Tear soaked sheets surrounded me as I lay in the fetal position on our bed. He didn’t tell me, but I knew he’d gone to a divorce attorney. After 15 years of marriage, how did we get here? Betrayal was something I never envisioned happening in our marriage. Yet, just like an F5 tornado, here we were, in the throes of loss and devastation. There was no way we’d make it. There were too many mistakes, too many heartbreaks.
Eventually God restored our marriage, but it took several years. Several very hard and painful years.
God saved my marriage, and He can do the same for you. No matter what is going on in your marriage, God CAN intervene if you let Him. I don’t care what they say. Your marriage CAN be saved.
Restoration in marriage starts with repentance and forgiveness.
First, repentance is showing Godly (not selfish) sorrow with responsibility for the wrong. Then (sigh), forgiveness.
Our ultimate example of forgiveness is Jesus Christ. He was whipped. He was beaten. He was ripped and torn to shreds, literally. Yet He asked God to forgive his tormentors anyway.
“Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 NIV).
Can I be real with you for a minute? We can talk all day long about how Christ forgave and how we should forgive too. And WE CAN, because all things are possible with God.
But it doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Forgiveness is hard work. And sometimes it doesn’t matter how much we know about Jesus or the Bible, sometimes we just don’t want to forgive, because if we forgive, won’t justice be lost?
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV).
Let me encourage you. If you choose to do the hard thing, you will reap tremendously. Because forgiveness is a practice in loving yourself and trusting God with the justice.
I will tell you that you will be tempted to do the easy thing and hold on to the pain and remind them of the wrong. But if you can learn to genuinely forgive your spouse, you will experience a freedom you’ve never had and you’ll begin to love your spouse in a way you never thought possible.
Here are 6 powerful truths about forgiveness in marriage:
1. Forgiveness is a choice. Sometimes it’s a daily, ongoing decision. When you choose to forgive, you’re choosing to begin the journey of restoration. It means you’re willing to forgive and start working through the pain and hurt. When John came home that day after visiting the attorney, he knew divorce wasn’t what he wanted. He instead made the decision to forgive and it was the most important decision that he made.
2. Forgiveness takes time. It is not a single act. Forgiveness is a process. It takes time for the heart to fully process the decision to forgive and we must give ourselves the grace that healing requires. The old cliché rings so true here: take one day at a time.
3. Just because you forgive doesn’t mean you are a doormat. Strong people forgive. Weak people don’t. My husband forgave me, but it didn’t mean he wasn’t angry. Oh, he was angry alright. And I had to build that trust back. This was grueling at times and there were hard consequences.
4. Talk it out. Communicate. Ask and answer questions. When infidelity strikes a marriage the betrayed has questions that the betrayer would probably rather not answer or even talk about. I am in no way a counselor, I am just speaking from experience. In order for John to receive closure, he had questions that needed to be answered. Questions about my relationship with the other man. Questions I didn’t want to answer. This may have been one of the hardest aspects of restoration. I wanted to erase things from my mind. Those same things John needed answers for.
Honesty and grace was the key here, and openness was vital for survival.
5. Be vulnerable. Create safety in your marriage. You should be able to go to your spouse with ANYTHING. This creates a chance for your spouse to know who you really are and feel the privilege of seeing the wholeness that you are strong and weak. This breeds trust. Genuine trust like this in marriage changes everything.
6. Release the hurt. Release the pain and hurt into the hands of God. Authentic forgiveness takes place only when you give it to God. When we anchor our hearts in the hands of almighty God, it’s like a switch gets flipped. We can release the pain. Grace takes place and it shatters all bitterness.
Friend, I don’t know where you’re at in this process. Maybe you are on the verge of divorce due to betrayal, or maybe you’ve been holding onto a hurt for years. Can I just tell you to hang on? Will you please hang on? Fully surrender yourself to God. Cry out to him. He’s there. Even if you do not feel Him.
Will you agree in prayer with me right now?
Wife Step: “Father, I ask you to please touch my friend. I ask that you wrap your arms around them. Let them feel your presence. Let them feel your touch. I ask that peace that surpasses all understanding sweep over them. Intervene in this situation. Let healing be done. We agree together in your name and know that your will WILL be done. Amen.”
Shannon Geurin is a wife, mother, writer and speaker; but most of all she’s a fighter. She has learned what it takes to fight for her marriage and family. She is deeply passionate about empowering women to rise up through their circumstances and fight in order to find their greatest calling. Shannon loves serving an actively engaged “Fiercely His” community via her website www.shannongeurin.com. Her authentic, genuine style and courage to speak the truth is a breath of fresh air to her readers and is one of her greatest qualities. An Oklahoma girl at heart with the accent and “y’alls” to prove it, she currently resides in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. She graduated with a nursing degree from the University of Oklahoma, but spends her time sipping coffee, writing and doing what she loves most, taking care of her crazy family. Shannon has been married for more than 25 years to her husband John, and is Mom to two spirited daughters, Alex and Averee.