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I don’t know where to start in the telling of the story churning in my heart.

It’s been four years since my marriage fell into pieces. It’s been four years since God put it back together. It’s different.

It’s better.

Four years ago, my husband confessed his private battle to me. He lay his struggle at my feet in tears and pleaded my forgiveness.

Although most of our story will remain private, the core struggle was lust. And he is not alone in his temptation: a very large percentage of men, both Christian and non, battle the same demons.

The world considers his struggle not only normal, (as did a couple of the mentors he confided in who even downplayed it with, “Oh, all men do that. All men think that. All men lust.”) but our world even encourages men to lust after women.

With the barrage of immoral media, easily accessible lewd images on the Internet, even the magazines delivered to our front doors, temptation for men to lust, to sin, is everywhere.

My hubby is a good man. I can look back on that day and the heart-breaking, eye-opening months that followed and truly admit that I’ve never loved him more. Walls were shattered and we moved into an intimacy I’d never known before. Because watching your soul mate overcome is beautiful.

But this story isn’t about him. Freedom is a part of his story.

Forgiveness is a part of mine.

Even after eleven years of marriage and two children, I was very naive. From the first day of marriage counseling after we told our tale through tears, I was deemed by the therapist “beautifully innocent.

I was embarrassed, even apologetic for not knowing all the terrible things of the world and for believing my hubby was above them. But after a lot of encouragement, I realized this is exactly how I hope my children grow up, “beautifully innocent.”

So, maybe you can imagine just how heartbroken I felt with my hubby’s confession. (I did learn from our counselor who specialized in these issues that my hubby was only scratching the surface of this deviated world. He didn’t downplay my sorrow, he praised my hubby’s restraint. After all, when you struggle, you are fighting against an opponent).

But I still felt betrayed and devastated. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t stop crying and I blamed myself. If only I was more….. I should have…..

There are a hundred details that don’t need to be told and a million tears shed in disappointment. But it all came down to one choice for me.  Would I forgive? Could I forgive? Could I stand beside my broken man?

On the day of my hubby’s confession, I forgave him. I didn’t do it because I’m some incredible saint. I didn’t forgive because I was trying to save my marriage, I forgave because I’ve been forgiven.

My struggles are impatience and pride. I have a temper and many other weaknesses. They just don’t bare the label of my hubby’s.

I don’t know what lies beneath the surface of your marriage. I certainly didn’t know the walls of mine were cracked. I thought I knew intimacy; I didn’t until our souls were laid bare and broken. I don’t know if you have a choice to make or if you think your marriage is beyond repair, I only know that forgiveness is a part of the healing.

Four years later, our third child was conceived through our sorrow and bears Grace in her name because that’s what saved us.

I get emails every week from women who admire my love for my hubby and comment on his kindness towards me. We are a miracle.

And it started with forgiveness.

The Welches

My word to you today: Fight for your marriage. Pray constantly for your husband. Since writing this post, I have had TWO women, friends in my real life share in secret that their husbands are involved in an extramarital affair. Satan is real and he wants to destroy your husband. He does this because he knows this is the best way to make families crumble. Arm yourself against his attacks. Stand firm in Christ. Fight.

by Kristen

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  1. 1

    This is one of the hardest things to forgive, to really let go, to even grasp in the first place when you are “beautifully innocent.” I am amazed that your husband shared his heart with you, at God’s restoration, at your willingness to let Him “straighten the crooked paths.” Thank you for sharing.

  2. 2

    Thanks for sharing your heart with us, Kristen. I love real and vulnerable posts such as these…they encourage us all.

  3. 3
    Michelle says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It is a reminder that I need to pray for my husband more. We just celebrated our 3 year anniversary yesterday and if we’re going to make to 30, 40, 50 then I really need to pray more for my husband to be protected from the evil one.

  4. 4

    Thank you for sharing something that is painful and private. All marriages take work, have struggles and cracks. I agree that Satan likes to attack marriage, because marriage is ordained by God. But it is definitely worth fighting for. Congrats on your 15th, my husband and I celebrated ours this summer. Many, many more to both of you!

  5. 5

    Before I had even met the man who is now my husband, I went with a friend to her church one Sunday and opened my mind to what her preacher was saying. He was talking about his new marriage and how before they exchanged their vows, they made a list of their “deal breakers”.
    A list of events or things that would lead to a divorce.
    I truly thought that was a great idea. That day I started making my list.
    When I met the man I have now married, I talked to him about that ‘sermon’ and WE created a deal breaker list.
    About six months into our first year, I started reading a Christian Fiction series by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley (I hope I spelled those correctly!) and in one of the books a wife forgave her husband of his affair and wanted to stand by him because, basically, she didn’t believe in deal breakers.
    I started to cry. To think I was ready to leave my husband, and create a list of ways “out” before we even exchanged our vows? God started to pick up my pieces and remind me that He doesn’t have a list of deal breakers for His way out of my life. He loves me unconditionally.
    I rarely, and I mean RARELY comment on blogs I read, but hearing a NON Fiction version of that story warms my heart.
    We do not have “deal breakers” anymore, and are about to celebrate our first year in a few days! Thank you for sharing your story. I will be praying for our marriage.

  6. 6

    After 29 years of marriage we have come to realize that only by God’s grace have we made it this far. So much we’ve been through, so much we’ve overcome. Thanks for sharing your story even though it must have been difficult to do.

