Avoiding Affairs, Part 1 – I Married The Man I Had An Affair With

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Today’s post is from Serena Woods, author of Grace is For Sinners.

Just over four years ago, I had an affair and destroyed two marriages. There are many others out there who have done the same and they can sit next to their original spouses and share the story of healing, forgiveness and restoration. I did not stay with my husband. I married the man I had an affair with.

During my healing process, I wondered how I could have anything of value to say since it looks like I got everything I wanted. I thought that my testimony of healing would make more sense if I were left broken and alone while he
healed his relationship with his wife. If I discovered, after all, that he was not the fantasy that I fell in love with, then I could use that to get others to rethink their decisions. I could have been a living-breathing example of things not working out well and the fantasy not being real. A woman in that situation, however, does not believe that she will fail. She’ll believe that, although it didn’t work out for me, it will for her because what they have is different and no one understands how powerful it really is.

Then, God asked me a question: ‘Was it worth it?’ He clarified: ‘Was what happened in your spirit worth all the love and joy with your lover?’ My love for God outweighs my love for myself and for another human and I didn’t realize that until I had what I wanted in my hands and felt what it felt like to have God turn His face from me.

If you are focused on the here and now and living for the moment with no regard for anything beyond your self, then in my case, it was worth it. If, however, you have even a speck of a relationship with Jesus then, I promise you, no romantic love in its most extravagant brilliance can come close to easing the pain of what it feels like when God turns His face from you. The absolute hopeless devastation of feeling God’s cold shoulder is enough to crush the most blatant moral criminal. Even if it’s only for a moment, you will never forget the spiritual blackout that rivets your soul with the fire studded jewelry of death in your funeral procession.

I want to turn people away from this kind of mistake if at all possible. That’s why I want to stand at the entrance of this path with a big sign that reads: BEWARE: LOVE ISN’T EVERYTHING AND LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH.

Romantic love isn’t everything because there is so much more to marriage than romantic love. There are things that you will lose that you don’t even know are there until you have to savagely cut them out of your body in a divorce.

Romantic love isn’t enough because no matter the depth of love you have for your lover it will not be enough to shield you from the spiritual pain that you will positively endure, assuming you have any sort of a relationship with God. No earthly love can touch that pain.

Romantic love isn’t enough to make sin worth the leap and the lack of
romantic love isn’t enough to make sin worth the risk.

Now, back to God’s pressing question: ‘Was it worth it?’ My answer is as informed as one you will ever receive.  No.  It’s not worth it and I know this because I have what they hope for.

My top 10 (or so) tips on avoiding an affair:

{1} I have never been a cheater. I am a romantic who believes in soul mates and true love. The thought of two
people who once loved each other enough to get married going and giving themselves to someone else repulsed me.
The biggest mistake you could make is believing you would never make this mistake.

{2} Something that I notice in my marriage now that didn’t exist in my original marriage was respect. Somewhere
along the line I lost all respect for my first husband. I refuse to let that happen in my current marriage. If you don’t
respect him, then you are better than him and there is someone out there who is better than him.

{3} My first husband and I were not one. We were two separate people making a family and a home together. I had
no problem keeping secrets from him. I had a set of friends, male and female, he had never met. I had a life that did
not include him at all.

{4} I don’t want to be the cause of anyone’s pain. If a male friend confides in me and makes himself vulnerable, I feel
the responsibility to protect their secret and protect them from being misunderstood.  However, this has gotten me in
situations that are not healthy for my marriage. I learned to hand those things over to my husband. He is just as
understanding and compassionate as I am and he will have more wisdom and insight. Emotional attachments form
from keeping secrets. If he’s not your husband, he’s not your responsibility.

{5} If I were faced with the same marital assault that I faced in my first marriage, I would listen to that cautious voice
in me, even if I looked stupid. When you’re out shopping, sitting in front a mound of chocolate, on your computer,
having drinks with friends, or about to reply to a suggestive text message, there is a choice to give in to self-
gratification or to use self-control. I gave in repeatedly to a lot of that list because I thought I could get out easy and
I deserved a little harmless fun.

Boundaries:

{6} I give my husband all of my passwords. There is no part of my life that I haven’t given him access to. If there is
ever a point where I am tempted to behave in a way that would hurt him if he saw it, I imagine him actually seeing it.

{7} I show him all of my messages, any form, from any man, period. He looks out for me and I trust him.

{8} Aside from tucking myself behind my husband and placing him between the world and me, I know what it feels
like to have an affair. Hurting people isn’t really the deterrent. That only gets you so far. The thing that deters me, is
the searing memory of my time in the dark. I never want to go back there.

Tomorrow you will hear from another woman on how to avoid an affair.

Click here if you don’t want to miss a post.

Avoiding Affairs, Part 2 – How Could She Do That?

Avoiding Affairs, Part 3 – Emotional Entanglement

Avoiding Affairs, Part 4 – In Love After 31 Years of Marriage

Photo Credit: Lonely Woman on Brighton Beach

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51 Coffee Talks on “Avoiding Affairs, Part 1 – I Married The Man I Had An Affair With”

  1. This is not a blog topic I read about much. I like it because it is candid and honest, painful yet truthful.

    I met a lady in my writer's group last month who wrote a book called, "How to have an affair" or something of that sort. I was baffled but she laughed and so I was left thinking hmmmmm, I wonder what her life experiences have been?

    I like the point this post makes that we never think it will happen to us. I believe in my marriage, in my husband, and in preserving what we have together.
    .-= Terresa Wellborn´s last blog post … Cool quote #121 =-.

  2. What an honest, candid, and painfully real article! I really appreciate the author's vulnerability in sharing her story. This is a great reminder for all of us!

  3. anne bender says:

    Wow! This is so powerful! You have got me thinking about how much of myself I reserve from my husband. You've got me thinking…and praying. Thank you so much!
    .-= anne bender´s last blog post … Lullaby =-.

