Friday, November 4, 2016

Filled With Regrets

I'm Hurting Right Now

The feelings I share here are real.
I am transparent with the details I've spilled out on the pages of the internet.

The purpose of this blog is to give hope to those who might think their marriage is destined to end because of infidelity. 

I point readers to God's redemptive truth as revealed in the Bible and in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

I don't want to paint an image that masks the harsh realities. I talked a little bit about some of the difficulties in my post, "It Won't Be An Easy Fix."

You see, while I am now so deeply in love with my wife, I painfully ache on the inside. Sometimes, a substantial weight sits steadily on my chest. It feels real. It's not a metaphorical weight. 

I look back at my entire life and feel so ashamed. I know almost everyone thinks about their past mistakes and poor choices with regret, but this is killing me right now.

Here is a partial list of things that are haunting me as I write:

-giving up my virginity at age 12
-taking drugs to escape the pain after my mom died
-wasting time
-multiple sexual relationships as a teenager
-failing miserably in my career
-being a poor example of a man to my children
-not investing enough into my marriage
-failings as a father
-addiction to porn
-failure to lead my family as a Godly man 
-cheating on my wife
-nearly destroying my marriage

These are some of the major areas I've failed in the past. I hate myself sometimes. I detest looking at myself in the mirror. 

I don't see myself the way God sees me. He sees me as a dearly loved child. I see myself as the most vile of offenders. The Bible talks about being a good steward of everything we've been given, including our very lives. 

I have failed across the board. 

These Words DO Help

And still there are words speaking to us through the ages-
Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). That sounds much easier than it actually is sometimes. 

No matter what, even if your marriage has ended - and EVEN IF IT WAS YOUR FAULT - Jesus, the Healer, Redeemer, and Friend of Sinners still calls to you. He looks you in the eyes, accepting you right where you are.

He says to you, I love you so much that I was willing to give up my life on the cross to redeem and restore your broken life.

The Bible says that while we were considered enemies of God, He still sent Jesus to die on the cross in order to pay the price for our wrongs (Romans 5:8-10).

Sometimes we need to hear those words. I was so burdened as I sat down to type this post. At this moment the burden is a little lighter.

Watch this Matthew West video with the song, Mended. I pray it will encourage you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Reason This Blog Exists

I Have a Motive Here

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing...Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away...And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

                               1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Some of the points I'm trying to make with my story are to give hope, to encourage, to strengthen, and to point people in the direction of God's restorative truth. 

I've shared quite a bit of our painful journey so far. I've connected with many people who have expressed their thankfulness to know that someone else has gone through similar things and experienced healing and redemption in their marriage. 

I've made personal phone calls to various readers, connecting them with Christian marriage counselors. 

I've written many emails to readers who were thankful that I took the time to speak with them and to pray for them.

While I do want your marriage to heal, and for you to see the power of forgiveness, it would be useless if I did so without love.

I'm not telling you this in a boastful way. I'm telling you in order to make a point.

Everything my wife and I have done with this blog and with all of the connections we've made in order to support and to encourage, would be meaningless if we did not have love.

The underlying purpose behind everything we do here is because we love you.

I want you to hear and to absorb that right now. I love you. My wife loves you. We don't know you, but we understand and feel the heartache you've experienced. We don't want you to walk this journey alone. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Journey Continues for Those Without Restoration

Someone recently commented on one of my posts and reminded me of a sobering truth. Although God's grace is sufficient for us, His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

My blog examines our humanity, in that we are extremely weak and vulnerable. The partner who has been betrayed, feels crushed, weak, and completely shattered on the inside. 

The partner who has done the betrayal is also weak. They felt worthless before the infidelity ever began. They followed fleeting feelings in order to patch over deep holes and wounds on the inside. Some of those wounds span all the way back to their childhood. 

The point is, both parties involved are weak for different reasons. 

When a spouse chooses forgiveness, it isn't that they have some kind of superhuman strength. What they are displaying is the amazing grace given to humanity through the unimaginable compassion of Christ Jesus. That gift was given to us before we were even aware of it. That grace is sufficient to redeem us into a beautiful relationship with our Heavenly Father.

The person's comment that I mentioned above, talked about what happens when the relationship isn't restored. They put the reminder out there that even though my wife and I have been restored, not every relationship will end up with the same results. While that is true, I do not want to focus on that option for more than a brief moment. My goal and purpose is to point out the best possibilities. I want to give you hope! Not false hope, but genuine hope that forgiveness and restoration are possible through Christ Jesus.

