“I want to get married,” he said.
Under different conditions, those words would have caused me to jump for joy with the excitement and anticipation of a bride-to-be. There was one small problem…. we were already married. The perplexed and befuddled look on my face accompanied my confused response.
“We are married.”
“No… I want to marry Jan.”
With those two short sentences, my world began to crumble. I was stunned into stillness. No immediate tears, no screaming, just shock. You see, he had been doing a medical residency working long hours, even 36-hour shifts. He came home and fell into bed each evening. I thought I was doing my part to help his career, supporting the family with my corporate job by day and taking care of our 6-month-old daughter in the evenings. I knew we weren’t spending much time together, but I chalked it up to the rigors of the medical profession. I believed it was for a season until he could get out of training and establish his own practice.
If you had asked me even the day before how I would react to this news, I would have told you that I would either have melted in a puddle of tears or grabbed the nearest chair and hit him with it. But I didn’t react that way at all. Yes, I had been betrayed. Yes, it hurt more than any pain I had experienced in 28 years of life. But in the midst of the hurt was love, the most difficult oxymoron to explain unless you’ve experienced it.
Our original short film, ‘Cheater‘ (based on 1 Corinthians 7:2) captures a raw conversation about the husband’s infidelity. It is possible to heal a marriage after the fallout of infidelity, but only through transparency, counseling, forgiveness, restoration and with God.
This was the man I pledged to live with for “better or worse” 7 years earlier. We had experienced life in 3 cities, the highs and lows of medical school, the desperation of longing for a child and losing one through miscarriage, the joy of our firstborn baby girl. We had traveled through New England, snow skied in Colorado, fished on the lake and laughed until dawn with good friends. We weren’t “that” couple that fought all the time.
Through the fog of the betrayal and love, the hurt and compassion, I sought help. And I found help. God in his kindness placed a wise counselor in my life who gently guided me to understand that I could not fix the marriage alone. I could only do my part to be the spouse I needed to be. He gave me friends who would call me at the end of the workday and tell me to come by their house to pick up dinner so that I wouldn’t have to cook. But most of all God gave me His presence. He was the only one that could comfort me when I awakened in the middle of the night after vivid dreams of my husband’s indiscretions. God is the only one who could quiet my soul from all the questions. “Why me?” “Am I not pretty enough?” “Did I do something wrong?” “If only…”
The journey was not an easy one; yet, there was hope. I could not do it alone. I needed the support of others and the Lord. Are you reaching out to others and seeking help? Don’t let this time isolate you from the ones who care the most about you. There is hope and healing if you seek it.
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