Why I Stayed and Fought for My Marriage

{In case you missed the beginning: one, two, three}

Why would I stay and fight for someone who pierced my heart and left me to bleed?

I’m sure part of the reason started when I was six or seven:
My teacher asked us to make a Happy Father’s Day card for our daddys.  I raised my hand and informed my teacher that I didn’t have a daddy.  She suggested, “Why don’t you make one for your grandpa”?  I was perplexed because I didn’t have a grandpa either.  My grandma and grandpa divorced when my mommy was two and I only met him once or twice.
I decided to make a card anyway, but that day life pierced my heart and left it to bleed for many years. As a tender child surrounded by a loving family, I experienced the deepest wound of loneliness.

Why I stayed and fought for my marriage

At first, I stayed and fought for my marriage out of fear.

Afraid to be alone.

Afraid I wouldn’t find someone else.

Afraid I would find someone else and he would break what’s left of me.

Afraid my children would experience rejection.

Afraid my children would feel the same pain of loneliness.

Afraid of the shame.

Afraid of the unknown.

Afraid of shattered dreams.

Afraid of everything.

As I began to walk through an icy hell, I had a spiritual awakening.  {Cue Kelly Clarkson.  What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.}

I encountered Love and his ravished desire for me.  His perfect love cast out my fear and set me free.

In the end, I fought for Matt because Love fought for me.  My family was restored, but even if it never was, my identity was no longer found from without, but from within, so now:

I have confidence to love.

I have power to forgive.

I have strength to be vulnerable.

38 thoughts on “Why I Stayed and Fought for My Marriage

  1. Pingback: {Part 3} I Live With a Monster ‹ The Wounded Dove

  2. Andrea says:

    You are an amazing woman of God. I pray your marriage grows and becomes stronger because of what youve been through. God will somehow bring something good out of it. God bless you Charity!

  3. denise lenz says:

    Charity, do you remember me from invigorate? i have read your blog and sobbed thru it. lou and i went thru this trial 14 years ago. you have so eloquently shared what i never could have put so well…….but you nailed the feelings that i experienced back then. i can tell you that our marriage is better now than it ever was. We are both so grateful for God’s love and forgiveness that gave us the ability to love and forgive each other. You and Matt will be eternally grateful for the restoration of you individually, as a couple, and as a family. What a legacy you’ve left for your children! And thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your life. denise

    • Charity says:

      Denise, I do remember you! I’m so glad to hear from you and that you shared your story. I love hearing about others who weathered the storm and have years to prove the worth of fighting for love. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  4. Bonnie says:

    I love you, my beautiful friend. Thank you for sharing your story with such vulnerability. It was an incredible reminder for me tonight. So thankful for the “new you”:)

  5. Alta Stone says:

    Charity, thank you so much for sharing. I can see God’s amazing love and forgiveness through your story, you blessed me sooo much. I know this was not easy to share, I appreciate your transparency & vulnerability I am sure this will help many women and even men. 2 Cor 1: 3…the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God Will be praying for you & Matt and family love and blessings Alta

  6. Renee says:

    Charity, I’ve enjoyed reading more about your journey. My daughter has been on a similar journey and fought valiantly for 4+ years to save her marriage. In the end, her husband would not give up his women, and I couldn’t bear my daughter’s pain any longer. After 16 years, and 3 children she left. She has made it through this first year on her own, and she and her children know it is because of God’s goodness to them. Nothing else.

    • Charity says:

      Sometimes when you do all you can to fight there’s still the simple fact that you cannot change a person or make him/her do what you want. I’m proud of your daughter to say enough is enough, I deserve to be treated like a daughter of the king. It’s not easy to end a marriage, I always think of it similar to the death of a loved one. Something (and someone) she held so dear has died and must be grieved like a death. Blessings for you and her on this journey to healing and wholeness.

  7. Strahlen says:

    Charity ~ What a beautiful testimony you have here in a story that so parallels mine. My husband of 14+ years left with a week’s notice for a woman he reconnected with on Facebook when I was 5 months pregnant with our 5th little boy. The pregnancy was surprising, but his leaving was a total shock. I also thought I could offer forgiveness and understanding (I’m sure I’m not the easiest person to live with!) and that he would come back. Unfortunately, he texted me to let me know he had filed for a divorce when the baby was 3 days old. My world came completely crashing down around me, and I doubted every tiny bit of self-worth I’d managed to hoard over the years.