  7. 7

    Life is hard. Really, really hard. Forgiveness is hard, vulnerability is hard, confession is hard. God can do such great things in our brokenness. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart and the work the Lord did in the midst of your pain. It’s INcouraging…

  8. 8

    Great post! Thankfully at he beginning of our marriage our church started a program called “Iron Man” for men and the first thing they dealt with is lust, etc. etc. Anyways it has been literally YEARS that we have had a pure marriage. I wish more churches would tackle this subject and good for you for doing the same.

  9. 9

    Such a beautiful story. Our marriage went through a crisis last year so I can relate to your feelings so well. We fought for our marriage and God has restored it ten fold and healed my wounded heart while giving me the grace to forgive! Thank you for sharing this awesome testimony!

  10. 10
    tia bennett says:

    I have been ther and could feel your pain through thte story. The hurt, the betrayal was overwhelming. God was my rock and constant and I clung to that. We fought hard for our marriage and it has been a long journey, but one I am thankful took place. We are in a much better place, and I thank God for His Grace and Mercy everyday.
    Thanks for being so open and hopefully many women will benefit from this.
    Praising God in His promises kept!
    tia

  11. 11

    i just wanted to add that it’s not only the husbands who are facing these challenges. in my marriage, as well as two of our close friends’ marriages, it was the wife who struggled with infidelity. and i have to whole-heartedly agree with the deepening of intimacy in a relationship once that openness, forgiveness and reconciliation takes place. it is painful, and it is incredibly hard, but after being refined in that fire, the pure gold that comes out on the other end is something we never could have imagined. thank you for sharing your story. our marriages are worth fighting for!!

  12. 12
    Cynthia says:

    We are on the upside of all of this. I have no words for the pain that we experienced this year.

  13. 13

    Kristen, this is an amazingly wonderful post. It is so incredible what God does in and through people. My husband and I have been through some deep waters in our short marriage, but I have and am watching him overcome. It is a beautiful thing!
    I wonder some days where the willing forgiveness came from. It’s only grace and love. Both shown to me by Jesus Christ and the only way that I can give them to others.

  14. 14

    My husband was married once before he met me. Within a year they knew the marriage was a mistake. My husband wad devastated, he was a Christian & knew it was wrong, but they both wanted out. Years later when we began talking about marriage he told me (basically) that the “D” word could not be a part of our vocabulary. At first it was a part of my vocabulary but when he said that I threw it out. A few months ago I read an article about a husband who wanted a divorce. The wife refused to accept it. She told her husband to give it 6 months. During that time she made sure their home was a haven to him. Eventually he started coming home like he should, started taking care of the house again, & started making plans for the future – their future. That’s the kind of strength I hope I can have if my marriage is ever in trouble. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful husband, we rarely fight & discuss issues pretty well. He’s very patient & kind & I love him dearly. But I’m not naive enough to think that our marriage will never have any storms. Our biggest one right now is financially. It’s hard at times but we seem to be weathering it pretty well. Thank you, Kristin, for sharing with us. I’m sure it’s not easy to think about that time in your life but it’s made you, your husband, & your kids who you are today. God bless you all!

  15. 15

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Hopefully I will never need to recall it but if I do have a time to do that in my marriage I will remember that I have a choice to forgive and be forgiven. Thankyou so much for your honesty.

  16. 16

    I could have written this post, except that it took me a while to forgive. But when I did, the tone of our marriage shifted and we went from being husband and wife to being soulmates. To walk through the valley like that and be able to love each other deeper after it’s over is what marriage is really about.
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    P.S. I STRUGGLE with my temper too. Thankfully, I can be forgiven for that.

  17. 17

    Thank you (and your husband) for sharing your story. Too often women and men suffer alone and in shame, thinking they are the only ones with struggles. It is SO important for us all to know that none of us are perfect and that we all need prayer and support.

  18. 18

    What is GREAT about this post is it shatters the enemies lie that we fight the battle alone! My prayer is that God will pour his grace and draw many to this site! That in the reading each will receive either the FREEDOM or the ability to FORGIVE which ever the case may be and that our marriages WILL BE SAVED!

  19. 19

    Oh, my dear fellow Child of God. I’m crying as I’m writing this because your story is a twin to mine. I remember collapsing on the ground and sobbing when my husband told me.
    And yet, forgiveness came quickly because I chose it. It was the best decision of my life! The pain was almost unbearable, but the love and intimacy that we now share is inexplicable. It’s only by the grace of God. Thank you for opening yourself up to us and sharing!
    PS Totally understand about the temper thing. Still working on that…

  20. 20

    My husband was an associate pastor when our “crisis” happened four years ago. A friend told me and I quote…”It CAN be good again.” And she was right. Our marriage is better now than it ever has been! Thanks for sharing your story!

  21. 21

    Thank you for being so honest with your sharing—you did so beautifully. My husband and father have always been forthright with me(sparing details) that men do struggle this way. I am so pleased with your reaction of forgiveness–no matter how hard it was –you chose the right path. Keep up the hard marriage work–it resembles our marriage to the Lord in many ways. You got to play the part of our forgiving Lord and I know your husband has probably returned the action towards you(as we all need to be forgiven in marriage). May God continue to bless you and keep you guys strong in marriage!

