So, here's our story. It's about a marriage that took a wrong turn. We got married in 1980. We were both christians, Cheryl, since she was young, and me, for about a year. We both became involved with our church, going regularly, attending bible studies as well as studying and reading on our own, working with the youth group and helping lead the study group we were involved in. All was pretty good.
Instead of boring you with all the details...let's jump ahead. Eventually, we became a little lax. We dropped out of working with the youth, became sporadic in our attendance, and eventually stopped going all together. We stopped doing any kind of devotions at home, and dropped prayer and God out of our lives.
We really started living our own lives....both becoming self absorbed with our own interests, our own activities, and our own little worlds. We lived together more as friends than husband and wife. Not really having any animosity for each other. Just....disinterest.
This lead me to an affair. I had found someone I thought was more in line with what interested me. Little did I know that what interested me had nothing to do with who I really was. I mean....the REAL me. I was lost. I was searching.... searching. Searching without even knowing what I was looking for!
Of course, Cheryl suspected something was going on. She accused me of cheating on her, and I denied it. The entire time I was torn! Not knowing what direction to go, if I should stay or go, be with one or the other! My mind..my heart..was in turmoil. I was so unsure and undecided. I was a mess!
Eventually, it all came out. I was about to go away for the weekend and Cheryl again asked if I was seeing someone. This time, I admitted it. I told her how I didn't know what to do, or who I should be with. I was gonna take the weekend to decide if I should stay or go.
She was crushed! Destroyed! I ripped her heart out, and stepped all over it! And..she had to shoot a wedding the next day! (She's a professional photographer with her own business)
Well, I came home after that weekend, and thought I knew that it was time for me to move on. I told her I planned on being with the other girl. Man! Talk about crushing her and ripping her heart out! She was devastated!
While I was getting some things packed to leave, a friend called to check on Cheryl..knowing what we were going through, but not even knowing I was home. She told him what I was planning on doing, and that I was there packing some things. He asked to talk to me. I got on the phone, and he pleaded me to come and talk with him. He told me to stop and think. I refused, but he continued pleading, even coming to tears on the phone. I reluctantly agreed and went to his house. When I got there, I had to wait for him, as he was on the road, working, and I think he was down in Jersey, about an hour away. That's how bad he wanted to talk to me! He dropped everything and headed for home where I was waiting for him!
Well, we chatted. I told him my plan...which really wasn't much of a plan. He was asking me "What are you doing???" He reminded me of who I once was, of what we had been through together..(he worked with the youth group with me and was part of the bible study we used to attend). He knew me well. He was praying the whole time and was asking God's direction. Something (the Spirit of God) touched me and opened my eyes. I came to my senses and realized what I was about to do...what I'd done...how I crushed my wife...how I had let down my God!
I decided that I had to return to my Cheryl and beg her forgiveness and try to work things out. I called the other girl, and told her to come and meet me at my friend's house..that we had to talk. When she got there I told her my plan. I told her I couldn't do this. That I was going back to my wife...and back to God. Now..she was crushed.
I called Cheryl and told her I was coming home, not knowing what to expect. When I got there, she was standing on the porch. When I got out of my car, we ran to each other and fell into an embrace I'll never forget as long as I live!!! What a sense of joy! Love! Acceptance! And...shame, for what I'd done.
We decided to work this thing out. It wasn't easy. It wasn't immediate. It took time. It took work. We counseled. We prayed. We recommitted ourselves, and our marriage, to God. And the miracle began to happen. The love was restored to heights we had never dreamed possible!
That was nine years ago this year. Is our marriage perfect today? No. Is any? But, we're in a place now that God has brought us to in our relationship and I would literally give my right arm to keep her in my life! We are more important to each other than anything else this world has to offer! We know we are two different people and we may see things differently, think differently, have different opinions, but we will never, EVER let those differences tear us apart again! We'll deal with them.
People give up too easy. They think it's ok to just walk away from a relationship. Sometimes in your marriage you're gonna have 'stuff'. Sometimes you may want to walk away. But you have to realize that this IS going to happen. You WILL have differences. You WILL have 'stuff'. Don't bury it. Don't try and push it down. Deal with it. Do it together.
Now, there may be cases when you have to walk away. I don't know. I'm not a trained counselor. My wife and I do know what works. What worked for us. The way I look at it is, God designed marriage. How crazy is it to try and do it any other way than the way God prescribes it? Do we know better than Him? Just something to think about.
My next messge will be about how the christian recording artist, Matthew West, wrote a song about our story that is on his latest cd. It's called "Restored", and it's on the "Into The Light" cd.
..to be continued..