Part 2- Restoring a Broken Marriage by Tom & Lisa

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

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A Broken Marriage~ The story of Tom & Lisa Part 1

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.

Written by Tom & Lisa

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After the Affair: Striving and Thriving in Jesus by Telie Sumner

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”
Isaiah 43:18
Many months after learning of my husband’s affair, the day I had feared for so long finally arrived. I rounded a corner at my workplace and ran right smack-dab into the other woman. It was a huge surprise to us both! I don’t remember either of us saying anything. All I could think about was getting back to my desk and picking up my Bible to see what God had to say. The Scripture above is exactly what He gave me, and I cannot tell you how many times I have repeated it to myself since that day!
            When I look back, it is so clear that for years God had been preparing me for the day I asked my husband about his affair. We were high school sweethearts, and on the eve of our 29th wedding anniversary I confronted him about it. Though we had spent most of our lives together, in that moment, with his cold, unremorseful response, he seemed like a total stranger. He said that he had been unhappy for a long time and was determined to leave our marriage. I was shattered and numb. But rather than dwell on what I could not change, God immediately spoke to my heart about what I needed to take ownership of in the demise of our marriage.
For example, God led me to address with a counselor a significant event from my childhood that I had stuffed deep down in my soul. Many of us are in bondage in ways that we are not even aware of. My husband was the only other person with whom I’d shared about this, but it was early in our marriage, at a time when people rarely addressed past woundedness. After so many years, God was bringing it up to the surface and opening the door to set me free!!! I also began to realize that in many ways I had prioritized parenting and busyness over my husband and our relationship. 😊
In the days and weeks that followed, I spent hours each day on my face seeking God, reading His Word, and allowing Him to breathe truth over me. Never in my life have I felt His presence so vividly as during this season. God became not just my Lord, but my husband, my counselor, my healer, and my precious Heavenly Father. He gave me unexplainable JOY in the midst of complete uncertainty. Whether or not my husband returned, I knew that God would take care of me.
Early on, God gave me Psalm 32:10, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” Each time I had a conversation with my husband I would leave knowing that it was God, not I, who had done the talking. God gave me the confidence to know that in spite of what Satan was trying to tell my husband, I knew him better than anyone on this earth! And even though he said he was “happy” with his new life, I knew he was headed to a place of deep misery. God was able to use me as His instrument, equipping me to act more as a friend and less as a wounded wife during this time. I was able to extend forgiveness and show him that no matter what happened, I was not going to live my life with bitterness towards him. As I began to pray on behalf of our marriage, God directed my attitude and demeanor in every conversation we had. Only through God’s grace was I able to communicate with him solely as someone who cared about helping him understand why he was in this situation. True surrender is not being a doormat and submitting in the wrong way but giving of ourselves in a way that allows others to know our true intent is for their good, no matter the outcome for us.
In God’s perfect timing, He worked in my husband’s heart and gave him the courage to end the other relationship. We spent the next year examining our marriage with a fine-tooth comb to expose many things that needed to be worked on. We changed the way we communicated, knowing that we were not each other’s enemy, but the ENEMY was our enemy. Instead of holding things in and allowing bitterness to grow, we learned how to feel safe sharing our deepest thoughts and concerns about our relationship. We changed our demeanor and tone of voice in ways that brought bonding rather than conflict. More than anything, God used physical intimacy, the very thing that Satan had used to try to destroy our marriage, to begin to heal our marriage. I completely surrendered to God this aspect of our relationship, though it meant stepping out of my comfort zone and learning how to love my husband better through sex. Through that surrender, God gave us a joy and completeness that far outweighs anything my husband could find in someone who was not his wife. What we have discovered exceeds all that we had in the first 29 years of our marriage.
            Even though I thought I was doing all the right things to make my husband feel loved and respected, I have learned that one important thing he needs from me is to love him behind closed doors with total freedom, just as God directs us in Song of Solomon. It has now been 13 years, and we can truly say that we would go through it all again to have what we have today. God continues to give us “a brand new thing” as we lean on Him through every stage of life, striving toward obedience to Christ and thriving in God’s love toward us. Our marriage is safe in His arms.

Written by Telie Sumner

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