Matters of the Heart

My heart has been broken by my husband’s adultery

My husband has just confessed to having had three affairs in the past three years of our marriage. We’ve been married for 15 years, have three children and he’s a pastor. Shocked is an understatement. One of the women is someone I know. I thought we had a good marriage, and ever since I found out, I haven’t stopped crying. I feel broken, hurt, betrayed and angry, all rolled into one. My husband has asked for my forgiveness… and I know that as a Christian that is the right thing to do, but I don’t know if I want to be with him anymore.  The pain runs deep. I worked hard alongside my husband helping to build his ministry. I was the dutiful wife, sacrificing my own aspirations to support his. I feel I have been repaid in the most awful way, and just need some direction on how to move forward as I have some important decisions to make.
Wendy, London

I am so sorry that after 15 years of working in ministry with your husband, this has been the result. Can I ask what changed in the last three years? Your husband needs help on all levels. Whoever is the primary leader in your organisation needs to be contacted, as your husband needs to be relieved of all duties as a pastor whilst a full investigation is undertaken. I realise there will be fallout for you, your family and the church, but this cannot be covered up.

Your tears are understandable; being a Christian does not give you immunity to feelings of betrayal and loss. Whilst it is good for you to want to forgive your husband, you face the possibility that you may not be able to stay in the marriage.

Discussions should take place on who stays in the marital home, and you need time for you and the children to process what has happened. Please do not allow yourself to be pressured into anything, but with counselling and reflection make your decisions once you have worked through your feelings. Whether you decide to end your marriage (his adultery gives you biblical grounds) or stay in the marriage, consider your husband’s posture and your ability to respond to it. Do not rush into anything and ensure that you have experienced people around you for support, people who are praying for you and your marriage.

You have my sincere prayers.

Health warning: as a priority, pastors and spouses should be given time to strengthen and invest in their marriage relationship, as this in turn becomes a support structure to their ministry.

How can I improve life for me and my son?

I’ve been at my church for two years and have been a Christian for four. I attend the Women’s Ministry events, but instead of making me feel better they often end up making me feel worse. Everyone seems to be doing so well in comparison to me. They are either succeeding in their career, running a business, or are invited to participate in exciting activities, but hearing about their stories and experiences just makes me feel stuck and out of place. And most of the women are married. I’m a lone parent of a young son. And I’m on benefits. I want to upgrade my life, but I’m not sure how to and am afraid to ask.
Jennifer, Manchester

I think the key words are ‘seem to be doing so well’. Perception is key. If you were able to have an honest conversation with any of these women, you would find they are having similar struggles and insecurities. Maybe they are just better at putting their best foot forward. For things to change, start where you are, be intentional, and focus on getting the most out of your relationship with Christ. His promises will work for you as you act on them.

Be the best parent you can be; give your son the attention and support he needs. Decide on where you want to be in your life, and what you want for your future (goals). Seek a mentor who will share the benefits of their life experience with you. Rather than trying to be part of a large group of women, work on building a small circle of friends over coffee; build mutual trust and realise that where you are today is not permanent and things will change for the better.

If you would like help with a problem, email editor@keepthefaith.co.uk. Your details will not be published.

Pastor Yvonne Brooks is a co-pastor at New Jerusalem Community Church, Birmingham, and founder of Women of Purpose, a ministry that encourages women to fulfil their purpose.  She is also a speaker and author. For more details visit www.yvonneelizabethbrooks.co.uk

Written by: Pastor Yvonne Brooks

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