I'm not painting a pretty picture with my relationship. I'm giving you a snapshot of what my wife and I have been through, and what we still face as we continue forward. There is hope for any situation. Remember, I said and did terrible things. In addition to cheating on her, I told my wife that I hated her, that I never loved her, and I filed for divorce. Even though those words were untrue, I did not believe that my heart could ever change or soften. If you've been a skeptic of miracles in today's world, just take a look at my heart. I am living proof that miracles do happen. 

That being said, the comment on my post reminded those who end up facing divorce, that in spite of the heart-wrenching pain, they should still continue to seek God. As 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, "His power is made perfect in our weakness." I agree fully. If you have sought forgiveness (or sought to forgive), prayed for your spouse, and done everything in your power to save your marriage, but your relationship is not restored, continue to pursue God. Even though your spouse might have abandoned the marriage, God has not abandoned you at all.

Remember, God says,

"...'never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'" (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Keepin' It Real

This is Why I Post

So many of you are at different stages of your journey.
Some of you are suspicious that your spouse might be cheating.
Some of you have evidence and you are trying to figure out how to confront your spouse.
Some of you have already faced the unthinkable and have confronted or been confessed to.
Some of you are panicked, worried, and desperate to find answers.
Some of you have chosen to separate and possibly divorce, simply because you couldn't imagine any alternative.
Some of you have chosen to try and make it work.
Some of you have chosen absolute forgiveness and are striving to pursue restoration.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, my wife and I made the decision to share our story to encourage you, pray for you, stand beside you, and to give you our perspective through our journey.

Many times you'll hear about ideas, plans, strategies and 'helpful' tips from marriage counselors, speakers, authors, and others. But it seems so far removed from reality. Yeah, that sounds nice and all...but does it actually work? I've never met anyone real who's gone through that. Sounds like something out of a textbook, thought up by a bunch of 'professionals' who don't have a clue about reality.

Well, here we are. Two real people. We've got kids. We've got jobs. We've been married for over 2 decades. I cheated several times. I filed for divorce. My wife forgave me. I didn't believe I could change. My family continued to pray for me. 2 years later, we are completely in love with each other. My heart was totally changed. Our marriage is unshakeable.

We share our story because we know firsthand that God can heal, change, and fully restore. When we encounter His grace and redemption, He makes a completely new creation out of us (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Our journey isn't a cakewalk. We have bumps, bruises, and difficulties along the way. I try to share some of those difficulties so that you can see the reality of the journey.

Recent Difficulty

Here's something that happened just this week. We were on an escalator in an upscale outdoor shopping center. I saw someone that I thought I recognized and so I looked at her for a moment. My wife is extremely sensitive about where my eyes focus. She made a comment about how my gaze followed this particular person, who happened to be thin and blonde.

Right away I understood how it looked. I did try to explain myself- that I thought I recognized the person - someone I hadn't seen in almost 10 years. It didn't matter. The fact is, I was looking at another woman for several seconds. That impacted my wife.

Our 10-year-old son asked me, "Why did mom say something about you looking at other women?" I told him that because of the hurtful things I've done in the past, she's extra sensitive. I said, "You know I don't check out other women." He nodded his head approvingly. I took great affirmation in his agreement. He is also ultra-sensitive. He was deeply affected by the divorce papers.

People always say, children are resilient. That just isn't true. Children are fragile. Their entire world stands on the foundation their parents create for them within the walls of their home. That is one reason our culture has completely crumbled into hatred, selfishness, entitlement, rage, and every other destructive condition you see displayed in the news. Without Godly men leading their families in prayer, and submission to God's Word (the Bible), there is no hope for positive change outside of the home.

Sorry - I went off on a tangent for a moment. Probably better to save that for another post.

As I was saying, children are NOT resilient. They are deeply troubled and wounded when their parents hurt each other with their words, actions, and separation. God's design was for both parents to function as one (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:8). One team. One purpose. One love. One vision. One life together. One family. One in submission to God and to each other.

Two years after the fact, I still see our children exhibit signs of trepidation. Thankfully, they are slowly gaining confidence and trust.

What I've Got to do

I am not tempted to check out other women. I will not allow myself to fall into that typical male pattern anymore. Regardless, I am now reminded of how much more carefully I've got to walk through life. My job is to love and protect my wife. I damaged her self worth, trust, and confidence in the past. If I now have to avoid looking at a person I think I might know, then so be it. Which is worth more - trying to figure out if I recognize someone, or protecting my wife at all costs?

