by Amy Meyer Allen
These are just some of the things I wish I had known or done when I first found out my husband was being unfaithful.
1. You didn’t cause your husband to act out in this way. There may be some things lacking on your part, there’s no such thing as the perfect wife, but at the end of the day – he chose to sin against God. (James 1:13-15)
2. Don’t take it personally. He didn’t do this just to hurt you or make you suffer or punish you for something you’re not doing – he’s just being selfish and seeking to please himself. Depending on how ensnared he is in the addiction, he may think he needs the pornography or the other woman or the prostitutes, but he doesn’t. He may tell you it’s your fault or take the blame upon himself. But either way, you have to get beyond your feelings and try not to wallow in self-pity – it only makes it harder to get to the root issue. (1 Corinthians 13:6)
3. You must hold him responsible for his own actions. Denial is huge – it seems like the easier way out, but relief is only temporary. Do not allow the behavior to continue, but seek to find out why it started in the first place. If necessary, separate from him physically for while, until he takes ownership of his actions. (Ephesians 4:15)
4. Affirm your love for him. Make sure he knows you love him and that you want to work through this together. Don’t threaten to leave or divorce him – that only makes him want to hide the whole truth from you. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
5. Don’t shame him. We all have secret sins that need to be brought into the light. Thank God that He brought this into the light so you can work on it together. Let your husband confess his sins to you, take ownership of them and repent. (1 John 1:8-9)
6. Do not become bitter with unforgiveness. If your husband has asked for forgiveness, you must forgive him. This may not come immediately, but it must be dealt with quickly before bitterness, hatred or rage overtake you. Remember everything that God through Christ has forgiven you of. (Matthew 18:21-35)
7. Don’t try to retaliate or have an affair yourself to get him back. That will only make matters worse and give him a reason in his own mind to keep doing what he is doing. (Romans 12:17-21)
8. Get plugged into a women’s Bible study where you can study the truth of God’s word in-depth and apply it to your life. This is where you will gain your strength and the wisdom to move forward one step at a time. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
9. Pray for your husband. A great book to help you pray specifically for him is, “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie O’Martian. This is one of the greatest things you can do to promote healing in your marriage. (James 5:16)
10. Ask God if you have been disrespecting your husband in any way. Ask your husband as well. His greatest need is to feel respected by his wife and if he doesn’t, he may start to act in ways that make him feel respected or in control. A great book that explains the different needs of men and women is “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. (Ephesians 5:33)
Remember: you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength! ~ Philippians 4:13
by Amy Meyer Allen
Life certainly isn't fair. At least not from our perspective. Why can't it be easier? Why do so many people have to suffer? Why isn't life "fair"?
My Mom and I discussed some of these things as we curled up on opposite sides of the couch. The colored bulbs on the Christmas tree were our only source of light. The rest of the household slept silently in their beds. It was late but we didn't feel tired as we shared out hearts with each other. I'm always grateful for this special mother-daughter time, when I can visit from out of town.
"All I know is that I wouldn't have a close relationship with the Lord if it weren't for what happened in our marriage," I confessed to Mom. I have to learn the hard way. Unfortunately, a lot of us do. It's not like God caused the near-demise of my husband's and my marriage - our own sin and selfishness did. But God used that trial to open our eyes to His plan for our lives. He was also there to catch us when we stumbled over our own misconceptions of who God is. Reality hurts sometimes, but I'm so glad God opened my eyes to His truth - that life isn't all about me and my own happiness, but about living for Jesus and sharing his love with others. I'm comforted when Jesus says, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) It reminds me that life isn't fair, but I don't have to be afraid because Jesus has everything under control.
I've come to understand that trials, difficulties, "unfairness", all bring us closer to our Lord. If everything were perfect, we wouldn't need Jesus - and what a dark place that would be.
by Amy Meyer Allen
Have you ever read the devotional “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young? It was given to me by a friend and I just love it. I read it now every morning as part of my quiet time with the Lord. It is written from God’s perspective as if He is speaking directly to you. Let me share an example that hit home with me:
BRING ME ALL YOUR FEELINGS, even the ones you wish you didn’t have. Fear and anxiety still plague you. Feelings per se are not sinful, but they can be temptations to sin. Blazing missiles of fear fly at you day and night; these attacks from the evil one come at you relentlessly. Use your shield of faith to extinguish those flaming arrows. Affirm your trust in Me, regardless of how you feel. If you persist, your feelings will eventually fall in line with your faith.
