I can imagine the look on your face, when you read that title. I know, because I was like that once upon a time. The thought of loving my husband after I had discovered his indiscretions in our marriage was the furthest thing on my mind, or my heart. Before anything let’s look at what the Bible tells us love is:
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
— 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 [AMP]
Now that’s a mouthful, huh? Love is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Well, I have failed that plenty of times. Love takes no account of the evil done to it. Sorry, failed that one too. We all have. I am sure if you look over some of these you can find some things you need to get in check as well. So why is it any different with our spouses? Why is it so hard for us to apply these biblical truths to our marriage, yet we go against one of these very truths. And towards our very Father. Jesus.
Now that we have gone over what God tells us love is, I want to share with you what has helped me in my darkest hours when my husband’s sins had me face down crying out to God.
Nothing divulges to a woman how close or how far she is from being like Jesus than the very relationship she shares with her husband.
Before you begin praying for your husband, pray for yourself first. Your husband has a lot going on and his recent bad choices—and being the leader of the home—hinder the success of your marriage and family. The last thing you want is to have your prayers hindered or go unanswered, because of the anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness that you have allowed to take up residence in your heart. Right now, you are deeply hurt and obviously you need to take a moment to experience the Lord’s love, joy, peace, and comfort in your broken heart. God promises to give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you (Ezekiel 36:26). Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive (Matt. 21:22).
You need to take this time to release your heavy burdens, before you can intercede for anyone. Gather all your pain, hurt, sadness, anger, bitterness, and leave it at the feet of Jesus. You weren’t meant to carry that, sister. Go before God and cry out to Him. He wants to hear from you. You will pray for your husband tomorrow, but today. . .just rest in the arms of Jesus.
Love doesn’t give up. Don’t give up on your husband. He needs you now more than ever. Pray for him. War for him! As a wife the power in your prayers are much more than that of his own mother. Because you are one flesh. We may live in a society that divorces as much as they change their clothes. But this will not be you. This will not be your marriage. God restores. God heals. Want to love like Jesus? Here is your chance. Love your husband back to the cross.
Build him up, because he is already torn down. Love is kind. It is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. This is not the time to tell your spouse how he isn’t a real man, and how the neighbor’s husband would never do this to his wife. This is your chance to be his help-meet. Remember, your vows? You know that part that says, “I promise to love you in the good times and in the bad.” This is it. It is in these moments that we fulfill our vows to our husbands and to God.
He most likely has your mom, his mom, your dad, your church your mutual friends (especially if these people are not Christians) trying to crucify him for his indiscretions as it is. He doesn’t need you to do the same. Take this time to pray with him. Cover your husband in prayer. Cry out to God for this man. Ask Him to give him a clean heart. To teach him how to properly lead your family, and help him to flee temptation. Satan hates a man that is leading his family to God. The day you and your husband stood before God and vowed to say “I do,” was the day Satan made a vow to destroy your “I do.” Don’t let him. Take back what is rightfully yours!
Grace, mercy, forgiving, and forgetting. I have heard so many women say, “I can forgive him, but I can’t forget.” True, it will take time. Forgiveness usually comes faster than the forgetting part.
Every marriage has its ups and downs, and no shortage of issues requiring forgiveness. So, yes, you must forgive your husband for what he has done. Forgiveness is not for him, but for you. However, keep in mind that if you have totally, and completely forgiven your husband then in a month or a year, even ten years from now—you will not replay the details of how your husband hurt and betrayed you. Jesus forgives and He also chooses to forget all of our evil ways. When we fail to do the same, that’s when we no longer have room to blame satan for sabotaging our own marriage.
When two become one flesh (Mark 10:8) and one of them steps outside of their marriage vows, sometimes that’s just too much for people to bear. It was almost too much for me. I honestly believe that’s why Jesus included that one exception in His commandment, never to divorce—permitting it only in the case of infidelity (Matt. 19:9). I even contemplated divorcing Jarrad when I discovered his infidelity. I mean this was some heavy stuff. How could we ever get past this? But God began working on my heart, softening it, and revealing to me that I did have the capacity to forgive my husband through the power of Jesus Christ. If you asked Jarrad today, “Has Carmen ever used your past sin to hurt you or your marriage?” He can and would truthfully respond, “No, she never has.” I was able to forgive and finally forget because I have been forgiven by Jesus, who chooses to forget my sins. We extend grace and mercy handsomely because Jesus has so lavished that same grace and mercy upon us. Grace, mercy, and love, looks beyond the wrong doing to forgive the wrong doer.
Does this happen overnight? Not at all. It takes time. It takes Jesus. But when you and your husband have turned it all over to Him—in full and complete surrender—that’s when the healing begins. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Jesus does.
“But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20, NKJV)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)