We are so blessed to be with you. My name is Tye and we are going to share with you how God restored our marriage even when it seemed impossible.
Some of you may have already heard our testimony in one of the PWF events. The first time we shared about our testimony it was named “Ruins to Restoration;” it focused on the ruins part. Today we are going to focus on the restoration part!
We are going to share our struggles and how God moved in restoring our marriage.
I want to share from my perspective so that you would have an insight of what is was like for me during this season in my life. Elaine would share from her perspective too, and we hope that our testimony would give you an understanding of God’s grace in the midst of trials and lead you to have joy in every season of your marriage.
So let’s start from the beginning. Before the affair happened, our marriage was already not in a good place.
I. BEFORE AFFAIR
Our personalities were completely different. Elaine was confrontational and I wasn’t. One thing we shared was we were both competitive, and this competitiveness caused us to fight to win and not to resolve things. This was one of our biggest mistakes. Most of these fights would be extra long arguments, and eventually, I would just shut up and let Elaine win. I bottled up my feelings and this turned into a deep resentment towards her. I really felt that Elaine did not respect me, and it came to a point that my resentment of her got so bad, that it was better for me to ignore her than talk to her.
During this time, I met some friends who loved to drink. I felt accepted in this group and I felt free whenever I would leave the house and go out with them.
As Tye mentioned we already struggled during the early years of our marriage. The stark contrast of our personalities were getting harder to ignore because it was hard living together and everything felt like a competition for us. One of the challenges we faced as newly married couple was our difficulty in conceiving, it caused our intimacy to suffer. And this made the atmosphere in our home even more unbearable. I retreated and gave in to depression while Tye mentioned he found it better to spend time away from our house.
My marriage revealed all my weaknesses and character flaws. I would suggest for the wives who are present here, if you have not done this yet, to find the time to ask God to reveal every area of weakness in your marriage even if your husband is not staying with you. The revelations will help you assess your character as a woman and open the door for repentance and true transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is never too late to repent and be transformed. He revealed how I entitled I was, that I was full of pride and almost never submissive. It was humbling but it was how God started His work in my life.
II. DURING AFFAIR
Elaine’s character flaws do not justify my actions, but for a husband who does not know the Lord, it makes it a lot easier to cross those boundaries.
In this circle of friends that I was hanging out with, I met a woman whom I shared a lot with. Compared to my wife, I felt this woman understood me better. It started with just conversation, then a little flirting, and it eventually became a full blown affair. I knew it was wrong, but I made so many excuses to justify my actions. For the first time in a long time, I felt that someone respected me. Someone wanted to listen to what I had to say without interrupting￼ me. People started avoiding spending time with us, because they were scared of being seen as accomplices to the affair. This made our bond even stronger as we adopted a “us against the world” mentality.
Despite this, I felt that all this was nothing serious, I had total control and could stop anytime. This was the lie the enemy used effectively against me. I thought I was in control. This is how sin works. It’s like trying to have a lion for a pet, you think you can control it, but suddenly it eats you alive.
During this time, I was not attracted to my wife. I just didn’t have feelings for her anymore. There were days when I felt guilty but most days I was just numb from my sin. It increasingly became harder for me to hide the affair; this made my life miserable because I felt the world was closing down on me and it was inevitable that my lies would all be found out.
This was the time when my husband stopped having meaningful conversations with me. Like he said, he found that it was better to ignore me than to talk to me. We no longer had intimacy. I was very desperate to fix our marriage, I listened to every advice given to me. I took care of myself physically, attended a lot of self help seminars and did my best to submit. It was too desperate for Tye and too late for him to appreciate the things I did.
Do I regret doing all those things? Ladies, I pray that you would learn to do good to your husbands whether or not they deserve it and even if you do not get the response you are hoping for. I was not a Christian during the early years of the affair, but God did not ignore my despair and my willingness to change. Although my husband resented me and my efforts, it was God who rewarded me by revealing Himself to me through His word, sending people to share the gospel to me and giving me encouragement during this difficult season season in my life. Our efforts will not be wasted.
