Picking up from yesterday...Jamie had read the words printed on the Valentine's Day card from her husband, given lovingly despite the fact Kris knew Jamie was entrenched in a long term affair... Those words alone are significant...NOW. Then, they weren't. I certainly didn't believe that I was Kristopher's "only" love, but I know it now. I know it and I am grateful.
Reading his words, written in the midst of probably the hardest time in his own life, I can't help but praise God for bringing us through the path of destruction we were creating for ourselves and our marriage. Kris wrote:
"I know I'm awful at expressing it. I know I've failed as a husband. But I love you more than you can possibly know. I want to fight for us. I feel overwhelmed right now. And that is why my mind keeps racing and I keep zoning out trapped in a million thoughts. But I still have hope. I still have faith that God is bigger than all of this. I know that His love and forgiveness is there for both of us, if we'll only accept it. I want you. I want to be with you. And I'll wait for you to want the same."
He also included the passage from Song of Solomon (8:6-7) that we always liked before we got married.
My heart hurts a little still, when I think about how hard it all must have been for him. That he was willing to wait while I decided if I wanted to stay married to him. That he was willing to wait while I tried to find a way to say goodbye to another man, that had taken his place in our marriage for far too long. That he was willing to wait until I let my walls down and let God in.
I can't help but marvel at where we are, not even a year later. I still continue to wonder why God chose to heal our marriage so quickly, when others seem to spend years fighting; or worse...waiting for their spouse to come back home (literally and figuratively). I don't have an answer to that, but I can speak to the pain. That of the one waiting, and the one running.
I waited for 12 1/2 years for God to deliver my husband from an addiction that had held him captive for over 20 years. I didn't wait long enough. After 5 years, I quit trying. I quit hoping. I quit praying. I ran. Like Jonah trying to go anywhere but Nineveh, or Gomer to the arms of countless men, I ran away. But it was never enough. If God hadn't intervened and exposed my sin, I may have kept on running for years.
But my husband was a stander. He would stand and wait for me, not matter how long it took. The words written in the card last year were not in vain or mere words. They were written from the heart of a man who understands what unconditional love is really all about. A man that wanted to fight for our marriage, even when I didn't.
And what I found, and what I am saying, is that no matter how long it takes, there is always hope.
God has the power to break the chains of bondage. He has the power to bring darkness into the light, and break the hearts of those running from Him. Even if He has to strip away everything that they think the love and find fulfillment in, He has the power to do it. We can't guess His timing. At best, we can pray that all who are fighting for their marriages don't have to wait until they are exhausted from hoping. But I am confident that for those who remain faithful to God and to fighting for their marriage, God can take anything that is broken to pieces and put it all back together again. We determine how long the healing process takes. We can give in and let Him heal, or we can fight and be unwilling to forgive, even the deepest hurt.
It's up to us.
What will you choose?
As for me, I made the best choice and am blessed beyond measure. By my husband who waited for me. By my God who took the punishment for sins I believed I had to be punished for. By my family that is strengthened now and is learning what family and marriage is really all about. By everything around me. It's indescribable. the joy that comes from fighting for my marriage, against the very real enemy that would seek to destroy marriages everywhere. It isn't enough to simply say that God is good, but He is. Over and over again, He is good.
Join us in welcoming our new guest blogger, Jamie Bishop of Loving When It Hurts. She'll share candidly and passionately from her healing heart how to love your spouse, even when it hurts.
Jamie and Kris have been married for just over 13 years. 12 1/2 years of that time, Kris was weighed down by an addiction to pornography. After 5 years of praying and wishing it away, Jamie quit trying and slowly found her way to the arms of another man. That relationship lasted on and off for over seven years before Kris found out about it. A year into God's restoration of our marriage, their story is one of unconditional love, forgiveness, and hope. It is their prayer that their story encourages anyone who is struggling to put the pieces of their marriage back together.