  4. Debbie says:

    Broken and open before the Lord and our own eyes. It is words like these that speak to hearts in ways that "don't commit adultery" may never have the ability to do. Thank you for sharing your pain and your journey with us. Lots to think about…
    .-= Debbie´s last blog post … CWAHM: So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom =-.

  5. stacey robinette says:

    It seems that we all need a reminder to get back to the basics, such as what made us fall in love in the first place. Keep our marriage young, alive and honest.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Great post!

  6. Jessalyn says:

    wow! Thank you for this honest testimony. Sin is so devestating and I know that you have felt the horrific consequences of your own sin. Praise God that he has given you the humility to use this story to strengthen other marriages and bring the unltimate glory to him! We all fall in so many ways and it always reveals the Lord's steadfast love and faithfulness to us. Praise God!
    .-= Jessalyn´s last blog post … Crumbs on the Toaster =-.

  7. Stephanie says:

    Serena,

    Thank you once again for sharing your testimony and for providing me tips on guarding my marriage! I couldn't agree with #1 more, never assume it won't happen to me! I hadn't thought about #6, but I plan to put it in action. THANK YOU! Your humility has blessed me.

    Stephanie
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog post … Works for Me Wednesday: TP Snob No More =-.

  8. Sisterlisa says:

    Great boundaries to live by. My husband and I work in ministry, him with men, me with women, but our ministry is one large ministry so both of us are around the opposite gender a lot. We have a set of boundaries we live by too. We all need those safeguards to preserve our marriages. I'll bet all of us could come up with a spectacular list based on our experiences.
    .-= Sisterlisa´s last blog post … September Issue of GGM =-.

  9. Michelle G says:

    I want to let you know that your post has moved my heart in ways that I didn't know it could. I sat here and read what you had to say and felt like I was reading what I lived. I am not married to the man I had an affair with. Through the glory and healing and grace of God we have a very strong marriage with no secrets. I am completely transparent with him.

    Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your life.
    .-= Michelle G´s last blog post … Monster by Skillet =-.

  10. Kirsten Erin says:

    What a great and real post! Thanks for sharing Mrs. Serena. I'm sure you've affected, and will continue to affect, many people with your testimony.
    No Christian wants to feel the cold shoulder from God. I'm sorry that you had to receive that- but at least you came out the better for it. It's made you even closer to becoming the woman of God He's called you to be.
    .-= Kirsten Erin´s last blog post … Fly: An Angel Sings with Jason Upton =-.

  11. Allie z says:

    This list is great; I couldn't agree more. My husband and I share a home email address and ALL passwords. We don't delete texts and have an open relationship. I once received texts from an old ex, I was startled, and quickly let my husband know. He smiled and shared that men don't "pop up out of the blue. He wants something more; he is a man after all." I replied to loose my number. It sure felt good to have those boundaries in place upfront. Proactive approaches are Very Very important.

    Allie
    .-= Allie z´s last blog post … Party time =-.

  12. Oooo, show him all my messages is a good one! Thank you, Serena and Sarah.
    .-= Amber@theRunaMuck´s last blog post … how to build a house of prayer: look for flags of JOY =-.

  13. Thanks for your boldness and for sharing all of that! I think those are wonderful reminders! I also think that we need to continually work on our marriages, not just coast along. My hubby does have access to my e-mail and facebook, voicemail & blog. And he can look at twitter anytime he wants though he hasn't wanted to yet! If I ever got a message from an ex or unusual message from a man – I would show him right away and he would do the same for me.
    .-= Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates´s last blog post … Works-For-Me Wednesday: Organizing Recipes =-.

  14. Serena Woods says:

    Messages are a huge one. Email, chat and texts are 'safe' ways to be 'misunderstood' or just play games. My affair started over email. He was an old friend and innocent conversation turned into 'what ifs' and 'what ifs' conditioned us for the action. We over estimated our 'righteousness' and underestimated our connection.

    A few lines from my book, 'Grace Is For Sinners':

    'The steel door between flirting and doing proved to be a flimsy mirage. The ground that I promised myself I wasn’t capable of treading was littered with my clothes. Everything I promised myself I wouldn’t do happened in between taking them off and putting them back on.' -page 44
    .-= Serena Woods´s last blog post … joy =-.

  15. misty says:

    True, True, True! I had an affair on my husband five years ago and wish we had 'affair proofed' our marriage with boundaries. Trust me, they are there now!
    .-= misty´s last blog post … So, Friday is the day… =-.

  16. No worries . . . you are so getting your free "stuff"! ;)
    .-= Emily Rose´s last blog post … A Home Business + Giveaway =-.

  17. Awesome post and thankful for the transparency and food for thought!
    .-= Kiva, Farmstead Lady´s last blog post … A Member of the Club =-.

  18. Carrie says:

    I appreciate your honesty, and hate that this is your story. I guess in reading the question "was it worth it" I didn't quite get from you that you wish none of this had happened. To be honest it is very hard to understand that you married the man you had an affair with. I know I do not understand your circumstances… but I have a hard time seeing any 2 Christians not willing (apart from abuse or unrepentant infidelity) to try to make a marriage work. I believe with all of my heart that there is grace and forgiveness for sinners, but there are also huge repercussions for sin. You realy do make it sound like your story ended up roses with the man of your dreams.

    Add I apologize and do not mean to sound harsh. But that story isn't encouraging to me at all. What about the first man of your dreams??? You speak so poorly of him in the above post. He just wasn't all that you dreamed him to be so you moved on to plan B?

    Perhaps your book goes into your regret, your poir choices and mistakes, and your responsibility in your marriage and in your affair… but the posts you have had here don't share alot of that.

    I know this story can help someone. And you have learned what "not to do" and are trying to share that with others.