I'm voting for the latter. I may have violated my marriage vows in the past, but I will uphold them at all costs from now until the day I die.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Vulnerability is Key

Infidelity is Painful

Thank you Captain Obvious for that heading. The pain experienced not only by the one who is betrayed, but also by the one who has cheated is probably one of the worst kinds of pain a human being can endure. Yes, the one who cheats also experiences pain, shame, guilt, self-loathing and many other secondary negative emotions. If you haven't read the post, "Raw Words From My Wife," from the perspective of one who has been cheated on, I'd encourage you to take a look at the way she's expressed herself.

The Results Leave Us Captive

When a person makes the conscious decision to let their thoughts wander, "If this marriage doesn't work out..." it causes a tiny and almost unnoticeable callous to form on their heart. From there, they begin to fantasize, "If I were married to that person instead..." Their eyes wander, and the construction of small protective stones begins to build up around their heart. The likelihood of an affair is much more possible at this point. Sometimes people can even enter into a marital relationship with stones covering and protecting their hearts from prior hurts. Vulnerability with their spouse isn't even possible anymore because they have sealed it away behind thick, cold layers.

The Bible has wisdom to prevent such things.

I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman - Job 31:1

If we made covenants with our eyes not to lust, the 'if this marriage doesn't work out factor' would not enter into the equation.

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart - 2 Timothy 2:22

If we truly fled from youthful lusts and desires, while pursuing righteousness, an affair would not happen - even within one's mind or thought life.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord - Ephesians 5:22

If wives submitted themselves fully to their husbands, they wouldn't give in when someone else offers attention or affirmation that might be lacking in their marital relationship.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her - Ephesians 5:25

If husbands sacrificially loved their wives in the same way that Christ Jesus loved the church, they would not allow their minds to even entertain the thought of having sex with another woman. They would never go out of their way to make another woman the object of their desire.

In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church - Ephesians 5:28-29

It's so easy for someone to hear words of wisdom, recognize the truth of those words, and still not apply that wisdom to their own life.

I was captive by a calloused heart. In my deepest heart of hearts, beneath all of the protective layers, I never wanted to be a cheater. I never wanted to be the kind of person who caused another person to experience heart-piercing pain.

Dealing With Vulnerability 

After all was said and done: I confessed, I filed for divorce, my wife continued to pray, my wife chose forgiveness, I ended up recanting the divorce papers, and of course there was still the issue of vulnerability.

In the beginning of our journey to restoration, I was unable to recognize my lack of vulnerability. I was unable to recognize my hidden and protected heart. I was unable to make conscious steps towards full vulnerability.

Through prayer and willful decisions to open myself up to the possibility of being hurt (and that's the major reason for a lack of vulnerability - the desire to protect oneself from being hurt), my heart began to emerge. The calloused layers peeled back.

Where We're At Now

I love my wife with all of my heart! I understand that there is risk when you truly and fully love someone. I understand that I've opened myself up to the potential for deep pain. But this is where trust comes in. I trust my wife not to hurt me. I have made a choice to trust her fully. She has never done anything to violate that trust, but the hurts from my past made that decision difficult.

My wife wants to fully trust me. My wife wants to be fully vulnerable with me. Over the past two years, she has come a long way in that regard. This decision feels dangerous for her, in terms of what my past actions have taught her.

We are moving towards full trust and vulnerability. One day at a time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Frustrating Fault of Mine

I Feel Like My Hands Are Tied

Something you ought to know about me - I don't have a great filter when I'm talking to people. I have a habit of just blurting out whatever comes to my mind. 

Think before you speak. I remember my parents repeating those words quite a few times in my childhood.

It's not that I purposefully try to make situations awkward, or that I have the intention of hurting my beautiful wife. It's just that my care-free impulsiveness takes the reins more often than not. Some of that impulsiveness probably contributed to my promiscuity and infidelity, in addition to all of the "Shapes from the Past" that hadn't been dealt with.

Scripture comes to mind, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak..." (James 1:19 NIV). 

What does that have to do with this blog?

Well, there are several things I want to just blurt out on these virtual pages. 

Thinking before I speak quickly translates to thinking before I type something as well. Sometimes I'll get inspired to talk about something that happened in our marriage that I want to share with all of you. I'll type it out & publish it, only to find out that my wife wasn't 100% comfortable with the information. She acknowledges that we will reveal our names, photos, and other personal details to help connect with our readers eventually. However, for now, she's not ready. I'm not going to push her. I will remain patient. 

