PRIDE: preferring self-will to God’s will.
That was me. We had become disconnected. I thought I could just fix the problems myself (pride), and never sought out help; or for that matter, never turned to God. I was too embarrassed to ask for help. I didn’t want friends or family knowing our business. I put too much weight on what others thought and their perceptions. So I had to build a facade that would look like a happy marriage. Misty was diving into her faith and trying to allow God in, to help our marriage. I wasn’t completely on board with that. It’s not that I didn’t want to, He just wasn’t a priority.
The reality, my marriage started to fall apart well before Misty’s affairs. When it came to our finances, she was concerned with my ability to budget and make sacrifices in order to live the way we wanted to. We would have conversations, and I would tell her everything was going to be ok, but I wouldn’t change. I just wasn’t willing to make the sacrifices needed. Misty worked her butt off and for the majority of her time working, she enjoyed it. She was a very dependable, loyal, smart, hard worker. There were two or three times where she also worked a part-time job. She enjoyed those too but it all started taking a toll on her. The long drives back and forth each day to work, the time away from home with me and the boys, the normal everyday chores that needed to be done around the house, etc. I was the one who should have lifted that burden from her and gotten more serious about where our marriage really stood. I needed to be that spiritual leader she was looking for in me. I also should have been the one to take on other jobs, not her. We had started to drift apart, but I was in denial.
I remember Misty having a conversation with me while she was working, about marriage counseling. Her work had a program that was offered to their employees. We talked about it, but never pursued it. I thought,
“Why do we need counseling? Our marriage is fine. I am happy. We have both our boys and living our dream. We haven’t had anything major happen in our marriage that we can’t handle. I am a man. We don’t need counseling.”
Man…what I would have given to have knocked PRIDE out the door then!
Later, after multiple arguments, Misty told me that she thought she needed to have an affair in order to get my attention. She said that to me, and I was speechless. I was shocked but at the same time, I didn’t think she was serious. She wouldn’t do that! Several weeks had gone by since she had told me that. She was sitting on the couch waiting after I had put the boys to bed. She was starting to cry and told me she had an affair. I went numb and asked her to say it again. She was crying uncontrollably and my first thought was to console her. I just walked over to her and held her. I was in shock and disbelief. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I wanted it to be a nightmare. She continued to cry and apologize. Actually, we both were crying and apologizing. I asked myself how in the world did we get to this point?
“She was crying uncontrollably and my first thought was to console her. I just walked over to her and held her. “
I didn’t lash out in anger. Yes, I was confused and hurt, but I wanted to comfort Misty. She had come to me and confessed. I could see that she was in pain, had deep remorse, and was crying out for help. I didn’t feel like she had made this choice to hurt me. I knew she still loved me. I failed her and everything she looked for in me as her husband. We didn’t get much sleep that night, and spent the next couple of days figuring out what we were going to do. I told Misty I could forgive her.
We decided we were going to work through it on our own and not tell anyone. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and it would take a lot to gain trust again, but I was all about moving forward. Things started getting better. We did our own sort of counseling through devotionals. We were back at church. We were more engaged in each other as a couple and a family than we had been in a very long time. However, although things were much better for us we still hadn’t let anyone in on our broken marriage.
We had always had a goal for Misty to be a stay-at-home mom with our boys. We had worked hard and gotten ourselves out of debt. I remember how happy it made her, especially after the serious ankle surgery that she suffered through prior to that. Despite the hell we had went through already in our marriage, I was happy to be able to give that to her also. Misty ended up joining several women’s bible studies and led a few of them on her own. I was proud of her and started becoming more engaged with her about them. I was also jealous, because deep down I wanted to be able to have that kind of relationship with God too.
Misty carried guilt with her after suffering through two miscarriages. I won’t even try to compare a woman’s grief to a man’s grief because there isn’t a comparison. I will say though that I hurt so much for Misty during those times. I cried with her and cried alone. I tried to be there any way possible, but I knew there was only so much I could do. I also carried guilt. I questioned if I did enough for her in trying to help her through her grief.
I started to make sacrifices, and picked up a part time job. The goal was to do it for a year to get some debt paid off. I was going to have to give up helping coach Nathan’s baseball team and cut into coaching Noah’s football team. Plus my time at home was going to be more limited. It was also going to take away time for Misty and I to spend together. I ended up working a year and a half, the money made would have to go toward other hardships instead of paying off debt, and it put even more of a strain on our marriage.
Heartache is how I would describe the last couple of years. My dad, who I thought the world of, passed away four days after Misty’s second miscarriage. This was a very hard time for my family. Misty loved my dad dearly. She knew one of the things I always struggled with was trying to live up to the type of man he was. My dad was a man of faith, and those that knew him, felt that. Noah and Nathan loved him so much too! I didn’t realize it at the time, but slowly after my dad’s death and because of the things we were still trying to overcome as a husband and wife, I was becoming lost too.
I would continue to struggle with trusting Misty. Although, I had forgiven her, I still had bitterness in my heart. I had always told her she never had to worry about me getting revenge because I didn’t want to do that. I knew it was difficult for Misty to trust me despite that. I was aware of the struggles she had coming from a broken home. I was aware of the relationships she had been in the past that were not healthy. I also knew that I would never treat her like she had been treated before.
She started having her “girl’s nights out”. She needed a break, and I got that, but I would be critical every time she would go. I assumed she was doing things she shouldn’t be doing, and would treat her as such. I know there are many others who wouldn’t put up with it happening even once, but I knew Misty’s heart. I just continued to pray for her. I prayed daily and nightly. I knew she was lost. I witnessed many wonderful moments of her faith. New friendships she formed, coloring notes in her Bible, how passionate she had become about Jesus. I saw the person she had become when she allowed Christ in her heart! All I could do was weather the storms, fight as much as possible for my marriage, and continue to be the rock for her and our boys; while holding onto any faith that I still had left.
YOU GUIDE ME WITH YOUR COUNSEL, & AFTERWARD YOU WILL TAKE ME INTO GLORY. – PSALM 73:24
We would find out soon that the choice to not seek out God during any of this time or reach out to anyone else, was a huge mistake…
By His grace,