    Sarah Mae— I love your blog, but I would much rather learn about protecting my marriage from someone who has been married 30 years and endured all the hardships, miscommunications, etc and perservered. Maybe that;s just the kind of learner I am… I see someone's successes and I want to get near them to learn how they do it. I long to talk to great moms and women with healthy marriages.

    Example– I wouldn't want to learn about parenting from a mom who drowned her kids in a bathtub…. but now has moved on and is a great godly mother…with awesoem parenting techniques. Is she repentant and forgiven? Yes! But the fact still remains that she drowned her kids in a bathtub.

    • SarahMae says:

      Carrie, thank you so much for your thoughts. I'm sure Serena will respond to you on her end, but for me, I really appreciate your honesty. I will take your encouragement to have older women who have withstood the test of time in their marriages "speak" on this issue. In the meantime, please check out my Lady of Wisdom Interviews. :)

  19. This was hard to read… I was a wife, who's husband chose to have an affair. An affair that lasted for almost a year- That nearly ruined two families. I know you said their are many couples who stayed together and are an example of "healing, forgiveness, and restoration." We are that couple. But, I don't think there are that many of us around. I know when we went through this, I never found anyone who stayed with their cheating spouse. I felt very alone. Then I remembered I had God. He is ALWAYS faithful. I know God could heal us, both.

    I do agree with your list. I know that our marriage had problems and we needed to take a hard look at who we were as a married couple. With prayer, healing, counseling, we have survived. It WAS NOT EASY. We will be celebrating our 15 wedding anniversary next week. I am very proud of that. The affair was seven years ago. We survived.

    I would recommend to your readers, if they are facing these issues, 2 books that helped us:
    His Needs/ Her Needs: Building an Affair Proof Marriage..Then if the affair happens, this book was VERY important in our healing process: Surviving an Affair. Both books were written by Willard F. Harley, Jr.

    I am glad that God was able to bring good out your affair. I appreciate your honesty. I know this post will help many.

    People need to remember… #1. "The biggest mistake you could make is believing you would never make this mistake". That is what my husband said, too.
    Thank you.
    .-= Lisa@blessedwithgrace´s last blog post … Tempt My Tummy Tuesday….The Tostada =-.

  20. Holly says:

    Wow, this is really great stuff.
    I too appreciate, the biggest mistake is thinking that you wouldn't make this mistake.
    And the respect thing. That really made me think, as I do know that respecting my husband is something I struggle with.
    Really great candid thoughts. Thank you for that.

  21. Lesley says:

    Hi Serena,
    I didnt marry my affair BUT in the midst of my pain and finding out about my husbands own infidelities almost sent me packing to the other man. your words were poignant and spoken with such grace. Thank you! I do have a friend right now….who after speaking to her is contemplating this very thing… i immediately shot her a quick note to read this post….!!! I think what you wrote needs to be in every marriage counseling book out there….
    Again, thank you!
    PS: My marriage is amazing now.
    .-= Lesley´s last blog post … {Self Nurture} =-.

  22. Shannon says:

    Every recovery journey is shaped custom-made by The Creator. This truth should be appreciated by all readers. I had an affair, married him, and then 4 years and 2 kids later he had an affair. We recovered – all praise and kudos to Christ. Some say that I deserved it. Some say what goes around comes around. Some say that witnessing our marriage today they cannot imagine our fall. Serena, your steps are right on and your courage to open your heart is honored by me. You shared openly and honestly allowing us to be warned, encoraged, and also challenged. The other edge of that sword avails questioning and judging. It is the tide of our humanity – sorry. You and I share a lot of experiences. There are hurting Christian women that get advice from other Christian women that don't get lipstick on their teeth, have a hair out of place, or poot in public. Because of that we soooo need a Mary Magdalene-home girl with a testimony of sin, repentance, and forgiveness. Your Sister In Christ, Shannon

  23. Serena Woods says:

    Carrie,

    Thank you for the courage to write what, I can only assume, a lot of other people are thinking. I have a ton of respect for that.

    "Was it worth it?" is the title of a chapter in my book that addresses the separation between flesh and spirit. What can be satisfying to the flesh can be detrimental to the spirit. I saw a rip between the two because in the flesh: yes, it was worth it and in the spirit: I'm screaming, 'NO!!' I did not see that separation until I felt the rip. That may be a bit heady, but the book explains it in depth.

    Our physical affair lasted three weeks and I became pregnant. Our spouses divorced us as soon as legally possible. We were married when our child was seven months old (a year and a half later). We did not fight to save our marriages because we did not want to. I realize that is a blunt and ugly statement to make, but it's honest. The fact that someone believes in Jesus and wants to have a relationship with Him and lead a life of Godly purpose does not mean that they won't sin.

    It's possible that hearing my story is not encouraging you because you have not been there.

    I make an effort to not speak poorly of my ex-husband. I do, however, speak poorly of a poorly constructed marriage. I point out those things because there are others who will see some similar attitudes in their own marriage and try mend those weak places so they don't end up like me. I choose to keep many specifics about my ex-husband private because there is no purpose in sharing them. Besides, no matter the circumstances, no one deserves to go through what I put him through. I will say, only because it's in my book, that he was not the 'man of my dreams', he was the man who date raped me. I married him because I was too young to know that it wasn't my fault and what he did was wrong. I married him because I did not want to be 'damaged goods'. In spite of his selfish manipulation, I still believed that he was a good person. I married him five days later and I promised him my love. My affair was my fault, my broken promise, not his.

    My book does go into the hellish aftermath of sin. But if you would like a small peek into what it was like, you can read my depiction of Eve in my latest blog called, 'Joy'. I wrote it based on my own experience with sin. http://www.graceisforsinners.com/life/joy/

    My relationship with the man I had an affair with was not immediate bliss. I spiritually died after my sin. I cannot remember more than a year of my life. The only thing that kept me was a still small voice that pleaded, 'Don't let your faith fail.' (Luke 22:31-32)

    There are many stories about families who have made it through the attacks on their marriages. I think the next two days on Sarah's blog will tell some of them.

