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May 19, 2021 6:00 am
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Tired and I was ready to walk away from our marriage and Abby's husband serves in the military, which means a lot of family moves in a huge strain on their relationship with through our podcast. Abby found hope for marriage. I don't believe that we would be where we are today on Jim Daly. Working together we can bring hope to more marriages like Abby's gift today focusonthefamily.com/real family today on Focus on the Family will hear about the heartbreak of walking away from my marriage was just too hard. Life was too hard. It wasn't worth it. I needed I needed to start over. I needed something new. I took the steps to pursue something new. I found a new relationship. I left Joe and Mike kids and I love Jill and my kids believing that that new relationship was going to be the cure-all but the problem was. I took somebody with me and that was me Mark Savage describing a very dark and confusing. Of his life as a Christian, husband and father and to hear more of his remarkable story how God stepped in to rescue their marriage and stay tuned. This is a great program for you.
Although we are to be talking about some things pretty candidly. So if you have young kids within your shot. You might go to your buds or have them move out of the room your hostess focus presidents and Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller, John infidelity is a tragic heartbreaking issue. That's what were going to be talking about today and the ramifications are so much more devastating than the culture realizes sure there may be the initial rush of excitement and indulgence for that unfaithful spouse but short-lived. We all know that.
And as Mark indicated in that tender comment.
The ultimate consequence is nothing but pain and sorrow. Sadly, most marriages don't survive an affair, because it's awfully hard to maintain a relationship of love and trust once that is broken and that they were going to say there is hope there's good news. Research shows us that couples who are willing to work through betrayal and pain with that godly forgiveness and hope can eventually rebuild that relationship and in many cases, their marriage becomes even stronger than it was before because there now so transparent there naked in the garden. Once again it's not an easy process, but we here at Focus on the Family want to encourage you if you're in that spot or you know somebody who is. This is gonna be a powerful program and certainly as we go along here for touching a nerve get in touch with Š Christian counselors who can talk things through with you and her numbers 800 the letter a in the word family. Mark and Jill Savage have served in church ministry for about 20 years. They meet the needs of families through their speaking and writing, and they have five grown children and eight grandkids and out today our conversation centers around a small but very powerful book, Jill has written called your next steps what to do when your spouse is unfaithful and we do have copies of that here of the details are in the episode notes market. Jill welcome back to focusing as I have here again this is a difficult subject, but for the radio listeners podcast to say this but you have smiles on your face that you have gotten through this being a painful moment.
I'm mostly concerned about those that are just stepping into this or they have suspicions and it may be around the corner for the listener for the Utah watch whatever my base so that's the person I have in mind right now and it's difficult this a difficult topic. It rips many marriages apart like I said in the beginning someone say thank you for your willingness to come and share it, you know, it's hard to always share may be your greatest sent ever right but it's for God's testimony that you do it I and as of healing people not hurting people and for the listeners. I know if you're suspicious or your you know your spouses just told you something's up. It feels crushing but I'm telling you, I guarantee this is gonna be helpful to you today so let's go back to the reveal. When it was found out the mark you were having an affair. What was that they like what happened you know it was a bit of that longer reveal. I would say because I knew that Mark wasn't in a good place emotionally by what was that intuition like what that woman's thing that you kind of sensed okays not a good place. He weighs discontent with life. He was easily angered, he struggled because he had left church ministry a year earlier and it just seemed like there was my identity had really been in the title pastor and I would've never have understood that and said it wasn't right, but I am in a letter in Christ. Not so. It was I was just very confused and frustrated that day came what happened say the first discovery ways when it was this relationship was just an emotional connection and I discovered it on his phone he had. We were out to dinner and he had gone to the bathroom and left his phone on the table and this person had actually texted him and I was like what is this and so we talked about it at that moment Emily talked about the guard rails in our relationship and we have an agreement that I don't text with a man without looping him and you know and he kind of said randomized it yeah it's no big deal.
