At 21, the Comeauxs found themselves married but living separate lives. He was travelling for work during the week, and his struggles with sexual sin eventually led to an extramarital affair that he kept secret from Michelle for years. She kept sin and hurt from her past buried and unspoken. Their marriage continued even though they were growing distant, and through the Lord’s faithfulness, Jimmy and Michelle have watched their marriage and lives radically change.
How did you come to know the Lord?
Michelle: “After we had our first baby, I felt like something was missing. I really wanted to figure out where I was going to prioritize God in my life. When we started going to church, I felt like I was relearning the things I was taught when I was young, but in a whole new way. It wasn’t about me following the rules. It was all about the Lord. I started learning the truth about the gospel and how to follow Christ. I realized I didn’t have to be good enough to accept God’s gift (Ephesians 2:8-9).”
Jimmy: “I began to feel God’s love and grace wash over me as I took small steps toward Him. The hole in my heart I could never fill started filling up. In 2007, Michelle and I both committed our lives to Christ. This began a transformational journey for us and our marriage. I was trusting God with more and more of my life and watching other men lead their families by following God. I began to study God’s Word, but I still could not bring myself to share my deep dark secret of unfaithfulness in our marriage years before. I believed that God had forgiven my sin, but I didn’t trust He could heal the wounds it caused.”
How did living in an authentic, biblical community impact your marriage?
J: “When we got to Watermark, we found ourselves in a new season of growing and learning. Between Bible studies and equipping classes, we were being challenged in new ways, but I couldn’t bring myself to confess my past. We generically would hint at marriage struggles, but we would never be very open. I was fearful that authenticity and openness would mess up what good we had.
“The men in the new community group we joined led with openness, and I started to feel constant nudges to confess. I got to a point where I realized God was very clearly calling me to confession. I knew that if I was going to have the marriage and, more importantly, the relationship with God that He intended, I needed to walk in the light (1 John 1:6). He was calling me deeper still to the obedience and authenticity necessary for me to be effective for Him in this world. I had to trust that the Lord would carry Michelle through the pain and that He would have me no matter what consequences would come.
“After hearing the couples in our community group talking about their stories and struggles, I realized I was completely out of excuses. Our community group sat with us as I confessed everything to Michelle.”
M: “That day is vivid. I wanted to just pretend it didn’t happen and go back to my day as planned, but life was forever changed. I had hoped and prayed for change through re|engage, Watermark’s marriage ministry, but my vision was a deeper closeness through sweet, intimate conversations. It never crossed my mind that it would be difficult.”
How have you seen the Lord’s faithfulness through your hardships?
J: “Baring my soul and facing the rejection I assumed would follow was what I feared most in this world, but God was in the middle with us. I wasn’t rejected. For the first time in my life, I am fully known by my wife and accepted despite my brokenness. What a perfect, tangible expression of God’s love and grace in my life. I never imagined God could use my failures to make something beautiful.”
M: “I realize now that God was so gracious in His timing for me to hear this news. I had come to a place where I was ready to have a heart of forgiveness, and I had a community of God’s people around me to encourage me in truth. I chose forgiveness despite my hurt, bitterness, anger, and anxiety. I had to choose to find my peace in the Lord and not my circumstances.
“Years later, we enjoy sharing how God and His people shepherded us through an incredibly desperate time. We struggle daily, we’re both sinners, we hurt each other with our words, we’re impatient, and we have to continue working hard every day to pursue and love one another despite these wounds. But we believe we struggle better, more humbly, and more openly than we used to as we continue to allow God to work on each of our hearts.”
J: “Seeing that other people could find restoration and healing in their relationships through God helped me muster up the courage to confess. To the couples who are struggling, we were where you are right now. I know it feels hopeless and you can’t see how things can be good again, but it can if you allow God to work on your heart. God surrounded us with His people and His Word to allow us to grow together in ways that would never have happened in isolation.”