    My ministry targets those who carry the blame for not making it. There aren't many resources out there. I know because I searched, for two years, to find someone who was a Christian and fell. I needed to know how in the heck that could happen and how I could make it back.

    If you had drowned your kids in the bathtub, a person who had not would not be able to help you. If you were hell bent and long winded down the wrong road, you would need someone who knew the terrain to help you find your way back.

    Who can answer the questions they ask? How did you not just give up on yourself? When did the vomiting stop? When did the night tremors stop? How did Jesus find you? When do you stop caring about the way the people at church look at you?

    I don't care what people think of me when I tell my story. I know my purpose and I'll walk out in front of a million confused brothers and sisters if just one lost one can see God's light in me. I may walk with a limp, but that's just because I refuse to lay down.

    It may not encourage you, right now, but it does encourage those who are face to face with the worst of themselves and need someone to help them find their way back home.

    I don't know if I've explained anything well enough, but I hope someone out there sees the mark of grace on this body that should have been marked 'condemned'.
    .-= Serena Woods´s last blog post … joy =-.

  24. tam says:

    authenticity like this is rare and hard to find. right, wrong, indifferent…doesnt matter. thank you for puttin it out here like this. truly.
    .-= tam´s last blog post … search term discovery =-.

  25. Amanda says:

    Serena, I wish you and I would have met 3 years ago, I wish you could have held my hand and explained to me that I was NOT going to hell, I wish you would have been able to cry on your shoulder and vent to you rather than my new husband, but we didn't and I learned this lesson all by myself (correction, through Christ and a book by Beth Moore while sitting pregnant in a bookstore reading every night, taking notes as fast as I could, feeling the burden lift little by little). Carrie as much as I know you don't mean to seem harsh, but you do. If you think about something in your life, something you have done that caused a loved one…..parent, child or spouse to become upset with you, then you have experienced 1/10th of what it is like to have Our Heavenly Father turn away, to feel completely lost and alone and have no idea who YOU are because YOU would have never cheated, YOU would have never gotten a divorce. I have no excuses for my sin or anyone elses, there are none. Sin is sin, sin is separation from The Creator, but my sin was hung on the cross and all I can, all anyone can do is take steps to TRY to prevent repeating your mistakes. The difference is that just because one has sinned DOES NOT mean that for the remainder of their earthly life they have to be miserable and they NEVER deserve happiness. I am an adulteress, I married that man and I am unbelieveably blessed. It came at a very high price, I don't recommend it, I will NEVER encourage it and I don't excuse it. If this post isn't for you, GREAT. I am so glad you have never been in our shoes, PRAISE THE LORD!! But just as with ANY blog not every post will appeal to you, but that doesn't mean it isn't incredibly helpful or touching for someone else. Thank you Serena and Sarah Mae, above all THANK YOU JESUS for loving me enough hang between two theives in the darkness, thank you for believing I am worth it.

  26. SarahMae says:

    Amanda –
    "just because one has sinned DOES NOT mean that for the remainder of their earthly life they have to be miserable and they NEVER deserve happiness."

    YES – so well put…so hard to swallow, but so true.

    "Go and sin no more." Jesus

  27. I appreciate your boldness and candor. It is a painful subject that I have not seen addressed before. I really like the tips and plan on implementing at least two of them in the very near future. Thank-you and God bless you.
    .-= Lorene Troyer´s last blog post … How to Motivate Your Husband =-.

  28. sarah falkd says:

    This is a very sad tragedy. I do not find it to be a story of restoration or beauty. You married the man you had an affair with. Sometimes life is hard. Your spouses divorced you both right away…but you didn't fight to save your marriage. You made a vow….vows are worth fighting for. I'm sorry but this is not a good thing that you have done. It doesn't show redemption. It just shows that you are making do with the lemons that came rolling your way. You ARE very honest which is refreshing and beautiful, but I find no encouragement in this tale. It reads like a trashy romance novel. What about fighting for what is right? Why didn't you try to hold on your marriages? What ever happened to covenants. I know many people who's marriages have survived serious instances of adultery.

    I am not saying this to be cruel. This is just my opinion. Thank you for your honesty….but this is NOT a good story about the redemption of God. This is about ugly sin…leading to more sadness and destruction. Why get married in the first place if you're just going to leave your mate when life get's really hard? Just because you were pregnant..maybe you could have given your baby up for adoption. Strong horrible words….but it was a terrible horrible sin to have an affair. Yes God's grace is bountiful and his love heals all sins. He could have restored your covenant marriage. Instead you married the man you had an affair with. I'm sorry….but……puke. That is terrible!

    I believe that some things are not breakable. Covenant marriage bonds are one of those things.

    • SarahMae says:

      Sarah, now that Serena has married the man she has had an affair with, what would you suggest she do? How should she live? Should she live in shame and guilt for the rest of her life hiding out and never speaking or should she accept the fact that what is is and live out of the grace that Jesus Christ gives?

      How do we treat the adulteress when all is said and *done*?

      Just something to think about. :)

  29. Serena Woods says:

    sarah falkd said on Aug 21, 2009: In response to:
    http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com/home/?p=1043

    "This reminds you to forgive those who hurt you….because that’s what Jesus is. He is forgiveness and redemption. Thank you for posting this story."

    'Climbing Out of the Coffin' and this post are the same story, only this time I talk about my sin in more detail. What changed? Did my sin reach an unforgivable level?

    This woman's most recent comment was not about me. It was about her. She has value and is loved and because of that, we do not need to worry about her. God will work out any issues with her faith when she's ready.

