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Faith Overrules Infidelity In This Marriage

“We knew each other for so many years as great friends. We spent a lot of time together growing up, and when we began to date and we got married, that friendship continued,” says Chris. “We just loved doing things with each other and we preferred each other, and we hardly ever fought.”

Chris and his wife Colleen were high school sweethearts. After 20 years, their picture-perfect marriage began to fall apart after they experienced a series of losses. “Chris had some job changes. My father died and his mom died,” she shares. “Our children started moving out of the house, which really changes the dynamic, and the way that we were relating to each other was changing, too.”

“A lot of things in my life that I had control of were slipping away,” Chris says, “and I had noticed a change in my heart as it was happening. My heart was getting hard. We began to have arguments now, and we began to fight, and we weren’t used to that. We didn’t know how to fight.”

Colleen says, “Chris and I both had always wanted to keep Christ in the center of our marriage, and during that time I knew that there was a divide between us, but I really never dreamt that there was anyone else that was coming into the picture.”

But someone did. Chris had begun an affair that lasted several months.

“What started out as innocent, which was completely wrong, developed into more,” he says. “Just having someone listen to me and understand me, rather than someone who was fighting with me.”

Ashamed of what he had done, Chris confessed to Colleen. “I really was shocked that was happening,” she shares. “But then he confessed. He said ‘It’s over, let’s move forward.’ Though there was a lot of pain and a lot of back and forth for quite some time of trying to get through that, we just sort of made a decision that we did want to stay together.”

The couple decided not to tell anyone or seek out help after Chris’s affair.   

“Basically our pride prevented us from wanting to admit to anyone, you know, we’ve had this storybook marriage for so long and everybody thought that we were the poster children of marriage. And to confess that our marriage was terrible, our pride wouldn’t allow us to do that, to reach out.”

They stayed together, but Chris’s heart remained unchanged. “A hard heart is fertile ground for Satan,” he says. “I had just completely been taken over with just being self-absorbed and pleasing self, and needing to control things and control my situations because that is the way I'd always been I wasn’t going to be controlled by my wife. I wasn’t going to be told what to do, and I didn’t want the Lord telling me what to do either, how to behave.”

Four years later, Chris and Colleen met with their pastor in his office one Sunday after church. There, Chris confessed to more affairs. “I just let out a lot of anger. In my mind, in my heart, at this point, I’m done,” Colleen says.

“After I confessed to my children and they watched me pack my bags and walk out of the house, that was the hardest thing I ever went through. That was when I became completely broken,” Chris says.

Chris moved into a hotel and for the first time in years, began to seek the Lord. He studied the Word, fasted and prayed, and invited other men to pray with him. “The previous times that we had dealt with my affairs I had confessed. I don't know that I had truly repented,” he says. “When I confessed after the fourth one, that was when I came clean on everything, and I was not trying to be deceitful or hide anything anymore after that.”

Colleen began to see changes in Chris and received encouragement from scripture. “There was one morning, a Sunday morning, I was reading my Bible and the Lord showed me a verse in I Samuel,” Colleen says. “And it says, “Watch and see this great thing I’m about to do before your eyes.’ Up until that time, I had started giving up on our marriage.”

During their marriage, Chris seldom wore a wedding ring due to the nature of his work. While they were separated, he told Colleen the Lord had impressed upon him to buy a new ring. “When he told me that he got a new ring, I knew that something was happening and this was probably the first thing that I thought was one of those things that God was showing me about, ‘Watch and see these great things that I’m about to do before your eyes,’” says Colleen. “Because the ring was something that bothered me, and I hadn’t told him. I knew that something was going on, and I texted back and I said, ‘You’re walking back to me.’  Because I knew that God was in it. And if God was in it, and I could trust God, then I was all on board.”

They spent more time in counseling, and God began to heal their marriage. It’s been five years since they reunited, and they say their marriage is stronger than ever. “One of the things that the Lord had changed in me was being willing to give up control and to prefer my wife and my family and to put the Lord first rather than for me to control all of that,” Chris says. “Because His ways are better than mine.”

“He has blessed us in such a tremendous way that now I have a brand new husband, I didn’t have to get married again to have a new husband because God changed him completely from the inside out,” Coleen says. “And we just share so much more freely, so much more deeply. It’s a really sweet place to be this close.”

“Our marriage today is incredible, Chris agrees. “When someone shows you as much grace as Colleen has showed me, my love for her is exponential. When you experience God’s grace in the way that we did, He’s the one that’s made our marriage great, not us. All we’ve done is just sell out to Him and give Him our marriage and our family and our home and say ‘Lord, you just take our marriage and do with it what you need to do.’”

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