Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A marriage restored (Our story, part 3)

This is the third part of our story of a marriage that was ripped apart by sin and restored by God's mighty hand (you can read part 1 here and part 2 here).

When Scott came back home, instead of things getting easier they got harder. We both felt like we were doing the tremendous work of digging ourselves out of a great hole. He came home with a deep desire to work things out, but as the days wore on and he still shared a work environment with her, he began to doubt. Thankfully (and strategically ordained by God, I am certain), he continued to meet weekly with the friend of ours who he met with the day he came back home. Those regular meetings were like a boost of strength and conviction for Scott every time he went. I began the difficult work of facing what had happened, and was trying to find my way to the top of the deep deep hurt that I had experienced. We both continued to see our marriage counselor, but this time it was different. The counselor knew what had happened, since while we were separated I continued to go to him by myself, and when we went we were able to start moving forward from the very beginning. We read a lot of books together and separately (I would be happy to share titles if anyone is interested), we talked A LOT about what we had gone through even prior to the affair, we decided on some things we were going to do differently, and, most importantly, we spent a lot of time beseeching God on behalf of ourselves and our marriage.

One of the things that our counselor told Scott in one of the early sessions after we got back together was that he was going to have to realize that I was going to need to talk through what happened. I was going to need to talk, to cry, to say mean things about the other woman if I felt like it (without him defending her), to be affirmed by him, and to process through what happened, over and over and over again. I am so thankful that he told Scott this, because that is exactly what I needed. And through it all, Scott remained patient with me, he answered questions for me (sometimes very difficult questions), he was honest with me (even when the honesty hurt me), and he didn't try to deny anything that happened. I have heard of several situations where a couple was trying to work their way through the hurt of an affair and the person who had the affair was very intolerant of talking about what happened and just expected their spouse to get over what happened as soon as possible. I am SO thankful that Scott was not that way. I think the reason why he was able to do this, aside from our counselor warning him that it would be coming, was because he could see in me a change from the woman I once was. I treated him differently, with respect and dignity, no matter how I was feeling. I could also see a change in him. As God worked in his heart, I could see a different man emerge. The man he was becoming was one of dignity, of honor, of a genuine desire to know and love God. We both, in our own ways, had spent some time in the refining fires of God. Those fires were very hot and painful, but they had done (and continue to do) the necessary job of refining us both.

The journey to recovery we were on was not a short one. It was, however, one that had the very hand of God on it every step of the way. Instead of being a constant upward line of healing, the recovery line after an affair looks more like a roller coaster, with ups and downs. We would have good days and we would have bad days. Sometimes our day would start out good, turn bad in the middle, then end up good. Satan was not happy that our marriage had overcome the destruction he had planned for it, and he did not give up easily. Thankfully, God continued to carry and lead us through, even in the times that we didn't even have the strength to lift up our eyes to Him. I struggled with forgiveness, with pain that hurt to the very core of my being, with trusting him again, and at times with even being unsure that I had the strength or desire to continue on in our journey. He struggled with guilt, with rebuilding a character that he had destroyed with his choices, and with regaining my trust. Beyond the first couple of really tough weeks, his loyalty and desire for me and our family has never waivered. God opened Scott's eyes to what he almost lost, and he has never looked back. I struggled through, and it it has been very helpful for me to have his strong arms to depend on during the times when all I could do was cry.

Our healing process has been just that, a process. One of the things that our marriage counselor said to us early on was that our experience was like a deep deep wound. When tending to a deep deep wound, you can't just put a Band-Aid over it or it will get infected. You have to get in there and clean it out, as deep down as the cut goes. Then you will have to wait for the pain to stop, and for healing to occur. Finally, two full years later, I can say that we are there. Two years may seem like a long time to someone who is just going through what we went through, but at the time I felt like the pain would NEVER stop, that I would NEVER forgive, that we would NEVER make it out of the hole. The memories will never leave us, and the affair is something that will always be a part of our past. But, the pain stays away (for the most part), and through our experience God has made a ministry for us. We are both passionate about marriage, and we are always telling couples to take care of each other. We would encourage a couple that the best thing they can do for their spouse is to have a great relationship with God, and the best thing they can do for their children if they have them is to have a great marriage with each other. Divorce is never easy, never clean, and it never happens without the children and spouses being destroyed. I don't care what anyone may tell you about their own supposed happiness post-divorce, it never ever works out well. That is a lie straight from Satan himself. Because he wants to destroy you.