    'But sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.' Romans 5:20 MSG

    I want to encourage those of you who are thinking of coming out of hiding by ridding yourselves of the shame of past sin. People need to understand that there will always be those whose communication skills supersede their faith. You CAN tell the testimony of how your sin, at its worst, was no match for God's 'aggressive forgiveness called grace.' For every unbeliever who throws rocks of doubt and condemnation at you, there are hundreds of thousands who gain the strength to stop hiding their sin (even forgiven sin) in shame. Seeing your nakedness and submission to God's grace set other's free is the greatest confirmation of restoration and purpose I've ever experienced. Those who have not seen their own personal worst still have that hell ahead of them. Patience and love are the only things to offer them and then keep walking forward. You have a job to do.

    Satan was the Accuser, and your eye witness account of Jesus and the grace for which He died takes the venom out of his mouth. Even if he's using someone else's mouth to do his talking, your testimony trumps it. Keeping your shame hidden is exactly how he uses it against you. Anyone who wants to heap your shame on you is not working for Jesus. So, use the weapon you've been given. Tell your story.

    "The Accuser of our brothers and sisters thrown out, who accused them day and night before God. THEY DEFEATED HIM THROUGH THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB AND THE BOLD WORD OF THEIR WITNESS." -Revelation 12:7

    One last bit of encouragement I want to pass on to you: When someone cannot move past the gory details of your sin and their lack of faith makes them incapable of witnessing the transformation power of God's redemptive grace, you do not have to worry. They are speaking completely on their own behalf simply because if scripture is true, then God has no recollection of your confessed sin and has no idea why his child is accusing you of these things.

    :)
    .-= Serena Woods´s last blog post … we =-.

  30. sarah falkd says:

    So I am satan now? wow. How did we digress? Ok so maybe I came off as critical. I just wouldn't want my own daughter to read this story and think it's ok to have an affair because everything will turn out ok in the end. It's the message here that you had an affair…and didn't try to make your marriage work that bothers me. I am happy that God has redeemed you. Really I am! I just don't see enough in your story to warn others about not following in your path. I have had a very close experience with adultery. Not that I was involved…but I was one of the victims of this horrible thing. The man who cheated with another married woman used her and had no intention of ever leaving his wife. Should this other woman hold out faith that his marriage will crumble…that he will stop loving his wife and succumb to the temptations of her body? Should she come over to this site…read your post…and think…"hhmm…perhaps it will turn out for me that way as well! Maybe I WILL get him!" If you knew the situation you would know there is no danger of that actually happening because the man suffers from more of a sexual addiction and has done everything possible to fix his marriage (including counseling and everything that goes with it.) But what of the other woman? Does this little tid bit of your story not encourage her?

    I am sorry if you think I am Satan because I didn't say, "Oh how beautiful. I love this story about how you married the man you had an affair with!" God does work in mysterious ways and I am no judge of God's work. I just know that this story…from my point of view is deeply troubling and not encouraging. Why is this site always giving advice to women who are entangled in affairs? I think an earlier commenter stated that she wishes there would be more advice from women who actually kept their marriages together for 50 or 60 years through all the tumults of life. I don't want marriage advice from someone who's marriage ended. No offense. May God continue to bless you on your journey, but I can choose what mistakes I make. Maybe this just isn't the website for me.

    and come on…with a shock title like I married the ma I had an affair with….you were bound to get a little negative reaction.

  31. sarah falkd says:

    If you could know MY story….then you would know I am not condemning you but speaking form a different point of view. I know how bad adultery ravages and destroys….I know from the other end. To me…you're story represented the "other woman" in all her ugly wanton glory. So I have a lot of pain…just as you have a lot of pain….to over come and release into God's never ending light. My heart was broken too…no less than yours!

    Good God….don't label me as Satan! I hate adultery. I hate it because I've been scarred by it. Deeply. I've been wounded by it just as much as you have I would bet! Just because I wasn't the one who committed the sin does not mean that the sin of someone else very close to me didn't ravage my own life.

    This is why I hate the internet. You get branded as Satan if you disagree and don't fawn over the what the person wrote on their blog.

  32. sarah falkd says:

    In a way I have a story too. Just because I didn't go out there and have an affair doesn't mean your story of redemption is better than mine! Just because you fell doesn't mean your story is worth more than mine. I fell too….into anger, despair, and utter heart brokenness….beyond what words could describe. I had to grapple with things like forgiveness, trust…..and just plain finding hope again. The man who cheated on his wife did so for five years on and off. It happened in the wife's own house sometimes when she was not there.

    The lesson I have learned is to become a beacon of light to this cheating man….directing him toward the light and redemption of God. We have long conversations now about how God really forgives sins…but more than that…He sets you free of them. I have had to become a champion to the man who hurt me by pointing the way to God's forgiveness. He suffers from an affliction. I will never forget the sight of this grown man, a strong soldier in the military, fall to the floor weeping…begging for forgiveness for the 5th time in five years. I saw then how sin is a sickness. It had control over him and it was destroying his life…..along with mine.

    So please bear with me if I still hate the other woman….if I direct some of that toward you. You cannot not begin to understand what it is like to live in MY shoes. I still have far to go. May I just add that life is so unfair? I hate this evil world sometimes….and I really didn't like your message as the cheating woman who got it all in the end.

  33. Serena Woods says:

    I would like to tell you that I am sorry for being a person who represents an immeasurable amount of pain for you. I wish you could look me in the eye when I say that.

    I didn’t call you Satan, Sarah. I made a reference to a scripture that tells us to tell our story in order to defeat Satan. Only Satan would want us to keep our mouths shut. A lot of people hide their failures because they can’t handle being talked to in the manner in which you are speaking to me. I mentioned the verse in order to shed light on the weapons being used and who uses those weapons. If you don’t want to use the enemy’s weapons, then you need to know what they are.

