Part 2 – Restoring a Broken Marriage
What was going to happen? How was this going to work out? Our marriage was at a critical point, and I wasn't sure what to do or what to say. Lisa and I had to talk it out. I asked her to give me 30 minutes to get my thoughts organized and then we’d go through it. I told her I would explain everything. She was broken inside but agreed to listen.
After a few minutes, I felt the Lord working in my heart. I prayed for His wisdom to help me. The Lord knew that I was tired of running from Him. He showed me the only way out was to confess completely to Lisa what I had done. It was time to break the chains and give Him the authority in my life. But how was that going to happen? He led me to scripture. I wrote down 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” He led me to another verse, 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Frankly, I had accepted the fact that our marriage could be over. But the Lord gave me hope. I wasn’t going to leave my wife or lose my marriage. I was going to do anything and everything I needed to save it. When Lisa and I sat down, I read her the scripture that the Lord had put on my heart. I told her that I had been unfaithful for the last ten years and asked her to forgive me.
Lisa was crushed. She felt like she had been kicked in the stomach. Her reaction was expected. She felt that she didn’t deserve this. She needed me to leave, and she would figure out how to salvage whatever she could for our daughters. The plan certainly didn’t include me.
I told her that I would get rid of all the garbage and was willing to do whatever she needed me to do to save us. I didn’t want our marriage to end this way.
We went to bed that night in separate rooms. At the time, our three daughters were 13, 11, and 9, and they were in the house. They may have been too young to understand what was going on, but being in the house made it even more awkward and uncomfortable.
Lisa cried all night until there were no tears left. Her pain was so deep, and she felt lonely and helpless. In the stillness of the night, in the midst of such pain, the Holy Spirit came to her. He told her to forgive me. She said, “No, you can’t ask me to do that. Look what he has done to me and to our family.” But in her heart she knew the Lord wasn’t asking her, He was commanding her to forgive me. Out of obedience to Him, Lisa came to me in the night, laid her hands on me, and said she forgave me and loved me because I was beautifully and wonderfully made.
What just happened? I witnessed God perform a miracle that only He could perform. I cried and cried. God was pouring His mercy on me. Lisa didn’t trust me a bit, but she fully trusted the Lord. Of course, everything wasn’t ‘fixed’. Lisa was afraid and knew our recovery was going to take a lot of transforming power from the Lord. But she was ‘in’. And I was ‘all in’.
Godly friends advised Lisa that she should be very careful, that marriages don’t come back from situations like this. The question in her mind was What will it take? As she prayed, the Lord gave her peace and wisdom. She was very specific in what she wanted me to do. She said I needed to meet with my pastor and confess to him. I needed to attend an Every Man’s Battle conference that dealt with addictions and infidelity. And she and I needed to meet with a Christian counselor. I didn’t hesitate. The Lord was leading the way and I was ready to follow.
As I met with and confessed to my pastor, he was supportive and committed to helping me. We started a Bible study with a few men and began by memorizing scripture; Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount. After attending an Every Man’s Battle conference, I joined a strong support group to continue the steps. Over the next several months, I was in various men’s groups just about every night of the week. I knew the Lord was changing me. He was defining me as a man and a husband. It wasn’t a quick fix, but I wanted to be the man God wanted me to be, and He led me to Christian men to make it happen.
Being out of work during the initial six months turned out to be a blessing for Lisa and me. We were able to spend a lot of time together. Lisa’s confidence in us was growing, but we were a long way from where we needed to be. Through those months, there were almost daily occurrences of things the Lord called me to confess to her. As the Lord worked in Lisa, He took these confessions and turned them into compassion and forgiveness. Lisa and I prayed together every night. There were also occurrences of hauntings for Lisa that brought back awful emotions. I relied on the Lord to comfort both Lisa and me and give her an assurance that we were moving in the right direction.
Over the next several years, our marriage continued to improve. Lisa remained obedient to forgive me, but it was not an easy process. Her trust and love continued to be restored. It wasn’t until five years later that Lisa felt confident and trusting to put her wedding ring back on. And now, fifteen years after the full breakdown and confession, God has blessed us with daughters who love the Lord, two loving sons-in-law, and three wonderful grandchildren. Our marriage is our testimony to God’s sovereignty and power.
As I reflect on the entirety of this story, it’s no mistake that God put Lisa and me together. He was working in our lives long before we became believers. He has written this story for His glory and we’re hopeful that He will use it to help others who are struggling through similar situations. I was not worthy of His mercy, and yet He covered my marriage with all spiritual blessings. Lisa and I are flawed individuals and our marriage isn’t perfect, but we both know that God works miracles and doesn’t make mistakes. He can restore relationships and save marriages even when the Christian supporters closest to us doubt. It’s our prayer that by reading this, you will be encouraged and that you will share this with whomever it may help in restoring a struggling marriage.
Written by Tom & Lisa