“We were so full of bitterness by the time our two kids came along, we were just an ‘undivorced’ couple living under the same roof. He’d play golf all day. I’d go to work then go to yoga three or four nights a week. If I couldn’t control my husband, at least I could have some self-discipline and control myself."
“I looked at my marriage to Tony as a contract rather than a covenant,” said Valerie Endsley. “I had a set of expectations of what my husband was supposed to be. When those were not met, I did not know what to do with the pain. I was blind to the fact that I was as broken as he was.
“I never acknowledged God as a young adult, although I’d grown up in church and learned to be a moral person. I considered those years ‘my time’ to drink and party. After graduation, I lived in Fort Worth, where I met Tony at a bar. Soon we were partying all the time. During those years, life was all about me in every way. I was driven to succeed at work and make as much money as possible. I was comforted by the size of my savings account.
“Before we married, Tony and I had horrible fights. He’d promise to stop drinking liquor and stick to beer, but then the whole thing would start over again. I became comfortable with our partying and assumed that when we married, we’d put it behind us.
“Once we said ‘I do,’ I discovered that there was a lot I didn’t know about Tony. I had been so glad to marry a successful guy with a college degree. Then I learned that Tony had lied about finishing college. I never knew about Tony’s cocaine use or the depths of his addictions. He was deceitful about his credit card debt, and I was frustrated that he continued to smoke pot after we married. It was clear that Tony had no problem looking me right in the eye and lying.
“When I realized that I could not trust my own husband, I decided to isolate. The less I cared about Tony, the less it would hurt when he disappointed me. Later, on a three-week training trip for work, I met a guy, and before I knew it, we had an affair. Infidelity wasn’t what I intended, but I was so focused on Tony’s sin, I didn’t think about mine. I told myself I would take that secret to the grave.
“We were so full of bitterness by the time our two kids came along, we were just an ‘undivorced’ couple living under the same roof. He’d play golf all day. I’d go to work then go to yoga three or four nights a week. If I couldn’t control my husband, at least I could have some self-discipline and control myself. I selfishly justified the time away from family by focusing on how much time Tony spent playing golf.
“When we finally decided to go to re|engage at Watermark, I was there to fix Tony and point out everything he did wrong. Instead, the Lord showed me what was wrong with my heart. I learned that the Lord loved me unconditionally and wanted to have a relationship with me. I was a sinner, and my only hope was found in the free gift of grace available in Christ.
Before coming to Watermark, I never knew the Bible could be applied to my life. As I read Scripture I recognized it didn’t have to be my opinion vs. Tony’s anymore. We could look to God’s Word for the answers. It was like someone flipped a switch, and I fell in love with Jesus. God showed me that I was forgiven and He could help me learn to love and forgive others in the same way He loved me.
“At re|engage, we kept hearing other couples talk about God’s amazing work after they confessed sin and infidelity to their spouse. That’s not something I wanted to do, but I remembered Proverbs 3:5-6 and understood that I had to trust the Lord enough to be honest about my sin.
“Chapters 5 and 6 in re|engage are titled, ‘Forgivness’ and ‘Forgivness in Action.’ God used these lessons to prepare my heart and Tony’s for the confession that was to come. God supernaturally intervened and helped orchestrate a time where Tony and I could talk about my unfaithfulness – something he’d always wondered about. That night, Tony also confessed to his affair, as well as credit card debt he had secretly accrued. Although this was a difficult conversation, God used it to open my heart and see my husband through His eyes. Over time, much of my pain and bitterness were taken away as I understood more about the love of Christ.
“Since then, God has completely changed our home life. Reading the Bible isn’t a fad for me; it’s the most important part of my day. We read Scripture and have deep spiritual conversations with our kids – even at eight and ten years old. We are far from perfect, but we know now that our job is to disciple our children and live confidently in faith, knowing that God is who He says He is.
“Tony and I are now leaders in re|engage, and it is such a gift to tell others about daily surrender to Christ and the health brought to our marriage through obedience to His Word. Tony and I often come home saying, ‘you wouldn’t believe what God did today!’ I sometimes tear up because I’m blown away by all God has done. He is using our story in amazing ways.”