  22. 22

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kristen! I think it’s so important for those of us who have “overcome” to share our stories with others! Hubby and I were married briefly, divorced for a few years, and then remarried. It is truly God’s story, not ours. Our prayer has always been that God would use His story for His glory, and not let it all be in vain. He will use yours as well! Very powerful! Thanks again for sharing!

  23. 23

    Kristen
    Thank you for sharing such a story! I’ve been there and I understand that feeling of betrayal and disappointment.
    But you’re so very right. God is the ultimate in forgiveness…..and redemption!
    I struggled with many feelings during that time and realized that my marriage was worth the fight.
    Today…20 years into it….I’m glad that I stuck with it!
    Satan wants to destroy families, marriages…homes! Spread the word! DON’T LET HIM!

  24. 24

    What a beautiful testimony. Thank you. I have witnessed forgiveness after what the world considers unforgivable. It ain’t always pretty, but it is beautiful.

  25. 25

    Amen! Many parts of your story are similar to mine. Thank you for using your words to share forgiveness and grace – instead of the alternative, condemnation and bitterness. Thank you for the reminder to keep fighting the good fight!

  26. 26

    Thank you for your transparency in this area where MANY struggle, both in the sin and the forgiveness, but many will NEVER tell. This post WILL help someone and challenged me to pray, pray, pray FOR my husband on a regular basis. The kids and I pray for him, but I need to do it more in my alone time w/ God. Sometimes I think I have gotten prideful or don’t take it seriously enough, but that ends today. I will not contribute to decaying my marriage.
    We celebrated 14 years yesterday and I am so thankful for it, but know I can’t let my guard down and give Satan ANY room to jump and try to take over.
    THANK YOU KRISTEN.
    Praying for marriages(mine included),
    Jai

  27. 27

    Thank you for such an honest story and encouraging me today. I am in the midst of fighting for my marriage and my eyes don’t always see a good outcome, but when I get encouragment like this I am reminded to keep my eyes on Jesus and know that He will fight this battle for me.

  28. 28

    Kristen, What a beautiful testament to the love that you have for your husband. So many people are quick to “throw in the towel” and just move on. Marriage is work, because marriage is real! My husband and I are not perfect, we have had struggles too, but we have said from the beginning that we are in this for the long haul. I adore him more today than I did the day we got married. Thanks for sharing your story! And congratulations to you and your husband for working through it all and making your marriage stronger!

  29. 29

    You are so right! Satan will use whatever he can to break open cracks in a marriage until they are gaping holes. Ten years ago we went through a crisis that lasted several months but I always clung to the fact that my Jesus is stronger and can defeat all the works of the enemy, even when my husband was ready to quit. We have a stronger marriage now than ever, and today is OUR 15th anniversary as well! Happy anniversary to you also!

  30. 30

    I desperately needed to read this this morning. We’re only *engaged* and we’re right in the middle of all of this. Thank you for sharing some hope.

  31. 31

    I love you for your bravery in sharing this and for your gentle obedience and forgiveness. Hugs, friend!

  32. 32
    Rebekah says:

    Kristin, in so many ways your story is my story. As I read, I heard echoes, saw shadows of my own life, my own marriage. I have begun to forgive, too, but I find myself flooded with feelings of distrust, anger, and defensiveness at moments when I least expect them. Like you I was beautifully innocent of my husband’s struggle, though it had been going on for the entirety of our 6-year marriage and for years before.
    There was never any question that I would fight for our marriage. Never any question that I would “stand by my man.” But it is so lonely sometimes. The Deceiver works so hard to convince me that I am alone in this. That no one I know shares this struggle, though I know for a fact that this is a lie. It isn’t something girlfriends talk about over coffee while their children play in the next room. I haven’t shared my struggle with friends because I don’t want them to think less of my husband. Thank you for sharing your story, while protecting your husband’s privacy and dignity.

  33. 33
    Cherelle says:

    Thank you for sharing this. You are not alone. Four year ago, my husband confessed to me his addiction. Last year, he lost his job because of it. Forgiveness is hard. It is a constant choice. Love is a constant choice.
    We have to fight. I will fight to the end of my days for our marriage.
    God Bless you.

  34. 34

    I remember my mom told me that in marriage you will have bad days, bad weeks and even bad years. I’m so thankful she clued me into that before I got married. I always pictured it kind like a non-stop Zales commercial.
    PS…I love the pictures of the two of you!

  35. 35

    Thanks so much for sharing your story…it is a story that so many people need to hear to know that this is a reality in our world. I was like you when my husband broke his news to me…I was so “beautifully innocent”. I had no idea.
    I really struggled with forgiveness–it did not come easy for me. Our pastor told me that “forgiveness is NOT a feeling, it’s a choice.” So, I had to make that choice.
    I recommend for every woman (and man) to read the book “Every Man’s Battle” by Stephen Arterburn. It is great for men to learn to fight against sexual sin and it’s a great eye-opener for women to see the depth of this sin. The book “Every Heart Restored” by Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, Brenda Stoeker was also so helpful to me in my journey of forgiveness.
    Thanks again for sharing your story. It is a humbling thing, but a thing that so many need to hear.

  36. 36

    What a story of grace, forgiveness and true commitment-I loved the comment above about those “deal breakers”. So many couples today DO enter into marriage with an idea such as that – if the other person “does” something, then they are free to go. It doesn’t work that way, and unfortunately I didn’t realize this and divorced my husband 10 years ago. I am happily remarried and I know God restored my life and made a bad choice of mine into a good outcome for HIS glory. Thank you for your honest and open voice that hopefully will impact another couple struggling with similar issues. God Bless You!

