Anger, Forgiveness, Surviving Adultery and Divorce

Rejected…

“I just can’t believe that someone like her would be interested in someone like me,” said my then husband as he talked about his mistress.

As the words came out of his mouth, I remember thinking—maybe saying—“What am I? Chopped liver?”

Yes, his girlfriend had been a cheerleader in high school. She had a college degree. She was an attractive lady. She was my friend—or at least had been. But, it’s not like I was a total loser. I was valedictorian of my high school class, and I had been named one of the top 100 seniors in the state of Oklahoma. I had entered Oklahoma Baptist University as the recipient of the Carpenter Scholarship, an award given to the top incoming freshman, and I graduated summa cum laude. I wasn’t all academic, either. I was well-known and well-liked. I was active and involved in all types of clubs and activities at school.

And, I was a good wife. I was loving and supportive. I was there to listen to him when he needed a safe place. When suspicions began to be voiced about his relationship with this woman, I staunchly defended him. I told him that even if he was fired from the church, I would stand by him and we would get through it together.

Sure. After fifteen years of marriage and three pregnancies, I was carrying a few extra pounds. Because I sacrificed everything for my kids and my husband, I rarely did anything for myself—which meant my clothes were old and I was a little frumpy. With children ages 4, 7, and 9, who had time to pamper myself—to focus on my appearance? But, I was a loving and supportive wife. I was a good mother. I was a good pastor’s wife.

Why had the man who had pledged to love me “until death do we part” choose someone else? Why had he rejected me?

A reader recently asked me to address this issue of dealing with rejection, so I am going to give it a shot. We all have different backgrounds, and I have no doubt that my background had a huge influence on how I handled it. I grew up in a very loving, supportive, and stable family. I had been in church from the day I was born. At the age of 6, I gave my heart to Christ. Shortly thereafter, I began to dive into the Word of God on a regular basis. In short, I had a very solid view of who I am in Christ. I went into marriage a strong, confident woman.

Perhaps you didn’t enter marriage with the advantages I did. Maybe you are new to the Christian life. Perhaps your family was somewhat dysfunctional. Maybe you don’t have a list of successes and accolades that you can rattle off. Regardless of your background, God can take you down the road of recovery. I hope these practical steps will help start your healing process.

Take care of yourself. I remember waking up one morning about seven months after I first learned about his affair. I had finally reached a place where I realized that I was the only one working to keep our marriage together, and I had vowed to never wear my wedding ring again until he showed me he wanted it to work. As I looked in the mirror, I began the daily critique, “Look at yourself. You are so ugly. It’s no wonder he chose her.”

Suddenly, I got mad! If I didn’t like the image staring back at me from the mirror, then I was going to do something about it! I decided to quit eating sugar and quit snacking with my kids. I was amazed at how quickly the weight began to fall off. Then, I began to walk. As my body began to change, I began to regain a sense of confidence. I decided to do something different with my hair, to buy some new make-up. I was being transformed on the outside, and the inside was following close behind.

When I filed for divorce, I somehow instinctively knew that I had to treat myself well if I was going to have the strength to care for three young children on my own. I began to set aside the money for the occasional mani/pedi. Something about having pretty nails just gave me an extra boost of confidence! As I lost weight, I had to buy new clothes. It felt good to look nice again. With every little thing I did for myself, I began to sense the bounce returning to my step.

Perhaps you don’t need to lose weight. Maybe you are happy with your external appearance. The important thing is to remember that you are worthy of good things. If you have children counting on you, make sure that you take time for yourself—whatever it is that helps you feel better. If you are constantly pouring yourself out for your kids, you must take time to renew yourself. Otherwise, you won’t have anything to give to your kids—and they need to see that you consider yourself worthy of love and care.

Surrender. I’ve talked about some of the mistakes I made. In the days after I filed for divorce, I found myself involved with another man who had also been walking through the pain of adultery and divorce. Every time I walked into a room, his face would light up. Please understand: I do not recommend getting involved with anyone until you have taken time to heal. It only leads to more baggage. However, God allows all things to work for our good (Romans 8:28). Having an attractive, successful man constantly speak words of affirmation to me did wonders for my self-confidence…until he chose another woman over me. My fears, hurt, and insecurity caused me to allow myself to be used and hurt again.

During this time, however, I heard God calling me to get my security for Him. The harder I ran, the more He pursued me. It was during this time that God was waging a mighty war for my affections, that He was pursuing me as a husband should pursue a wife. He was not content to let me ruin my life by walking in the ways of the world. Finally, I surrendered. I told Him that I didn’t like this journey, but I was willing to take it. I only needed Him to do an amazing work in me so that He could do an amazing work through me. That moment was pivotal. When I finally gave up control, He began the process of putting me back together.

