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Restoring Your Marriage After an Affair (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
February 23, 2024 3:00 am

Restoring Your Marriage After an Affair (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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February 23, 2024 3:00 am

Infidelity can rip a marriage apart — and it’s hard to imagine a betrayal more painful than finding out your spouse is involved with someone else. Josh and Katie Walters share the story of Katie’s affair with the husband of their good friend couple, and how Katie vacillated for quite a while, torn between doing the right thing (ending the affair) and still feeling love for the other man. Meanwhile, Josh was convinced by God that divorce was wrong and he needed to love Katie as Christ loves the Church, which meant pushing through the pain and hoping against hope to rescue his marriage. (Part 2 of 2)

 

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I would think that if I stayed with Josh, I would have done the good Christian thing, and I would have ended with, like, a pal. But God would show me, Hey, I am the author of all things, emotions. I can resurrect anything. You know, don't quit in your mind. Really give me your feet. And so my heart wasn't all the way back yet, but I would say, You can have my feet.

I'm going to commit myself to you, to your plans. That's Katie Walters describing the spiritual battle she faced in deciding whether or not she'd stay in her marriage. The good news is God transformed Katie's heart and healed her relationship with her husband, Josh. And today, they're more in love than ever before. Welcome to another edition of Focus on the Family with Jim Daly.

I'm John Fuller. John, this is a really good news story and a miracle about God's grace and forgiveness and restoration of a marriage that seemed doomed to fail. I mean, when you hear the opening of this, you're going, There's no way they could have survived, because many couples believe infidelity means their relationship is over. It's the unpardonable sin, and there's no hope of reconciliation. But as Josh and Katie shared with us last time, God can do amazing things when our hearts are open and tender towards Him. He wants to heal broken hearts and bring new hope to you and your spouse. And certainly, you know, Jean and I want that, right?

Who doesn't? That's what Josh and Katie experienced. And if you missed the first part of our conversation last time, I want to urge you to get a download or CD from us or even better, get the app for your smartphone and you got the whole library right there. Check the previous episodes on YouTube, which is another way you can watch and listen.

Yeah, we're trying to be everywhere we can, where you want to listen or watch. And the Walters have captured their story, their remarkable story in a book called New Marriage, Same Couple. Don't let your worst days be your last days. And we have copies of that when you call 800, the letter A and the word family, or check the program notes for details. If you're at that point and you're wondering if your marriage may not survive, maybe there's infidelity or too much conflict or you've simply lost hope that your relationship will get better. If that describes you, I want to urge you to contact us here at Focus on the Family today. We have resources for you like our counseling team and Hope Restored, where we provide intensive counseling for couples on the brink of divorce. Don't let it happen to you. Get the help you need today.

Let's see what miracle God wants to perform in your marriage. Yeah, and again, we're just a phone call away, 800, the letter A and the word family, or check the program notes for more. Josh and Katie, welcome back to Focus. Thank you for having us.

It was really interesting. I so appreciate, again, that vulnerability that you express. And, you know, I said it last time, I'll say it again, to live that worst day of your life over and over again.

But it benefits other people. And I'm grateful that God has given you the courage to do this. And I know it's not easy. But thank you for doing it.

And, you know, we'll get into more of the benefits of a road less chosen, which is to stay together to fight for your marriage to get through an affair and to come out on the other side with what I would say would be a stronger relationship. Would you agree? Absolutely. Yeah.

So that is a good benefit right there. Let's just start with that goal in mind. And let's continue on. We talked last time about this acronym you created, which is STAY. Start with me. You know, in other words, you and God work some things out. What did I do to contribute to this? I think that takes a lot of courage.

You may not get there on day one, but that is the goal. You go into any counseling. That's what they're going to talk about in marriage counseling is what part of this do you own?

I'll tell you another part of that I didn't mention in the last episode. It is, God, what is my responsibility in this? But it was also Psalm 34 18. God's close to the brokenhearted. Like there was grief and pain that I needed comfort. That's easy to take to your spouse. Hey, help me with this. Comfort me in this.

You're not meeting my needs. So yeah, S was very much a, a me and God starting point. There's such a deflecting approach that we as human beings have. I mean, David had it right until Nathan confronted him, but we have an incredible inability to look at ourselves. I mean, we're generally perfect.

We didn't do anything wrong. He was the problem. She was the problem. Lord, deal with her. That's not what the S is for. I don't even know S word that starts with deal with her or deal with him, right? It's deal with me.

