We’re only two weeks away from our 2018 CONQUER Conference. I am so excited to be able to meet some of you. I’ve been thinking and praying about what specific things God wants me to share about Being Brave and Growing Strong. So many of you have been brave and grown strong and I’ve witnessed your growth through your comments on this blog.
Here is a woman who needs our love and support. She’s scared to move forward and feels very stuck. Let’s wrap our arms around her and give her our love and God’s love.
Today’s Question: After 45 years of marriage and husband’s affairs for 43 of those years, I feel helpless. I am close to being 65. Two years ago he told me and our adult children that he has a 25-year-old daughter. I know her mother.
The daughter is now pregnant. My husband has repented and confessed. I feel like he has another family and I am not part of that life. My heart is broken to the core. It isn't about me trusting him anymore. I can't accept this daughter he has and now going to be a grandpa again.
I have forgiven him over and over again. Financially this will hurt us to divorce. But I have no respect, no love for my husband anymore. We did go to counseling but didn't get anywhere with that. I have begged him to go to a personal counselor for sexual addiction. He won't. He gets very defensive with me because I haven't erased these past 43 years of his betrayal.
I don't want to sleep with him. He gets upset. I desperately need help. I will be lonely but I am praying God will forgive me. My husband has confessed and no more affairs, but his daughter and another family will always be in His life.
Answer: My heart breaks for the suffering you’re going through. And don't feel guilty for not erasing 43 years of his betrayal. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean forgetting. In fact, sometimes it’s very helpful to remember the past. Why? So you don’t keep repeating it. Here’s an article on why you should not forget the past. Click here.
But a big piece of this suffering you’re experiencing now is in your own head. First, you’re praying God will forgive you if you get divorced.
Dear one, Biblically you are allowed to get divorced for adultery. You especially have grounds because of the circumstances of chronic and repeated adultery as well as another child being conceived outside of marriage. So what are you praying for forgiveness for? If you divorce your husband after all of this, I think God will probably say, “it’s about time, you’ve suffered enough.”
Your husband has said he’s repentant and not doing it anymore, but after a 43-year track record of continuous affairs, how could you ever believe him? He’s also not willing to do any personal work on why he’s lived his life as a serial cheater. So I wouldn’t believe that he’s not still cheating or looking for opportunities to cheat.
I certainly understand you don’t want to sleep with him nor do I think it’s safe. Has he been tested for STD’s after 43 years of multiple affairs? Of course, you don’t have admiration or respect for the man your husband has chosen to be throughout your marriage. He’s been a deceiver and a cheater. He’s refused to get help for his problem and it’s cost you a lot of grief. Not much to admire about that. Stop beating yourself up. You’ve had enough and it’s okay to say so without feeling you’re failing him or God.
Another way you are causing your own suffering is worrying about the future (I won’t have enough money, I’ll l be lonely, etc). I’m not saying don’t think or plan for the future but Jesus tells us specifically not worry because we don’t control the future, only he does (Matthew 6:3).
Worrying about what might happen to us only causes you to miss living well now and creates more suffering for you now. If you weren’t worried about the future “what if’s” how might you experience today differently? Click To Tweet
Personally, I have suffered way too much worrying about things that might happen that never did. I ruined the joy of my entire first pregnancy worrying about everything that might go wrong that never did. Worry doesn't prevent hard or bad things from happening. But worrying robs you of living well today. Don’t give worry power over your heart. Proverbs 4:23 tells us “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well-spring of life.”
The third way you are suffering is because of this child he conceived and now this future grandchild. Yes, it was wrong and sinful for him to have a sexual relationship with her mother – probably a former friend of yours. I’m sure it churns your stomach and makes your heart hurt every time you think of it. But his daughter and her unborn child are not your enemies. In a way, they too are victims of your husband’s sin. She didn’t ask for the parent she had. None of us get that choice. But God does have a plan and a reason she was born as well as a plan for this new little baby’s life. Can you trust God with that?
You are creating more suffering for yourself because you are projecting some of your anger for your husband’s sin onto her. It’s not her fault he did what he did, nor is it her child’s fault. You may choose to never have a personal relationship with her, but please let go of your anger and hatred towards her. It is only hurting you and robbing you of energy you need to focus on rebuilding your life now.
Last, you are suffering because you believe you are helpless. But I’m going to tell you a truth that is hard to absorb, but it’s still true. Just because you feel helpless, that doesn’t mean you are. How many times in your past did you “feel” something like, “I can’t do this,” or “I can't take one more thing” or “I’ll never get through this.” and guess what! You did.
You may need some counseling, coaching and/or girlfriend support to get brave and grow stronger, but you can do it. You’re not too old and it’s not too late. How do I know that? Because it is God’s will for you to thrive, not merely exist.
He tells you “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly”(John 10:10). That does not mean a life without suffering or trials, because he also tells us that life is difficult (John 16:33).
However, it does mean that you have all you need to face difficulty in a godly way (2 Peter 1:3). Whether you “feel” it or not, you have the power of Christ in you to live this life unafraid, full tilt ahead, letting your light shine so that you might be like Him and show the world what he’s like even when people betray you and let you down (Matthew 5:14-16).
So, friend, I’d like to offer you a complimentary ticket to our CONQUER Conference in Lincoln, NE in two weeks. I don’t know if you can get there, but I think you need to get your brave girl on. We will help you.
Friends, when present life stinks how do you get your brave on and press on?
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