Knowing that my Father loved me so much, that He was willing to leave the 99 sheep to pursue me—the one who had wandered away (Luke 15), gave me an amazing sense of how much He loved me. Knowing that you are loved by the Creator of the universe, that He is unwilling to leave you in your sin but will relentlessly pursue you gives you a sense of worth like no other.

Fill your mind with scripture. As I said, I was blessed with a great foundation. Some of you might have been raised in more dysfunctional families. Maybe you struggled with self-confidence and didn’t have a proper self-image to fall back on. Although it might have been easier for me to pull out of the rejection stage, the same process applies to both of us.

For you to look at yourself as anything less than God’s masterpiece (Eph 2:10) is sin. Scripture teaches us that we are the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8), His treasured possession (Deuteronomy 26:18), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). We read in Psalm 139 that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and He clearly said that we—His creation—were very good. He loved us so much that He sent His one and only son to die for us (John 3:16).

The only way to know how God really feels about you is to fill your mind with scripture. It has to be an intentional act, spending time in the Word each day. For me, it looks something like this: I wake up and grab my phone and open a Bible app (my favorites are Bible Gateway and YouVersion). I read my selected passage from a reading plan and ask God to fill my mind. I have favorite scriptures posted on my mirror that I read while I am getting ready in the morning. I keep my radio on a Christian radio station 24/7—something about having the music playing fills my home with the atmosphere I want. While I work out, I listen to sermons or praise music or books. I have prayer books in my car, and at every stop throughout my day, I use them to pray for my children and someone else. Little moments of saturating my mind with scripture go a long way to showing me how God feels about me, to transforming me by the renewing of my mind.

Click here  for a great list of things God says about you. Read this list daily. Memorize it. Saturate your mind with it. Be transformed (Romans 12:2).

Recognize the cheating spouse has a problem. Even if you know that you contributed to the downfall of your marriage, no one deserves to have his/her spouse cheat. Adultery is betrayal in the deepest and most intimate way. God created marriage to allow the two to become one, and ripping that union apart is excruciatingly painful. Knowing that there was an unwelcome third person in every private moment can be almost unbearable. To know that you gave everything to someone only to have him/her decide it was not enough can cause even the strongest person immense damage—trust issues that will last a lifetime. You did not deserve to have your spouse trample your heart, your commitment, your trust the way he/she did.

You must understand that your spouse/former spouse has a problem. I don’t know the root of that problem. In my situation, I can trace the genesis back to insecurity, approval addiction, and pornography. But the fact is that he has a problem—a problem that only complete surrender to the Savior, the Healer can fix.

Having said that, realize that you must forgive him and see him the way God sees him—as a helpless harassed sheep in need of a Savior (Matthew 9:36). Ask God to let His forgiveness flow through you, to give you eyes to see him as He does. Pray that God will pour out His greatest blessings on Him and bring Him to a place of repentance. Please know that this does not happen overnight! After five years I still struggle with asking God to bless my ex-husband! But, it becomes easier with each passing day.

Overcoming the rejection of adultery is a difficult process. Remember, it is the journey, the process, that brings about the most amazing changes in you. God wants to do an amazing work in you so that He can do an amazing work through you. Surrender to Him, and ask Him to show you the purpose in the pain. You won’t be disappointed!

Lord Jesus, for those suffering the pain of rejection from their spouses’ betrayal, I pray that you would pour out your healing on their hearts. Give them eyes to see themselves as you do—as your dearly loved children who are masterpieces created for good works. Let your forgiveness flow through them to their spouses/former spouses so that they can be free of the bitterness and anger that can consume their souls and rob them of the abundant life you have planned for them. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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13 thoughts on “Rejected…”

  1. Thanks for sharing your story and your heart! I was in those dark places too. When you’re in it, it’s hard to believe there’s light at the end of the tunnel and one day it won’t hurt …so bad.

    1. It IS hard to see the light. God promises that for every hurt there will be two blessings. If we stay in Him and let Him do His work, He will take us through the darkest days into brighter days than we could ever imagine!

  2. This was such a timely word for me because I lost it with my husband last night, he has told me not to give up on our marriage yet he does not know how to cut it off with the other woman who is threatening suicide if he leaves her. Again I thank God for using your words to comfort me today.

    1. I am so sorry you are dealing with this mess. I always encourage you to hang in there–as long as your spouse is doing whatever is necessary to give you the peace and security you need to see it through. He absolutely has to cut it off with her. Someone is manipulating–whether she is manipulating him or he is manipulating you. I don’t know who it is, but someone is.

      I will be praying that God will give you the wisdom and discernment to know what direction to take. Just remember, He loves you and will care for and protect you–no matter what!

  3. Your words are very encouraging this Morning. I have been divorce 3 times , have come from a long line of addictions from Alchoholism to sexual Sins. I have grown on frustation in the last few Years, currently I’m a 6 moth treatment for Hepatitis C . I’m 52 , seems like time. Health are running out. I have been in this desert experience for a while. Nevertheless every morning I come to Him , expecting from Him , some times I don’t even know what to expect. But it surely is More than what the World can give me or offers.

