My Husband and I Aren’t the Only Ones Who Faced This, Right?

Permit me to give a few disclaimers: I share this story with my husband’s blessing. I share this information not because I necessarily want to. I assure you, this is not fun. I share our story because my husband and I know we aren’t the only ones who have endured this tragedy. We want to carry the hope we now have to readers who are in rough places in their marriages or who are simply having a really rough time away from home.

We were three years into our marriage and two years into what we came to know later as “unexplained infertility” when we found ourselves traveling to Thailand for rest and relaxation with our organization. Heartbroken by the baby that wasn’t coming, I was looking very forward to catching up with all my American friends and eating all the food I had been missing so desperately.

On the list: Starbucks, Mediterranean anything, and all the avocado I could manage to eat. Right before we left, however, I started having severe jaw trouble. It got so bad I had difficulty opening my mouth at all. The doctors advised me to “drink only smoothies and don’t talk.” So ironic. Eating and talking had been my ENTIRE vacation plan…

Things were hard but they were about to get exponentially worse. One afternoon my husband sat me down and confessed that he had been unfaithful to me. The thought of this being an actual event happening in my life was hard to wrap my head around. SURELY what he just said was not what he actually meant. I must have heard him wrong. Was he making it up? Playing a seriously jacked up joke? This couldn’t happen to us. We were the best of friends and we had a really happy marriage.

Seven years later, I can safely say we made it through the heartbreak of infidelity because God held us. He provided for all our needs by giving us His perspective and providing through His people.

God’s Perspective

My husband wasn’t caught and I would never have known he was unfaithful if he had not confessed. He was very clearly heartbroken over his actions and told me as soon he could. He knew he needed to tell me because God says we need to confess things to one another. In the following weeks and months my husband gave me full permission to tell who I needed to tell and get help from wherever I wanted.

He put plans in place to avoid being in that same situation again and let me talk to him about my feelings regarding the situation as much as I needed. I really needed to process everything. He was the one who had broken my heart but he was also my best friend. And I really needed my best friend during that time.   My response was miraculous (and had nothing to do with me). I struggle with anger and fear. But when he confessed to me, I didn’t get angry.

The thing I remember thinking was that I had been forgiven SO much by God. I had also been forgiven so many times by my husband. He is a kind and steady man who graciously deals with my issues on a daily basis. I remember telling my husband that even taking into account the infidelity, I still think he drew the short end of the marriage stick. Being able to think that way and say those things was God’s perspective at work.

God’s People

The people of my company surrounded both my husband and I with amazing love and resources. We were given guidance and choices. God used His people to provide exactly what we needed to begin the long healing process.

I can honestly say that because of the help we sought from God’s people and the perspective He graciously gave each of us, we enjoy a remarkably strong marriage today. Before this happened I would have thought something like this would have ended our marriage. There was heartbreak and lots of tears but I can truthfully say I trust my husband. I don’t worry that he’s making bad choices and I don’t monitor his activities. His actions weakened our marriage for a time but I am well aware that my selfishness and snarky comments also weaken our marriage and those things happen almost daily; his thing happened once.

I’m not minimizing infidelity. What I aim to do here is maximize God’s ability to work everything out for our good if we love Him (Romans 8:28). If you find yourself in a similar spot or are experiencing a crisis of another variety I would heartily encourage you to seek out community with other believers and pray diligently for God’s perspective on the situation. He who called you is faithful. You are held.

Are you in need of God’s perspective on something? Where do you need to lean into community right now?

Photo Credit : Unsplash

18 Comments

  1. M'Lynn March 1, 2015

    Emily, Thank you for sharing. I’m headed out to do my grocery stock-up and there’s lots to do today, but I didn’t want to read this without commenting. I’m blessed by your transparency and heart to help others. I hope and pray many are blessed by reading this today.

    1. Emily Thomas March 2, 2015

      Thank you for taking a moment to reply.  I appreciate you. 🙂  Happy grocery shopping!  I remember that being an all day affair when I was overseas!

  2. Erica D. March 2, 2015

    Emily, thanks so much for being vulnerable and sharing your heart. I was encouraged to read how the Father gave you grace to respond in love and am confident that He will use your story and your honesty to impact many.