  37. 37
    Brenda Torres says:

    Thank you for your vulnerability. My husband and I also went through a painful period almost 3 years ago where I was betrayed. It seems like we want to love and serve our husbands until they show us how truly broken they are, and then we just want “out.” I am so thankful for other couples who fight, and who, like us, have come out the other side with a stronger, more vulnerable, more intimate relationship. I applaud you. Forgiveness is difficult, but we too have much to be forgiven for.

  38. 38

    I have had goosebumps the whole time reading it. Thank you for that! You are strong and are an amazing person

  39. 39
    Tiffany says:

    I think that you are an awesome person for sharing your story and unfortunatley you and your husband are not alone. Lust and Lust alone almost ruined my marriage around our 10th year of marriage. I was so ashamed that I kept my mouth shut and didnt say a word to friends, family, church because I thought it reflected me and how I wasnt enough for my husband. My husband did not have an affair but with lust alone i felt like he had had one. It did not take me long to realize that I was “beautifully innocent” and that I knew God would restore our marriage. I Forgive my husband and I am much more aware of the ungodly things that will ruin my marriage. I cannot tell you how brave you are and I admire you. Thanks for sharing your story to everyone and reaffirming what I thought I already knew~~~ That me and my husband are not alone.

  40. 40

    Thank You for sharing. Your testimony really open my eyes to true forgiveness for my home today. Thank You, Thany You.

  41. 41

    Thank you for sharing your story. And thank you for being vulnerable. I know God will use it to help many people.

  42. 42

    Thank you for your post…I am a faithful reader of your blog. This story brought me to tears. Just over a year ago my husband came home broken…He had lost his job because of his activities due to his lust. I was broken like I have never been before. Not only had my husband lost our families sole income but my heart was broken. I always say that the only reason I didn’t leave right then was because there were 3 angels standing in the doorway blocking my way. These angels were my children. God in his grace gave me the ability to forgive in a very short time. He has healed our marriage!
    Thank you for this post…I too believe that we need to confront this problem head on before it tears our families apart. May God bless you and your family!

  43. 43

    Thank you for sharing this. About a month ago my husband came to me with the fact that he has been abusing pain pills. Over the last year it has really taken a toll on our marriage and family. I have known for a while that something was wrong but just could not figure it all out. I have been continually praying that God would take care of this and I believe that it was God that had him admit to me what he was doing. I am trying to forgive and trust him again but it is very hard for me. I pray that down the road, I can say that this struggle and challenge in our life has brought us closer to each other and God.

  44. 44

    I have deemed 2009 as the year of Christian Divorces. I personally know 1/2 a dozen, an am aquainted with a dozen more “Christian” couples who have been married TWENTY PLUS YEARS!!!! who all got divorced this year. It has been shocking. My marriage almost fell into that category this year also. Then GRACE Fell upon me. HE pulled us out. We are going to survive 2009 intact, and better than when it started. To HIM BE ALL THE GLORY! AMEN!

  45. 45

    My husband shared a moral failing with me this summer. Thank you for sharing your story with us. We’re fighting for our marriage too.

  46. 46

    Our marriage traveled a similar road. In ministry, just before our first wedding anniversary and the day I found out that we were expecting our first baby our “crisis” occurred.
    He was away at camp with the youth and I was collapsed on the floor of our tiny apartment.
    I forgave, and unfortunately had to continue the pattern of hurt and forgiveness for a stretch of ten years and 3 pregnancies in between. I did not see this as a door out of our marriage but a knot that could bind us tighter, if I had the perseverance to keep climbing. I did, we did, and God continued to pour his grace over us. Through our persistence and faithfulness to one another God has blessed. He restored our hearts and our home. Today 15 years later we are a strong knot of love, tied by 3 strands.
    God is the center hold and we are so grateful for His provision.
    Thank you for sharing your story so honestly. You may never know the lives you have touched and the glimmer of hope that is passed on to those now struggling with their own pain.

  47. 47

    I wish I would have had this to show my sister when she went through this 12 years ago. She left her husband when she thought she couldn’t repair what was broken and I think your words would have spoken to her. Unfortunately, someone else slipped in and clouded her thinking. Let her believe he wouldn’t change. Took her under his wing and made her his wife instead of supporting her first marriage and encouraging her to try to work it out. We still miss her first husband and forgave him. Unfortunately, she didn’t. God Bless both you and your husband for not only making your marriage work, but for making it BETTER! Merry Christmas to you and your beautifully innocent family! ;)

  48. 48
    Hopeful says:

    It was hope-giving to read this story and many of the comments. I wish I could have a story with a beautiful ending too! I am really struggling with the God-factor and the safety-factor. Having an arranged marriage, where he pretended to be Christian, wanting to go in ministry…only to find out it was not true…the reason for marriage was simply to obtain immigration status. In the marriage there was emotional/mental/extreme control/spiritual/verbal abuse and life threats towards children and myself. We are separted.
    The sad fact is that he uses the bible to gain ground for abuse & demands my return and forgiveness, not because that’s how he understand, but because it’s one way to manipulate. I have forgiven him and pray for his change of heart. Yet at times it really really hurts, and going through hardships with little children on my own doesn’t see fair. It is only God’s grace that I haven’t ended up having PTS. At other times I am able to pray for him with compassion. However i keep getting an emotional let down when I keep hoping he’ll change and am dissappointed. He has been putting up a display that he’s repentant, yet his words and actions don’t line up.
    I can’t risk my children’s safety, how do i move on? If I was not a christian it would be so easy to say he is dangerous and not have anything to do with him — but the God-factor(that he can change anyone) keeps me in a difficult spot! Some insight would be so appreciated…

  49. 49

    ((Kristen)) bless you for sharing your story.
    I agree that prayer is a huge key factor in marriage – in LIFE! ((hugs))

  50. 50

    Thank you for this reminder that marriage really is worth fighting for! I really needed this today!

