“I believed so many lies about my marriage,” said Michael Thompson. “I bought the lie that there was too much damage for our relationship to work. I believed that we could never recover from infidelity. But I had forgotten one thing: God can change anything.
“Years ago, when I worked up the nerve to ask Selena out, I asked her if she’d like to go have coffee, even though I hate coffee. We started dating after that. Selena was a believer in Christ, and when she asked me about my faith, I didn’t know if I believed in God, Buddha, or the Kool-Aid Man. So, I just told her I believed in ‘something.’
“Despite our many core differences, we moved in together. Our relationship was difficult because I was an avoider and would appease Selena until I was so frustrated that I exploded in anger. I observed that same pattern in my parents’ marriage and brought that baggage into our relationship. I adopted another of my parents’ patterns when we married in 2007. Selena controlled the house and many other aspects of our life, which I was fine with until something went wrong. Then I’d get angry about not having any control.
“Selena was very driven in her career, so I pushed myself to get promoted to keep up with her. When I took a better job out of town, the conflict in our marriage increased, and we quickly drifted apart. Eventually, Selena began an extramarital relationship. The news of her affair left me in a blinding rage, and I tried to hurt her as much as I could. I turned to alcohol to help with the pain and later turned to a woman at work with whom I had my own affair. I believed the lie that since Selena hurt me first, my infidelity was justified.
“After nine months of destructive living, I was pulled over by the police for drinking and driving and spent the night in jail. The only bright spot in that whole incident was getting to connect with my son, who was 20 years old at the time. He was the first person to share the gospel with me and demonstrate what a real Christian man looked like. He told me about the forgiveness and free gift of grace that God offers everyone, including me. Although I loved reconnecting with him, I was not able to fully understand the forgiveness he described.
“I moved to Plano and intended to divorce Selena. But instead, the Lord used the words of a coworker to show me that my marriage was worth fighting for. I called Selena, and together, we found our way to Watermark and to re|engage, Watermark’s marriage ministry. I’m still amazed by all the Lord did after that.
“I was still stubborn at first and could not see why I needed to seek Selena’s forgiveness. But I read the words of Ephesians 4:32, and the Lord showed me how true forgiveness works. The son I had abandoned for 15 years had forgiven me and was willing to pour God’s Word into my life. Each week at re|engage I met people who trusted the Lord enough to extend forgiveness to one another. The more I looked at myself, the more the Lord showed me my part in the mess of our marriage.
“Romans 3:23 says, ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ At re|engage I took a look at my sin, and although it was a bitter pill to swallow, I realized I was just as much at fault for the destruction of our marriage as she was. Because of my son’s example I finally understood what true forgiveness looked like. Because of God’s grace at work in my life, in May of 2016 my entire family was baptized, and my son was there to baptize me.