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God Save My Marriage

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My husband is a pastor. He started in youth ministry for 8 years and became the pastor of our home church 3 1/2 years ago. We have always had an up and down relationship. But theyre's no doubt in my heart that God put us together. I saw God transform him from a very shy teenage boy to a Sunday school teacher, deacon, youth minister to senior pastor.

 

I know he has a calling. It's very evident. But at each step of moving forward in ministry, satan has attacked our marriage fiercely. Over time I had let harsh, hurtful words that were frequent set in my heart and committed adultery. That was 12 years ago. Through God's grace, we reconciled but not really dealing with the root of our issues I guess.

 

Divorce has never been an option for me but my husband always kept it at arms length. He threatened to leave on numerous occasions. Before and after my infidelity. At the time, our daughter was 3.

 

Not keeping the house tidy was an example of his reason for wanting out. He has told me more than once that he loved me but wasn't in love with me. Even before we got married. Although he said he forgave me, I always had to prove myself in everything. Which is completely understandable. But through all this, harsh words settled in my heart to the point that I "checked out" of our marriage, so my husband says.

 

We did have good times. God blessed us with a son after 2 miscarriages. He is now 8. I admit that I was not sexually motivated at all. Not that I with held but I certainly didn't desire my husband as God designed due to the sin of harboring hurt feelings. I was very irritable to the point I began to take celexa. Which was a God send. We got along so much better. At this time he was in youth ministry. I was his helper. This was for 8 years.

 

Fast forward to the present. He became senior pastor at our home church. I guess I finally felt safe. In that he was a man of God and our marriage would be protected. God's messenger would surely do what was needed to keep his marriage. I am not innocent. I allowed fear to control me. I would hide things from my husband in fear of his reaction. I hid things I bought, money I spent, etc. we both have done plenty to destroy our marriage. He began to say he felt like he needed to step down from being pastor after 3 1/2 years. I began to worry.

 

He just seemed to be different. In june of this year, he stepped down. Saying he needed time for a sabbatical and time with his family. After years of studying for school at Liberty University and studying for services 3 times a week as a bivocational pastor, our time as a family and couple were dwindled down to nothing. I still really had no clue as to the real reason he stepped down.

 

In July, I happen to see his phone and found a provocative video he had apparently sent another woman describing what he wanted to do to her sexually along with how he missed their morning talks. I confronted him and his first reaction was he was leaving. However, he didn't and we talked for hours on how we had gotten to this point and how we had hurt each other.

 

In hindsight, the signs are all there that he was cheating. I even asked once and he accused me of being in sane. He seemed repentive at first. But refused to tell me anything about the affair. Who it was with, how long.... Nothing. I was deeply hurt to say the least but I immediately forgave him. How could I not extend the same grace God gave to me. I uplifted him, encouraging that God still loved him and it was no surprise to God. He knew what would happen yet He still called him to preach His Word.

 

My husband went through a depression feeling God was mad at him. He became very distant. He said his heart was hardened towards me. And cold. And then came the I love you but not in love with you speech. AGAIN. This was probably at least the 4th time he had said those words to me over the years.

 

I asked him to pray with me over and over but he refused.

 

He was asked to do a revival in November. He finally agreed to preach this revival. And I saw a change in him. He gave a testimony of how satan had stolen his joy of studying and preaching God's word. And how God spoke to him to let him know that He didn't need him, but that He wanted him. He actually prayed with me on the alter during services and asked for forgiveness for his hardened heart and to help our marriage. It was wonderful.

 

During this time, I have grown so close to God. He's shown me all my sin and has taught me to love my husband unconditionally. He's shown me how marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church. After 18 years of marriage, I finally got it. I have swallowed my pride and try to be submissive completely and respect my husband. In which, God showed me that I had failed miserably in that area.

 

But now my husband has slipped and seems to be walking away from God. He only plays on his cell phone for hours. I haven't seem him pick up a bible except during the revival. He refuses to pray with me although we do go to church every Sunday at different places

 

He is very snappy and cold towards me. There have been fights with calling me horrible names among other 4 letter words. I found out that he corresponded with this woman through Facebook and their code names were Anna Steele and Christian Greye. Characters from 50 shades of grey. This is all from satan I know. It broke my heart to wonder what he had gotten involved in.

 

He is self employed and lost 2 properties the day before Christmas and may be loosing a partnership with a friend in a glass business they pursued as a side business. He also threw his back out. He is absolutely miserable. If I cry, he becomes angry. He says to just act normal. I've not been able to grieve or get passed anything. Still don't know who she is other than I more than likely know her.

 

I get in my war room every day and pray. I fast at least once a week. We have good days and bad days. I never know how it will be. The night all this happened, he ranted about his life being in shambles and that he deserved happiness. I finally asked why he was running from God. An argument erupted. I tried to speak in love that he seemed to be falling away. He always would tell people that were having a hard time that "God's way works!" I reminded him of that. His reply was that he had done it God's way and it brought him nothing but misery being In ministry and being in a miserable marriage. So to do it God's way, he would have to go back to preaching and stay married to me and be miserable the rest of his life. I just wept not knowing what to say.

