We were four years into our marriage and I was not happy. Marriage was hard and the challenges we were confronted with chipped away at my faith for our future. I didn’t want my husband anymore…I wanted someone new, someone who would fulfill my desires, someone perfect.
I wrote on this issue before in an article titled, “How My Husband Found Out About My Secret Affair.” You can click the title to read it. I never physically cheated on my husband, but I explain in the article how I emotionally and mentally sinned against my husband by lusting after another man.
I felt justified. My marriage was failing and I convinced myself the butterflies I got when I daydreamed about being with someone else meant that my husband and I were over.
I began entertaining thoughts such as:
“We must not be compatible”
“I don’t even like my husband”
“I feel like we are just roommates”
“Wouldn’t God want both of us to just be happy?”
With each one of these thoughts I invited to stay in my heart, my love grew cold. And my actions began to reflect my pursuit of selfish ambition to fulfill my own happiness.
Shame quickly crept into my heart, but I pushed it away. In fact, I began to push everything away that threatened my happiness, including my relationship with God and my husband.
In my sin, I foolishly reasoned that it would be better if our divorce was not my fault. With my love growing cold it was easy for me to be mean towards my husband. My goal was to get him to want the divorce. It would be all his fault. Sin is twisted and manipulative like that.
My plan backfired.
If you read the article mentioned above you will know that I felt the Holy Spirit convict me to come clean with my husband. The part that I didn’t expand on, is that the conviction came shortly after my husband called me out on my cold hearted behavior. I could have sloughed it off like usual and continue being my mean, unloving self…or…I could tell him what is on my heart in an honest way.
I had a very hard choice to make.
The words rose to my mouth, unsure of the hurt I would cause my husband. Perhaps part of me thought it would wound him and keep my plan rolling.
I told my husband how I had been lusting after a life without him. As the words came forth so did ugly guilt. I was a complete mess. There was no way my husband wasn’t angry, but his response had a monumental effect on me. He took a deep breath, held back his emotion with dignity, and said,
I forgive you. I am not going to give up on us and I hope you won’t either.
In that moment of transparency, embarrassment, and shame, I experienced the amazing gift of grace; an offering my husband was only able to extend to me because of the beautiful gift of grace he received from God.
I knew the weight of my sin against my husband. I knew the direction I was heading would cause great division and ultimately divorce. So when he forgave me, my heart jerked inside my chest. I was astonished that he would do something like that for me. He really did love me.
I had another choice to make. I could embrace the grace my husband extended, repent, and be forever changed, or I could keep the walls of my heart up, withhold myself from experiencing reconciliation, and trudge selfishly into isolation. In that moment I decided my marriage was worth hanging onto, I opened my arms and received grace, hugging my husband, crying over the sin I was guilty of, and told him I wouldn’t give up on us.
Grace is a beautiful gift – one that we can only truly appreciate and understand when we embrace it. When we receive grace then we are able to pass the gift along to others who are in need. Take some time to unwrap the gift of grace God has given to you through Jesus Christ. You are forgiven. Let this sink into your soul. Let it transform you.
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. – Hebrews 12:15
~ Prayer ~
I pray for the woman reading this right now. I pray she would understand just how beautiful Your gift of grace is. I pray she can embrace grace and receive forgiveness. I also pray over her marriage. If her husband has offered her grace, help her to receive that as well. I pray that as this woman embraces grace from You and from others, she would also be able to extend grace, especially in marriage in Jesus’ name AMEN!
~ Challenge: Embracing Grace ~
Before you can extend grace to others, you should start with the preparation of a pure and tender heart. Pray asking God for wisdom and guidance in this area. Think of how God’s grace has impacted your life, and acknowledge the areas where you have been forgiven.
~ Virtual Marriage Retreat ~
Don’t miss my team members’ posts on embracing grace in marriage. You can find them here:
Darlene Schacht TimeWarpWife.com
Courtney Joseph WomenLivingWell.org
Sheila Gregoire ToLoveHonorAndVacuum.com
Lisa Jacobson Club31Women.com
Ashleigh Slater AshleighSlater.com
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5