My intention with sharing details? I want you to see a real person. I want you to be able to connect to something concrete; real life, real struggles, genuine hope, honest-to-goodness verifiable heart transformation, a beautifully restored marriage, the truth of Jesus lived out in someone's home. 

I don't know how easy that is for you. My wife and I don't have pictures of us on this blog. We don't publish our names. I have only hinted at the large metropolitan area we live near. It's still a bit vague. But when I talk about specific health issues, or how many kids we have, or that she's pregnant right now, it narrows possibilities down a bit. That makes her uncomfortable.

My goal is not to make my wife uncomfortable. Remember my post, "Rebuilding Trust?" If I truly want my wife to feel safe, I have to consider all aspects of the trust she wants to have for me again. That includes topics and details that I put here on this blog.

Good Generic Information

So, for now, I will do my best to continue publishing relevant information while not compromising my wife's trust. Wouldn't that be a kind of double-standard: My desire to help inspire others and to send a message of hope at the expense of my wife? I can't do that. 

More Detailed Information

What has helped you so far? What is it about this blog or our story that you've connected with? What stage are you at in your relationship? Have you recently discovered your spouse has cheated? Are you only suspicious right now? Was it years ago? Are you on the brink of divorce? Have you kept it a secret? Are you working on restoration? Drop us a line. We'd love to connect with you & to pray for your marriage.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Weekend to Remember

I Encourage You to Attend!

Check out these great resources!!
My wife and I are at the Family Life Weekend to Remember in Irvine. I had to share some of these resources with you.

This first one has several options: A Oneness Prayer Challenge by texting ONENESS to 33733, Something to FOOLPROOF YOUR ANNIVERSARY by texting CELEBRATE to 33733, and other resources by texting FAMILYLIFE to 33733.

The speaker said at the close of the first session, "Some of you came here with divorce papers in hand. I only ask one thing of you...please come back for tomorrow's session." Two years ago, I had divorce papers in hand. No, we didn't attend a marriage conference, but we did make a complete turnaround by the grace of God. I want to encourage you to click on the Weekend to Remember link above and sign up for a conference. They have conferences scheduled all over the U.S. I am not affiliated in any way with Family Life. I have absolutely zero incentive to share their events or endorsed books with you. I am simply sharing these things with you because my wife and I love you. We are praying for you. We are praying for the restoration of your marriage. It is possible! But you need as much support as possible. 


As we walked through the resource area, I came across these books. They aren't clickable links. They're only pictures of the front covers (sorry, I'm not super tech savvy). I know that some of you are on the verge of divorce. Please take a look at Before the Last Resort before you sign the dotted line.

Also, nearly every time I've been contacted by a wife who has a cheating husband, I recommend the book, Every Heart Restored. Now I'd also add to the list, Torn Asunder and Choosing Forgiveness.

I want to thank all of you who have been praying for my wife as she endures cirrhosis and this unexpected pregnancy at the same time. Thankfully we've now entered into the Second Trimester! Yay!! Please continue to pray for my wife's healing, as well as the healthy development of our sixth child. Once we find out if it's a boy or girl, I'll share that info here.

Blessings to all of you! 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Forgiven Cheaters in Ministry

What are our limits of forgiveness?

I read an article in Christianity Today, written by Bob Smietana entitled, "Few Pastors Say Adultery Should Permanently Ban Them From the Pulpit."

Apparently there are differing opinions on whether or not a pastor should ever be allowed to return to a leadership or pastoral position. Some of the ministry leaders surveyed, "think pastors who commit adultery should be permanently banned from ministry"  (Smietana 2016).

If there is an ongoing sinful lifestyle without repentance, then I agree that the person should not serve in ministry or Christian leadership. What kind of leader can they be if they profess Christ, but live in a contrasting way? Those people are hypocrites as Jesus said, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules" (Matthew 15:8-9).

However, we are all a forgiven 'something' in Christ Jesus. The Bible says "Jews and Gentiles are all alike under the power of sin...there is no one righteous, not even one...all have turned we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God" (Romans 3:9-19).

What does that mean? It's telling us that before our justification and forgiveness through our faith in Christ Jesus, we are all equally guilty - equally not able to stand in our own righteousness - equally accountable.

Therefore, we all have something sinful in our lives that requires forgiveness. We all have some kind of sinful lifestyle to be redeemed from. We all need to repent from something.

The Bible says, all have sinned and fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). There isn't a single person on this planet who is worthy in and of themself to lead as a pastor or minister of the Gospel...UNTIL they encounter the forgiveness only Christ Jesus can provide.