Start with me. So that's good. T was take quitting off the table. Some describe that as divorce is not in our vocabulary and that's healthy. Allow others to be part of the story and then yield to the vision. So in that T, just to finish off, cause we didn't get to this question last time. Josh, during your recovery process, you and Katie did something called confessional therapy. I'm not familiar with that.

So how did that work in this situation? We had never in the past confessed our sin to each other. And so a lot of that is the thought of, you know, God is faithful and just to forgive us of all of our sin cleanse, purify us from all unrighteousness.

But scripture also speaks to confess your sin one to another that you may be healed. And so I think there was a lot of healing in that season that came from really it being the first time that we confessed the hardest thing to one another. And so it brought us to a place of sharing, you know, Katie would say things like, Hey, I used to wear this headband for him and we would throw it away together.

You know, I never been so excited to throw away a headband or she would share a thought. And every time she did, it was so counterintuitive cause you would think something so painful would, would drive me away, but it was an invitation closer. And that I realized like, man, she didn't have to tell me that and she chose to. And so it somehow built intimacy the more we were willing to do that.

And we had to get language around it cause it wasn't common, especially for me, it would be really hard. So I'd have to say like, Hey, can I tell you something hard? And it let me know, is she in the frame of mind?

Is she stressed with the day and dinner and the kids? Can I say something like that right now? Or she would say something like, Hey, can you handle me?

And that was her way of saying like, Hey, I'm about to say something that could hurt you. And I would have to, you know, yeah, this is a good time. Right. Well, that's good transactional cause you can be in not a very good emotional place and that's the last thing you want to hear. Right. Yeah. Moving on into that, allow others to be part of the story. What, what does that look like?

I mean, that could be really dangerous. I would think initially that, you know, can you trust these people if you're going to talk about your situation? Well, one thing that helped us in this part of our story is I had a night, probably the lowest night of our whole story where Josh had found out something I had not confessed to him. He was really upset.

We're at my parents' house. And that was the first night that he had chosen not to sleep in the bed with me. And I was so full of shame. And in this night I actually was so low, you know, that shame is trying to take your life. I mean, truly for anybody who's felt this shame before. And where is this in the process?

This is probably about three to four months afterwards. Okay. After the revelation, after the confession, we're here at my mom's house and we're still trying to rebuild. But of course I have all the public shame, but now I also feel this just distance with Josh because there was still the like pursuit. I mean, it was almost like a, yeah, so you were like her back.

Yes. And so in this night, you know, I honestly got a knife. I mean, I was feeling so low, but I also had my Bible beside me and I pulled my Bible towards me. And in this low moment I started to hear God's voice and I started to hear him say, Katie, I love you.

I have plans for your life. Once I could start to hear the voice of God again, I realized he was kinder than any Christian I had ever known. And that freedom started to help me understand that we didn't have to hide anymore from other people. We, we had been the pastors, the leaders, you have to know what you're doing.

You have to have it all together. But that changed in our story because we started to realize why would I fear man when I have a loving God who knows everything, who still loves us. And I think for me, that's where early on part of it was what I would say was adulting. You know, we were in our early twenties and had gotten master's degrees, started building a family, our first professional jobs, and no one put it on me, but I just felt this pressure to posture to be the man that had the answers to be successful. I think that's very normal.

Yeah. And it works for you at times until you find yourself in a situation that you can't fix. And so I don't want to rush by that because you know, that was a suicidal ideation. I mean, you were thinking, I mean the, the fact of a knife and a Bible right there, that's quite powerful. Well, John 10, 10 has always been our life first.

You know, we like carved it in our driveway of our first home, but we say we didn't pay enough attention to the fact that the first part is a warning. You know, the second part is a promise, but when he says, steal, kill and destroy. And whenever you've been faced with a temptation or like I said before, when everyone gets lost, you know, at times away from God, but the enemy's goal is to still kill and to destroy our lives. And that's what shame is meant to do. That's why as Christians, we need to draw close to those that are broken with compassion because that's what Jesus would do. You know, and I would hope in that desperation, you know, especially teenagers just in the issue of suicide. I mean, there's a suicide hotline. They call for help, make sure that that pain is known by your family. My wife's family has suffered that twice, two suicides within her family. So it's an unfortunate thing to get to know how to respond in those situations, but it's a desperate time.

It's the lowest a human being can be when you're actually thinking of taking your life because of that shame. Yeah, it's so true. And that's when, you know, this is critical moments. There's many critical moments in your life, but you definitely need outside voices, godly voices, counsel. You know why I love all that you offer here with Focus on the Family, but that's that allow others to be a part of your story because we had realized that the enemy was not each other.