    I see the pain of a hurt woman and I know I have had my part in causing the same type of hurt. You are healing. Being honest about your anger is part of it. You’re a human being. Your hurt may be what is keeping you from seeing the point of my post. I believe this because you are speaking as though you didn’t read a word I said, only that I had an affair and married him. If you are going to take all of this time to vent to me, at least take the time to hear what I’m saying.

    Did I get away with my sin? Read this (in the story, ‘Eve’ is me.) http://www.graceisforsinners.com/life/joy/

    What do I think about what I did? How could I live with myself? http://www.graceisforsinners.com/life/waiting-to-…

    I did not name the post. It was not my ‘shock title.’ I do not boast about my sin, I boast about the grace I have received in spite of my sin. The message of Jesus has no relevance if it’s not contrasted with the horrible ugliness of sin.

    I tell my story because there are people out there who have fallen and think they have ruined their relationship with God. There are people who are walking away from the faith. They need to hear about Grace from an undisputed moral failure. You are right about my sin. And that’s the point.

    I wonder what if felt like to know that Saul, now called Paul, was in town to preach about Jesus. Who in the heck did he think he was? Was this not the man who slaughtered entire families, including babies, in a revolt against the very message he preached? The very hands he waves around while he preaches were once covered in the blood of children.

    I wonder what it felt like to watch his dirty, sexually indulgent, little brother come walking in the house wearing their father’s robe and the family ring? He left in the same skin he came back in. ‘He’s not sorry, he’s broke.’

    God tells the story of his love in the nobody’s. He uses the most poignant materials to fashion His message. Is it a slap in the face for God to use a blatant adulteress to speak of his forgiveness? Who said God had to be subtle?

    This is an issue of faith. This isn’t about how wrong I was because there is no question that I sinned. This isn’t about how hurt you are because I would bet that anyone, who knows you, knows the pain you carry. Everyone reading this can see those two things.

    We are both wrong and we are both loved.

    So the question of faith remains: When is it okay for us to accept the free gift of grace and move on to live joyful lives of Godly purpose?

    If we can do nothing about our sin, then what are we to do? I guess we need a Savior.
    .-= Serena Woods´s last blog post … is this thing on? =-.

    • SarahMae says:

      I named the post and I was going for a "click me" title…because I wanted people to read this story. Perhaps I should have used better discretion.

      Serena – I know it's probably too late, but do you want me to change the title?

  34. Serena Woods says:

    No way, Sarah. It is what it is. You can't soften the truth. It wouldn't be the truth if you did. :)
    .-= Serena Woods´s last blog post … is this thing on? =-.

  35. Sisterlisa says:

    I don't think you should rename it SarahMae, but perhaps add a disclaimer that you titled it.

    Serena, I sit here in tears. I want you to know how God has used my last two week journey of reading your blog and these discussions on SarahMae's blog.

    I have been hurt by my husbands past unwise decisions. SarahMae asked me to write about it, I decided I will.

    Over the years I have come to be able to extend grace towards those who have walked your testimony Serena. But for the ONE woman, I had to hide her in the depths of the back of my mind. Much like the dark side of the moon, the dark side of my mind that is never seen by man. But Jesus knows what's back there and He sees all of my thoughts.

    He has healed them through this two week journey you have taken me on. I love you!
    .-= Sisterlisa´s last blog post … The Wolves Are Here =-.

  36. Brooke says:

    I'm so sorry for the hurt that everyone has felt or is feeling here. But you're giving those of us who have not experienced this a beautiful warning. I don't want to cause anyone that kind of pain…neither do I want to be the recipient of that pain…and as much as it depends on me I want to guard my heart and the hearts of those around me.

    Thank you for your honesty Serena.
    Thank you for your honesty Sarah.

    Because you're both being honest we're getting a clearer picture of reality and the sheer magnitude of grace required for healing. Praying for continued healing for everyone.
    .-= Brooke´s last blog post … Stayed on Thee =-.

  37. sarah falkd says:

    Ok I'm done commenting….and reading.

  38. christina reed says:

    i am not normally a blog reader but found this one after reading serena's book and had to read it. having said that, consequently, i am also not a writer on any blog posts. however, i decided to write after reading all the comments and tell you a little bit you may not know. i have been following serena and her website, where i purchased the book from, and reading her blogs which again i don't normally do because i just don't have a enough time in the day, and have found myself deeply blessed. serena is someone who sinned, yes…but aren't we all? she has been given the opportunity to touch many lives. no, that does not make her sin beautiful only useful to the advancement of God's kingdom. God called serena from the pits of dispair into an amazing position to touch other peoples lives. he is allowing her to be publicly scorned to help more of his favorite kids not fall into the same trap satan set up for them to fall into. serena recently quit a very lucrative career to do speaking engagements on matters such as this blog. she didn't have to,,,but she chose to put herself out there to try and help other people from falling and to hold the hands of the fallen. this doesn't make her sin go away,,,Jesus did that when he bled from his beaten body on the cross for you, me, and serena! who are we to judge who God chooses to use for his glory? thank you serena for answering his call! you have touched more lives already than you know. serena was not a speaker or a writer before her affair…she was a successful business woman who never dreamed of having the blessing to share all of this with you, because she never dreamed she would have God turn his face from her after she had an affair. and yes i said blessing because to do what God tells you to do is nothing short of just that, a blessing. serena is just like you and me, "we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." romans 3:23. i think sometimes we forget that God appoints someone and attack them or their sin; in doing so, we attack God.

    i attend a large church in North carolina and my husband and i are very involved with a few different ministries there, one of which affords us the opportunity to speak with and encourage couples. serena we have been able to recommend your book to several people and have already heard a lot of great responses of restoration in their lives. thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for pouring your forgiven sin out for others to see so that we might all be able to better help the people in our lives with a little more grace.

