“God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered.” – Deuteronomy 30:3
They say the first year of marriage is hard, well “hard” would be saying it lightly in my case.
My husband and I got married at age 25, we weren’t young, we had dated for 4 years prior to getting married. That being said, we certainly were sure we knew one another and took this decision quite seriously. We had many secrets we hadn’t shared with a lot of people because we felt ashamed and I honestly thought those issues had been dealt with. Not even within a month of being married did those “resolved” issues reveal themselves.
It would be no exaggeration to say we fought every single day, I didn’t understand what was happening. Yes, we had moved a few hours away from our church family, but we were already settled into a new church, a new bible study and were already meeting other Christians our age. So what was the problem?
Fast forward six months later we ended up moving back to our original home town to seek guidance from our original church family. Surely at this point they would be able to offer a sense of normalcy and guidance for us.
I was very wrong, the fighting continued to an unimaginable point, our church did as much as they could until my husband ended up doing something horrible. He got violent with me and despite my best efforts to downplay it in the past, to lie about it and cover it up, this time there were witnesses. We ended up separating and unbeknownst to me, my husband had told our church, my friends and family a completely different story. My integrity was questioned, even my mental state had been questioned.
My husband took no ownership for his actions instead he lied to everyone and used our church to the best of his abilities. Through this awful experience I lost my friends, some family, my church and my husband. It was the most frustrating and horrible situation I have ever been in. My church had no idea but my husband throughout the months we were separated lead a life of partying, drinking and a more destructive lifestyle then I knew.
I was absolutely not blameless either. The first months of marriage I tried the route of being the kind, encouraging wife that prayed instead of yelled, was meek instead of being hostile but as the months dragged on and my faith was tested, I admit I lost control of my own behavior and I had no idea how to even act.
Those lonely months we were separated, when my friends disowned me, when my church abandoned me is when God encountered me in ways I can’t even explain. Only by the grace of God I did not have an affair or partake in a destructive lifestyle, because I will be honest I was definitely tempted to at times.
I deleted all social media, limited myself to talked to certain people, saw a counselor weekly, consistently met with an accountability partner, still went to the church that turned their back on me, only watched videos that had to do with testimony honoring god’s faithfulness and I even read four times “the power of a praying wife” by Stormy Omartian (I gritted my teeth as I prayed those daily prayers for my husband, but I did it).
I literally thought my marriage was over, it was all for nothing and was an absolute waste of everyone’s time, including my own.
I never believed in divorce, it wasn’t a word in my vocabulary then I chose to exactly what I said I would never do; I got the divorce papers and was ready to have them served.
On my way to doing the last step to having this document filed for good, my counselor called me and told me she felt like I should wait rather then make a hasty decision. I pulled over and cried, I cried because I had waited long enough in my mind, yet I knew she was right. I believe without a doubt it was God who orchestrated that phone call to stop me from doing this.
As time went on I remember becoming very angry with God, I literally was speaking out loud in my house telling God how upset I was. I cried so much until I got a word in my head and I could visually see it in my mind. It wasn’t a word I used often, so I googled the word which pulled up it’s synonyms. There, in the list of synonyms was a word which was also a woman’s name and then I knew.
I knew what I always thought I knew, yet pushed back in my mind that it was impossible.
My husband had been unfaithful during our dating years to me with this woman.
I cried even more and then God gave me a vision of me as a little girl, he held my hand as I sat at a park bench. I knew the lord was telling me it was time, time to face facts.
A week later I was alone talking to God, I said to him: “God.. I would really like some company this evening.”
The next thing I knew my husband texted me. We weren’t on speaking terms at all. He wanted to meet right away at a park nearby our place, where I was living. I was hesitant, yet couldn’t deny the timing of my prayer and then receiving this text message.
I met at the park with my husband and God told me I was ready, so I said to my husband “It’s okay, you can tell me anything you think you need to say”. From there all the secrets of this one time affair, the drug use my husband had hid from me for years, all the lies and manipulation he had orchestrated with all our loved ones came out. We both sobbed and hugged. The absolute strangest thing was that I wasn’t even angry. I almost felt a sense of relief and peace knowing what I found out.
Everything started to make sense about our relationship and our marriage. All the times I knew there was something wrong, I was frustrated, I didn’t believe anything he said, I kept having a feeling that something was off and I was right. I think God was testing me and taught me how to extend grace in a way I didn’t even think was possible.
That was only the beginning of healing, now I had to seek counseling to learn how to overcome the pain that ensued from my recently discoveries of my husband. He too had his own journey to go on, he had to do counseling, specific group counseling for his addiction and violence. We continued to live separately for quite a few months.
I’ll never forget something I heard well before this encounter with my husband, that sometimes things have to die in order for God to bring it back to life. I believe without a doubt that God has turned a despicable marriage situation into his glory. God over came the statistics that only 2% of violent men change, he overcame all the odds that were against us. He challenge all those who didn’t believe we would last and turned all the bad into good for his glory.
We were two people broken in very different ways and although the events that took place in our marriage should have never happened, it’s a testament that God never lets anything happen for nothing. Having our comforts stripped away from us, all the secrets exposed and having nothing but God to turn to, allowed the lord to do his good work.
Now, without all the secrets and frustrations removed, my husband and I have become friends, good friends. We have never experienced the sense of joy and peace we are currently experiencing in our relationship now. As much as I wish the things had never happened, I am contradictory honored and forever grateful for the lessons I have learned.
In a sense, I’m glad I went through them now, I embrace the brokenness and love the the things God is doing in my life as well as my marriage. No not all my friendships were restored, no we did not receive positive support from our church but my story isn’t over yet.
God has not only taught me grace and forgiveness, but to be patient, wait on his timing and to love those who have hurt me the most.
I still pray for the people that I struggle with resenting, my husband and I don’t necessarily feel the support from everyone we once did, but God has done so many amazing things in my life that I don’t doubt for a second what he is capable of doing. I hope that although my story is quite ugly, that the vulnerability in my words encourages those who have or are currently struggling in their marriage.
I hope this brings hope to those that think their marriage is over and that it’s not the end of the world finding out some really painful truths, it’s actually only the beginning of something that can be so beautiful, if you allow it.
Erin Morgan is currently studying to be a counselor at a bible college. She is a lifestyle blogger and work casually at a hospital. Follow her blog here, where she shares practical life hacks but also provide deeper reading for those interested.
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