  51. 51

    Well said Kristen. God knows our mate and is not surprised when we marry them. Our marriages are part of His bigger plan for giving us the person we need to be refined to the person He desires us to be…a reflection of His glory. Not perfect people, but people who reflect who He is… a God of grace, mercy, forgiveness, long suffering, love, peace, patience, kindness, etc…
    We reflect those fruits when we turn to His will instead of our fleshly responses. I too have a very, very similar story…and look back today rejoicing that God walked us both down a path for His glory. It’s good to be in His hands.
    Thanks so much for sharing His glory through your story today. You are a blessing to many.

  52. 52

    I am praying for you and all the women who are battling this
    Kristen
    Sent from my iPhone

  53. 53
    SoCalLynn says:

    My husband and I, too, have a very similar story. I had always thought certain things were “dealbreakers” as someone else said, but by the grace of God and after much prayer,I have been able to forgive him, although at times the pain still rears its ugly head. (I know the evil one is still trying to get our marriage!) Thankfully, our marriage is the strongest it’s ever been, and we celebrated 15 years of marriage last week! Thank you for sharing your story.

  54. 54

    Wonderful. Thank you for sharing , I am thinking on it.

  55. 55

    What a beautiful story and testimony of God’s grace in relationships. Thank you for being willing to share in order to encourage others in their marriages. I love your heart, Kristen.
    Donna

  56. 56

    I’ve been there too. It hasn’t been easy, but God has been unfathomably faithful and profoundly grace-full. I love it that He never wastes a single thing but is all about redemption. Thanks for sharing your story so beautifully.

  57. 57

    we, too, have struggled.
    thank you for encouraging me to believe that everything is going to be okay.

  58. 58

    My husband and I went through this (and are still learning to work though). I am glad there are people out there like you, ready to share your story to encourage the rest of us! God has also really been working amazingly in us as well. It is amazing how the “church” in general ignores the topic of lust/pornography. It IS such a problem for our men! No one is immune. My dear husband is in the ministry. I know, for me anyway, I still need reassurance about how to deal with this in our marriage. Ladies, keep praying for our men that they would have pure hearts!

  59. 59

    Your story touched my heart, Kristen. Thank you for sharing your story of struggle and forgiveness, that must have been so very difficult! I am equally touched by all of the loving comments and the grace in which God has given the families who have also dealt with these struggles. We haven’t been down that road, but 5 years into marriage, we have had other struggles and have come out stronger for it. I fear ever having to face this in my marriage, and having read this now believe that maybe I could forgive too. I am reminded too, to pray for my husband and my marriage and pray hard. Thank you for that. You are right, marriage is worth fighting for.

  60. 60

    Thank you for your honesty and transparency. It is refreshing. Thank you for using it to honor God. It is inspiring.
    I pray for continuing healing on your journey, as I covet yours on mine…a different journey all together…but still in demand of forgiveness.
    Blessings,
    eLisa

  61. 61

    I am praying for each of you. My heart is so heavy for our marriages. The details are different, but the story is the same-my inbox is full.
    Thank you for accepting me just as I am. If you are an overcomer, would you list of the commenters and private emails up in prayer?
    If you are in the midst of the battle, please know that you are not alone.

  62. 62

    Kristen, thank you, thank you, thank you. My marriage started this way, with the revelation of a similar breach of trust. Many, including my own pastor, questioned my decision to move forward with the marriage and forgive my husband. It’s so important for women to see these stories of triumph so that they realize fighting for your marriage is not only worthy but necessary. I strive for the day when success stories like yours – like mine – are more the norm than the exception. Unfortunately such breaches of trust will continue because lust is one of Satan’s best weapons against our husbands but grace, love, forgiveness can prevail!
    Laura

  63. 63

    I am very thankful that you had the courage to share your story of forgiveness. My husband and I have a similar story and I too forgave for the same reason as you. How can we ask God to forgive us without being able to forgive others? None of us are above being tempted by Satan.
    I believe when you go through something like this it makes you stronger and fight harder for your marriage. It makes you want to work harder and not take each other for granted. Blessings to you and your family Kristen!
    Merry Christmas!

  64. 64
    Lisa- domesticaccident says:

    My admiration grows for you all the time. We have never been tested like that. I don’t know if I would be so instantly forgiving- especially since I have a temper. What a beautiful thing to do so immediately. Inspiring.

  65. 65

    It is such a hard road, but being in constant prayer is the only place to start. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how fragile our lives are; how quickly Satan can come in and overtake our husbands, children, or ourselves. Temptation is real and it is ALL around us.
    Thank you for your honesty =)

  66. 66
    disappointed reader says:

    i get your point, glad you worked it out…but what about the guys who don’t change and women who “forgive and forgive and forgive” and continue to get hurt? what do you say to them? just keep forgiving?
    get real, please. the devil is not responsible for peoples’ bad choices and behaviors.

