Book Reviews, marriage, Pain and suffering, Uncategorized

Mended

“You provide the willing heart and I’ll provide the miracle.”

This phrase is packed full of more truth than you can imagine. And, it’s a truth Rick and Tiffany Bulman have lived.

In their new book Mended, the Bulman’s tell the powerful story of their reconciliation after Tiffany’s adultery. They both provided willing hearts, and they are now living a miracle.

As I read the Bulman’s story, so much of my own life flooded back over me. The pain of betrayal at the deepest levels. The fear of the future. The acknowledgement that so much of my marriage had been filled with lies.

Yet, the Bulman’s—unlike me—have the joy of living in a reconciled marriage, a union made stronger by the power of God working in and through two people committed to Him and to each other.

The key to reconciliation was two hearts willing to follow God and do the hard work.

Mended is full of gut-wrenching honesty from the Bulman family, including their children. Each person’s story is skillfully woven into the book, allowing the reader to get a glimpse into the minds of each family member when adultery invades. There’s no hiding the pain, the devastation, the long-term effects.

As I read the Bulman’s story, several key points came to mind:

Reconciliation requires two willing hearts. I can never emphasize this point enough. So often, people push the myth that every marriage can overcome betrayal such as adultery. It simply is not true. In many cases (mine included), there’s only one spouse willing to do the hard work of reconciliation. If both spouses are not willing, the marriage will not succeed.

When an unfaithful spouse doesn’t want to look deep inside to understand what caused him/her to wander, there can be no reconciliation. If the unfaithful spouse is unwilling to accept the consequences of his/her actions (such as broken trust), there can be no reconciliation. If the victimized spouse is not willing to do the hard work of forgiveness, there can be no reconciliation.

The Bulman’s make it clear that God is still in the miracle-working business. There’s no limit to what He can do with two willing hearts.

God provides an anchor to hold onto. In premarital counseling, the Bulmans were asked if adultery necessitated divorce. When Rick answered no, he had no idea how God was preparing him for the future. That simple question and his answer became an anchor for him in the midst of the storm. He remembered how he had been certain even before the I dos that divorce did not have to mean divorce. God had provided him with a glimpse into the future even before he was married.

In a similar way, God provided me with a foreshadowing of our future many years before adultery rocked my life. We were on staff at a large church when my then-husband learned of the senior pastor’s affair. As we discussed the reality of this situation, we talked about how God was showing us what could become of us if we did not actively abide in Christ. It was a painful lesson, and unfortunately it became a reality. If only we had both held tightly to that lesson God provided us years earlier.

Often the cause for adultery can be found by examining our past. In Mended, the Bulmans walk the reader through their childhoods. They show how their families of origin created expectations that were never discussed. As each spouse had certain beliefs in how a family should operate, they created an atmosphere where neither spouse was meeting the needs of the other. When a charming man moved in on Tiffany, her emotional pain made her the easy target.

Here’s where things were hard for me. I could relate to so much of what the Bulmans share about the unmet emotional needs within their marriage. However, that’s where things broke down for me. I almost felt as if the message being communicated was that adultery is always the result of two people failing in marriage. It simply is not true. I could relate to the husband being harsh and verbally abusive. I could relate to what Tiffany experienced in childhood. I could relate to the differences in expectations. What I could not relate to was that Tiffany became angry, withdrawn, and eventually had her needs met with an adulterous relationship. If this was the anatomy of an affair, I would have been the one to stray from my marriage. Instead, it was my husband—the one who had a loving, supportive wife by his side.

The truth is that adultery only requires one hard heart set against God, one hard heart not abiding in Christ. While there are certainly situations where both parties are at fault, it is not always the case.

There are two types of adulterers. As I just mentioned, adultery is not always the case of two parties failing to meet each other’s’ needs. Sometimes it is the result of one hardened heart.

And that’s where we see the two types of adulterers. Tiffany is the type of adulterer who fell into a situation, the type of adulterer who got sucked into a relationship with a conniving individual. She was a naïve victim in so many ways. Her character was not the type to wander from her marriage.

Chad (the man with whom Tiffany had the affair) was the second type of adulterer. He is the type of man who preys on innocent, naïve victims. He’s the type of adulterer who doesn’t repent, doesn’t have the willing heart ready to submit to God.

 

 

For more information on Mended, visit www.mendedbook.com.