We had a real enemy that we were fighting, but we also needed guidance to help us rebuild. And so it was easier to do that in brokenness because we were at such a point of humility, but we've encouraged so many couples. You know, Josh always says disciple means learner. So humble yourself to grow to a new place in marriage. You're going to have to allow others to come alongside of you often to give you perspective you don't have. You know, when I think about it vocationally, there's probably no greater a, an example of oil and water than being a pastor and having an affair within that context, either the pastor's wife or the pastor and it happens.

So I can only imagine that shame could run pretty deep. How did you get on your feet spiritually with that with, you know, beyond your small group, you ended up, I think going to Seacoast Church. Is that after the situation? So we were still in Columbia and I met a guy named Mac Lake who seemed to just embody husband, father, pastor, normal guy, but loved God. And he was the first guy that I met that really gave me a vision for the kind of man I wanted to be. So I asked him, Hey, if I can cut your grass, wash your car, there's anything I can do to just be around you. So I would drive up from Columbia and he was the leadership development pastor at Seacoast at the time and we would do goal setting and he would be like, all right, Josh, what are your goals for this year? And I just remember thinking like I'm unemployed and my marriage has busted my goals.

Like what are you doing? And I remember he processed it with me and I remember one of them being, he challenged me to be mentally present, not just physically present. And so even just walking through the process of creating goals like that in a painful season, I just think I, man, it was a day at a time, a step at a time, God giving me what I needed for that moment for that day and trusting him with tomorrow. How about you, Katie? What was their message to you?

Well, it was incredible. So we moved to Seacoast really to be around Mac and his wife Cindy and my mom was on staff there as the women's pastor, but we didn't think we would ever do ministry again. I really thought I had taken that from Josh and you know, we saw Mac as this man and Cindy as people that focused on their family. You know, you think about everybody says exactly like everyone says they want to focus on their family, but do they really, you know, that's right. But they did, they really prioritize their family. And so when we would sit with them in small group week after week, you know, they just had hope.

They had never been through betrayal like we had. In fact, Cindy used to tell me, I mean, Mac's just always been my best friend. And I'm thinking your best friend.

I can't stand this man. You know, I was just in such a dark place, but they just gave us hope. They're like, God is with you. God's going to get you through it. You know, I would look at her and she would say, what are you scared of? And I would say, I'm scared of me.

Like, what if I do this again? You know, and she would say, God is with you. God's got you. You know, she just gave us hope and love, encouragement and walked with us through pain. And it definitely changed our life because that's what we hope to offer others when we sit with them and couples and have coffee with them is just to give them the same supernatural hope that if God is for you, nothing can be against you.

He can renew, you know, all things. So they continued to just do that for us, which was incredible. You talk about celebrating markers. I think, you know, the Old Testament, certainly the Jewish people did that. They'd have a battle and then build a monument by piling rocks up and that became a marker of a great victory or whatever it might be, a moment that the Lord obviously intersected their lives.

Yeah. What are celebrating markers in this regard? Well, I remember the dark days, which anyone listening may be in right now, where every conversation leads to an argument or where it's been a long time since you've seen the like fun and flirty eyes or really enjoyed each other. When you've been through a long dark season and have a moment that is life giving and hopeful, it's like, man, you can't not celebrate because like something different happened in that season. In particular, a silly example, talk about Katie having the spiritual gift of sleeping in the car that any time I start it, sometimes it feel like before I pull out of the driveway, she's asleep. It's kind of warm and cozy.

Yeah, that's right. I remember a day where we were driving around Charleston, running errands, had got home and I had the realization like she didn't fall asleep. Like we talked the whole time. She was engaged and with me the whole time. And I just remember it being such a line in the sand of our relationship because that's the kind of stuff we did in college. Like there was so much anticipation to be around each other. I was never going to sleep when she's around, you know, and, and it happened again, you know, so it's, it's just identifying that you stopped and celebrated that like you didn't sleep today, you know, and the interesting thing is Mac used to tell us that it's almost like when you've come out of some kind of betrayal or if you're rebuilding your marriage, you go into the hospital and people come out of the hospital in different phases, you know, some at seven days, some you get an infection, you're there three months, you don't really have a timeline for these things.

And for us, we did a vow renewal a year later, which is, I would say probably a year later, we started to feel some lifts, some spiritual lifts, some emotional lift. So celebrating the markers is really important along the journey, you know, to value, look at what God's doing, just like putting up those Ebenezer. My mom is the queen of that. Like she literally has an Ebenezer wall, you know, in the back of her yard where she marks God's faithfulness, our family.