    1. I am glad that God can use my words to offer encouragement. I have some friends who fight addictions, and I know the struggles they often fight. I also know the joy they find in their walk with Christ. God is the Healer of all things. He is the One who gives freedom. He is the One who can break every chain that binds us and give us a beautiful future.

      I love your words: “Every morning I come to Him, expecting from Him, sometimes I don’t even know what to expect. But it surely is ore than what the world can give me or offers.” God promises that He is able to do above and beyond all we could ever ask or imagine–according to the power that is at work in us! We have His power inside us; we just have to come to Him and draw from the incredible power that raised Christ from the dead. It is ours!

      God bless you, friend! You are in my prayers!

  4. Hi im jen and right now im in the process of getting a divorce from my husband of 13 years because of adultery my story isvery simular to yours. I need prayer and help.

    1. I’m so sorry, Jen. Adultery is so hard and hurts so badly. I promise, however, that if you lean into God, seeking His face, you will find the Great I Am who will meet your every need and exceed your every hope and dream! He has a plan to prosper you, to give you hope and a future.

      Lord Jesus, I lift my friend to you today and pray that you would surround her with your love and peace today. You promise that you are close to the broken-hearted; help her to feel your presence today. Give her a glimpse of the amazing future you have for her and help her to cling to you and your plans for her. Help her to surrender to this journey knowing that there is a purpose in every pain–and amazing blessings for those who endure. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

      1. Thank you so much for that prayer its already been working today. Ive been a Christian since I was six as long as I can remember its been me and Jesus but my one problem has always been my desire for that perfect romance and it has consumed be to now im in my third failing marriage that God had not picked for me dont get me wrong God has brought some wonderful things out of these mistakes but I know that God longs forme to love him first to develop that relarelationship with him first and I want too but I need help to do that why is it so hard when you know his loveIis so great I know I have to figure this out what keeps me continue ing thid same behavior I know better I have to stop I want to be happy withGod and myself.

      2. You are so right! Spend time getting to know God, allowing Him to love you, allowing Him to show you your amazing value and worth. Become satisfied with God and God alone. Become all that He has created you to be, and learn to trust Him with your future. He won’t disappoint!

        Praying for you!

  5. As I read the title I was drawn to read your blog. I had really not thought of rejection. I hurt so deep and yet unable to cry. I went through 20 yr marriage, 3 boys. Took me 7 years with the Lords help to become strong enough to get out. It was abusive, adultery, he tried to kill me a few times. Jesus walked me out and into a safe house. In the next 2 years with all the craziness The Lord blessed me abundantly. Most of it I was soaring above the chaos. Isaiah 40: 29-31 became a favorite! In the next few years I lost my youngest son to his dad. It tore my heart out that my 2nd child could say such hurtful things to me and turn his back on me. Oh my I really couldn’t understand. I closed up ran my own way. Ended up marrying a man a yr and half later. 2 1/2 yrs into this marriage I was running for my life, he was with other women, flaunted it. He was poisoning me, trying to kill me for $. Had plenty of evidence, the police threatened me after they found out his name. Was long year of trying to bring justice, that ended in nothing. I’ve come to live with family. Since I’ve been here almost 2 years now. The Lord told me I’ve come full circle. I’ve been through more rejection with my parents, my sister. Manipulation, stealing and emotional abuse. I still can’t cry, I have chosen to forgive all of them over and over. Though I live with them it’s daily at times and I really think I’ve been doing what they expect of me and unable to live on own. Medical reasons keep me here. I believe The Lord wants me here to heal. It’s so hard to have hope, I don’t like myself very much. Thanks for sharing, I’m going to get in and read those scriptures. God bless you!

    1. Denise, I am so very sorry. My heart aches for you and all that you’ve been through. I am at a place of pain myself, and I simply cry out, “Please show me your purpose in this pain!” When we are able to truly surrender all to Him, He takes our biggest mess and gives us a message–a message to point the world back to Him. I pray that the God of healing touches your heart, makes you new from the inside out. I pray that He strengthens and sustains you, and puts you back together and on your feet again (1 Peter 5:10). I pray that He takes all that you’ve been through and does an amazing work in you so He can do an amazing work through you.

      God keeps whispering to me, “Trust me with your heart…I’ve got this!” I know He’s saying that to you as well!

      1. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. For praying for me, I hear your pain but I also hear Jesus through you and words of wisdom and life. 🙂 only The Lord would know what HE just said to me 2 days ago. On my walk I was dumping myself on Him. He said loud and clear: ” Do you trust me?”. It was so real I turned around to find just me on this road and obliviously The Lord too.

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