In Roman 12, it says:
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I remember the day when Elaine asked me if it was true. By this time, I was contemplating to come clean and admit everything. It was becoming too hard for me already, and I just wanted help. Because all my friends either avoided me or were angry with me, I really had no one to talk to.
When Elaine asked me, I felt relieved actually. It felt really good to tell the truth for a change. I told so many lies that I forgot what was true and what was false. When I admitted the affair, I felt free.
Elaine’s reaction was to “forgive and forget.” She was a new Christian then, and the forgiveness she understood was completely different from Jesus’ forgiveness. She thought she would forgive me and leave and go on with her life.
I was also resigned to that fact that we would separate. Most of my relatives had broken families, and I thought that I would be no different. If our marriage was not working before all this, certainly there was no chance now. I just felt so lost and alone.
During the early stages of the affair, I was not a Christian yet. But by God’s grace, I had already started my relationship with the Lord when I found out about the true circumstances of our marriage. As my world fell apart before my eyes, God kept me safe in the palm of His hand. This only meant that my relationship with God spared me from entertaining thoughts of suicide or giving in to depression and hopelessness. I still experienced excruciating pain, my heart constantly felt like it was breaking into pieces, I was so unstable emotionally that I thought maybe I was bipolar, and there were so many days that I had so much anger and bitterness towards my husband. I did not hate the other woman, but I did not like her either. I had no good expectations from her, but I expected so much from Tye. Betrayal is one of the hardest to deal with in marriage. God did not design marriage this way and so breaking His design truly hurt a lot.
The trauma of the affair really took a toll on Elaine. We would be okay for a while, but when she would be reminded of the things I did, she would be so angry.
We were caught in a “FIGHT-FORGIVE-FIGHT” cycle which we felt that it was taking forever and we were getting nowhere. Our fights became more violent, we destroyed most of our house by then. Things just started to get harder and harder the more we spent time together.
My double life in an adulterous relationship was difficult also. I felt responsible for destroying two lives. Elaine’s, and the other woman’s. For the wives listening, this might be hard to hear, but it’s this kind of thinking that makes it hard for the husbands to get out of an adulterous relationship. That misplaced sense of responsibility defeats the desire to do the right thing.
The soul ties we forge when we have relationships with other people other than our spouses make it even more difficult for people to break off the affair.
As a result, I was trapped in the thought that I could work on my marriage and still keep my relationship outside my marriage. The enemy’s lie? I was stuck and I had no choice.
I was not part of PWF during this difficult season in my life, I was also just a new believer. That is a disclaimer, because I failed to respond in Christlikeness for the majority of this season. Our fights became so violent, we did not know if we will still be married at the end of the day.
But it surprised us both when we endured each day, I believe it is God’s grace alone. That is why I am most blessed by the ladies of PWF, I know that it is God’s power working in each of you to be able to have joy and to choose to obey Him despite the suffering we experience. PWF is a great testimony of God’s faithfulness.
God sustained me in my most difficult season.
In Psalm 34 it says,
“The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
This is true and what a blessing it is to experience this truth in my life. It is why I consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV
I know His power is made perfect in weakness.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Cor 12:9 NIV
This is where God steps in the story. This is the point in the movie when you think all is lost, and the hero sweeps in to save the day.
God sent us people to guide us. On the night of our separation, God sent us a couple who shared the gospel with me. This stopped our decision to separate and began a two-year weekly bible study with them. During this time, we decided to commit to rebuild our marriage. God also led us to our discipleship group.
Just two months after the discovery, our mentors suggested that we attend the CCF executive couples retreat in Baguio. We almost didn’t finish it because we fought on the first night and wanted to go home. There was a storm during the retreat and our facilitators were not able to go up in time.
That is where we met Edric and Joy Mendoza. They stood in to facilitate our group until our facilitators arrived. It was there that we discovered that they just moved in the same village Elaine and I lived in. They invited us to the dgroup they were starting in our village.