Okay, let's get into the why. Yield to God's vision, just define, you know, what that means. I think I get it, but maybe not. Well, I love vision. So vision, a definition could be just a clear mental picture of a preferred future. And you know, if anyone's listening and you lead anything, you have to give vision, you have to give a why, you have to talk about where you're going.

But I feel like a lot of times in our marriage and our families, we don't do that. And I would say a big part of our story came because we had vision drift in the sense that in college, we had a very clear picture of who we were going to be, what life was going to look like. But then we started having babies, we got jobs, you know, Life became life.

Yeah, Mike Tyson's, uh, everybody's got a plan till you get punched in the face. That's a good line. And it punched us in the face. And all of a sudden we had responded to life instead of going after the vision of who we wanted to become. Our life looked more like the result of things that had happened to us.

So yield to vision is really more about coming back to the source of saying like, okay, God, you created me with good works in advance for me to do. You came that I might have life and have it more abundantly. You've uniquely given me gifts and talents. You've put me together with this person.

Who do you want us to become together? Where are you leading us, taking us and then allowing God to speak into and guide that. You use an analogy about the forest and the trees. I think every parent we've gone to that analogy and applied it in a variety of ways, right?

Son, you're not seeing the forest through the trees. What does it mean in this context? I would say it's so natural in marriage, especially when there's conflict in a relationship to get locked in on the source of conflict. Like what was the thing that initiated this division, this problem, this pain in our relationship and to focus on that instead of the perspective of believing and trusting our God is authoring a much bigger story here and he's wanting to use this pain, this problem to sharpen us, to strengthen us, to bring us together. And so I would say the discipline of it for us was more daily having to step back from the tension, the problem, the pain to look at, all right, God, what are you doing?

Yeah, what's the bigger picture? And the parenting analogy is a great one because, you know, we told you we have a 20 year old and a three year old and with a three year old, we feel like we're kind of grandparenting at this point because everything is cute. Everything is adorable. We know she's going to get through the patsy phase. Oh those lastborns get the best parenting.

Yes, they get the best parents because you're so relaxed, you know, you enjoy it more. And but the truth is what we have is just a bigger perspective. That firstborn, I was so tied up, you know, I wanted to do it all perfect and I couldn't enjoy it, those moments.

And the same can be true in marriage. You know, when you can get this bigger picture perspective, just like Josh said, what's God doing? Where are we going?

You don't get so hung up on the small things. Josh, let me ask you about the Grand Canyon. Now this is going to be funny because I know where this is going.

I've read the story, but so often there's, if we're listening to the Lord, man, he is speaking all the time. If we can slow down and actually just see it. So you're on this trip to the Grand Canyon. I think, I think Katie's asleep in the car, if I remember correctly. And then something happens. What happens?

Yeah. So we're driving up this long narrow road with just huge, nothing but trees on all sides of us. Nothing of this resembled the beauty I was hoping for us to share together and seeing the Grand Canyon. We had just flown to Scottsdale, Arizona to purchase a car and we're driving back across the country. And I was like, let's just see something beautiful, you know, to start this drive. And so we're driving up this road, trees on both sides of us, the sun's just starting to set. And I'm thinking this was a bad idea. We're not, I don't have a clue where we are. We're not going to find it.

She's sleeping. All of a sudden we round this corner and the canyon opens up the most epic view we had ever seen in terms of sunset and the beauty of the Grand Canyon. And in that moment, God spoke and said, that's how quickly your story can change. And I had been in a season where I had hope that God could do it.

But I think I was questioning as to, would he do it? And like, how long was this going to take? And so to hear that from him, that's how quickly your story can change.

It rebirthed hope in me to where every day, every time she got home from work, I knew all it took was one moment, one dream, one word from God, and it could flip that switch inside of her heart that I couldn't touch. So I start crying. Oh my God.

You know, Katie wakes up like, what's wrong? What's wrong? God just spoke to me. That's great though. But I I've been on that.

That's Kanab, I believe, a national forest. But you come through that. Yeah.

That view that Vista is breathtaking. And up until that point, you're just on a road. Yeah. And then you make that turn and go, wow.

Yeah. Cause there's nothing like it and everything about it. You know, if you're walking through something like this in your marriage and it feels like a long, boring road, lacking any, any beauty, it just reminded me that there's a much bigger narrative at play, that there's a purpose to the road. God wants to move and work and shape something in you, but he is leading you somewhere beautiful that if you can keep going, man, he, he can do something special. Katie, let me ask you this, the, the thoughts that kept rippling through your mind.