I can honestly say that our marriage now is better and more fulfilling than it ever was before the affair. I have seen Christ, have experienced His wonderful, grace-filled hands around me. I will never go back. He has opened my eyes to see my husband for who he was created to be: my husband, not the sole source of my happiness. God has opened Scott's eyes to see the role of leader that God created him to be. These are things that we both struggled with before. Although it was the most painful thing Scott and I have ever experienced, we would both say that we can look back on it and be happy that it happened. If not for the affair, our marriage would possibly still be the train wreck that it was. That is a tricky thing to say, because I don't ever want to come across as saying that I think someone should have an affair to make their marriage better. You do have the choice to make your marriage better before it ever leads to something like a divorce or affair. Trust me, do the hard work of cultivating a healthy marriage. It does take work, and it will take work every single day, but it is so much easier than dealing with the aftermath of a divorce or affair.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord. He can do all things! I'm so happy for you and Scott.

Megan Elzey said...

Thank you, Anonymous :) You are right, God can absolutely do ALL things. We have to have faith and believe He can.

Beth said...

I love this story of God's redemption, Megan. You're pouring out your heart to us in a very vulnerable and real way and I so appreciate it! I will pray that your story, volume for volume, will deeply impact and minister to those who have walked this painful road in marriage.

By the way, have you thought about doing some or one of the blog hops? You'd probably get a lot more traffic even though it's rather time consuming. Just a thought. :)

Megan Elzey said...

Hey Beth :) Thank you for your kind words. That others would be ministered to or helped in some way by our story is one of my deepest desires, as you know.
I am curious about the blog hops. I will email you.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Megan and Scott. I am so happy your family is whole and thriving.
Love, Moriah

Megan Elzey said...

Thank you, Moriah :) Hopefully we will see you soon!

Anonymous said...

I just happened to find your site the other day - can't remember how. But your story is such a blessing to hear! Not that the affair happened, but that you grew through that experience and came through with forgiveness and a stronger marriage because of GOD. I admire your courage in sharing the tough stuff.

Megan Elzey said...

Thank you SO much for your encouraging words, Anonymous. It really blesses my heart to hear that you have been blessed by our story. Truly, that is why I write!

Anonymous said...

Megan
I admire your courage, during the trial of the affair and reconciliation as well as in telling your story. And Scott for his decision to come home and face the pain that he left behind.

I cannot tell you how many times that I have wished that I had been strong enough in faith and in character to persevere through the darkest times of our marriage. But, as you know, I allowed Satan to discourage me and I gave up. And nearly missed out on God's blessings and His restoring grace. I am so thankful that He has given Kevin and I another chance.

A wise man of faith at my church once shared with us a lesson that he has learned, "God did not design marriage to make us happy but to make us holy." But when we allow God to work in our lives and our relationships as we should, the happiness does follow.
Tina

Megan Elzey said...

Thank you, Tina, for your beautiful comment. That quote is spot on. God did not design marriage to make us happy, though most of us go into marriage thinking that. The true purpose is to act as a sharpener, as metal sharpens metal. We are to make each other better by serving each other in the way God created us to.

I am glad that God has brought you and Kevin together again, as well, and my prayer is that He will bless you as you go forward walking with Him and in His plan for you.

NatureMama said...

My dear friend, you are such an inspiration, as was His plan. I know what your prayers have been for the last 2 years. I still pray for you both daily. It has been a blessing to see what He can do. Your life journey has taught me so much, and brought me a closer relationship to a God whom I will never doubt again. I love you and your entire family, and am so, so blessed to know you.

