Affairs are messy. I’m not trying to be glib but for lack of a better word, messy just fits. Everything becomes a mess when a man, or woman, “puts asunder” what God has joined together in holy matrimony. When asked to write this article, I was first reminded of the fight of my life. My marriage had become a mess and was breathing its last. Sadly, I saw no way to resuscitate it. In fact, if I had a magical crystal ball showing me that our marriage would be reconciled and better than, before I would NOT have believed it!
First, let me add a disclaimer that I’m not going to preach traditionally, but I am going to preach conversationally. I’m asking that you get this very meaningful heartfelt word, from my heart to yours. It’s a word I wish I would have had at the onset of my fight for our marriage. The following is what helped me to fight for and SAVE our marriage, and prayerfully will help you to do the same!
Guard Your Heart
I had it made up in my “head” we were getting a divorce! Luckily my “heart” knew best! I’m sharing this wisdom because the contributing factor to us almost getting a divorce was an ice cold, hardened heart that developed in each of us. It wasn’t until God spoke to me and said “you both have hardened hearts and that is not how I created either of you, that is NOT who the two of you are! So in order for your marriage to reconcile your hearts must be softened to one another and guarded.”
The key to guarding your heart is to talk to God about your marriage before you talk to your spouse about the marriage.
Understand that marriage is a matter of the heart. It always has and it always will be. It is no coincidence when you read most Christian marriage books, one of the key pieces of counsel provided is to “guard your heart.” In fact, Proverbs 4:23, states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
So how do you guard your heart? Philippians 4:6-7, says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Prayer is the pathway to guarding our hearts and minds with the peace of God. In other words, the key to guarding your heart is to talk to God about your marriage before you talk to your spouse about the marriage.
Prayer and Communication with God
I learned we need a strategy to fight for our marriage. Marriage is not easy, and requires a strategy and tools to be able to fight prayerfully. There are two movies that were particularly helpful after learning of my husband’s affair. The first was Fireproof. One great lesson I took away was it is so easy to think that the fault lies with our spouse.
I can remember at the beginning of this movie my husband and I were sitting defensively on the couch and by the end of this movie we were holding hands and talking with our whole hearts. It was the prescription needed to soften our hardened hearts, and it worked ever so successfully…we even ordered the Love Dare and took the 40 day “challenge” that assisted in saving our marriage!
The second movie is War Room. The movie illustrates the importance of the “trifecta” (which is a powerful strategy and tool) for Christian living: God’s Spirit (and prayer), God’s Word (the Bible), and God’s people (mentoring). We, too, used all three in fighting for our marriage.
Fight the Flesh
Understand that our God is in the business of resurrecting dead things… when you turn to Him, using God’s love as a resource, you can love in ways you never thought possible.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) …if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Once God reminded me of the above, I immediately called my husband and asked him to come over to my apartment. At this time we were separated. God had warned me that his heart had become so cold that it would take me being extremely patient and understanding while owning and admitting the fault I contributed in all of this (remember we all play a part, so ownership is necessary to reconciliation).
I’m glad God told me this beforehand because I was SHOCKED when I heard my husband say to me “I want a divorce”. We sat down and talked calmly, but it was obvious his heart had hardened and I could physically feel the coldness.
I said to him everything above that God had shared with me that I’m now sharing with you. Shortly after, Chris made his way to the door, and I asked him “do you still want a divorce?” He said “yes.” My flesh said, “well hell, I can show you better than I can tell you. You want a divorce? I will give you one.” But God reminded me to be patient, understanding and now prayerful like I have never been before!
I declared that the devil would flee from our marriage because this sister was not having it!
In order to fight for your marriage, you must fight the flesh! In most struggling marriages, husbands and wives begin to see each other as the enemy. But Satan is the one who wants to destroy marriage, and he does it by pitting husbands and wives against each other. Remember James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” I declared that the devil would flee from our marriage because this sister was not having it!
Marriage, as intended, is amazing. But you must remember that when an affair happens, casting a terrible shadow over what was once a great relationship, you can find your way back to love. Stay tuned for part two of “How to Fight for Your Marriage and Win After an Affair.”
BMWK, how else can you save your marriage after an affair?