    I also understand your sharing your painful story and hoping to reach out to others. I do the same on my site. I still remember the pain of abandonment and betrayal, but now I find lots of reasons to laugh and love and have fun (5 Boys are reason enough! 🙂 ). I most like what you said about if your marriage was never restored, “…even if it never was, my identity was no longer found from without, but from within, so: I have confidence to love. I have power to forgive. I have strength to be vulnerable.” My marriage will probably never be restored at this point (Although we serve a VERY powerful God!), but without a doubt, my identity is no longer from without but from within. I have grown so much from this experience. Absolutely!

    God Bless You and your beautiful family and thank you for sharing.

    • Charity says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s devastating to watch someone you love walk out the door, and if there is anything I’ve learned through all this is to let go of control, and another person’s brokenness isn’t my fault. I can’t wait to delve into your site and read your story. Hugs from another wounded dove. xo

  8. Chris Carter says:

    I have now read your story… and oh my friend! What a testimony you are to God’s UNCONDITIONAL love and the redemption in HIM!!!! God bless you for sharing this powerful message through your tumultuous and traumatic journey to discover God’s bounty of mercies and beyond! I am thanking GOD for the hope that lies in you and the love that has awakened your soul and your marriage!!!

    It’s truly an honor to ‘know you’.

    • Charity says:

      Thank you so much, Chris! He did show me his unchanging covenant to me through this broken and messy marriage, and gave our marriage new life because of it!

  9. Melissa says:

    I sent you a letter a month or so ago. I found out about my husbands affair in Nov 2012 and have been fighting to save my marriage. A week ago yesterday my husband and I talked about our future and about getting a divorce. He cried and told me he was done with her, that she was the enemy, and that even if we got a divorce he did not want her to know, because he did not want to feel oblagated to her. On Sat morning I caught him leaving his girlfriends house. My girlfriend and I followed him, honked, and I rolled down the window and said”BUSTED!” He looked at me laughed, shrugged his shoulders and said “Hey”….I will never forget the look in his eyes. He was a MONSTER! Who is this man and what happened to my husband? How do I keep fighting for something, that he is so determined to destroy? We have 2 amazing and beautiful children who do not deserve any of this. They are angels!

  10. Ivy says:

    Just found out 3 days ago about my husbands affair and I’m floundering. What resources were helpful to you? Books,websites, etc? I’m in a horrific daze and when it lifts I’m worried to know how much I’ll feel. Scattered thoughts, my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders. Did you go to couples or individual therapy or both?

    • Charity says:

      I know exactly how you feel. The nightmare that’s now your reality. Be kind to yourself, you’ve just been sucker punched. I went to individual counseling, because my husband wanted out. He picked the other woman (at first). You don’t have to make any decisions about your marriage or future. Find a counselor STAT where you can hurt, bleed, scream and cry in a safe place. Hugs to you on this journey through hell. Remember, his affair is NOT your fault. xo

    • Charity says:

      That’s so good to hear, that you would do it all over again, but in the end we can’t make someone stay. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  11. Wendy says:

    So thankful to have come across your story. While my brokenness came from different wounds and wound inflictors… I know and love the same lifter, redeemer, mender, Savior. And so I celebrate redemption with you.

  12. Abbi says:

    Today I took my hurt to google. Of all places. I googled “how to forgive the other woman”. Why? I don’t know. I “know” the principles of forgiveness. I’m the daughter of a minister – I’ve heard them my whole life. Knowing and doing. Oh so very different. I landed on your “Other Woman” post first. Then followed the links one by one to here. I’m a snotty, sobbing mess. Thank you for your words. Thank you.

  13. Stephanie Byrne says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey. I went through a similar situation 10 years ago. My husband just want out of our marriage, I had to let him go, like you said you can’t make them stay if they don’t want to. We were separated for over a year, he filled for divorce but didn’t pursue it. I clung to God & he became my Husband & all I needed.
    We have 5 children & it was heartbreaking. 1 1/2 year later he started talking to me, ask forgiveness & want to come home. It went slow but God completely restored our marriage & our relationship is better than it’s ever been!! Now I have a dear friend who is going through this & I can come all side her. Please pray for Angela & their 7 children! I believe in Miracles
    I meet you & Matt at FaithChurch when Rory was there.praying for you both that Hod will continue to be Glorified in your marriage ! Hugs

  14. Lesia Rollins says:

    This is true ministry. You and Matt have always been courageous and I know the blessings of the Lord are upon your marriage. I love you.

  15. Morocco says:

    Thank you for this candid testimony. I’m currently swimming in bitter waters and having an incredibly hard time forgiving him and moving on with the future. It’s seems soooooo impossible and I feel angry at God that He expects me to forgive the betrayal. I’m broken into bits about his affair although it’s been a year and we are still trying to work through it, but I’m hiding so much resentment and hatred in my heart. I pray for God’s healing mercies…

    • Charity says:

      Your resentment is coming from a wounded heart. Don’t cover the wounds or ignore them. You must let them out, talk about it, and work through the healing process. I’d say, get professional help. A licensed counselor saved my life. She was someone I could say all the ugly things I was holding on inside, and not get anger, judgement or belittlement when I shared them. She was a safe place to work through the pain and healing. Remember, you are hurting, and it’s ok to hurt. Let it all come out. Hugs to you on this journey.