Hands to Work, Hearts to God said...

Hi Megan, you are very brave telling your story, but I am sure you will be able to help many couples. There is a purpose to your pain. God bless you and your family! Patsy from
HeARTworks

A Wife's Heart said...

Megan thank you for being transparent. Your testimony is going to give others a great deal of hope when they feel all is lost. God is a restorer and your story is living proof. Thanks for sharing! Would love to have you as a Featured Couple over at A Wife's Heart.
Aretha
www.awifesheart.com

Unknown said...

God forgives us every single day in so many ways, and when something like this happens in a marriage he gives us the option to forgive. You are a strong person to show that much forgiveness. I admire your strength.

Megan Elzey said...

Thank you! Your kind words really encourage me :)

Misty Leask said...

What a great testimony to others with struggling marriages! I'm so glad that you stopped by Warrior Wives today. I don't go into as much detail on my post, but we have very similar stories. Blessings friend!

Melissa B. said...

Wow - I just read your whole story and I have to say that you were so very, very brave to share but what a testament your story is to the concept of God's great love, mercy, and forgiveness and to healing a broken marriage.

Megan Elzey said...

Misty and Melissa, thank you for your kind words :) I really appreciate the encouragement that the story of my marriage brings hope to others :)

Anonymous said...

Megan I am thankful to find your story. God can do all things new. I am happy for you Scott and your babies. No one will ever know the pain until they actually go through it. which I do not wish that to anyone... I myself am standing for GODS promise, My marriage restoration. I am going to 2 years to be exact, and I have a 17mnth baby girl waiting to be raised with the family that GOD PROMISED her. Your story has lift me up. I pray to GOD for my Husband Enrique to soften his heart, and I pray for the other woman for her to find good people in her life that will show her GODS miracles and GODS promises,that she can find true happiness with some one else who does not have a responsibility, and who knows GOD I pray to GOD for him to touch her heart. I thank you so much for sharing this with so many of us. GOD BLESS YOU and your Family -msandraavila1@yahoo.com

Russell Dill said...

Acceptance is the key to understanding. You have to admit first that there is something wrong, then that’s the only time you’ll be able to find solution. I’m happy to hear that you two are back together. This is just a challenge, something with a purpose of making your marriage grow stronger.

divaj said...

I ask that you pray for my husband and I daily as we are going through this same issue. He had an emotional affair six months into our marriage that led to a physical affair. Yesterday I saw the other person and all the hurt flooded back. Pray that God will give me the strength, grace and courage to forgive my husband. WE are separated and I am at my mom for about six months now. I crave your prayers please

Anonymous said...

I just read all three parts of the story. My husband just admitted to me an affair 2 days ago. I am broken and shattered in every way possible. I am also hopeful that my God is bigger than anything evil that has been planted in his heart. I am praying for redemption and wholeness for my marriage too. Your story encourages me. Thank you! Sandra

brandi speight said...

Megan,

I read your story and I pray I can have a similar testimony. My husband and I are separated and he has cut off all contact. We have small children that are affected and its heartbreaking. I sat in my car the other night just crying out to God seeking His will at this crossroad in my life. My radio played 3 songs in a row...while I wait...a song about not understanding pain but knowing He is God and then Restore by Chris August. I feel as though that was God's answers to my crying out. I now seek to fulfill His will in my life and I find your story to be encouraging. I have faith that God is working in my marriage and all will be restored.

Anonymous said...

I love your story so much . The world is a cruel place sometimes. But you Two never gave up . You are my inspiration. Give me hope in these dark times.

Richard Shane Reinert said...

Wonderful testimony. I have been standing for my marriage pretty much the entire time which is almost 2 years. My wife got pregnant and lost the baby after being told she could never get pregnant. She left for 3 months last year and so far 4 months this year. I'm still standing and praying