Just as James predicted, my desire gave birth to sin, and in months I was caught up in an emotional affair. What started as fantasy led to longer talks, phone calls, a walk on the beach. I knew I couldn’t be unfaithful to my husband. Didn’t want a divorce. But my heart had turned completely from him. I was miserable in my marriage and yearning for another man. I felt the destructive effects of sin in my life. I couldn’t eat or sleep and anxiety overwhelmed me as I harbored my horrible secret sin I couldn’t seem to escape.
And then it all came out. The morning that I knew I had to confess my sin to my husband was the most terrifying morning of my life. I knelt on the floor of my bathroom and begged God for mercy. I knew the consequences would be horrible. Would he divorce me? Surely he would never come to God now that I’d betrayed him.
He was devastated, but I was amazed that his love for me ran deeper than I realized. Though heart-broken, he wanted things to work. Wanted that badly enough to agree to attend a Bible study on marriage.
After our first class, we attempted to do the homework, which involved reading Bible verses. As I read, Bill frowned and shook his head. Having never read the Bible, it made no sense to him. “Maybe you can just tell me the basic story of the Bible,” he said. “Ya know, like who the main players are?”
So I sent him off to work with a little Billy Graham booklet. When he came home, he said, “Well, I read Billy’s booklet and I said that prayer in the back.”
“You what?” Surely I’d misunderstood. “You want to be a Christian?”
“Things haven’t been working so well with me in charge,” he said. “I think maybe it’s time to let the Big Guy take over.”
I’ve got to tell you that I didn’t believe it. I didn’t think he had any idea what he was saying. Or perhaps it was something he was doing to make me happy. But I was wrong. It was real. Four years later, here we are—marriage restored, praying at meals, and going to a new church we both love where we take communion together. I cry every time we drink those little cups of grape juice together, amazed at God’s mercy and grace. Amazed that he saved me from the slimy pit I’d fallen into. And amazed that he saved Bill. Not because of, but in spite of, me.
The road to healing is a long one. Though God has worked in our lives, we will never forget how our marriage almost crumbled. I would like to say to those still in that position of being married to an unbeliever: Love your husband just the way he is—unconditionally the way God loves us. Don’t judge him if you can help it—he is still suffering from the same disease you once had (sin). You’ve only been fortunate to find the cure. Follow the advice of Hebrews 13:5, “Be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.’” It’s true that there is a void in your marriage. A spiritual void. And it’s hard. But Jesus can fill up that void. I can tell you that once he’s saved, there will still be voids. No person can fill us up, meeting all our needs. Only Jesus can. Don’t say, “If only.” Set your eyes on God, love your husband, and don’t give up. Miracles happen.