6 thoughts on “Mended”

  1. My husband strayed in our marriage long before he actually had an affair. Two young women accused him of touching them 5 years into our marriage. He was also into porn almost everyday and refused counseling when I asked him. From the outset of our marriage physical intimacy was a rarity mainly only to try for a baby. Years later, he said he found me unattractive and not sexy enough but never told me what I had to do to improve in this department. He said that as a woman I should have known what to do and that it was not for him to do so.

    There was also a lot of financial and verbal abuse going on at the same time. He would attack my family members and I would defend them strenuously and I was then accused of being very intense and argumentative. He found reason to argue frequently and I was always made to feel bad and in the wrong. He has not worked for almost 15 years now but he controls the money that I earn. He does not give me an account of the money he spends.

    Later on I found out that he had an affair. I am not sure if there have been others I am not aware of. He is a typical case of a man who has refused to reconcile, party from merely saying “sorry for what I did”. Those were his exact words. But little else to show that he wants to make the marriage work.

    I am glad to read your blog posts because you are so honest with what happened to you in your marriage and how you got out and are now free. As for me, I am still stuck in this marriage and financial abuse and I don’t see God coming to my rescue yet. Not sure how to get out.

    Sue

    1. I am so sorry, Sue. Yes, you definitely seem to have the second type of adulterer, the one who is lost in the works of the flesh.

      I don’t know how God will rescue you, but I know He loves you immensely and His heart is breaking over the mistreatment. If you are the one working and making the money, you are in a much better position than I was. It’s just a matter of how to safely free yourself from your husband. I encourage you to walk so closely to God that He guides you every single step. And know that I am praying for Him to set you free.

  2. It provides a kind of analytical study on the topic of infidelity. Any way, experience is the master of everything rather than advice or exhortation to do or not to do something.

  3. Hi Dena would you consider involvement by the abusive spouse by helping out with the household chores and sending the children to school and sports and seeing to their needs as sufficient enough not to divorce? I am very confused because my pastor counseled me that my husband is not all bad and he does take care of me and the children, unlike other adulterous husbands, who are so detached from the home. My husband can be manipulative though, like showing some affection like hugging and kissing when he wants some financial help from me but at other times being so cold and distant and detached physically. I have been so lonely in this marriage that I might as well be single. But he fixes my car when necessary and packs my breakfast and lunch and then I feel guilt for having thoughts of leaving him. Could there be degrees of bad behavior so if one spouse is really over the top with abuse, God expects the other to leave but for milder behavior, we are expected to put up with it?

    I have been praying but I am not getting any indication whether I should leave or not. I don’t want to leave and then find out it was a wrong move. I like your story Dena, it has a happy ending. You found someone else and started fresh. It was a second chance to companionship.But I realize you would not have known this when you left your husband. What I cannot accept in my husband is that he used to or still watches porn, had an affair and looks at women in a very obvious manner even when I am with him, thinks I am not good enough and does not like to spend time with me. Does his positive behavior at other times cancel out this?
    Rachel

    1. Pastors simply aren’t prepared to deal with these issues, sadly. Abuse is abuse no matter how you look at it. My ex had some good qualities too…but refusing to treat me the way my Father wants me treated? Breaking his vows to me and God on an ongoing basis? Using me for his own selfish desires? No. I refuse. I deserve better. God wants better for me.

      Anyone who chooses unrepentant adultery needs tough love…not to be excused because they have good qualities. Their sins must be brought into the light to find healing. It’s a hard journey, but God is fsithful

    2. Rachel, your comment reminded me so much of my situation. Despite being cheated on within the first year of my marriage, I would come to experience several more affairs before I finally left and and filed for divorce 16 yrs later. Like you I stayed because he had so many good qualities. He was the soccer dad, took care of the kids while I worked, cooked, helpful in every way not just with me but with family. But the pain I suffered when finding text messages to other women, or calls to women at 2am in the morning while I worked, or finding porn on his computer, or calling back numbers and speaking to the women he had been sleeping with was just not worth all the “good” he did. As a matter of fact, I began looking at all he did as a way of him compensating for the horrible things he did to me by being a serial cheater. The good things that he did do was his way of keeping me around in order to continue living an adulterous life. My spirit was crushed repeatedly in my marriage due to his multiple affairs and life of lust. Remember there are plenty of good men who can do ALL the good your husband does and NOT cheat on you. Praying for God to guide you and strengthen you. God bless

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s