Who better to pastor and counsel married couples on the dangers of infidelity than a person who has fallen and then been forgiven and restored? 

Who better to mentor and minister to addicts in rehab than someone who has turned from that lifestyle and remained faithful in their sobriety?

Who better to pastor those in need of a Savior than one who has turned from their sin?

Did you know this??

You are guilty of everything covered under the law. 

What?!? I've been good. I've only messed up in small ways. I'm fit for ministry. I'm fit to lead. I'm eligible to be a pastor. 

Well, the Bible says, "whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" (James 2:10).

So, no matter what, we are all guilty and in need of forgiveness. Once we understand the amazing grace that God offers us, we can humbly love others and freely forgive them.

What does that have to do with pastors who mess up?

Shouldn't they have known better??!?!?

Yes. Absolutely. They should have known better. They blew it big time. 

BUT - part of the problem is our idolization of our leaders. We place pastors and teachers on some kind of pedestal, elevating them beyond the realistic truth that they are only flawed humans. I don't care if you've got 7 books on the NY Times best seller list. I don't care how many tens of thousands of people listen to your messages every week. I don't care how many lives have been changed as a result of your ministry (well, I do care...but I'm trying to make a point here). Regardless of what your ministry accomplishment are, they aren't your doing. They aren't because of your talent or gifts. They are a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit working through you, in spite of the fact that you're a sinful human.

Pastors sin. Church leaders sin. Ministers sin. Priests sin. But as leaders, they cause incredible heartache, disillusionment, pain, and anger when their congregants learn of some sort of secret sin like an affair.

Part of that is our fault as congregants. We have to keep things in perspective. There is only ONE person who has ever lived a sinless life. That person is Jesus. Aside from Him, pastors and leaders will sin. Hopefully not in big ways like adulterous affairs, but still they are flawed and prone to stumble.

Keys to protecting our spiritual leaders.

There are things that need to happen to help keep pastors and leaders from big falls.
-Pray for your leaders.
-Pastors, get into an accountability group with other leaders/pastors/elders.
-Church leaders, put boundaries and guidelines in place to help protect your leaders (for example, no two people of the opposite gender should ever be alone together unless they are married)...boundaries like that will help to keep your pastors above reproach.
-Pair up females in need of counseling or prayer with females in your church and males with males.
-Be proactive with these and other boundaries that will keep your leaders free from temptation.

If they do fall.

First, I know it happens more often than we'd like to admit. But, please respond with grace. Please be willing to help to restore those who are truly repentant. Create stronger boundaries and greater accountability.  Forgive. It is painful for everyone involved. But the beauty on the other side of a destructive situation can bring God glory.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Let's Do This Together

In Philippians, the Apostle Paul talks about believers in the church standing together, unified in "one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel" (Phil 1:27).

As a reminder, the gospel is the GOOD NEWS that Jesus heals, forgives, restores, gives freedom, and gives new life. Jesus is the One who claimed, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Plenty of religious figures in history have made incredible claims like that. However, Jesus is the ONLY one who was killed, and then three days later walked out of the grave - victorious over sin and death - validating His claims! 

Most of us know what happens if you take one tiny strand, weak and vulnerable in and of itself, and then bind it together with more strands. What was once weak becomes strong.

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken" (Ecc 4:12).

Here's The Problem

Porn is an epidemic. I briefly talked about it in my post entitled, "Porn is Okay." The addiction cycle that shackles hundreds of thousands of men (and women) needs to be broken. 

Sexual addictions that people pursue blindly, thinking there is some kind of realistic fulfillment and satisfaction need to be broken.

Most of us stand back shaking our heads in disgust, but WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT?

These issues destroy lives. These issues destroy relationships. These issues tear families apart.

We are in the midst of a spiritual war. It is time to take a stand and FIGHT!!!

Here's What I'm Doing About It

I am going to start with one day of prayer and fasting. I am setting the date (5/28/16) far enough in advance that YOU can participate in the event. I am setting the date far enough in advance that you can have the opportunity to share the information with others.

So please share this post with your friends, family, and other believers in Christ. Share via text, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, however you possibly can. Let's rally as many believers together as possible to stand in unity, fighting the enemy on our knees before the Throne of Grace.

MAY 28, 2016

What Is Fasting?

Fasting is an act of worship where something is sacrificed in order to seek God. Some people will fast from food and liquid. Some people will fast from food only. Some people will fast from certain kinds of foods, restricting themselves to only fruits and vegetables. I am going to fast from all foods and liquids on the day of the event.