  67. 67

    Dear Disappointed Reader,
    The command to forgive is from God, not me. I chose to stay with my hubby because of his change and choice to pursue freedom. I don’t blame the devil for his bad choices and neither does he. We’re all responsible for what we do. Whether you choose to stay or go, you only harm yourself for holding unforgiveness. (It’s a personal decision whether you stay or go-I certainly don’t blame women for choosing to leave because of infidelity or violence, abuse, etc. I would probably make different choices in those cases too-)

  68. 68
    disappointed reader says:

    thank you kristen for your reply… great answer, i only wish you would have made that same point in your post.. that it is a personal decision as to what someone chooses to do in these hard situations. if a gal chooses to FORGIVE and ALSO to draw a line and leave, then she should also be supported in her heart breaking decision.
    i am a pastor’s wife (this is the reason for my anonymous comment) and hear this story so often and yes absolutely, God asks us to forgive, but where is the line? how long do you “work it out”?
    i’m not asking you, kristen, for the answer to that, but rather, wish that the people who have lost marriages because of these issues could have had their choices validated as well.
    thanks for listening…

  69. 69
    hopefull says:

    Dear Disappointed Reader,
    Thank you for raising this point. I had posted my question and situation of abuse – a category you are describing.
    I guess maybe because of the numerous comments, mine didn’t get responded to.
    God knows how to answer you…You were so God-led to ask. I really needed that. I’m so glad you asked, and thankful that Kristen explained so well. Blessings on you!

  70. 70

    Wow, it can happen to ANYONE. Men, women, Christian, non-believers…Satan is an equal opportunity destroyer. Satan is weak, we are strong in Christ alone, by grace. Thanks for sharing with us.

  71. 71

    I hope you received my email… Im praying for you!
    Sent from my iPhone

  72. 72
    Cassie Jowers says:

    My marriage was also shattered 10 years ago when we had been married for 10 years. We’ve grown stronger but by no means do I take that for granted. I pray for my husband! Now more than ever!

  73. 73
    disappointed reader says:

    i just wanted to add… i, in no way, mean to take away from kristen’s hopeful and brave story. i am happy to hear that her and her husband are happily married and are working thru their challenges.
    i guess i just feel the need to raise the opposite point that, unfortunately, not everyone has as happy an ending.
    **HOPEFUL: i read your previous comment and only pray the best for you… it is my belief that god would not want for you or your children to stay in a dangerous situation, only to “honor god”. in fact, i think the exact opposite. i am so sorry for your pain and really hope you find peace for yourself and for you kids.
    you wrote: “If I was not a christian it would be so easy to say he is dangerous and not have anything to do with him — but the God-factor(that he can change anyone) keeps me in a difficult spot”
    my advice: if he is dangerous, he IS DANGEROUS… christianity has nothing to do with it. god can change him, you cannot.
    if he is abusing you, leave as soon as you can!!

  74. 74

    I am blessed to hear your story. For others out there who may have a similar one to mine that did not have your happy ending… after 2 years of fighting for our 8 year marriage and family with 2 little children he chose to leave anyway… forgiveness can be there too. Forgiveness isn’t about giving something to the other person but about restoring your own heart. Our Savior loves us SO much. His ways are SO much better than ours. Even when we think our story doesn’t have the happy ending we wanted, God’s story already has a happy ending and as believers we are a part of that story.
    Bless you for sharing this. As always I love your heart.

  75. 75

    Sometimes, even after 27 years of forgiving, there’s just nothing left to fight for. I would rather grow old alone than with him.

  76. 76

    Forgiveness is so much better than being revengeful and bitter. I am so glad that you chose to forgive (as did I!)

  77. 77

    thank you for sharing this.

  78. 78

    Thank you for sharing Kristen, I appreciate it. Marriage was instituted at creation when the world was perfect. Satan hates it and will destroy it at any opportunity. We need to fight for our marriages and family. Merry Christmas!

  79. 79

    We haven’t faced issues of purity in our marriage up to this point, but we have very recently gone through (are still going through) a crisis that basically came down to my husband’s sin. I am so thankful for the grace to forgive, for the miracle God works in our hears when we break them open before Him, for the love He teaches us to have for one who has sinned against us.
    I had always put my husband up on a pedestal, and our situation has taught me (something I should have already known) that my husband is a broken, sinful person just like I am. Our marriage doesn’t continue to survive because he’s wonderful. It survives because God is SO good, SO faithful.
    Thank you for sharing your heart.

  80. 80

    Thanks for sharing your story Kristen, because I too have been there, and our marriage, like yours is AMAZINGLY stronger for it! It’s been 15 of forgiveness in a 23+ year marriage for us.
    We didn’t go to counseling, but we did it all on our own- we talked, we cried, we prayed…….and we are stronger!
    ~TidyMom

  81. 81

    Beautifully written. Congratulations.

