“I don’t know if he has what it takes to restore the trust or to repair the brokenness of our marriage”, said the distraught woman sitting beside me. I found myself leaning in just a little more because it seemed like she was on the verge of a break-through.
I was sitting with this new friend of mine, while she spoke of her troubled marriage. She continued telling me the things that were in her heart, “I think he wants to save the marriage and bring restoration to our family. I think his intentions are good, but I don’t know if it’s a part of who he is right now. He has to become completely devoted to God in order to bring about the healing that only He can bring. It’s just that it’s going to take a special person to be able to hang in there and repair the damage, the devastation that has been done to me and our marriage. It’s like he’s forgotten about my pain in his quest to get well, and to alleviate his shame.”
She was being brutally open and honest. She seemed willing to allow God to do whatever He wanted to do in their marriage…in her heart, really. She kept on talking.
“It would take a selfless person to be all in. It calls for a man who is willing to put his wife’s needs above his own. A man who is able to let go of his right to be offended. Truthfully, none of us have that right as Christ followers. It takes letting go of your right to be anything except giving, loving and always there, always present no matter how long it takes or how painful it may be for him to hear, knowing that it was way more painful for me to live.”
She’s right, it does take a special kind of man. With all the affairs and betrayal in our sex-focused society I’m pretty sure she’s not the only one who is facing this heart-wrenching situation. This woman who sat before me pouring her heart out is shattered because of the betrayal that she has experienced in her marriage, by the one person she trusted most.
Coming to grips with the fact that this man isn’t the person she thought she had married, and all the lies. What does it all mean, this life they had built together? What does any of it mean? What does intimacy mean now? What do all the years mean if he wasn’t fully present because he was so wrapped up in his “needs”?
I sat in silence as I listened to her pour our her heart. It will take a lot of pouring out in order for complete healing to manifest. Healing has started, but every time her husband chooses to go with his feelings instead of tending to hers is a wasted opportunity for him to help in the healing process. Every time he doesn’t follow through on even the most mundane thing that needs to be done, is a chance not taken to help build trust.
I don’t know the answer to this woman’s dilemma, or all the other women who find themselves in her shoes. It’s going to be a hard road. It might even be easier on the man to take the usual way out, to start all over with someone new. But is that what God wants?
Ultimately, what God wants is all that really matters. And if her husband is who she thought he was when they first married, he will rise to the task at hand and allow God to work the healing she needs through his words, actions and deeds.