You know this is as she's going through a hard time and I was just having a conversation. So we talked about the fact that he needed to leave me and from that point on which he did for maybe two weeks and then it went underground and then about four months later I came home from a speaking engagement and Mark had fallen asleep with the phone in his hand in bad and I thought how you know, bless his heart. He was so tired and I picked it up and went to plug it in and saw what was on the screen and saw that they had actually been together that we can before and I knew that this wasn't just an emotional affair had become of what what were your emotions like something I think we can all envision, but I'd love for you to articulate that to me that's betrayal in those things, but I mean honestly that my very first emotion I wanted to throw a lot like physically I am physically ill and I I whist my mind was swirling like what do I even do with this. I don't even know what to do with that and down I had a friend that knew that Mark was not in a good place. She knew that he had been in a good place for a long time and she had said to me on several different occasions. My phone is on 24 hours a day as I go back.
Thanks so much, but I'm not going call you at the middle of the night and she was like I know I'm just telling you found on 24 hours, tell you I it was 130 in the morning when I had picked that up out of his hand, because I been speaking in Chicago and that's about a 2 Hour Dr. home side driven home late and I called my friend back and I was so grateful we cried on the phone. We prayed on the phone. She stayed on the phone with me most of the night and all of this happening will Mark is in bed yeah will know I that's really important point because a lot of things could've gone sideways right there right you pull back called a friend. I think that's incredibly honestly, if you want to know the truth. They wanted to slap him but will leave you but seriously, that's an amazing first step that you made which says a lot about who you are going to the kitchen for implement. There's a lot of strange ways of people respond in this Mark let me bring it back to you from it because there was the seesaw effect that occurred over the next few weeks or months on monster where you were, you know, telling Julio that were done, it's off and then it would rekindle, describe, and even in that confusion what was going on. Well, so the Christ centered part of me wanted to restore get things figured out between Jill and I but the flesh part of me just hat I was without hope. I we had wrestled for so many years with our differences with trying to figure each of us out that I was worn out with all of that and in my absolute discouragement. I would run home and say I am staying with you. I'm ending that let's figure this out but then in my hopelessness I run back to the relationship and I did that 8×3 times and and then finally I ended up finding an apartment and moving out what was that links of time just so we get an idea of the eight times you were said that would have been from October to me so you know, the part of well over six months.
So Jill I do want to ask you because I know women right now. Some may even be screaming as a hearing this because they've gone through something in there going Jill. You should've just left him, but I think really I want to speak to the Christian community because there is a difference of a people that don't believe in Christ are not bound by those of God-given boundaries. Those God-given decrees to try to repair their marriage.
I would hope that they would because the benefits that come from that.
But for the Christian community, particularly Jill was even a Christian woman saying Jill what are you thinking let him go. You may have even gotten some of that advice. I certainly do and and speak to those two halves of the brain. You know what your logic side is telling you and then with the spirit is telling. Yeah, I mean definitely, I had people to say that I had not thought in multiple times, like at what point because this was the first issue that we had dealt with. There had been other things. There had been a background of pornography and there had been other pieces and at some point you know you think I'm tired of had I just want to be done with this one. I guess the point there's the church as well as the culture will legitimize that you had every right and you know the Bible does say you have every right to get out of this right and but I did. I did not feel released from it. I didn't feel released from it and I would ask God what to do.
I got to tell me what you in fact it was probably a day maybe two days after I discovered the physical affair that I can remember I was on my living room floor. I was home alone just bawling my eyes out, begging God to tell me what and I heard one thing one thing I heard him say I want you to 11 and I got off of the floor and I looked at heaven and I shook my fist at heaven and I said I don't know if you've noticed lately, but he's not real lovable right now, and I heard God whisper back to my heart. And sometimes you want either while and that was a moment I was like Lord you love me when I'm unlovable. I don't know how to do that is beautiful, tender moment. I have tears in my eyes because it's powerful but it is exactly the spiritual illustration that God uses throughout Scripture to define his relationship with the church right yeah you yeah your harlot you come and go, you are committed to me in the meanwhile there's nothing that we experience in this life closer. I think to the heart of God than our love for one another in marriage and the betrayal of that that's what God feels with his people and that's why I think it's so powerful is stink so much for him to put that in your heart. It went well and that really became. I mean, I learned how to love someone, you wasn't letting me back and that was a huge sin and where would you say that turning point. Maybe it was that that turning point back toward saving your marriage were to start and what did it feel like yeah I would say it was there. I ways committed to doing whatever needed to be done and at that point I really began to look at myself even deeper because one of the things I realized is I didn't cause Mark to be unfaithful, but I contributed to the dysfunction in our marriage and I needed to figure that piece out that's really hard for women to embrace. It's hard for any of us very well, but I think particularly a woman that is faithful but maybe there's something broken in the relationship are not as healthy as it could be.
