During my time as a pastor, we drove the iffy van to a conference in Springfield, MO. I had a great time with coworkers and enjoyed the discussions at the gathering. But the highlight was seeing Steve Smallwood (@stevedsmallwood on twitter). Without Steve there would be no Marriages Restored, and no marriage to Ann.
When I first found out about Ann's affair I felt like a walking Picasso. Four days after revelation day I traveled the two hundred miles to Springfield for my monthly Army Reserves Drill. I sought Steve out and asked him if I could talk with him. We walked a couple of first downs down the hall and outside the glass doors. He looked at my face and asked, "What happened? Did your wife have an affair?"
I was undone. I have no idea what I said in my stunned state. I indicated yes. I felt comfort in his presence.
He took me out to lunch later that day. I'm sure mostly I stared at my food while he talked. My mental capacity was about that of a tea pot at the time. At one point Steve looked at me and me at him.
He said, "Ben, your marriage isn't over yet. And God isn't through using you."
I initially thought he was full of it, that he was just trying to cheer me up. But there was something else in me that yearned for his words to be true. So I folded them up like an invisible napkin, put 'em in my back pocket and carried them with me everywhere I went for the next fourteen months.
I didn't always remember they were tucked safely back there, but when I needed some hope to get me through another day or even just a nanosecond there they were offering a flicker or beam of light.
Steve walked with me through the crap of it all. It was messy. He spent time with me, took me to buy books, took me to see Braveheart, listened when I rambled on about my pain, and cautioned me when I was out on the road by myself to remember how very vulnerable I was.
Steve was God's special agent of grace in my life. Without his presence, any help you may have received from this blog over the last eleven years wouldn't have happened. When I think of that I get a sense that our God is a big God. One man helps one man who helps other men. The impact of Steve's grace has reached thousands of couples based on the over 1,000,000 lifetime page views for this blog.
Without Steve's surrender and obedience to God there are no Marriages Restored Conferences or Intensives.
If your marriage is struggling through infidelity, or for any reason whatsoever, find some hope here or let us know if we can help in other ways.
Because your marriage isn't over. And God isn't through using you.
In 2015 our book will be out, Betrayed and Betrayer: Rescuing your marriage after the affair.
Hi, Ben. I work with LifeWay.com of LifeWay Christian Resources, the publisher of Parenting Teens magazine that published your article in its April issue. We added the article to LifeWay.com in April. And have shared it on social media. Since then it has received a lot of traffic (close to 4,000 views) and is currently ranked on the first page (third when I checked today) in Google for the search term "emotional affair."
I thought you'd want to know what an impact is it having. If you would like to link to it on your site or mention it in your social media channels. Here's the link to the article:
Are you on Google+? If so, you can add LifeWay.com as one of your contributors and it will add your photo to the search results (which has been proven to increase page views to a particular search results listing).
We know the great ministry value an article like this can have and are very thankful to you for sharing it with us. We pray it reaches many more people who need help and healing in their marriages and relationships. Blessings, Valerie
God established marriage as a picture here on earth of what the Trinity is like. As married couples, we are encouraged, exhorted, commanded, to become ONE with our partner. "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh." Genesis 2:24 and "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." Ephesians 5:31
But that doesn't mean we leave our individuality, personalities, gifts, idiosyncracies at the altar when we say "I do". Although I am married to and ONE with Ben Wilson, I am still Ann Wilson - organized, slightly OCD, a scientist, a lover of laughter, a crazy woman at times (just ask my beloved Ben :), an athlete, a Mom, a natural on stage, a good friend, a lousy friend, a curious friend, mad about music (I have rhythm, my beloved not so much) and many more qualities too numerous to mention that are exclusively mine. Just because I have become ONE with my beloved Ben, and let me tell you it has been an arduous journey that we still travel each. and. every. day, does not mean that I have lost myself and that we are one and the same person. I am still an individual. I am still Ann. Who is ONE with Ben.
In the same way, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit each have their distinct personalities, gifts, individualities but they are also ONE with each other. When making man, God said, "Let us make mankind in our image..." Gen 1:26. He didn't say, "let me make mankind in my image." That would have left Jesus and the Holy Spirit out of the bliss of creation! These three make being ONE look super easy, but reality for us is that we live on this scarred rock called earth and it is dang hard. Dang hard.
Ron Washington shared about being unfaithful to his wife today. He resigned a while ago as manager of the Texas Rangers.
I have a lot of respect for him in the way he handled this. It doesn't feel like a celebrity trying to do damage control. It feels like a good man owning a deeply painful mistake. Thanks for your honesty and courage Ron Washington.
Blessings on you and your wife, Gerry as you heal and recover.
21 days to go for our Kickstarter campaign to raise money to publish Betrayed and Betrayer: Rescuing your marriage after the affair.
This book is a 90 day survival guide for couples dealing with infidelity. We hope it provides couples a map for the rest of their journey as well.
We've been moved by all the encouragment from friends new and old. We appreciate the well wishes, prayers and are humbled by the financial donations. We want to put out a great book for those in need to honor all of that support.
Affairs of the Heart: Emotional Affairs Are A Dangerous Game in a Marriage I thought you'd want to know what an impact it (your article) is having. We know the great ministry value an article like this can have and are very thankful to you for sharing it with us. We pray it reaches many more people who need help and healing in their marriages and relationships.
~Valerie Hancock, Lifeway.com
"Your ministry is crucial. So much infidelity, so little restoration. I bless you both for what you are doing. On behalf of the church, thanks. You've paid the price to be able to share what you do."
Larry Crabb, author of over 20 books including Inside Out, Soul Talk and Marriage Builder