Today’s guest post from Melissa Titus is for our Stories of Redeemed Marriages
On our wedding day, I truly believed I was Cinderella. I was marrying my Prince Charming and all my dreams had (or soon would) come true. As Chris and I walked down the aisle as husband and wife for the first time to Etta James “At Last”, I was filled with the greatest joy I had ever known. At last I had someone to fulfill all my hopes and dreams, to meet all my needs, to fill the void. We grew up without many of our needs met. We learned to either take what we needed from others, to give up, or we just needed to wait for the “right” person to come along. We headed into happily ever after repeating these bad habits from childhood.
We had no idea how to do this thing called marriage. We went around in circles trying to make each other happy. We tried everything we could to fulfill each other’s every need. It was exhausting and impossible. When our first anniversary rolled around we should have been happy. It should have been romantic and special. It should have met all our expectations. It didn’t. Why weren’t we happy? All the best love stories end with happily ever after. Why couldn’t that be us? We thought our marriage would be different. We were going to beat the odds. We were going to be the couple who doesn’t fight. We were going to defy statistics and never make the mistakes so many newlyweds make.
After awhile, we began to drift apart. Day by day we grew more and more disappointed…more disillusioned about how marriage is supposed to be. By our third year of marriage, we were roommates living in the same house. There was no real intimacy or connection, but we thought being in the same house was enough. We had never seen true intimacy. I filled the void and pain with shopping and obsessing over my teaching job. Chris fell back into old habits and began looking at pornography again, which eventually lead to infidelity with women he met online. The path of destruction continued until our marriage hit rock bottom on the summer of 2009. I began finding clues that Chris was cheating. I found credit card bills for dating sites, bills for pornography websites, and chat conversations. I decided to confront him. When we were dating I told him the only thing I could never forgive a man for was cheating. I couldn’t believe he did the one thing I could not forgive. He denied my accusations at first, but eventually admitted to an addiction to pornography and sleeping with several other women over the course of our first few years of marriage.
I threw all of my expensive, precious possessions into a suitcase and headed for my parent’s house a few miles away. I have never felt such intense anger and pain in the same moment. I have never felt so helpless. I cried out to God so many times…”Why? Why me?” I told God he couldn’t possibly understand how I felt. He couldn’t possibly understand this kind of pain. A good friend pointed me to the many times in Scripture when Jesus is betrayed and ultimately to my betrayal of Him. I realized he did get it, more than I will ever know or understand.
Everyone advised me to divorce Chris right away. It was biblical, they said. It was the right thing to do, they said. At least you don’t have children yet, they said. To me, it didn’t seem quite that easy. I had no idea what to do. I just wanted the pain to go away. I wanted just one day without so much pain and anger. I wanted to know this would all end. I wanted to know things would get better. A few months after I decided to move out of our house, Chris invited me to attend a bible study at a church he was going to. My first reaction was “Ha! If this is his feeble attempt to win me back it is not going to work! It is going to take so much more than this for me to even consider the possibility.” Somehow I agreed to go. This didn’t mean we were getting back together. I just wanted to give him a chance to show me he could change.
The couple leading the bible study had a similar story to ours. They decided to stay together. God had restored their broken marriage and now they were helping other couples. They gave me hope that maybe our marriage could be saved, too. All we needed was a glimmer of hope and God provided it through this amazing couple. The wife was a wonderful example of extending forgiveness and taught me to focus on my own relationship with God and what I needed to change instead of trying to change my husband.
Four years later, God has allowed us to give hope to others through sharing our story of redemption. When we decided to take divorce off the table and see what God could do with our marriage, things began to change. It has been a long, often treacherous journey, but it has all been worth it.
About Melissa & Chris
Melissa and Chris are starting a new marriage blog to give couples hope through sharing their own ups and downs in marriage and to encourage couples to stay wed for life. They live in the DFW area of Texas and enjoy going to movies, spending time with their dogs, going on adventures together, and helping with the marriage ministry at their church.