Maybe physical intimacy on what it could be but it's hard to look at your own heart for that spec that it is it is, but I knew whether my marriage made it or not I needed to know what I had brought dysfunction only to the relationship. I mean, I really had that in my mind like I can't control him. I can't control what he's gonna do.
I can only change what I bring to the table and said that began the journey for me and I had to look at my critical spirit I had a critical spirit, and it was robbing Mark of I'm feeling connected to me. I had to look at the fact that I is very much a thinker. So we are opposite in the way most marriages are most marriage is the mentor, the thinker, the women are the feeler okay in our marriage were like in the other 2080.
I'm the thinker he's the feeler, and so I had to realize that my emotional strength I would and I say strength carefully with actually sending an unintentional message to my husband that I did not need or that is inadequate spiritual budgets and yeah I know I and I appreciate that Mark I do want assess a question of you when you think the tipping point.
I mean your full confusion at that point, I'm sorry to say brother, but I ain't really a task back and forth. I don't even know how your finding your gyroscope in the words your spiritual center, but obviously you're here and that's the celebration in the got CS being here.
Something got you headed in the right direction. What was that saying and what was that they about well I think it was a series of pleadings by the Lord one I wanted to meet with Jill on a consistent basis not to restore our marriage. I was very clear about that and you're in an apartment at this point you're not living together you operated were separated.
I want so I let Jill know. Hey, we have five kids. I want to do lunch every week and I said that I'm not willing to resort marriage. This is not to restore marriages because we have five children together so my friends were saying don't go my family missing. Junko and I would pray and ask God and I sensed that I was to go lots of lots of dynamics here in this relationship and in the story and so grateful to Mark and Jill Savage for sharing so candidly just say real quick. Jill has written a book called your next steps what to do when your spouse is unfaithful.
It's a great little resource and a you can get your copy by checking the episode notes or call 800 K in the word family Markham come back to because I really want to know that turning point enjoy appreciate the commentary on that from your heart. But what again what was your compass.
When did you say to yourself, maybe before Jill, this isn't about just the kids. It's about the potential of us getting back together as Jill described you're not there right now laying out the parameters look together for lunch. This is an about us right is the silent point yeah I had convinced myself of the thought that my kids would be okay. They would understand, and they didn't understand and that continued to gnaw at me. I came from a divorced family and here I was headed down the same path that continued to not me but I carried this list of issues that I held against Jill and I just could not get past the list. This relationship as I'm in this mess.
This relationship that I was in was demanding more of me more decisions and all of a sudden I'm in the same cesspool with this other relationship that I had with Jill and I I think my prayer leading up to Easter 2012 was Lord I do not know how to love Jill, I have loved her. Based upon what I would get out of it what the heck do I do and then it was Easter morning. I was such a mess. I didn't even realize it was Easter we had been helping our daughter just had one of our second grandchild right and we ended up home late that night is like 2 AM and Jill asked if I wanted to stay the night because it was so late and so I did and then I think that next morning Joe probably thought that I had completely lost it. I was totally schizophrenic.
I woke her up and I said Julie I just want you to know I'm going to file for divorce this week. The list is too great and I just don't have the energy I don't want to do what I need to do to rebuild this marriage and then Jill said she reminded me and said you know it's it's Easter Mark and Jesus Christ didn't want to go to the cross either. He asked God to take it from them. You know when he was in the garden of Gethsemane, said take this from me and then he said that not my will yours be done. And that's all I said right and in a weird way, I've been praying or thinking. I really want Easter to be different this year. I wanted it to be different than candy and rabbits which we never celebrated Easter. That way, but all of a sudden I had the realization that it was Easter and I was desperate.
II had made a complete mess.
I was overwhelmed with all of it, but I was a desperate man and I heard father God whispered to me that if I would trust him with the list. He would take care of the rest. And it was in that moment that I actually went from Jill.
I wanted divorce to all my gosh you're right it's Easter and I modified Jesus prayer not take this marriage from me, but Lord I'll do whatever you want your will be done, not mine, and I had a total pivot in my direction also denied clarity yeah you know Mark what's really revealing their I think this is so true, and I mentioned a moment ago Jill with your heart, and the women tend to look at okay what I do wrong and then do what you did.