Fasting should be a regular part of the life of a believer in the same way prayer, singing songs of praise, reading the Bible, attending a worship service at church, and taking communion are.

The purpose is to use the time you are giving up (fasting) in order to pray and seek God. So rather than sitting down for breakfast...lunch...dinner, I will go into my room, close the door, set aside all distractions, and pray. 

The Bible give instructions for fasting. Here is an excellent article about what the Bible has to say about fasting: FASTING IN THE BIBLE.

Who Can Participate?

ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST! Singles, Married, Teens, Seniors, People who have never been directly affected by porn/adultery/divorce, Any Denomination, Anyone who believes in the power of Jesus' name, Anyone who wants to stand in unity against the enemy.

What Are We Praying For?

Here is a list to start with, but don't limit yourself to these suggestions. Be led by God's Spirit as you pray:

Freedom from addiction - Restoration of families - Restoration of marriages - Freedom from porn - Downfall of the porn industry - Freedom for those working in the porn industry - Redemption for those who work in the porn industry - Freedom for those caught in the web of adultery - Hearts of grace and forgiveness for the spouses who have been hurt

Please Commit and Share

If you'd like to, post a comment to serve as your RSVP. Let's encourage one another as we stand together.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Is This More Than We Can Bear?

We have been through so much.

If you've read many of our posts, you know that my wife and I truly love each other.

In fact, it might seem like we are in a place that you and your spouse could only dream of being. I've repented (which means I've turned completely away from my sin/wrong choices). My wife has forgiven me. We have been working for nearly 2 full years on restoring our marriage and molding it into the Biblical framework for marriage. We have passionately sought after Christ Jesus as our Lord.

So, you read a post every once in a while...or maybe you've only been here a couple of times and skipped around, trying to find something that sounds similar to your situation. You find glimmers of hope. You find inspiration to keep on praying and fighting for your marriage, in spite of the popular culture's opinions. And in your mind, you might even picture us as an ideal couple now. You might think or assume that our lives don't have hangups or anything tragic anymore.

Well, I'm going to tell you about what we're currently struggling with and praying for.

My wife has Hepatitis B. Yes, usually it is thought to be a sexually transmitted disease. However, we were married rather young, and she was a virgin when we met. She has been completely faithful since the day we first entered into a relationship with each other. This was a case of "bad things happening to good people." My wife was a straight-A student. She wasn't a troublemaker as a kid. This was something that most people would say shouldn't have happened to her. We first learned about it 22 years ago when she tested positive for Hepatitis while going through prenatal care for our first son.

Hepatitis B affects the liver. Sometimes cirrhosis (basically a degeneration of the liver) is the result of hepatitis. My wife has developed cirrhosis. She has scarring on her liver. We don't know what the full extent of the damage looks like, but we are consulting with her primary care physician, as well as a liver specialist. 

Last night, we learned that she is pregnant.

Normally this would be a time for us to celebrate. We have 5 boys. We love our children. This could be our baby girl that we've hoped for. wife was just prescribed a new medication to hopefully eliminate the Hepatitis B. You probably know that medications and pregnancies don't mix well. Our concern is that every day she waits to start the medication, her liver could be getting worse.

We don't know anything more at this point. The future is completely uncertain. But isn't that the case with all of us? How many of us can say for certain that we'll wake up in the morning? Isn't each new day a blessing in and of itself?

At this point, we are trusting completely in God. Honestly, it's not fair that my beautiful, faithful, loving wife had a husband who cheated on her. It's not fair that a good girl, with so much to offer the world, would contract a disease usually reserved for those who are sexually promiscuous. She's followed the right path. This is an excellent example or evidence that there is no such thing as karma.

We know that God is sovereign. We are doing everything within our power to learn about and fight the disease. 

Here is our plan of attack (spiritually speaking):

1. Pray. "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans" (Romans 8:26). I've prayed, and I don't know what else to pray for. I know that according to the Bible, the Holy Spirit will intercede on my behalf. The point is, I'm being obedient. I'm seeking God.

2. Trust. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

3. Ask. We are asking that you lift us in prayer. Please pray for our family. Pray for my wife. Pray for our relationship. Pray for our unborn baby. Pray for healing. We have been praying for you, even though we've never met. We would be so thankful and sincerely appreciative that you would pray for us as well.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. - Psalm 18:6

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Our Biggest Obstacle So Far

There is a roadblock in our relationship

This information is good for people who are working towards restoration. If you are experiencing something similar, then by reading this, you know it's normal.