  16. Farrah Diba says:

    Hi Charity,
    I just unfold my husband’s affair on February 2015, one day after Valentine’s day, 3 days before my birthday, in the 25th year of our marriage. He has already confessed his mistakes and I forgave him. Somehow God gave me the strength and great love, surpassing my human love, it’s the unconditional love, whatever he has done, I love him. I only have love. I want to protect him, I want to save him, I want to save our marriage.

    My story is pretty much like your story, we are actively ministering in church. I really felt what you described in your story, I really wished to turn back the time or woke up from my dream, hoping this was only a dream. I couldn’t believe he did it, that’s not my husband. We really had a good time together, enjoy each other, supporting one another during the hardest time in our financial turmoil several times.

    I have made decision to forgive the other woman, my co-worker at work. But I haven’t met her face to face, since she has been let go by our company because she was not honest and denying all the facts even though my husband has admitted it.

    Even though I said I have forgiven her, every time I saw a person like her, my heart is pounding very hard. I have the whole support from my family, my pastors. My husband and I am in the process of recovery. We talked openly. He said that he didn’t really like that woman, he felt uncomfortable and felt bad every time he did it.

    In fact the woman has had a lot of pre-marital sex since she was young and she did a lot of horrible things with all of her boyfriends before. But she ended up with marrying a low profile, not so handsome guy and plain boring guy, after she had her 3rd son, she didn’t want to have sex with her husband for 2 years already.

    So I was looking for resources, books, blogs to help me to understand, change myself to the better, to help me to forgive the other woman. I found your blog. I really thankful for your writing.

    In the end, I want my family to be restored, it’s still in progress, I hold on tight. God’s grace is sufficient for me. Please pray for us.

    I like your words: “even if it never was, my identity was no longer found from without, but from within, so now: I have confidence to love. I have power to forgive. I have strength to be vulnerable.”

    God bless you Charity!

    • Charity says:

      I know your wounds are still so fresh and painful. I totally understand how you’re hurting right now, but it makes me so happy to hear that your husband is by your side and you are standing together to navigate through these murky waters. You’re brave and beautiful. Keep fighting for love and keep fighting for forgiveness.

      It means so much to me that you’d take the time to share your story with me. Please feel free to email me whenever you desire and let me know how your journey to wholeness is going!

      Thank you so much, and hugs to you, wounded dove!

  17. Jocelyne says:

    I finally got over to your blog and read your story, and all the comments as well. I have said to myself dozens of times, “if my husband cheats, that’s it.” And I thought all other women thought the same way I did. I heard of one woman blogger from a friend that went through this, both Christians, both heavily involved in their church community, but the husband had an affair, and guess what? She stayed! I was shocked! How could a woman stay after that? How can you trust again? Now both you and her have God in your marriage testimony and I think that is really the only way to do it. But then reading through all of the subsequent comments… Are you kidding me?? All of these women, went through or are going through the same thing! A cheating husband. This absolutely breaks my heart. I fell like now that I know what true love is, I can’t imagine it ever hurting me. But then I remember that since day one with Zac, I’ve equated his love with God’s love. The love that Zac pours on me is just God’s love through Zac, and if god forbid Zac ever leaves me or hurts me so deeply, I have to remember that God’s love remains the same overwhelming, heart-stopping, cloud walking LOVE that it has always been. Praying for you, your husband, your family, and marriages, and families all around the world that are hurting a mad hurt. May God continue to love us and chase after us even when l we do is cheat on him.

    • Charity says:

      I was just like you prior to all our mess. I said, “if my husband ever…I’m out!” Then, when it happens, and you know and remember the love you once had, you’re willing to stay and see if that love can be found again. And you’re so right, a marriage is a microcosm of God’s love. A marriage is meant to be an example of God’s love for his people here on earth, and I never understood that Love until I was the one loving when the other one was the most unlovable. Not saying I’m some saint or anything, but to love with no guarantee — that right there is the foundation of God’s love. I know your love story is going to be a beautiful one. Just keep loving with wild abandonment, and you will always live a full and vibrant life. Hugs to you, Jocelyne. xo

  18. Idowu ebunoluwa mary says:

    Nice ending I think everyone needs to hear that divorce is not a solution to marital problems.face it and enjoy your marriage

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