  39. adreed says:

    It is interesting that in all of these posts I've read, I seem to be the only guy with a post. I say this because the book is written by a woman and as such will undoubtedly appeal to more women than men. The beauty of the book, however, is the truth that lies within the boundaries of the book covers, yet is boundless in application.

    There has been much discussion in some of the recent posts about the position of the author; whether she has reconciled, and repented enough in order to be used to speak the truth. I may have a different point of view from you, your friend, or someone else. But the truth of the matter is… our opinion doesn't matter, only God's truth does. The truth will last far beyond the vapors we call our lives.

    So what is the truth? Serena has uncovered one of satan's modes of operation and is now being used by God to shed light on the darkness that still holds many as slaves, captive to sin. Whether that sin is sexual immorality, or a slandering spirit, the offense matters not. Sin is the one thing in life that costs the same no matter how "expensive" it is in our eyes.

    One thing that we simply don't "get", especially here in America, is that it is not about us. Romans 3:23 doesn't say only SOME have sinned. It says ALL. But the thing that we too often do with scripture is stop short of the truth and focus on "me". See, in stopping at the end of verse 23, we fail to see the true message of the work of Jesus being a part of God's ordained design, in which he allows us to participate. Seriously… did you choose the longitude and latitude at which you were born???

    Later in Romans, Paul confirms that we are God's own and that nothing can separate us from His love (Rom. 8:37-39). I recently had an acquaintance pass away. In all honesty, he wasn't someone with whom most people would associate. He had a rough life, and was "living on the wrong side of town". He went to an Easter Service at church this year and met Jesus. It didn't change his socioeconomic status, get him a job, or instantly solve his relational issues. It did, however, get his name written in a book that we should all be striving to point others toward. Jesus' love for this man was not based on anything in his life. And nothing kept His love from him. I'm thankful that I was able to witness this unfold!!

    I love Ephesians 2:1-10. It spells out exactly who each one of us are/ were, and who we can become through Christ. Verse 6 says that we have been raised up and seated with Christ in the heavenly places. This is not a physical heaven, it is where all of the battle in our lives take place: it is where the battle spoken of in Ephesians 6:10-12 takes place. The key in understanding these battles and living in victory is to understand two things: 1) The schemes of the devil (Eph. 6:11), and 2) Who we are in Christ.

    satan has always had three areas of attack. he attacks who God is. he attacks the truth of God's Word. And, he attacks who we have become in Him. So who are we in Christ? As I referenced earlier, we are seated with Christ if we have accepted his grace by faith. But what does that do for us? It gives us the right to plunder and pillage the kingdom of darkness. Jesus is the stronger man, and he has already "overtaken the strong man". Just look up Luke 11: 21-22. It is echoed again in Matthew 12: 28-32: only with a warning in verses 30-32. Every sin of ours will be forgiven. Every sin but one. While I agree that we must strive to give a holy and acceptable offering to God, I also believe in honoring the Holy Spirit and His work in others' lives. Because ultimately, He knows how, and who to use, to advance the Kingdom. My bet is on Him using those who are willing and can relate to those who need a savior… because that's who He's been using since our human story began.

  40. Sisterlisa says:

    Serena, you have many encouraging words coming from your readers. When I read through all the responses of support, the one that isn't so supportive seems to stand out the most. I have no doubt her words cut you, but her pain is understandable. I have been in that place of anger towards ANY woman in your shoes. For some, it takes a very long time to heal from. Perhaps instead of this becoming a battle of who is right or wrong, we take a moment to pray for her to have healing.

    For the rest here, Just as much of a spiritual battle it was for Serena to accept forgiveness from our Lord on what decisions she made,the other poster also has a spiritual battle of pain to deal with. She needs support too.
    .-= Sisterlisa´s last blog post … Join Our Team =-.

  41. sarah falkd says:

    Well THANK YOU sisterlisa….for being the ONLY one to care about how hard it is for me. My greatest challenge is learning how to forgive, and for me the pain is still too sharp. I never meant to slander Serena. It's just that your story opened up a pit of despair and pain in my own life. I didn't deserve to be cheated on. My marriage was happy. I didn't do anything wrong and yet I was hurt. Now my greatest life lesson will be how to forgive and how to love like Jesus does.

    Serena, I do apologize for my stinging remarks. If you could only know how deeply I too hurt…you might forgive me and maybe even….understand?

    Your posts have been hanging over me like a dark cloud of grief for days….opening up the bottle of uncried tears within me. No, I'm not ready to forgive this other woman. In fact…I really can't even imagine a day when I will be able to.

    There is much applause given to the person who sins and then finds God again, but what about the person who was destroyed by someone else's sin and is able to find God again for themselves.

    Serena, maybe someday I will know God in a better way than I do now…maybe I will be able to look at this other woman and forgive. Maybe. I have to believe I WILL be able to forgive…someday.

    This other woman isn't like you though. She isn't sorry for what she did…she isn't a Christian. So really…I should want to show her God's love even more so that she could come to know God's love. I just don't have it in me. She terrorized and plagued my husband's weaknesses. She chased after my husband…how do you forgive someone like this? I am not saying she is evil…sin is evil…God's grace is brilliant and undefiled.

    I understand Grace though. My own husband has walked through a very difficult time of finding grace….of forgiving himself for what he did….of facing his family. It's just that I have no more grace to give.

    It makes me feel very sad that I was so blasted for my story….that you were paraded as the saint and I the tool of the enemy. It still really hurts…..I do not want to hurt you Serena…because you do have a beautiful story. But right now I feel like a wounded animal….What do you do with a broken heart?

