For July, we invited women involved with Beautiful at Grace Family Church to anonymously share how sex has impacted their lives. While their testimonies reveal past hurts and poor choices, each woman has seen her life and relationships restored through the power of Jesus Christ. We pray their stories bring hope and healing to your life.
If you knew me 12 years ago, you would’ve known me as a good person. I came from a nice family. I had asked Jesus into my heart at an early age and grew up in church. I even graduated from Christian school. I understood that Christ loved me, died for me and forgave me of my sins. Yet early in my marriage, I found myself entangled in an affair – something I never thought I’d entertain the thought of, let alone do. Those kind of things happened to people I knew, not to people like me.
To everyone that knew us, we had a happy, normal and successful marriage. But behind closed doors our marriage was struggling. My pride and need for approval led me to regularly put others needs above my husband’s. I always made time for my interests – my job, my friends, my hobbies, my family – above spending time with him. I’d always been the more outgoing of the two of us. I controlled our social calendar and filled it to the brim with events. I didn’t need his permission. I wasn’t going to miss out on the fun because of him.
At the time, I thought my walk with God was fine. We went to church pretty regularly – when we weren’t too tired from going out the night before. It was enough to feel like we were being good Christians on Sunday, while still being able to go our own way the rest of the week.
While I was busy with “my life,” my husband began to feel more and more isolated. If I didn’t “feel” like being intimate with him, I didn’t. Sex began to seem like another “to do” on my list of things to accomplish. His love language is physical touch. Mine is quality time, (which I mistook for social time with friends). So, like many men do, my husband turned to pornography. When I found out about it, I felt hurt and rejected. I couldn’t understand how I could possibly have played a role in “his sin.” That was his problem.
I began to spend more time with one of my male co-workers. We’d become good friends and would regularly be sent on business trips together. Like “friends” do, we would share life stories, including our marital frustrations. At the time, I didn’t see how sharing those intimate, emotional things would open the door of our hearts and ignite imaginations of, “What if…”
It wasn’t long before emotional turned physical. The whole time I kept thinking, “This isn’t me. What am I doing?” But the truth was I liked the attention. I’d always wanted to be the center of attention – in school, in friendships, in my marriage. And when I wasn’t getting the kind of attention I thought I deserved from my husband, I allowed someone else to meet that need in my life.
During this time, one Sunday my husband and I were sitting in church, (got to keep up the appearance!), when our minister was preaching on forgiveness. He said, “Sometimes God will ask you to seek forgiveness of someone you’ve offended, and you don’t know the outcome – whether or not they will forgive you. That’s not the point. God wants you to trust and obey Him, and leave the outcome up to Him.” I knew God was speaking directly to me. It was time to tell my husband what was going on.
On the drive home, I said a silent prayer. “God forgive me. I’ve sinned against you. I’ve hurt your heart and grieved your Holy Spirit with my actions. It ends today. Change me. Humble my pride and heal my brokenness. I know I need to confess my sin to my husband, but I’m scared of what might happen. Jesus, help me…”
That afternoon I told my husband what had been going on and I asked him to forgive me. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. He told me he forgave me, that he loved me, and he recognized we both had played a role in the breakdown of our marriage. We wept and held each other, and that day recommitted our marriage to each other and to God.
After many years of healing, I began to ask God how I did I fall prey to an affair. I knew better. I knew Him. I wasn’t the kind of girl who did stuff like this.
God led me to this verse, “Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all. In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are.” (Psalm 36:1-2) The Holy Spirit began to show me that while I understood God’s love, forgiveness and mercy, I did not understand what it meant to fear the Lord. To fear the Lord is to be afraid to offend God. The fear of the Lord brings protection and wisdom to your life. When you don’t fear God, your conscience becomes weak and you can’t discern right from wrong. You begin to live life with an attitude of, “If I mess up, it’s okay because God will forgive me.” And while that’s true in part, what God wants is for us to fear Him – to not even entertain the idea of messing up in the first place – and when we do mess up, to seek repentance and “go now and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)
In the 12 years that have passed, God has brought humility, healing and freedom to our hearts and our marriage. It hasn’t been easy, but His grace and mercy have overflowed as we’ve walked hand-in-hand, committed to see our marriage restored to what God intended it to be.