And you've alluded to this a couple of times. Can I really love him the way I need to love him? A fair question, probably a deep hearted question, a desperate question. If I'm going to go the next, maybe 40 more years with this guy, I've got to be able to love him. What happened, uh, as you begin to try experiments to see if this is really working, if I, if I really am in love, it really was just the whole in our weakness, his power is made perfect because I had a right estimation of myself at that point. And if you've ever been through a season of deep shame or brokenness, you know, that's the truth.

We are all sinners apart from God's grace. So I had a right estimation of myself, but what I think I had a wrong estimation of was his power, his love, who he wanted to be, his active working inside of me. And so I think, you know, that's what I got to discover over that year is, wow, I have underestimated my God. You know, he's not going to leave me in this place of brokenness. He's not going to leave me as this, you know, betrayer. And that's why I think we even love sharing about our pain because we have seen all the miracles that he's done. You know, another thing that really encouraged me for that in that season of would the love be real? Like what could it, the fun, flirty, free, amazing marriage we'd always wanted. Could he still do that? That word Bara, um, in the beginning God created, um, that word created as Bara and it literally means something from nothing.

And so I just loved the, when she would say, I don't know that I love you anymore. And I was like, check, like watch him, watch him do something from nothing. You mark those words cause I know God can do it. And he did. Yeah.

That's pretty amazing. You had that attitude rather than some other things you could say. It was just, it was good. And, and that's like, man, I just feel like so much of it, the angels appearing to the shepherds behold, I bring you good news that'll cause great joy for all the people. Like if you're, if you're in a season of marriage where you would say, this is not great joy and just know that God is not done.

Like he wants abundant life for your marriage. So if it feels like nothing, just know he is the, the God of creating something from nothing. That's really good. And what a great note to end on.

This is perfect. And I'm so grateful to you for again, coming and telling us about all the flaws, but then how God tied it in a bow and that's what's most important. Uh, and the recognition that, yeah, we're broken people. And so often in the Christian community, we're trying to put that perfection forward and underneath that little wrapping paper is a lot of brokenness for all of us.

So I love that. Just the way you turn toward the Lord and said, okay, Lord, work on me and then help us. And you're walking testimony. You're your own Ebenezer.

So hopefully your mom has that on the wall. What God can do to bring a marriage together. And if you're in that spot where it's not working and there's so many thoughts you're having probably Lord, where are you?

He's there. Let's start that conversation. Give us a call. We have great caring Christian counselors and the donors allow us through their financial support to have about 20 counselors on staff.

And they do this all day long. They talk to couples, talk to people about where they're at and get them started toward healing. And of course this great book, New Marriage, Same Couple is a resource we'd like to get into your hands. If you can make a gift of any amount, if you can become a monthly sustainer, Jean and I do that.

You and Dana do that. It's a great way to help the ministry. It evens out the cash flow for the budget for the year or one time gift. Either way, we'll send you a copy of the book as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry. If you can't afford it, we are going to get it into your hands. So just call us and say, I don't have the money right now. We'll get it to you and we'll trust others. We'll cover the cost of that. Give us a call. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word family, 800-232-6459.

We're stopped by the program description. Right there you'll find a link for making a donation. Also for getting a copy of the book, New Marriage, Same Couple by Josh and Katie Walters. And then finally there's details there about Hope Restored, our marriage intensive.

We've referenced it a couple of times these past few days. What a terrific program. If you're struggling in your marriage, talk to a counselor and learn more about Hope Restored.

Again, 800, the letter A and the word family, or click the links in the program description. Josh and Katie, thank you for being with us. This is so good. Thank you for having us. We're so grateful for your ministry. And thank you for joining us as well today. We hope you've found this to be really inspirational and we trust that you have a good weekend with your family and your church family as well. Join us on Monday when we have encouragement about living a purposeful life. But what I've loved is just saying every day, God, whether I'm in business or whether I'm in full-time ministry, I am in ministry. And how can I use that for the glory of God? And then to see what God's done, I mean, it's only Him. But learning to trust Him, that still small voice in your heart, in your mind, when God prompts you, be obedient to that. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family with Jim Daly.

I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. As a parent, it's easy to find myself sitting backseat to my kids in the backseat. It's tough to be a step ahead and full honesty, I'm pretty hard on myself when that happens. But I've found Practice Makes Parent, a podcast from Focus on the Family hosted by Dr. Danny Huerta and Rebecca St. James. It helps me be more intentional and not feel alone when things get tough. Everything they share is practical and well practiced, and I can use it right away. Listen to Practice Makes Parent wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-23 05:25:07 / 2024-02-23 05:37:32 / 12

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