 

I have a couple close friends praying with me for his restoration. That night I told him to leave He has threatened to leave so many times that our now 16 year old daughter says she doesn't care if he leaves. He gets angry and threatens us all that he's leaving now. She loves him. Just tired of the fighting. I went to sleep on the couch that night and he asked me over and over to stay in our bed because he loves me. I'm just at a loss. I don't know how to help him. He is one person today. And different tomorrow. I don't know what each day will bring. He loves the Lord but is under a stronghold from Satan.

 

I feel like I haven't been able to really grieve. I want to save my marriage! We have been through so much. I can't see God bringing us through all our trials to bring us to a failed marriage. My husband seems to be a little better this week. We prayed together last night and his demeanor has been better towards me.

 

I'm sorry to be so long. I just don't really have anyone to reach out to. I feel like it's my duty to protect my husbands integrity and not give satan the satisfaction of God being mocked. How can I help my husband?

 

I'm standing in the gap for our marriage. By admitting he has a hard heart to me and is angry with God, i feel like I'm a stumbling block between him and God. I've prayed that God remove me if I'm in the way. I want to be completely obedient to God. I just need biblical counsel on how I handle all this.

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Oh my dear lady, I just now saw your post! Welcome to this ministry!

 

I'm so sorry you have been experiencing so much heartache in your marriage. It certainly is not what God intended.

 

Joel and Kathy Davisson, the authors of the two foundational books of this ministry -- after the Bible, of course -- have been where you and your husband are. Did you realize that it is only the husband who is told in Scripture to love his wife as Christ loved the church? The wife is told to love her husband only once and that is not with agape love but with phileo, the friendship, responsive kind of love.

 

Marriage works best when the husband "goes first" at loving his wife. Then she is emotionally free to love him in return. A woman only wears herself out one way or another, being the love initiator. You are finding that out by experience, I'm sorry to say.

 

Here is what I would like you to do. Order and read the two books, The Man of Her Dreams And The Woman of His, and Livin' It And Lovin' It. They cost about $17 each.

 

Read as much as you like on these forums.

 

Make full use of the couples conference calls which take place, for now, 5 evenings a week -- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday at 10 pm Eastern and Sunday night 9 pm Eastern. The number is 1(857)232-0476 Access code: 544475

 

Tomorrow night, Monday, Joel and Kathy will be the moderators. It would be great to be able to talk to them since they totally can identify! Dial in to the call, feel free to introduce yourselves, using a pseudonym, if you wish.

 

Come back soon and post how you are doing, okay? God bless you richly!

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Thank you for your words of advice. Last night was horrible. We got into a terrible argument about all our issues. We can't seem to understand each other. He doesn't understand how I checked out when all I heard were harsh words and criticisms. He feels like he has been standing in the gap our entire marriage. I don't see it that way. But regardless, I know my God can heal and restore. He has reached a point of too little too late. He's angry that it took him cheating to change my ways. I admit that it has shaken me to the core and made me take a good look at myself. And God has truly done a change within me. My husband says he's heard all that before. Keep praying PLEASE. I'm so weary and worn.

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Hello again, Christfollower! I divided your first post into paragraphs just to make it easier to read. Hope you don't mind.

 

I want to comment on a lot of the points but need to go do some errands. The bottom line, though, is, none of this is really your fault. An affair is a sin, of course, but the sorrow and hurt and anger and reactions you have experienced in your marriage are not your fault. They are the result of your husband's abuse.

 

I think there is a chart showing the forms of abuse somewhere on this site but I can't find it.

 

We want to help you help your husband. When you read Joel and Kathy's two books, you will begin to feel very validated! Also, you will understand where we are coming from when we give advice.

 

I hope you can get on the call tonight -- even if you just listen in for now. Hold steady. There is hope!

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Thank you for making paragraphs. It does make it much easier to read. I appreciate your compassion. I don't know what will happen. I will try to find the chart you are speaking of and I have got one of their books to start reading. Thank you so much for your advice. I'm holding onto Christ. Tightly.

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You are certainly welcome. I have been helped here and long to see others set free to enjoy their marriages!

 

Kathy replied to you over on the Quick Messages section. I'm going to place her post here and delete the thread over there. Then we will have everything in one place. I hope you won't mind.

 

Hi there Christfollower, welcome to the Marriage forum.

 

I will get a chance to read your post a little bit later.  Right now Joel and I are going to take some time to relax together.  We have been working all day.  I just wanted to let you know that we knew you were here.

 

Better yet, Joel and I will be on the Worldwide Marriage Group Call tonight at 10pm eastern. 

