“We have to talk,” my husband said as he opened the car door for me to get in.
He had no red roses or sweet chocolates for me. Instead, I tasted the bitterness of infidelity in that car ride.
Our marriage had been happy, strong and filled with exciting plans. But like shattering glass on concrete, his unexpected announcement crushed me. “I’m not happy and…” he took a long breath. “I have someone else in my life.”
Nausea attacked my stomach. This had to be a joke, a temporary thing for him. There was no way this could mean the end of our eight years of happiness. My security and sense of fulfillment as his wife were about to be yanked from me.
Yet, his announcement was firm. All seemed to be ending so abruptly, so painfully. And even worse, that nightmare was compounded by the physical blindness that barged into my life only months prior.
How can this be happening to me? To our three small sons? Why is God punishing me this way?
Those questions vanished in the air of pain. At 30 years of age, neither my husband nor I had been prepared to face my loss of sight. The hereditary retinal disease moved slowly at first, then with rapid advances until it left me completely blind. With no cure, the prognosis sentenced me to a lifetime of physical darkness.
That darkness extended into our relationship. My attempts to care for our sons and deal with my lack of sight robbed the desire to offer affection or warmth to him.
Of course he found solace in someone else. Of course he didn’t want to be married to a blind woman. And certainly I was unworthy of his love.
These lies taunted me at night and drained me during the day.
I dragged my feet through the house. And feeling my way with my fingertips, I did my best to prepare lunches for our sons, pick up toys from the floor and wash dishes. But inside me lived a gloomy sense of hopelessness. The rejection from my husband and the devastation of my blindness threatened to destroy me.
But one day, when about to give up, a beautiful thing happened. I accepted a friend’s offer to visit her Christian church. Hope filled me. If should I regain my sight my husband would come back to me. He would love me again. And life would go on as before.
But that didn’t happen. My sight never changed. But my heart did.
I received Christ as my Lord. And I made Him lord of my blindness, of my marriage, of my mothering and of my destiny.
And He responded with his Words that whispered to my soul. With headset on, while sweeping the kitchen floor and folding laundry, I heard the Bible on audio. Day after day, I soaked in His promises and His reassurance that He would be with me, near me. Close enough to hear my sobs and dab my tears.
Weeks passed by. And the emotional distance between my husband and me grew quickly. But what also grew was my understanding of who God is. What He provides. What He offers and what He instructs.
All saturated my soul. And I changed. I wasn’t that pitiful, discarded gal I was before. I was the daughter of the King, loved, strengthened, and empowered by His grace.
I sipped tea at the kitchen counter one evening and my husband walked in. “We need to talk,” I said, “I didn’t force you to marry me and I won’t force you to stay with me either. You’re free to go.” I said in a calm voice that surprised even me. “I have someone else in my life too,” I continued, “His name is Jesus.”
He was silent. But days later, he gave me his decision. “I decided to leave everything behind and be totally devoted to you and our sons.”
My reaction reflected the new person I had become—secure in Christ. “Not yet,” I said. “You and I will never make it together. We need Jesus in our marriage. And we need to pray together.” He agreed.
Praying together was awkward, but we persevered. We drew closer. He became my best friend. We fell in love all over again. Forgiveness filled my heart and renewed commitment filled his.
We embraced our new life. Reassigned tasks, and adjusted to a different way of parenting.
The adjustments became routine. Even the hardships that followed years later made us stronger. And that strength was mentioned as he read the card he handed me for our 40th anniversary celebration. I grin with gratitude for a man, wonderfully restored by God.
That restoration was not unique to our marriage. Whether your spouse stays or leaves, you’ll find triumph when you silence these five lies of the enemy:
Lie #1: Our spouse makes us whole, brings security, provision, or fulfills our every desire. Wrong. That role belongs to God and God alone. He says he fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 145:19-20 and 37:4)
When we exchange bitterness for a sense of delight in God, the veil of confusion lifts and reveals a new horizon.
Lie #2: In the midst of heartache, we must try to figure out what happened, how and what to do. But this misconception results in anger, leading us down the crooked path of destruction. Instead, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Rather than try to understand our spouse’s behavior, we rely on God’s power to right the wrong and heal the pain.
Lie #3: We can give up when no change is in sight, no hope seems to appear, and we declare we’re too weak to go on. But we discard this notion when we cling on to this truth: “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:8)
When we’re weak, His strength is enough.
Lie #4: Resort to action with slander, vengeance, or manipulation. And pulling out these weapons, we hope to win the emotional battle. But God says: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
In the stillness of His presence His path is revealed. In the quiet of the moment, His comfort soothes the soul.
Lie #5: We cannot forgive such violation of our trust. We cannot overcome the searing betrayal. That’s true, we cannot on our own. But Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
With God’s help, forgiveness sets us free from the prison of suspicion. And releases us from the cage of resentment.
Free from the trap of these lies, we can receive the red roses of God’s love. They carry the fragrance of His truth and we can savor the sweetness of a new tomorrow.
Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker and author of four books. Her best-selling release, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta invites you to experience the simplicity of finding joy even in the midst of hardship, With engaging stories, Simply Salsa gives practical steps to overcome heartache and celebrate life once again.
Publication date: February 5, 2016