Growing up, I remember hearing people say, “The wife is always the first to know when her husband is cheating on her.” Of course, that never made any sense to me. I would question, “If a wife knows that her husband is cheating on her then why doesn’t she just make him stop?”
During the 4th year of our marriage, my husband, Michael, took on a job that required him to travel. At first, it was only one or two days a week, but over a period of time his travel grew to five days a week. He would even travel to Ohio occasionally and be gone for two weeks at a time. Eventually, I adjusted to our schedule, though there were still times that I felt very lonely. I was ironing one of his shirts one weekend when I discovered lipstick on his collar. I questioned him; he just snickered and said, “Oh, that’s just ketchup. I guess I got sloppy when I was eating French fries one night.”
Of course, I knew Michael was lying.
Other women had been calling the house looking for him. One morning my daughter was playing with my husband's wallet a receipt fell out which led to the discovery of his private post office box. Here I was, doing the exact opposite of what I imagined so many years before. I knew something was going on, but I chose to look the other way and hope for the best. Besides, how could I actually prove that he was doing anything wrong? I had no financial resources to hire an investigator. Even if I had the money, what was I going to do with that kind of information anyway?
Michael had been traveling for business for five years when we decided to relocate to New York, where the home base of his employment was located. Soon after moving, I gave birth to our second child. Women were still calling the house, but I felt so weighed down with mounting responsibilities. I anesthetized myselfand continued to look the other way. Then one day, I met a Christian woman named Judy. We quickly became friends and she began praying for my salvation. Eight months later, I made the most important decision of my life and relinquished my heart to God. I spent the next fifteen years praying for my two children. I also prayed for my husband’s job and his salary, but I never prayed for my husband’s salvation. I thought he was already a believer because he attended church every Sunday as a child, was a faithful participant of the church choir and band, and was an altar boy.
One day I realized something about my husband. It dawned on me that if Michael’s parents were to die, I would become a widow quickly thereafter. He had an unhealthy emotional attachment and dependency on them. My immediate response to that realization was, “But I’m too young to be a widow!” It was then that I began to pray for Michael’s salvation. As I prayed, all of my husband’s secrets from his past and present began to surface. I couldn't turn a blind eye any more. I found matchbooks with phone numbers, and receipts. I received phone calls following up on car rentals and hotel reservations. The tormenting reality of it all took its toll on me. I packed up all my clothes and photo albums and prepared to leave this man whom I had publicly declared to love and honor 25 years earlier. As I patiently waited for a phone call from my brother-in-law to discuss my exit strategy I suddenly heard a quiet inner voice say, “I want you to stay.” I answered by asking, “Why God? Why do You want me to stay?” I waited for an answer from Him, but I didn’t get one. So, I slowly began to unpack my boxes and put everything back where they belonged.
I chose to obey God rather than satisfy my desire to divorce this man who had hurt me so deeply.
I made the decision to forgive my husband and the women that he was with. The Word of God says to bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Matthew 5:44) The enemy of our soul had come to steal, kill, and destroy my marriage by stealing Michael’s God-given privilege to be the husband of one wife. (John 10:10)
The true enemy was not my husband.
For three years I fought the good fight of faith. I claimed the promises of God over my husband and our marriage. Every time I would come across a scripture that gave me hope in what God could do I would insert mine or Michael's name and turn it into a prayer. The day eventually came when I knew God had answered my prayers. I was suddenly at peace. There has been many changes in Michael ever since that day that I committed to stay and pray for restoration in my life and marriage. The most significant changein our marriage has come in the form of daily Bible reading and devotions together. Now, instead of just wishing each othera happy anniversary, we are ‘celebrating’ our marriage.
One of my greatest blessings came several years ago when I saw that my decision to obey God had affected our daughter. That year I received a Mother’s Day card from her in which she wrote, “Mom, thanks for sticking it out with Dad. I love you, ”
What has been God calling you to do in your marriage?
Martha has been married for 41 years and is a mother of 2 grown children, grandmother of 3 small children. She ministerd to children, ages 7-9, for 18 years. She also ministered for 9 years in Victorious Overcomers, a support group. Her body was healed of cancer and her marriage saved from divorce by the power & mercy of the One True Living God! She is the author of Unforgiveness, Cancer, and Healing coming out soon. Click here to follow her on Twitter.