Can a marriage survive adultery?
Why did I read the book? More accurately, why did I race to buy the book even though my marriage is not struggling under the oppressive weight of adultery?
Because I heard Shauna speak and I was captivated by her heart. She was guest number #153 on Jamie Ivey’s Happy Hour podcast.
I am 24-years into my second marriage. Like all marriages, there have been good years and bad years, great years and crippling years. To date, I have only seen two marriages survive the crippling effects of adultery, so I know it can be done, but I also know it doesn’t happen often.
Marriages take hits beyond the scope of adultery too. I have tried to be a good friend to wives dealing with other issues they believe are severe enough to leave their husbands over. Truth be told, most would be relieved if their husband would be the first to quit so they could just then let him go without a fight.
Yes, I have been in the trenches myself, and with my friends. Marriage can be that hard.
In those seasons, a wife’s heart has become dead, numb, apathetic, justifiably angry. A wife can face days wondering how she will make it through. Her heart is shattered over the damage that has been done to herself as a person and as a spouse. And then there’s the intense pain of being a mother and watching marital damage spreads its consequences to the lives of our sweet children. There are no words.
What allows a marriage to survive a season that is treacherous, gut-wrenching, life-questioning and faith-shaking? This book holds so many keys about how to make it through, and by “make it through,” Shauna does not mean the marriage survives. Her marriage happened to see restoration, others do not. After all, we only control ourselves, not our spouses. She knows that and tenderly acknowledges that this is her story. She stays in that place with such graciousness.
What Shauna means by “make it through,” is to make it through with your heart intact because it’s pressed into the love of God for sustenance.
I think Shauna’s book resonated with me because when I counsel a friend..or I am the one receiving counsel…I only have one concern. How can I help my friend get through the ordeal with an intact heart — one that is whole and well — no matter what the outcome. My number one fear is to have a woman make decisions about her marriage (or anything else for that matter) when her heart is not whole. For me, Shauna’s heart, as expressed in this book, is as close to a whole heart as I have ever seen.
This will be my next go-to book to hand to a friend in marital crisis. And when I hand it to her I will say, “THIS is how to make it through a marital disaster, whether your marriage makes it or not.”
What follows are the portions I found stunningly beautiful about her message:
Her spirit: I was captivated by Shauna’s spirit that first emanated through her voice on the podcast. This woman isn’t offering us answers. She is telling her story. She is not a know-it-all. She is a woman seeking God with an honest heart the way we should all be doing every day.
Forgiveness: Shauna writes, I recognized this kind of forgiveness. The kind that not only lets go of the hurt, but that is able to be filled with love again without harboring bitterness. She got to live this kind of forgiveness and graciously describes the path that got her there, a path that can be forged through any pain, not just adultery.
Support of Friends: Before I make her sound too spiritual for any of us to attain, she had the support of two women in particular. I learned more about what support means the next time I want to be that kind of friend. It means to be prepared to be on call 24/7 and drive to a home in the middle of the night if need be. It also means to be responsive to the Spirit at all times for the purposes of prayer and well-timed texts. I wonder how many of us are willing to extend that kind of support to friends who come to us wanting to make it through a disaster.
Love Filter: That’s what she called it. She put a filter on her mouth before she spoke. As words formed in her mind, she first asked if they lined up with 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter). If not, she could not and would not say it even though her spouse at the time was not interested in her, had told her he never loved her, but he was still in the house as a disinterested lump. (He is no longer that man, transformed now as well. I am so grateful that he let his wife tell their story.)
Capturing our Thoughts: I can’t get this off of my mind. She made a point I have never thought of before. When a painful event occurs, God meant us to live it once. When we re-play the event over and over in our minds, we are making the event happen over and over again. The re-playing was never meant to be. The event only happened once — hearing your husband say he is thinking about another woman, finding out he is having an affair, learning the name of the other woman. I have new motivation to ebb the pain of an event by not living it over and over and over again in my mind.
Shauna, thank you for sharing your story. A Fierce Love is the perfect title because it can be read two ways…your fierce love for your spouse and God’s fierce love for you.
Micah, thank you for letting her tell it. She is helping every wife handle any difficulty a marriage can suffer. Everything about her heart, voice and writing makes the “hard truth” about examining our own responses more palatable.
Five stars from me. Amazon, here I come for a review. And I have subscribed to her blog.
The book. For those who are married. For those who want to be a good friend to people wanting to do marriage well. I hope this book lands on your Kindle or is delivered to your front porch, or is placed in your mailbox one day soon.
It is fall. Though I worked this week, father and son were able to escape to the mountains for fall break. I can’t wait to wear my sweatshirts too. May it be soon!
Thank you, Shauna.
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