  82. 82

    Kristen, Thank you for putting this out there and being such an encouragement to others. This couldn’t be more timely-less than 48 hours ago my husband confessed that he’d had a 4 month affair last spring. We have been struggling for awhile and he’s wanted to separate/divorce since early this year. My pastor recommended that I read “Love Life for Every Married Couple” by Ed Wheat. I found it through our library. The last chapter is about how to save your marriage alone and that’s where I’m starting. You see, even though he confessed and said he was sorry and that he regretted it, he didn’t ask for my forgiveness. As a matter of fact, he followed up with “I still want a separation”. As Christians, I know this isn’t what God wants for us. Ironically, since this past summer after he mentioned divorce, I have grown spiritually in ways I didn’t think were possible. Our daughter even commented that she can see I have put God first and formost in my life (Amen!). Quite observant for an 11 year old! Anyways, thanks again for your openness and for sharing your story. God is using you to help others. Blessings, Maria

  83. 83

    Thank you for sharing your story. I truly commend you for fighting for your marriage. People give up so easily. I am a newlywed and think I live life through innocent eyes. I pray that I never have to go through what you did…and I have no idea how I would react if I did…I just hope and pray that I could be strong like you in the same situation.

  84. 84

    You did an amazing job of sharing! I am thankful when women stand up and share REAL parts of their lives to help and encourage others; to let them know you can survive and even thrive.
    The reason I say amazing job is because you somehow were able to focus on sharing the lessons learned and encouragement without the whole story. Too often I think that we are guilty of sharing too much though our motives are good.
    May many be blessed, encouraged and strenthened by your (and DH) story. I love how you put that about cracks in walls. You can’t always know!

  85. 85
    Serenity says:

    My husband is a critical care RN and works with mostly women. Affairs are VERY commonplace at the hospital and I am guilty of forgetting to PRAY for my marriage. It can happen to anyone and praying is my best defense!!! Thank you for the reminder and for sharing your story.

  86. 86

    My eyes are full of tears. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It took alot of courage for you to write it down and share. Thank you.

  87. 87

    So much of our stories are similar…and forgiveness is a huge part of our story, too. Thank you for being so vulnerable. Sharing our story of healing is such a ministry to others…because there are so many hurting who don’t believe healing is possible.

  88. 88

    Thanks for your vulnerability. Forgiveness has to be a part of all of our stories, I think. Otherwise we lock our husbands and ourselves (along with all others we’re not forgiving) in a spiritual jail, preventing them and us from not being able to receive or see God’s best for us. It brings to mind the parable of Matt. 18.

  89. 89
    Praying incessantly... says:

    Thank you for your story. It is so comforting to know that others have walked in your shoes although we wouldn’t wish this life on our worst enemy. I am a Christian woman. I’ve been married to my Christian husband for almost 16 years now. We have two wonderful children ages 10 & 6. Unfortunately, back in early 2004 – just 6 years ago – my husband had the “first” affair that I know of. It was with a co-worker and lasted 5 months. He came to me, admitted his faults and confessed his sins before I could find out on my own. I was devastated but after a few weeks, I let him move back home, we sought Christian counseling and worked to repair our marriage via our pastor at church, etc. In the past 6 years, I’ve actually had moments where I thanked God for that affair because I felt it made us stronger – brought us closer. I “thought” we were having the best years of our marriage. Fast forward to this past August. I found out that my husband had AGAIN gone outside of our marriage and was having an affair with the woman who was leasing our old home. She too is married with 3 children. The affair this time was supposedly only four rendezvous in a hotel during work hours together. All were while I was away – out of state – this past summer with my children. Shortly after learning of that affair and my “blog” world discovering tid bits about it, I was sent an anonymous email alerting me to yet ANOTHER affair in between the first and the one I was just learning of – totaling three now. This “middle” or 2nd affair was in the middle of when I thought we were having the best years of our life and he seemed to be a changed man. It was with another co-worker. One I always suspicioned but he continually assured me that the gal just had an overly flirtatious personality but was nothing to worry about. And yes, he confessed to all three of these affairs eventually. He swears they are the only three. I don’t believe him!
    My problem is that I am lost. Left for dead. I have no job skills – haven’t worked since I was 20 years old. My husband has always been a very successful business man which meant he was a great provider for our family. I’m now 34 with no possible income if I were to leave with my two children. His company recently closed down due to the economy and we are struggling financially like we never have before. There is barely enough for one household let alone enough to support if we lived separately and divorced. I’m so unhappy. So very sad. He has stolen every ounce of self esteem I had left. Ripped my heart to shreds and then pretends as though everything should be all good. I can’t even function on most days. I’ve forgiven until I’m blue in the face but this time…I can’t forget. I worry that there are plenty more women that I DON’T know about yet. (that will eventually come out again like a wrecking ball to my world) I am depressed, have put on 50 lbs – yes 50lbs – and feel like I am tackling life like a zombie day in and day out now. Most days I spend laying in bed with my laptop – praying for strength. I have a hard time loving him now. Intimacy is extremely tough. I am numb and seem to be reaching to remember feelings for him. Truthfully, I want to “hate” him. Many times throughout the day I look at him with total discust. I don’t trust him one bit and honestly feel like he WILL do this again. I’m leaning on God to guide me and give me direction at this time. Please pray for me. I need all of the prayers I can get for my children and I. (I failed to mention that our daughter is a 6 year old with special needs.)
    My husband begs, cries, and pleads with me to stay once he thinks I’m leaving him (each time the truth comes out) He acts as though he is a repentent man and that he wants to do right by God and then he goes right back out and does it again. Unfortunately his father is the same way. We are now facing issues with the woman who he had the most recent affair with she and her husband have since quit paying their lease payment to us each month on our old home. (They were buying it on contract) They are still living in it – scott free – and we are having to sue them to get them evicted. It is costing us legal fees we don’t have. My husbands choices (which include much more that I could go on and on about but won’t) have left us destitute and broken. I am having a hard time this round thru and don’t know how much more I can take. I feel trapped and really just want out. I feel alone and so inadequate. I question my strength and my ability to provide for my kids when I know he barely can while we are together. I ask myself if these are just excuses I’m telling myself or should I continue to stay and make a plan in the meantime. Again, I’m just so lost. I spent some time walking on the beach just praying and praying to God this week to give me strength, wisdom, & guidance. Hoping he provides me with those sooner rather than later.
    Praying for all of you who’ve ever been here and those who haven’t. Satan is dangerous – very dangerous and oh so real. Please pray for your husbands and for the women/men who are lacking something that ultimately sends them into the arms of our already week & tempted spouses/significant others.
    In his grip now more than ever,
    A

