for being man enough to make an unsolicited confession. That even though his conscience stabbed me too deep, I know his action deserves praise, respect and encouragement.
After all, I would want him to know that he can count on me when he chooses to be honest with me, even when truth hurts.
Here’s a man, getting all the gunk out of his life so he can empty himself for God. I think it’s Him I’d answer to if I deny this man of that.
Cut the saga short, I gave him my blessing of forgiveness. Something I promised I won’t thaw and reheat for breakfast. A forgiveness that is unconditional and absolute.
“Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.”
Truth is people disappoint. God is eternal.
I can’t tell you and won’t rub him of how much emotionally injured I still am. But what I know is that I don’t have anymore control over this. So I surrender this part to God and like before and always, I’m clinging on His vine to forget and refresh our relationship to the richness and decadence of His fruit of love.
I can testify to you and to myself that God has the ability to make us forget hurt. That’s another story to tell. But I tell you, it does take time and prayers but when He brings you there, you’ll be amazed at how He turns a broken heart into a precious, fragile masterpiece again, even better than the last time. So meanwhile, I will keep delight in my marriage through the grace of our Lord.
“Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
I learned this the hard way and I want to encourage you too:
Cover your man daily in prayer so God can give him the strength to take charge over his own spirit and have self-control to resist anything and anyone who becomes a lure.
The devil prowls around like a roaring lion, always seeking soldiers of God to devour.