In this group, we spent with godly couples. We studied God’s word regularly. We were having bible studies three times a week. Slowly as we studied God’s Word, things changed,
I began to understand His design for marriage, His character and His will. This set something off in my head and eventually, my heart. I began to see that couples didn’t have to be perfect, but just need to love God and put Him in the center of their marriage.
I thought that my husband only needed to decide to stay married and everything would be okay. But as we experienced the rollercoaster journey of the restoration of our marriage, we realised that we cannot do it on our own.
This part of our journey is the more victorious part of the story. As a couple we learned the value of accountability. We learned to be accountable to our dgroup. We learned to share our struggles and burdens with them. Suddenly we got advice from other couples having the same struggles. We learned to lift each other up through Christ.
As a husband, I learned the value of integrity. I learned to be accountable to the husbands and my dgroup leader. Most of all to God. I learned to do the right thing even when no one was looking, because I knew God was (looking).
As a couple, we learned to listen to each other. Things became clearer when God was at the centre of our marriage. We learned to fight fair and learned how to resolve conflicts on our own. We understood and accepted each other’s personality.
The story of Zaccheus in Luke 19 shows that when you wrong someone, you give restitution.
- As a husband, we must learn to give restitution
- It is offered not demanded
- I became more considerate of my wife’s feelings
- I sent her pictures where I went and who I was with
- God gave me new friends, friends who loved the Lord, which made it easier
- I stopped asking for forgiveness
- As my walk with the Lord deepened, everything fell into place
- I learned how to prioritize
- I learned to forgive my wife first
- It was harder to forgive myself
- I understood God’s forgiveness through my wife
I praise God that He opened my eyes to my own sinfulness and His forgiveness. It would have been impossible to forgive my husband otherwise. He humbled me so that I understood how destructive pride was in marriage. I learned endurance, a precious gift from the Lord because of what I experienced in my marriage. These reasons are enough for me to thank God for my testimony, the restoration of our marriage is just a bonus.
The advice I can give the wives is to be patient. God is the one who does the changing. He is the one changing your husband and you. Be merciful, God has been merciful to all of us. You need to do the same to your husband. Focus on your own walk with God. The time you spend looking at your husband to see if God has changed him is time you look away from God. If you are always filled with the Spirit, then the overflow will enable you to do all these things. Finally, pray aggressively. Pray the way David prayed. Submit all your worries and hurts to God, not to your husband. Your husband already knows how much he has hurt you. Telling him over and over again won’t knock sense into him, it may do the opposite, and push him away.
For the husbands who are in a similar situation today, I know how you feel. I know the feeling of being trapped by sin. I know the feeling of trying to do the right thing but you end up doing the wrong thing.
No husband wakes up in the morning and plans to destroy his marriage. These things are caused by sin, and sin will take you farther and deeper than you wanted to go. You think you can control it, but you really can’t. Without Christ in our lives, we are slaves to sin. The only way to get out of this is give the Bible’s instructions on marriage a chance. See what God’s design for marriage is, check it out first, and then decide. You’ll find out God’s design is so great that you’ll say “why didn’t we learn about this before?” Lastly, give Jesus the controls of your life. Hind ka pa ba pagod? Nakakapagod trying to please two people. You’ll never be happy that way. There is hope. It’s better to please God. Try this muna, everything will follow.
Matthew 6:33 says:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
We would talk to couples struggling in their marriages. They would share that they no longer feel love and that it is already impossible to restore their relationships. They would give us all the reasons why remaining married will no longer work for them. We would then share the season when we also felt no love for each other, how we stopped communicating and had no intimacy for years. When we only had resentment for each other. Those circumstances and the adultery would have been enough to end a marriage in today’s standards.
But the best years of our marriage happened after the storm. My husband blesses me so much, I truly praise God. And even though our contrasting personalities and the consequences of our past decisions remain, I am constantly reminded that God is with us.
Our God is The God of Second Chances. He wants you to have an abundant life full of joy. He wants to demolish strongholds in your life. He wants to set you free. Our marriage is a miracle only by God’s grace.
So what is it like to love the second time around? It’s amazing!