I know I’m not alone when I say I’ve had my share of marriage troubles. And I’m not talking about the money fights or an ongoing argument because of a disagreement and not seeing eye to eye on something.
I am talking about the hurt that comes when your husband looks elsewhere and begins an intimate friendship. I’m talking about the kind of marriage troubles that are ugly, shameful, and full of a hurt you can’t describe.
My story does have a happy ending, in fact we are now the best of friends. And if you’re reading this thinking “that’s me,” then know there is hope even if you don’t feel it.
We were a newish married couple, but had been together for quite some time. We had a three year old and a newborn, and although this time of having babies is supposed to be a beautiful time, it was quite the trying time.
Our three year old had open heart surgery 2 weeks before the baby was due to arrive. I was leaving my job to stay home. My husband started a brand new job 2 days after the baby was born. Money was tight. His job kept him out of the house from 6:00 in the morning until 8:00 at night. It was not the kind of job that was right for him. He did it to put bread on the table but it stressed him so much that he would be tired and grumpy all the time.
After about a year or so and my husband had found new work, we hadn’t quite recovered from all of the stresses. We weren’t meeting each others needs. I was fearful that I wasn’t doing “enough,” that I wasn’t good “enough.” He was complaining that we never spent time together. We didn’t know how to express our needs. We didn’t know how to communicate. From the beginning we thought we were great in that department, but over time things changed.
It was all of this that led to the intimate friendship. The door was opened and though he knew it was wrong he had stepped through. It was such a strange time. We were saying and thinking things we never thought would ever come across our lips. We were hurt. We were broken.
Finally, as we were wrestling with what’s next for us and our marriage? do we end it or try to make it work? we fell on our knees. I’m not sure exactly how we came to this finally but we were so done with the fighting, the confusion, the hurt and pain. We knew we couldn’t figure things out by ourselves. We couldn’t fix anything. We needed Jesus. We needed Him bad. And we needed Him now.
This was the turning point. We sought help from our Pastor, who led us to a Christian counselor. We prayed and we talked. We learned how to speak to one another again. We were truthful and we didn’t hold anything back. It was the Holy Spirit working within us. Nothing that we did caused us to work through the issues. All the glory goes to God!
As we were working through this season of healing with God in the driver’s seat, it was time to forgive. I forgave my husband for the hurt he caused. And he forgave me for the resentment that had grown in my heart from that initial stressful season.
It’s so amazing what God can do, when you let him take over. Never in a million years would I have imagined that we would be a couple that would go through this type of marriage trouble.
Friend, if you are experiencing a really tough time in your marriage, no matter what the main issue might be, I’m praying for you. I’m praying that God will intervene and heal your marriage.
A few things that helped me through this difficult time was prayer, more prayer, a few really good friends, and knowing that I wasn’t alone.
I picked up Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying Wife and read through that. I had a few really deep conversations with friends who helped me by listening and assuring me that they were there for me.
One friend’s insight of knowing a few couples who had gone through what I was going through (some ended their marriages while others worked through the issues and stayed together) helped because there was hope. It helped because I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t alone in these trials, and I wasn’t alone because I knew I could rely on Jesus for comfort.
Even though it was so confusing and I wrestled with thoughts I never imagined ever needing to confront I found that resting my hope in the Lord gave me peace. Even though I didn’t understand what was happening and I didn’t know what would come of our marriage I felt comforted by knowing that Jesus was with me.
It was soon apparent that my husband and I knew that we could make our marriage work. We knew that it wasn’t by our doing and we knew that it would take a lot of hard work. We learned how to listen and communicate with one another. It took some practice but we got there.
Try to simply state “When you did abc… I felt xyz.” Allow time for him to respond “I didn’t realize that when I did abc you felt xyz… when you did … I felt…” Then you respond. This isn’t the time to point fingers and no one “made” anyone feel any thing.
It can really open your eyes to learn to just listen to one another in this way. We still use this model every once in a while. It’s helped to lessen the confusion and calm the waters. We know how to just stop, and listen.
God has healed our marriage and I have gained a best friend. I had always heard people describe their spouse as their best friend and for a really, really long time I could not relate. I didn’t understand that sentiment. I so totally get it now, and it’s amazing to be able to call my husband my best friend.
I am so thankful for the work God has done in our lives. We continue to grow together and love one another more deeply every day.
So if you’re hurting my friend, cry out to God, and kneel down and pray-
“1 Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy.” Psalm 61:2