The list is too long you have blown. It's our ego I think is that me know if this problem is you yeah you know we get that list figured out I'm out here right I mean and guys you heard it right for Mark. That's exactly the opposite of what God wants us to look at ourselves that log sets back earlier but that log in ourselves our own.
I look at our own list and did you feel that that finger in a good way, back at you listen there. Maybe that list.
That's tomorrow's news buddy right. Today's news is your list. I I found myself so overwhelmed with all of it that what I felt was God like it dad a tender dad reaching down to his toddler son who'd fallen into this mud pit and help them out while I needed it. I didn't have. I had to minimize life, who were my dad and they were unhealthy. I didn't have a good view of God and all of a sudden the real daddy God was reaching down and saying Markham help you out of this mess in my desperation I said please I'm with you Mark. I think this may be the question for the men listening yeah how do you recognize that how do you know the father's talking to you have mean because you're in the mass right.
Maybe that guy. Listening is in that mess, and he doesn't know up from down, he doesn't know right from wrong and to be able to open your heart up and say that I need to hear from you right mean how do you get there if you're stuck and you're not hearing clearly that's a really tough question. Well, my first thought is when you're in such a mess and you have a healthy thought is probably not for this probably won't Lord and in that moment of desperation because I was so bound by the list. I just knew it was Lord saying Mark give me the list. Trust me with the list and I'll take care of the rest. And he did. By the end of the day well for one I attended church for a while. I look to Jill and after I voice that prayer and I said I can I go to church with you and Eddie is like yeah and I had what was an obvious change in the lives watched you change that's great in front of my eyes.
I mean sometimes people say how could you begin to rebuild trust again when you've actually seen someone throw up the white flag of surrender. Yeah, and actually do it in front of you, which I was so grateful I got to witness that now I didn't trust that interest them and remember this is the guy that going back and forth seven times at this point in time so that at the same time. I'd never seen what just happened. But what's interesting what you're describing is you had hope.
Hope was being rekindled. Maybe not trust but yet hope that's critical. Yes, that's like the first step to getting there. Well you guys, this is been so good idea.
This is gotta go another day this essay because I do want to come back and you've done such a beautiful job laying out your circumstances and of course, not everybody circumstances of the same. We get that, but I will come back next time.
And kind of broaden this to the general audience to talk about the blame ratio mismatched motions. What you write about in the booklet Jill obsessive Mr. triggers lifetime recovery. Let's come back and extend those ideas. Those thoughts of hope. Let's not go for trust you… Get people hopeful and checking their own heart. Can we do that is absolute how to be so good and the ice want to reiterate to the listeners to the viewers that if you're in that spot or your suspecting that your spouse may be unfaithful. Paulus it's free. We have donors that have made it possible for us to have caring Christian counselors. That's why were here yes were going to do this in a Christian loving way. That's all we know we are Christ followers. So were not to give your worldly responses were to give you biblical responses to what God expects of you if you're willing to follow God in that way were willing to give you the truth, and we really do want to hear from you today are numbers 800 K and the word family 800-232-6459 or click the link in the episode show notes and when people get in touch Jim, we can tell them about hope restored, which is a terrific program in which we offer marriage counseling over several days and we seen transformations and miracles take place through the program so when you get in touch ask us more about hope restored John. Let me amplify that for moment. This is an incredible program. Most of the people that attend our hope restored intensive program only sign divorce papers or there about to sign them and they're saying okay. We agreed this will be the last thing that we try and we go back to these couples. Two years later and praise God. 80% of those couples are together doing better. I think it's one of the best things in the country to repair the damage in your marriage so give it a try and infect him.
I know a couple that went to hope restored and she said if I don't hear from God.
This week I'm gone right. She heard from God and it's been months in their together and they have hope again. So our number again if you want to hear more about hope restored essentials booklet to your next steps what to do when your spouse is unfaithful 800 K work for and were listener supported as Jim mentioned donors possible for us to provide these counseling services to you. If you're not part of the support team today. Please consider a generous gift either a multi-pledge or one-time gift. Either way will say thank you for sending this book with on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here.
Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family plan be with us tomorrow as we continue the conversation with Mark and Jill once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.
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