  90. 90

    A….
    I am at a loss for word … thank you for sharing. even though “I’ll pray for you” seems not enough, I will …
    Make sure you’ve got a friend near you to support you … And we, your new cyberfriends, are here for you.
    Liza

  91. 91

    A — I don’t have words to say, but I know the
    One who can speak peace into your life. I don’t know how to help, but I know the One who is ALL you ever need.
    I wish I could walk right over to your house, sit down and just cry with you. I wish I could take your babies for a few hours or days so you could pray, focus, take bubble baths, and just ponder the days ahead.
    I want to DO for you — but it’s not possible for me. I will PRAY for you. I’m asking the Lord to bind up your broken heart and to send you friends who can stand beside you and just BE THERE. Friends who can listen and not judge.
    I’m praying for the Lord to salvage your marriage. I’m praying for true repentance and for forgiveness.
    I’m praying for God to grant you days of peace and happiness. It’s what I can do.

  92. 92

    Dear A,
    I am so heartbroken for you. I don’t blame you for being confused and uncertain, sad and afraid. Your situation is very hard. And my words seem so futile in the face of such a big problem.
    But God. He knows you. He loves you. He is with you RIGHT NOW. I pray that God sends you an unbelievable support group for you to lean on. I pray that He gives you the courage you need and wisdom to know what to do.
    You are not alone, sweet sister. I promise to lift you to our Heavenly Father…please feel free to email me.

  93. 93

    Dear A -
    You have many people who read your comment and are surrounding you with prayer right now. Our hearts ache for you… I believe God wants good things for you. I believe He can provide a way through this situation. I pray doors will be opened, answers will be revealed, and His will be done.

  94. 94

    Dear A,
    I, too, am heartbroken for you. Believe God’s promise that He is close to the brokenhearted, too. He has you in the palm of His hand. I am so, so sorry you have had to endure such a difficult ordeal. I will be lifting you up in prayer, Sister.

  95. 95

    Amen, I have a friend right now who just ended an extramarital affair. It has shaken me. I don’t understand it, how she could do it and it makes me paranoid. We MUST hold on to our marriages. AMEN!

  96. 96
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you for posting this. After discovering something before even my first anniversary, I was torn apart. A loved one sent this link to me. Reading something like this helps.

  97. 97

    I sit here, trying to decide if I should stay or go. I have been married for 11.5 years. We have 4 children, ages 11, 9, 6 and 4. In addition we finalize an adoption of a 17 year old next week. We had our first separation in ’01 for a month-my doing. in ’05, our youngest was born. In December, I was in the midst of postpartum depression. I asked a simple question of my husband and was devastated by the response.(our little one was 6 months old) I asked him why he stays married to me. I just needed to hear I was loved. He didn’t respond. I then didn’t want an answer. He turned, looked at me and responded, I stay because of the kids. nothing else. then, he went, woke up the older 2, kissed them, kissed the sleeping little ones and headed for the door. Then he tells me he is going to be with this woman at work. no idea. I was to say the least, shocked. I called friends from church, he stayed, quit his job and we pretended it never happened. Fast forward to Feb ’09 and I was hit with an addiction that I had NO earthly idea of. It rocked my world. I can’t forgive. I am angry. I have prayed, I have prayed so much. I can’t look at him with out seeing his addiction.(I grew up in a very difficult life, being abused and this took me right back there)I worry that my staying will show my children it is ok. We don’t communicate. When i said I was unhappy in Sept, he still didn’t understand why I was so angry. Now, I am ready for this to be over. I can’t look at him daily. it makes my heart sad.

  98. 98

    How do we still fight for our marriage when our husband has chosen the other woman? Do I still fight? We haven’t officially divorced. I never know whether to call him my husband or my ex.

  99. 99

    Darlene,
    I’m so sorry. I think if your spouse is actively pursuing another woman, you can pray and fight, but at some point, in your heart, I think you have to make a very difficult decision. I will be praying for you.

  100. 100
    Lindsey says:

    I know it’s been a while since this was posted, but I just read it, and it’s amazingly like my own story and what we’re living through now. I have chosen to forgive, but we are still struggling in many ways. I know the Lord will heal are marriage and we’re both willing. Thank you so much for sharing your story; it has truly encouraged my heart in ways I can’t explain. Do you know what else? You posted this on our 4th anniversary.

  101. 101

    I know exactly what you faced. Thank you for reminding me about my part in my own marriage mess- forgiveness (afterall I am not sinless either), prayer (I have not been doing my part with this!), and trust (I know that God can. be. trusted.).

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