This information is also good for people who are considering cheating on their spouse. I want you to be aware of the layer-upon-layer of pain your actions will cause, even way after the fact within the realm of forgiveness.

It's on my shoulders

I continue to try to be everything, and do everything my wife needs and wants me to be. I have a mental image of the ideal husband floating around in my head, and I can't seem to make myself into him, no matter how hard I try.

One issue is the residual pain and scarring that has built up over the years. My intentions are admirable, but it's not enough. It's almost like trying to give the most incredible back rub of all time to someone with bleeding, open sores on their back. You're rubbing in a way that would feel fantastic under normal circumstances...but the harder you try, the more agitated the sores become. Then you think that applying lotion will somehow help - yeah, you get the picture.

Here it is

Back when I was involved in my final affair, my behavior was erratic. My actions were fueled with the euphoric motivation of the excitement of the affair. I am not using the word 'excitement' in a positive manner. The term 'excitement' in this situation can stand equal to the excitement or adrenaline rush a criminal faces as he's being chased by the cops. It can relate to the thrill a thief experiences as he's opening a package in a store, and stuffing items into his pockets. 

It's very similar to the euphoria associated with new love. These feelings are illusions in a sense. These feelings cannot be maintained over a long period of time. These all-consuming-emotionally-fueled feelings are not normal for everyday life. 

Many people mistakenly think those feelings mean love. Those feelings are NOT love. Those feelings are temporary. Those feelings are short-lived. Those feelings give us a momentary burst of energy, which in turn motivates us toward actions that are out of character (for the most part). 

Let me explain with a couple of examples. 

First, you know when you meet someone for the first time and you get that feeling inside? You know - the feeling that makes you think about the other person nonstop. The feeling that propels you to only show your good side. The feeling that forces you to hide all of your character flaws for as long as possible. The feeling that dissipates rather quickly once you move past the initial attraction and exhaust all of the smalltalk, so there's nothing left to talk about aside from real, raw, and truthful everyday issues. Once that happens, many people notice that the feeling is gone. They equate the absence of the feeling to having fallen out of love.

You know what I'm talking about. You've probably been there. So you behaved in a manner that was out of character for the most part. You put up masks and fronts in order to present the best and most polite version of you possible.

Now I'll give you an example of how I behaved when I had my final affair. I would make excuses to get out of the house in the middle of the night. "I just want to go ride my motorcycle." "I feel like being alone." "I'm an adult, so I can go whenever I feel like it, and I don't have to answer to you." It was out of character for me. That's not the way I normally behave or talk to my wife. The point is, I went out of my way to be with the "other woman."

Here's the Residual Problem

Now that we're 2 years away from destruction - Waaaaay on the other side of the spectrum - fully committed to each other, and divorce is not an option...there is still a residual problem. In fact, this is our biggest obstacle so far.

We live a normal life. It's busy and full, but it's normal for a conservative, Los Angeles, 2 parent household, with several children. That being said, I have to admit that I get tired. I don't have the energy of a teenager. I am over 40 years old. There seems to be so much to do, and not enough time in the day to get it all done. Unless I make arrangements to have a date night with my wife, the days and weeks slip by faster than I'd like to admit.

Our alone time where we are able to enjoy intimacy (not just physical, but emotional intimacy as well) gets shorted sometimes. 

Many nights, we will crawl into bed around midnight. We'll force our eyes to stay open in order to read our daily couple's devotional together. Most of the time we'll both stay awake while we pray together. But then we completely crash for a quick 5 hour nap before we have to start all over again with a new day.

My wife will then begin to appear a little sad, or maybe even distant. Or maybe she'll send me a text once she's at work and it'll look something like this:

I'm feeling distant lately. It's not that you've done anything specific, but it feels like you're not interested in me. You make comments about how you want to be close to me, or that you're interested in having some fun together, but you don't make any moves on me. In fact, you usually fall asleep before I do. 

When I try to talk to her about it, nothing seems to get resolved in the moment. I tell her how tired I've been. I remind her of all the things we've got on our plates. She'll then remind me of how I went out of my way for the last woman I had an affair with. 

You would go out in the middle of the night and stay gone until the early morning. You had the same schedule that you do now, but still you made huge efforts to pursue her.

That's it. I don't pursue my wife like I did with the "other woman." Our affair didn't go on and on over a period of months or years. It was short-lived. That's all my wife saw - the initial pursuit. So, unfortunately, she compares my unrealistic pursuit, fueled with energy and adrenaline with the realistic pursuit I have for her.