    1. Emily Thomas March 2, 2015

      Hey Erica! He definitely provided the grace.  It was a straight up miracle. I’m have never been accused of being gracious on my own!  I’ve been accused of lots of other things but not that.  😉

  3. Catherine March 2, 2015

    Recently I’ve been reflecting on the fact that most marriage advice is given by people who have have wonderful marriages and are both so nice and selfless and relational that people married to less perfect people (or downright bad – there seem to be a lot of bad husbands where I live) are left saying, “if I were married to them, it wouldn’t be so hard to have a great marriage too”. Brave people like you are a huge blessing and encouragement as to what it takes to build a good marriage between two flawed but forgiven people. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Emily Thomas March 2, 2015

      Yes, Catherine- it can seem sometimes like our personal situations are so much messier than the ones we see presented to us.  I think prayer is ridiculously more powerful than we realize and that’s where we need to start when our spouses (or ourselves) are not being great.  Thank you for reading.

  4. Danielle Wheeler March 2, 2015

    Emily, this was such a brave, brave post.  Thank you for gifting us with your tender story.  Thank you for the encouragement and hope it brings, for the reminder of truth and the power of grace.  I have always loved the two of you and the joy that is so evident in your marriage.

    I have a hunch that this story will bless and touch many lives that you will never know about (at least not this side of heaven).

    1. Emily Thomas March 2, 2015

      Thanks, Danielle.  I am SO thankful for the countless hours you’ve put into this vision of a place where things like this can be shared.

  5. Elisa Groth March 2, 2015

    Emily, thank you so much for being bravely vulnerable and completely honest with us!  I wish more of us would share the hard things of our lives with others so that we don’t fall for the lies of how we “should be” especially in comparisons with one another.  This post was so honorably written.  Please thank you husband for all of us too!  I have recently found that it is in sharing the deepest and darkest of my struggles with others that the Body really gets to lean in on each other.  One open and honest confession or sharing can spark a revival in a small group or team!  I only hope that when and if He calls me to share that I will be as obedient and graceful as you were.

    1. Emily Thomas March 2, 2015

      Transparency is refreshing to the soul, right?! Before this happened, I was sure that something like this would end my marriage without a doubt.  I only hope our story will let other people know that there are still options and LOTS of room for hope even when your worst fears come true.

  6. Elisa Groth March 2, 2015

    I am in need of keeping my heart focused and trusting in him and His perspective on my return to China and where He will place me.  It’s hard to not be able to go back to my “home”.  But I have to lean into Him and the truth that His ways are higher than mine and His thoughts higher than my thoughts!  He knows everything! I CAN Trust Him!

    1. T March 2, 2015

      Elisa, I pray that you will get, just as a fun bonus for working on trusting, an encouraging look at some of the reasons He has for your move…I’m sure He has some great things waiting for you there, and a purpose.  I hope there are delightful surprises for you later that will make it all click into place.

  7. Amy Young March 2, 2015

    Emily, I echo what others have said here and in the quiet corners of their souls. Yes, to a bigger story than the chapter I’m mired in now!. As Elisa said, thanks to that best friend of yours for sharing to. It makes me respect him all the more. Love to both. Amy

  8. Lindsy Wallace March 3, 2015

    No you aren’t. When I read this week’s theme, a similar crisis entered my mind but I immediately pushed it out with the thought that I could never share that. Thank you so much for sharing!

     

    1. Emily Thomas March 11, 2015

      You are so welcome!  I am a chronic over-sharer!  🙂

  9. Kim Atkinson March 11, 2015

    Thank you for sharing! We have a very similar story and just know that in that moment (or moments….would be better) of darkness there are others who have walked this trail filled with much forgiveness and grace. Some days I feel we may never be whole and others I am filled with the overwhelming sense of great purpose and healing!

    1. Emily Thomas March 11, 2015

      Thank you for taking a moment to let me know we are not alone!  I appreciate your words.  I checked out your blog and it is so warm and friendly!  I am sure you encourage a lot of people!

  10. Michele December 8, 2015

    I love your willingness and courage to share. I love how brave you were to learn to love through the trials. It is so much easier to give up when things get hard and your story definitely gives courage to those of us who are considering it. Thank you!

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