“When Cynthia and I got married and had children, we moved to the United States. Our marriage started a chronic gradual deterioration. There was no major event, as far as I knew. There wasn't anything going on besides us being dissatisfied with how our marriage was, with my growing apathy building walls that separated us.
“We had a trip to Brazil that we normally do at the end of the year to spend Christmas with family. There, I felt more disconnected from Cynthia than ever. We were staying at the same house, but I had never felt so separated, both physically and emotionally.
“During that time, my brother noticed a change in me and suggested I see a counselor.
“Within the first sessions, I realized I was pointing fingers at Cynthia, saying all the things I thought made her a terrible wife and mother. I thought she was the source of all the problems. God was clearly working in me because as I listened to myself say these things, I started seeing that much of what I was saying was complete nonsense. A selfish unbeliever with poor judgment, I was ruled by pride and self-sufficiency.
“I felt conviction, thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, what did I do? I put us in this situation, and we're about to get a divorce. I've been thinking all this time that I was the victim, but I’ve contributed at least as much, if not the most, for us to get to where we are.’
“I wanted to work and rebuild our marriage. So, I very quickly started a performance-based love, trying to apologize and help around the house and show my appreciation. This was unilateral. Cynthia continued to further separate from me. I was ready to give up.
“I became very restless and would spend nights without sleep. The worst times were at night when we were in the same bed, completely separated emotionally.
“One night, I cried out to God, ‘If you’re there, help me out of this. I don’t know what to do. I’m hopeless.’
“This was the first time I felt God’s presence, energy, and rest. That moment was transformative for me because without knowing Scripture, it was very clear to me this was God. At that moment, I knew I didn’t have to save our marriage, I desperately needed to be saved.
“I completely turned my focus to pursuing God. I’ve always been a very driven person, a go-getter. But there has never been in my life a pursuit that has been so tireless. I wanted to learn about God and His Word and be surrounded by people who would help me grow spiritually.
“It was saddening to see our broken marriage, but in my surrender, I was finding solid ground. I had a path forward, and I knew it was the only way (John 14:6).
“This is when I found things on her computer that led me to believe Cynthia was having an affair. When I asked her, she dismissed my questions. Rather than being upset at her, I felt grace toward her and conviction for my own sins against Cynthia that put her and our family in a very vulnerable position.
“I didn’t really know how to ask for forgiveness then, but I said to her, ‘I’m sorry for everything I’ve done. I want to rebuild our marriage. I will not hold this against you.’
“This wasn’t a one-and-done thing. From there, we started re|engage at Watermark. The curriculum helped us be equipped with God’s truth to deal with things that have come and will come in the future.
“Looking back, we see God’s hand all along – even in the sequence of events. If I had found out about her emotional affair even three months prior to when I did, I don’t think we’d have the same story. Trusting in Christ changed everything. The transformation we’ve seen in our lives goes way beyond our marriage; I see a change in the way we parent, the way I deal with my patients at work, the way I treat strangers, and the list goes on.
“It’s not only the spiritual oneness that comes from our pursuit of a relationship with God, but we’ve also been given a toolbox that helps us deal with the things that can slowly separate us from each other. This endurance is only created by laying every battle at His feet (Matthew 11:28-30) and trusting what He does with it.”