  42. sarah falkd says:

    I mean really….how do you love someone else when…you're own heart is cracked, bruised, and bleeding? I do not want to add pain to your life….there is too much of that in this world. I hope you can see that my most stinging remarks were not really directed at you…but…at my own pain caused by a woman who walked in your shoes. You found God again, and that is the miracle. Let us hope that I find God again too. It makes me want to scream, kick, and cry….the "body" is there to open their arms to you now…but I am blasted. In fact, I think I have the hardest time with this…because we haven't made it public knowledge. Only a few close friends and family members know….like our pastor and a good counselor. Other than that, I wanted to protect my husbands reputation, so I said nothing to anyone.

    I am broken and bleeding and now one knows it really….and I think that sharpens my own pain. I really did lash out at you…but it really does hurt me twice as much to know that I am kicked in my own time of deep,deep need. I am labeled as that woman who is using the tools of the enemy to hurt you…when really…I don't want to hurt you….I'm like that wounded animal….lost in my own place of utter hurt. Do you think Jesus will find me? Do you think Jesus loves me too? I wonder those things and just weep…and I realize I am far off topic so I should just stop now.

  43. Serena Woods says:

    Sarah, I wish I could hug you. …not in a condescending way, just in a broken hearted way. I want you to know that I understand your pain. I know I can't take it away, but I can see it and my heart breaks because of it. I've asked SarahMae to give you my email address if you want to use it. I think that sometimes an unlikely friend may help take a step or two in the direction of healing… The fact that you are suffering mostly alone is gut wrenching.

    Yes, Sarah, Jesus will find you. And, oh my gosh, YES, He absolutely loves you. I think that you are not far from the realization that He has been cradling you through this the whole time.

    You have shared your pain here and I'm sure that there are others who will reach out to you, too. There are no 'sides' in God's love. Anyone who has His spirit in them will be filled with compassion and love for you. You are not alone.
    .-= Serena Woods´s last blog post … paradox =-.

  44. Sisterlisa says:

    Sarah,

    I have walked in your shoes, I know that pain.
    .-= Sisterlisa´s last blog post … Join Our Team =-.

  45. Jamie says:

    I am not even sure what to say to this post. While I understand redemption, I don't understand how you can feel forgiven while still in the middle of the sin. Your original marraige vows – taken before God – stated until death NOT until you found something better. Biblically speaking, your current marraige is still adultery. I understand that I am coming across harsh – I speak from the point of view of the betrayed, and this is a subject that I feel deeply about. I do agree with your points on creating a strong marraige, and I believe that the points work equally on the wife and the husband. – I wish it were something that could be taught to all young and in love couples.
    .-= Jamie´s last blog post … Love without Trust =-.

  46. Serena Woods says:

    Jamie,

    I just read all of your posts on your own blog and I hate the pain that you live with. I can't imagine the amount of suffering that you endure.

    This battle that you are fighting is so much bigger than you are. You don't have to fight this alone. Even if you don't tell anyone, how much have you kept for yourself? How much do you still have to hand over to Him? I realize that it may sound cheesy or like a copout and if God weren't real, then it would be both of those things. However, I believe that God can handle our wars so much better than we can. We can curl up on His lap and let the rhythm of His breath and the sound of His heart comfort us.

    "The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does." -1 Peter 5:8 MSG

    Yes, He does.

    Serena
    .-= Serena Woods´s last blog post … chasing geese =-.

  47. sarah falkd says:

    Some men struggle with alcoholism….others struggle with porn…some men fall easily into the trap of the attention of other women. For us…I know my God given job is to shine the way to hope in my husband's life. Sin is like a disease….that destroys you….controls you….you need the light of God and you need the hope of God to believe that you can be a better person.
    At least my husband really loves me and would rather die than leave me. It's the sad twisted truth…that he loves me….and struggles with cheating. He has done everything possible and more to show me that he loves me…is beyond sorry….and wants to change. But you can't change without God.
    We are expecting our second child and my husband thinks it is a girl and he has already named her Grace.
    I think Satan knows how to attack each person…to hold him or her back from the glorious life that God has planned. Then as Joyce Meyers preaches: God can give you beauty for ashes….but you have to surrender your ashes. You can't hold on to them at all. It's a trade.

  48. Anita MW says:

    Forgiveness – what it is and what it isn't….

    Forgiveness is… giving up our felt or perceived need and desire to punish someone for wrongdoing. Leave that in God's hands and trusting that He will deal with them … either in His grace and forgiveness of them or in judgment if they refuse to acknowledge their sin or seek redemption.
    Even in the case of Saul/Paul God said "I will show him how much he will suffer for My name's sake."

    Forgiveness is not… forgetting the sin. God may be able to do this and He may grant us a healed memory or dull the recall over time but humans don't just 'forgive and forget.'

    Forgiveness is not… going back to the way things were before. Relationships change when trust is broken. Friendships might never be renewed. Trust has to be earned over a long period of time. The offender if trying to make amends may need to allow the offended to ask questions freely, require accountability, and be open to being 'checked up on' especially if there has been a long pattern of deception.

    Forgiveness is not… being okay, joyful and unhurt. Christ forgives us but that forgiveness comes at a very heavy cost…The crucifixion of an innocent man, and He who deserved no hurt or harm at all but suffered all of that and more for my forgiveness.
    When I choose to forgive someone else I often agree to take on the hurt and pain caused by that sin, willingly. Even unwillingly I am hurt by the sin of others as they also are hurt by my sins. (eg: a pregnancy out-of-wedlock can be forgiven but there is still a baby in evidence. Adultery can ruin intimacy, communication and much else for a long time.)
    I may forgive and yet suffer grief and pain nevertheless.

    Grace is so truly undeserved. It is those forgiven much who often love much…Magdalene, the whore, weeping to cleanse Jesus' feet and being present at the cross and the empty tomb, following Christ with everything she had. To me she speaks of gratitude that cannot express itself sufficiently in words and so lives as close as she can to Him.

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    I'm Sarah Mae. I'm figuring out how to fit perfect into fallen skin. Stick around for the stretching...your soul is welcome here.

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