Do not hide from your fear or pretend it isn’t there. Anxiety that you hide in the recesses of your heart will give birth to fear of fear; a monstrous stepchild. Bring your anxieties out into the Light of My Presence, where we can deal with them together. Concentrate on trusting Me, and fearfulness will gradually lose its foothold within you."
Ephesians 6:16; 1 John 1:5-7, Isaiah 12:2
Recently I was asked to speak at a women’s luncheon for Christian business women. I don’t consider myself a good speaker and get very nervous beforehand. Well, not only was I nervous, but I was being attacked in my thoughts. Satan knows my weak points. I heard someone say that Satan isn’t particularly creative. If he was able to attack you in one area of your life where you are weak, chances are he’ll attack you in the same place again and again because it works. My weak area has to do with my husband. Obviously because of what happened in the past, I get very afraid that Tim will act out again and I’ll be hurt, devastated, etc. Satan knows this and attacks me in this area. So the day before I was to give the speech, not only was I struggling with anxiety about speaking, but I started to have thoughts that Tim was acting out again and that I should snoop around his stuff and prove that I was right. Thankfully I had just finished a Bible study called “Lord, help me grow spiritually strong in 28 days.” I knew that I was being attacked but my feelings were so strong they were hard to ignore and they were becoming obsessive. I didn’t sleep much the night before so the morning of the speech I called a friend and she prayed for me. The feelings didn’t immediately subside but her prayers helped me put my focus back on God and trust Him. When I gave the speech God took over and I wasn’t nervous and delivered well what He had given me to say. Looking back I could more clearly see the warfare surrounding that talk, both on me and my husband. Tim was being attacked in his weak areas as well, but it wasn’t in the way I had imagined. Instead Satan used an old trick from years ago when we lived in Thailand: Tim felt beaten down, depressed and that life wasn’t worth living. That night after the speech, Tim and I were able to talk about what had happened. We both agreed that in the future when we know Satan is attacking us, we should tell one another and pray for one another, rather than let Satan win and start seeing each other as the adversary. I’m grateful that God’s promises are stronger than my emotions. I’m thankful that He wants me to bring all my feelings to Him and that I can trust Him with everything that is happening in my life.
I struggled with fear for years. Fear of my husband, fear of doing the wrong thing, fear of the unknown, etc. So in 2007 I decided to see what the Bible had to say about fear. I researched some of the words in Greek using my Vine's expository dictionary for the verse 2 Timothy 1:7 - "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."
I looked up "timidity" which is also translated "fearfulness" (deilia). It is very clear that this spirit is not given to us by God. The word denotes cowardice and timidity and is never used in a good sense. Jesus rebuked the disciples when they were fearful from the storm. “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26) He equated fearfulness with small faith – and even no faith in the Mark account. (Mark 4:40) Webster defines timid as lacking in courage, boldness or determination.
Next I looked up "power" (dunamis) which is a force, specifically miraculous power - usually by implying a miracle itself, ability, abundance, meaning, might, mighty (wonderful) work. When I looked up other Scriptures that talk about power, I learned these things about it:
Finally I looked up “self-control” (sophron) which means of sound mind. (sozo) means to save and (phren) means the mind. So literally it is “to save the mind”. To expand it also means restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions or desires.
So I rewrote the verse using these expanded definitions of the words:
“God did not give me a spirit of fearfulness, cowardice or lack of faith, but of miraculous power, mighty works and abundant ability, love (patience, kindness, selflessness) and a clear mind and ability to say no to my own desires, emotions and impulses.”
Therefore I wrote this call to action for myself:
“Be bold, stretch my faith, believe and trust even when I can’t see the other side. God has given me abilities and can do miraculous things through me if I let Him. He gave me His ability to love others unconditionally and He gave me a stable and healthy mind, able to say no to the flesh. He has thoroughly equipped me for the work He has called me to do. So I need to be bold and not afraid!”
Here are some other verses which have helped me over the years:
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
I was born in 1970 in Omaha, Nebraska. Although I went to church all my life, I didn't make Jesus Lord of my life until I was 29 years old. My real relationship with Him began when my marriage fell apart.