By Benescke Janse van Rensburg
Is a happy marriage possible after an extramarital affair? I would like to share an excerpt from my new book, God is stééds God.
Clarissa: “The news of my husband’s extramarital affair after a marriage of seven years, was like someone hitting me in my stomach with a fist. It did not fit into his character at all.
"Financial pressure, long working hours and stress caused us to grow apart over time. Before me lay a choice: Either I divorce JJ (rightly so) and raise our two small children alone or I put on the armor of God and fight for this marriage that I believed was from God. Many years prior, I made a prayer list of everything I wanted in a husband. JJ was everything on that list and more.
"After much prayer, I decided to stand firm and fight. Was it easy? No! The feeling of rejection after an extramarital affair leaves you with a deep wound and a lot of emotions to process. For example, at one stage I did the 40 days Love Dare from the movie, War Room, quietly with my husband. On one of the days I was instructed to write down a list of his good qualities. I simply could not write anything down. The disillusionment and reproach was just too great.
In the weeks that followed I experienced God holding me upright and when I became weak, the Holy Spirit would whisper to me, 'Just stand strong. You are not alone.’ Three important lessons led to the final turning point. The first was that I had to ask God to help me look at JJ through His eyes. When I looked at him in my hurt and bitterness, I did not notice anything good. Through God's eyes I could see that he was an excellent father to our children and a good friend to me. The second lesson was that I had to start interceding for JJ - not complaining to God about all his shortcomings, but I had to go to God with a pure heart and ask Him to help JJ become who He created him to be. True intercession is to look at your partner with empathy. In the process, God showed me things from JJ's childhood that had a bigger effect on him than what I previously thought. My prayers became more specific. And the third lesson was to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice and then you process the emotions. To remind myself of my decision, I went so far as to wash JJ's feet as a sign that I've forgiven him. Also, when he slept at night, I would pray in the house and anoint him with olive oil as a sign that I was dedicating him to God. The spiritual battle we are fighting became a bigger reality to me than ever before. The change in JJ's life and in our marriage was indescribable.
One day I attended a work function. JJ was to join me later. As I stood talking to someone, I became aware of a tall, handsome man walking up to us. When I turned around and saw JJ, my heart skipped a beat by the realization that this man was my husband. In that moment I knew that God had truly healed my heart.
Today I can write down a long list of JJ's good qualities. He's not just the tall handsome man I prayed for. He is the priest and prophet of our house. We laugh together. We cherish each other. And we both know that only God could have healed our relationship so completely!”
Clarissa is right. God can restore any broken relationship if we are willing to forgive. In Ezekiel 36:26 we read: "And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Do you have a broken relationship in your life? Let's talk to God about it and give Him a chance to heal it. God bless.
Father God, thank You for still healing broken relationships. Help me to forgive where it is needed in order to restore the relationship with (the person's name). I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
- NEW BOOK: Read the full story of Clarissa and JJ in my new book, God is stééds God (Afrikaans) together with more than 60 contemporary testimonies: https://benescke.co.za/aanlyn-winkel/ Use VERS coupon for a special price.