I never dreamed my marriage would be one that would experience infidelity. Since 1995, the year Josh and I started dating, we had stars in our eyes for each other. But life happens, hearts change, pursuits of each other become half-hearted, and our pursuit of God became just another thing on my long list of daily duties.
In 2005, when Ava died, we got through this with our marriage not only intact, but stronger. In 2007, when Josh broke his neck and quadriplegia became his (our) reality, our marriage became a struggle. This is not what I had ever dreamed marriage to be about: doing nearly every task the house needed to run, do every bit of grocery shopping, driving every child and hubby to every doctor’s appointment, emptying urine bags, cleaning up pooh, the list could continue on for many pages. But my point is that I never envisioned this to be my life, and I could see no way out of it. I had made a promise before God that I would love Josh in sickness and in health. I watched the emotional toll this new way of living had on Josh and had no idea and no energy to help him. I couldn’t understand how God would ask this of me, and then to do it with a loving heart?
When Josh’s affair came to light in the fall of 2008, I was utterly shocked. I had no idea, no warning, no clue that anything was going on. My dearest friend from college flew out to Michigan to be with me while I tried to make some very difficult decisions. Instead of being spiteful toward Josh and hating him with me (trust me, we did plenty of Josh-bashing), but she kept reminding me to let God guide my decision.
The first thing I realized that I never anticipated is that your spouse can have an affair, you can hate what they did more than anything, you can feel like they have broken your heart, but that doesn’t change that you’re still in love with him.
The second thing I realized was that Josh had done the one thing that the Bible says is a legitimate reason to get a divorce. Oh thank you, Jesus.
I called it my “Get out of jail free” card. I was allowed to leave him, take our children with me, and start my life over.
The biggest problem: God was not asking that of me. He was asking me to STAY.
I did not like that. Not one bit. No way God, it says so right here in your Word that I’m allowed to be done.
That still did not change the fact that my heavenly Father was asking me to continue my commitment to Josh, to my marriage, and to our family. I felt like He was asking me to do the impossible: forgive.
That didn’t mean allowing him to move right back into our home, our go right back to where we were before. I wrote up a very detailed list of the things that I needed him to change, really things that God needed to change in Josh, and then we could discuss the future.
We entered a mega amount of counseling. Any issue that we thought could be a root problem, we plowed through it. We talked and talked and talked.
We still talk. A lot. We still have issues. A lot.
But now we have an arsenal; the Holy Sprit who resides within each of us, giving us the grace and desire to do more, love more, try more, be more. Over the past 5 years, I have watched Josh become the father he always had the potential to be, but was just always too busy. I have come to realize that even though he is a quad, he is capable of handling many of the household duties, paying bills, watching kids so I can get away, supporting me, encouraging me to be the best mom, wife, Christian I can be. He has sent me away on numerous vacations with friends because he is unable to go and participate. But most importantly, he has put God at the center of our marriage. He pursues this daily. I watch him be the spiritual leader Christ called him to be and I am honored to be his wife; I am so proud of the man he has grown into.
Yes, my husband had an affair. Yes, we are still married. I love him more today than I did yesterday, more than I did 5 years ago, more than I did 13 years ago when we married.
I believe we have finally entered a healthy place of marriage, a safe place where the other can share their faults, their insecurities and know without a doubt we will still be loved and respected by the other.
More and more like Christ, less and less like the world.