To be honest with you, I was already done with the "other woman" long before our affair ended. I was already looking for her replacement. I was annoyed with her voice. Her laugh made me cringe. She had more and more noticeable traits that bothered me. Her flaws were becoming more evident to me with every passing moment. I wouldn't have been able to maintain the unrealistic pursuit of her for much longer.

Regardless, it's what my wife saw. She saw me sacrificing my sleep just to be with someone. She saw me pursuing someone with everything I had in terms of time, energy, and attention.

While she knows logically that the initial pursuit is only a temporal part of the relationship, it is difficult at times.

On the other side of that, I need to remember to continue to pursue my wife. I need to make her feel loved, appreciated, and cherished on an ongoing basis. I have to make conscious efforts to sacrifice my sleep sometimes in order to give the time, energy, and attention to my wife that she needs and deserves.

God's design for marriage is ideal. I wish I'd followed it from the start.

Some people think that God makes a bunch of rules just to limit us and corral us into a little arena called the "No Fun Zone." It's not that God doesn't want us to enjoy life - it's just the opposite! He wants us to fully enjoy all that He's created. Jesus said that He came so we could have a full life (John 10:10). God makes rules and gives us parameters so that we won't live self-destructive lives.

Affairs destroy.

Trust and commitment build safety and emotional nourishment.

Our roadblock is there, but it's not permanent. I'm continuing to press forward everyday. I love my wife, and I know we'll get through this together.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Do I Actually Love My Wife?

I Love You

"Words, words, words" Hamlet (2.2)

The words are so easy to say. As Americans, we toss the word "love" around like it's as common as an article; a, an, the.

We exhaust the use of it, to the point that the word seems to hold no value at all. 

Ice cream? Love it. Tax refund? I love getting one. The new Star Wars films? LOVE them! Hanging up the phone with any given family member. Love you.

You already know the list goes on and on.

So, in essence, our loose and most common definition of 'love' is really nothing more than an intense fondness, or an upgraded liking of something.

I appreciate the ancient Greek language. There were different words for different kinds of love.

I'm not going to jump into a Greek lesson or sermon right now, but rather focus on the love I have for my wife, as well as her struggle to believe my English-language words, I love you.

Whenever I tell my wife that I love her these days, I don't just blurt out the words in a placating, meaningless, or dismissive way. I make efforts to be intentional with my tone and tenderness. I hold her hand, look her in the eyes, and I speak directly to her. 

Unfortunately, as I began to explain in my post, "What's So Difficult About Restoration?" this is truly challenging. I hurt my wife deeply. Trust was broken - not just the kind of trust when she wonders if I'm really going to the places I've told her I'm going. No. That kind of trust is easier to reestablish than the kind I'm working on rebuilding right now.

When I tell my wife that I love her, she usually responds like this, "I hope so." That kills me. I wish I could open my chest and show her the sincerity of my heart. 

I spent a long time constructing complex lies. I lied when I told myself, "I never really loved her to begin with." LIE. You might not believe how common it is for cheaters to speak those words. Honestly, you probably never really loved yourself very much, but you did love your spouse. Why else would you have spent so much time, and taken so much care to pursue your spouse in the first place? Why would you walk into a wedding ceremony, where the intent is to commit the rest of your life to this person, for better or for worse? You wouldn't. Not unless you were, or are completely insane. You've got to read this post, "In Case of Emergency." 

I might write a post about the lies cheaters tell their spouse, the lies they tell themself, the lies they tell their family and friends, and the lies they follow hook-line-and-sinker. It's not a laughing matter, but it's almost laughable the way cheaters believe their circumstance is unique and tell others, "You have no idea what it's like in my situation." The truth is, the stories, circumstances, and situations are so similar, it's sobering. The lies can be traced back to one source: "the Father of lies" (John 8:44).

"Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand" Hamlet (2.2).

Here are a couple of thoughts from the Bible on the subject of lying.

"The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy" (Proverbs 12:22).

"The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked make themselves a stench and bring shame on themselves" (Proverbs 13:5).

You see, the stench I've brought on myself are the very words I speak. My credibility is shaky at best. My wife wants to believe me, but out of the depths of self-preservation, she still needs to protect herself. 

She loves me. She stands by my side. I love her. I stand by her side. 

The only difference is that without a doubt, I know she fully loves me. 

I will remain by her side for the rest of my life. I hope and pray that my continued actions will give solid proof to my words. 

Honey, I love you with all of my heart!!! ALWAYS. FOREVER.