Saturday, October 6, 2012

Is it possible to rebuild?

When Kris and I first started going to marriage counseling, I was treading lightly.  I hadn't yet encountered The Cross.  So, while I thought all the pictures and verses on the wall were good for the ambiance, they didn't speak to my heart.

Except for one.

I saw it the very first day that we went to counseling.

I was anxious, and I'm sure I had taken a Xanax or two so I could make it through the appointment without falling completely apart.  Side note - I fell apart anyway!

But I saw this pictures on the wall and there was just something about it that drew me in.  I stepped closer and read what it said.  I don't even remember (though I see it every two weeks now) what the exact scene is in the picture, but I remember the verse.  I can remember saying to Kris, "That's interesting."

Now, you must understand that when I say that something is "interesting" it implies so much more.  Interesting means that something has happened.  Something has been sparked inside of me, and my mind starts working.

That day, I read that Bible verse and thought "That's interesting."  What it really meant was "Is that REALLY possible?"

We were only about 2 weeks past the day Kris found out about the affair.  I was still fearful.  I was still very doubtful that Kris would "never look at porn again" like he promised me the night I walked away.  I didn't believe that our marriage, without a doubt, could be restored.  I knew that we were both committed to trying, but I had told Kris, when I came home, that if it happened ONE MORE TIME, I was gone for good.

At the time I said that, I really meant it.  If I found out he was back into that same vicious cycle of addiction, I would walk away.  I would give up one last time.  At the time, my heart was too fragile.  I knew that I couldn't bear it.  I put everything on the line.  I left the affair behind, I mustered the courage to face the collateral damage (and there was a lot and it is still there), and I went home.  Not knowing if my marriage was even worth saving.

I wanted our marriage to "work", and I had seen a change in Kris, so I finally had a glimmer of hope that things COULD be different.  I just wasn't sure if it WOULD be different.

So as we approached this scary thing called "counseling" that always sounded so ominous before, I found myself looking at this Bible verse and telling my husband that I thought it was "interesting."

Each week, we went back.

And each week I would look at that picture.

And I would wonder if that could happen in our marriage.

As Kris and I grew closer, and healing took place, that verse increased my hope.

Kris and I talk sometimes about our healing process.  We've read/heard countless stories of couples who spent YEARS in counseling before their marriage was finally restored fully.

The other night, he just said "I don't know why it has been so..."

He paused and I suggested "...easy?"

He said, "No, not easy.  It happened so, I guess it WAS easy."


We cannot explain why or how God has rebuilt and restored our hearts and marriage as quickly as He has.  I think it is a miracle and I pray that God will work this same miracle in the marriages of those I know who are trying to rebuilt and heal.

But the bottom line is this:  it HAS been easy for me and Kris.

I don't know why.

I have a feeling the big picture answer is GOD.

Perhaps it is because Kris and I both understand the nature of sexual sin.  After all, he was unfaithful every single time he clicked on the images or videos.  I was unfaithful physically for years.  We both understood the cycles we went through.

I went to look up a verse that speaks to this topic and found several that hit home, one of which I don't believe I have ever read before.

Matthew 5:28 (NIV):  "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Do you realize how much weight that verse carries?  If that is true, then any time anyone looks at a woman with lust in his eyes or heart, he is committing adultery.  Adultery is happening every second of every day.  Even at church, because women haven't learned yet how to dress modestly to protect our brothers eyes and minds!  I should add the caveat that this can apply to woman as well.  Just because it is written from the male perspective doesn't mean that women aren't held to that same standard.

Hosea 4:14 (NIV):  "I will not punish your daughters when they turn to prostitution, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery, because the men themselves consort with harlots and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes--a people without understanding will come to ruin."

There are a couple of things I took from this passage.  First and foremost, isn't it interesting how the women are addressed, but then it is turned back to the actions of men?  I am in no way implying that men are to blame when women become prostitutes or commit adultery.  I just found the passage interesting.  I also really like the last part:  "a people without understanding will come to ruin."  There is so much truth in this.  Not just for us as individuals or couples or families, but for our nation as well!

The last one is the one I had never read before.  Or at least, had never read it with my eyes and heart wide open, as they are now.  I really don't remember ever reading this, and I know I have read through Proverbs at least 3 times in the course of my life.

Proverbs 6:32:  "But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself."

Re-read that!

This one, like the other, also applies to women.  And I can testify to the fact that it destroyed me.  I look back now and can't believe that I thought I was happy.  In the moment, sure, I was happy.  But I was always left wanting more.  So I would compromise more.  I would lie more.  I would destroy myself a little at a time, until there was nothing left.

Thank God that He can take my ashes and turn them into beauty.  That I can wear forgiveness like a crown. I can kiss the feet of Mercy and lay all of my burdens at the foot of the Cross.

Re-reading all of this, I realize that I went off on a tangent and still haven't told you the verse that impacted me and has stayed with me since God began to heal our marriage.  I do that from time to time.  I actually got pulled away from this particular post to write for my other blog, because a song distracted me.  Adult ADD anyone?

So, I'm at counseling and I see a picture with a Bible verse.  And I find it interesting.  I ponder it and what it could mean and how it could apply to my life.  It always seemed like a really strange verse to have up there with all of the other verses and quotes.  It's no longer odd to me.  I get it.  I understand why it is there.

Isaiah 61:4 - "They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."

Some of you have already seen the connection.  If you haven't, think about a marriage that is in ruins.  Or a marriage that has been devastated.

Maybe by finances.

Maybe by death or loss.

Maybe by addiction.

Maybe by infidelity.

Maybe just because.

Regardless of the cause, marriages are crumbling all around us.  Some of us ourselves have lived in a ruined city (marriage).

But this verse is all about HOPE.  That is why I found it so interesting when we first walked in to counseling.

I was looking for HOPE.

I needed HOPE!

And once the darkness was exposed and I confessed my sin and brought everything into the light, I found that my marriage could be rebuilt.  What had been ruined and devastated could be renewed.  I found HOPE!

And not only that--if ruined cities that have been devastated for generations can be rebuilt--this verse showed me that for generations to come, the walls don't have to crumble and fall.  They don't have to be ruined.  We can set the example now and stop the cycle of devastation in marriages for our children and their children, and their children after that!

That is more HOPE than I can really comprehend!

It is therefore NO coincidence that this passage comes after a section that has been put to music.  Verses (and a song) that I heard at that Power of Purity conference just ONE week after I chose to go home.  I can remember weeping while the song played, thinking "If I could only do that...if I could only have that..."  It was a cry of desperation at the time.  Now, it is a cry of immense JOY and HOPE and thankfulness for what God has done in my heart.

Isaiah 61:1-4 - "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.  They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.


  1. We went through a similar discovery. I came clean about a porn addiction to my wife while she was trying to stop being a sexual refuser. We both realized that we were not being true to our marriage and decided to work together to get where we are today.

    1. I'm glad you guys were able to work together and through it. I've learned that it is always worth working through. And I am so surprised at how God worked in our marriage, and want everyone else to be able to experience God's healing power in their own broken marriages (those that are broken).