The other day I came across an article by Jeannie C. Iseman – who is a Yoga instructor at Wheaton College, Illinois. I want to share a part of her story in this blog that shows how important it is get counsel when things are not going well in your marriage relationship.
She wrote: “We seemed like your typical happy couple. We were successful in our jobs, active in our community, and held leadership positions at our church. But behind closed doors, we were emotionally detached and unhappy.
He said he needed space. I said I was tired of fighting for us. Then he said he didn’t love me. So I asked him to move out. I never thought it would come to this, but I was scared, angry, and exhausted.
Instead of seeking help, I chose to tirelessly “manage” my crisis and keep it hidden from those I knew. How was I to explain this to my family, my church, myself? It felt easier to micro-manage the situation than to deal with the shame of failure. So I controlled the crisis through lies and self-deception, perpetuating the illusion of an intact marriage to others and to myself. But in just one morning, I lost control of the life I was trying to manage.
While sitting in my office drinking my morning coffee, I received an anonymous email at work explaining that my husband had left me for more than just a lack of love—he had left me for another love. The email detailed how, for years, my marriage had been full of deception and infidelity.
I immediately got on the phone to ask him if this was true. Complete silence was his response, as if he couldn’t come to terms with the truth himself. I’d heard enough, so I hung up the phone. While I don’t remember much of that morning, I recall being walked out of the office by my assistant and being held by her as she flagged a cab for me.
As I sat weeping with her, for the first time, I was exposed. She knew everything, and there was no hiding from the truth anymore. Strangely, it felt good. Having to be cared for in a time of crisis and being truly known by others was far from the life of control I’d aimed for.
Letting Go, Losing Control
As I began to let go of this idol of control, the Lord came near, and he destroyed any need for space between his gaze and mine. I started attending a new church and connected with women weekly for healing prayer.
I began seeing a therapist, who helped me identify strongholds of sin in my life. I could now own my share of responsibility in the severing of our marriage. I had a community that felt my pain, knew my whole story, and still loved me.
Journeying Toward Wholeness
Slowly, the veil of shame was lifting, and I was able to see more clearly. I came to realize that while the Lord loves marriage, he desired wholeness in my life whether I was married or divorced. My marriage had become an idol to me—but I realized I had to allow for God to work through my life and be open to whatever wholeness might look like.
While I continued to have hope that my own marriage could be restored, I still had fresh wounds in need of healing and I didn’t know how or what that restoration would look like. Would restoration mean a healed marriage? Or might it mean God’s healing in my own life as a divorced and single woman? During that time, I got to know other families and couples who walked alongside me in my pain.
That fall, I found out my husband had begun attending my church. I asked him for space to heal, so we attended different services. But one Sunday, he found me between services and explained that he was coming to know the Lord in a new and profound way. While I kept an emotional distance, I also felt a sense of compassion for him that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
God Begins To Restore
By that winter, we began to speak of marital reconciliation and discussed the possibility of ending our seven-month separation. Incredibly, over time, our marriage was saved. We began to make decisions in partnership with each other, built in accountability structures, and met with mentors and counsellors for healing prayer.
Although our marital wounds were still fresh and painful, yet an encounter with Jesus instilled a new hope in us and our lives were forever changed. That next spring, we renewed our marriage vows.
Our marital covenant with each other had been broken by sin, separation, and apathy, so it was important to us to start afresh with a symbolic renewal of our promises. We knew we were also returning from a season of being distant from God, so we also renewed our baptismal vows in front of our church community as a symbolic cleansing from sin and hopeful return to the Father.
It’s been nearly six years since our fresh start. We now have two daughters. We also embrace the verse in Joel 2:25: I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.”
I felt led to share this story because I know that some of you reading this blog are where Jeannie was before her separation from her husband. But you don’t have to carry the burden alone. God put people around you to help you in your journey. If you are having a rough time in any of your primary relationships, seek help. Find someone who can speak the wisdom of God into your life. Jeannie’s story is proof that God can restore any relationship if we are open and humble enough to get help.
God Word says, “Where there is no counsel, His people fall; but in the multitude of counsellors His people are safe.” I hope you will believe what God says, and get help.
If you share your burdens with each other, you will be obeying the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2.)