 

The phone number is : 857-232-0476  Code: 544475

 

Just speak up and let us know you are there.  You can even say your name is :Christfollower from the Forum.  :) 

 

Blessings my friend, Kathy

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Thank you for taking me under your wing. I'm new to any kind of forum. I feel like I can't talk to just anyone simply because of the damage that can be done through gossip and the poor example it would show to a lost world when a pastor and his wife can't get it together. Thank you so much. You are a blessing.

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I have found that my life is so similar to that book! But I've not reached the point of being brave enough to ask my husband to read it. He still feels that we both have wronged each other but I am the main reason we are in the state we're in. Because I "checked out" and sank into my own world of pity, he has lost his romantic love for. He's waited for years for me to get involved in our marriage. I can understand his point and he did change for good in a lot of ways. I guess I felt like my husband was never my safe haven. Always on guard of what I would do next to upset him....whether it was actually real or not. I conditioned myself to expect it. I pray that somehow he could read it but I'm too afraid to ask him to. How do I keep from getting angry though? While I've been reading, I see a picture of our lives and I start to feel myself get irritated because I know he would never agree to what I've read so far. I've been praying that God would help me to not become bitter....

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Thank you for your encouragement. I just got off the phone with my husband and he basically said that he feels nothing for me and the only reason he hasn't moved out is because of our children. He's tried to put on a happy face and just deal with it but is not happy. He wishes I had changed 12 years ago after my affair. He's angry because I continued to be in my bubble of sweeping things under the carpet and holding onto things grudgingly. He did change a lot. I was too busy licking my wounds to see that. He wants to move out but says he will be the bad guy because he left mommy. I'm so broken. How can a man of God not try to save his marriage. I struggle with that the most. Be willing to loose his family, his ministry.... He says I was hypersensitive to petty things. He's right. I conditioned myself to it. Then he says that maybe he should just be alone because apparently he has issues with being nice to people. Of course sarcastically. I wrote him a letter expressing my sorrow for all the wrongs I did to him. His heart is just hardened towards any love for me. He says he's prayed and prayed that he would love me again but he can't force it. He's miserable because there's tension at home. I thought we were getting along better. He says he hates going home now. I'm trying to work and not cry right now. I'm at a loss... My coworkers are lost. Im crushed that they may see that if a pastor and his wife divorce.... Where was this great God they proclaim? I'm devastated.

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My dear lady, it was your HUSBAND who needed to change years ago! Neither one of you were taught marriage God's way -- as were hardly any of us! The state of your marriage is not your fault! The only thing you and I did wrong early on was we did not hold our husbands accountable for mistreating us.

 

I want you to call Kathy. I believe it's urgent that you talk to her. She will give you advice as to what your next move should be. Please do this, okay?

 

Here's her number: 386-334-7873

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I'm hanging in there. Im so confused. Thursday night was horrible. After my husband discovered I was looking through an old cell phone of his while he wasn't home, he was irate. Calling me shady and underhanded. I admit I have hidden things in the past to make him think such. He went on to tell me he was leaving and we were telling our kids what was "going down." He accused me of telling people our business. I had told his mother that he only plays on his cell phone and I haven't seen him pick up a bible in some time. I tried to explain that it was only out of concern and not as a dig He Called me judgmental. I was crying hysterically and he told me my tears meant nothing to him. Nothing would fix our marriage and he slept on the couch. I begged him to pray with me and he somewhat did. Very sarcastically. The next day, I prayed for direction as to how to act and what to do. He called me at work to see how my morning was and hung up saying he loves me. He texted me a few times during the day and acted as if nothing happened when we got home. Saturday was ok with a couple nasty words. And today has been ok.He has told me he loves me a few times this weekend. I feel like he is running from God and satan is just reaping havoc on us. I'm weary and worn and don't really know how to process everything.

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Christfollower, I think you two can be helped. But now is the time to take a totally new step. It will require a little bravery on your part. That's okay though, because GOD is on your side!

 

I really wish you would give Kathy a call. See her cell phone number above.

 

Have you finished reading the book? If so, I suggest you read it again and be strengthened by encouraging words you probably missed before. Sometimes the basic message escapes a person because of feeling so emotionally distraught during the first reading.

 

Phone Kathy, okay? If you get her voicemail keep trying until she is able to answer. She told me she wants to take your call!

 

God's blessing of peace to you, CF.

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Thank you for responding. I will try to text you today, Kathy. I'm limited to when I feel safe to text as I know my husband would probably not be very happy. He thinks I'm bringing people into our business and I'm just not up for an argument. He had spouts of a few harsh words last night but it didn't turn into a blowout. He just seems sad, playing on his cell phone. I know it's because he's not happy at home with me. I just feel like satan is out to destroy and I feel like I can't give up on him yet. My prayer has been more of his relationship being restored with God than as much restoring our marriage. He doesn't need me. But he needs God.

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