A Broken Marriage
Tom and Lisa were college sweethearts. They met at the tender age of 18 and dated for five years. They fell in love and decided to get married. Unbeknownst to them, their marriage, although conceived in heaven, was not blessed by God. Tom and Lisa were not Christians. They were not honoring God prior to their marriage. Their marriage was destined for heart wrenching breakdown. Only by the grace of God was it recovered, restored, and ultimately glorified in God’s eyes. This brief story describes the events that led to the broken marriage and eventually the wonderful blessings God provided to redeem and restore it.
Some background info
Tom was raised in a single parent home, the youngest of three siblings. His father divorced his mother when Tom was two years old. Tom never observed a model of a Godly marriage within his extended family or in his neighborhood. Tom did well in school and stayed out of trouble. He was well liked and succeeded in athletics. But there were no male figures in his life, and certainly no Christian men to lead him into manhood. Consequently he never developed honoring or respecting relationships with girls. However, Tom entered college on an athletic scholarship and planned to major in engineering.
Lisa faced challenges in her early years as the second sibling of five. Her parents led her in Catholicism but continually explored alternative spiritual frontiers. Her spiritual foundation never solidified. She learned to take care of herself at an early age and soon established definite goals for her life. She entered college determined to get an engineering degree and provide a sound living with her career.
Upon entering college, Tom and Lisa met soon into their freshman year. They started dating immediately and spent large amounts of time together with engineering studies and myriad social activities. There were no boundaries in their relationship, and everything seemed to be going according to mutual expectations.
After college, Tom and Lisa got married. Two engineers in love and working in Silicon Valley in Northern California. They were following their plan and it was off to a successful start. Life was good!
For a while… Over the next several years, things began to shift. At first, it was manageable. They were excited to have their first child, but they were determined not to let it inconvenience them. Over the next four years, Tom and Lisa had two more daughters, moved four times, and now the cracks began to emerge in their marriage. The original plan had shifted dramatically. Lisa had stopped working which was never part of the plan. She now placed her desires and expectations of a fulfilled career and life on Tom. But Tom had changed jobs three times and was traveling more than ever. Through that period, Tom drifted into secrecy and pursued extramarital affairs while traveling. Tom was in a dark place, and Lisa was not fulfilled either. But no one knew.
Where do we go from here?
Tom: Let me pick up the story. One night, we were invited for dinner at a couple’s house. We were meeting this couple through an introduction by mutual friends. That evening, Lisa and I were amazed to see what a loving marriage they had between them, and we wanted what they had! We asked them how we could have a marriage like theirs. They suggested we go to church! And we did. After visiting several churches, we settled on one and began attending regularly. Lisa realized quickly that she was ready for a personal relationship with Jesus. Although it seemed like she was moving in the right direction, she still held on to some of her worldly, perfectionist ways and struggled to reconcile the two. Initially, she thought I was with her on her new faith journey. But I was still lost in the dark and secretly wasn’t going to give it up.
The next ten years looked pretty good on the outside. Our church experience was good, our faith walk was developing (so I claimed), the children were growing up, and life appeared to be good again. It looked like the plan was back on track.
But I knew it wasn’t. I knew I was still in a dark place. Lisa once asked me what I would do if a man pointed a gun at my head and asked me if Jesus was the Lord of my life. I remember responding that I would say ‘No, so I could get away’. And she knew right away that was the truth. She had doubts about my faith and had suspected there were things going on with me, and this confirmed it. I didn’t believe that Jesus was my Lord. Lisa knew she couldn’t trust me as a Christian or that I could be the spiritual leader that she needed. By God’s grace, Lisa started praying for me. She would wake up in the middle of the night, lay hands on me and pray. She wondered why the Lord was waking her up at night. Then it happened.
One night, Lisa saw me on the computer contacting someone online and asked me what was going on. She forced the issue into the light. This was it. She needed answers. She told me she was willing to fight for our marriage and fight for our family but she needed to know what she was fighting. I had to decide whether to go on lying or to break down to the core and confess. I knew how wrapped up and miserable I was in deep sinful behavior for years. That night, the Lord dismantled our marriage and miraculously started putting it back together.
Stay tuned to the next blog post to read how God saved a wretch like me and reunited me with my wife.