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Solitude Gives Wife the Strength to Forgive

“I thought she was gorgeous. And we just connected.  Our birthdays were on the same day. A lot of things just kind of wow, this only makes sense,” said Chadwick.

When Chadwick and JaLana met in 1991, on the campus of Oral Roberts University, their chemistry was undeniable.  “I was drawn to him because of his passion for the Lord. Instantaneously we became best friends. We started ministering on the street. We would go door-to-door witnessing,” said JaLana.

Their next step was marriage in 1994. The first 7 years were wedded bliss. They were serving together in ministry, now as associate pastors at their church, while Chad worked another full-time job.  Together, raising their two children, the Walsh’s romance was flourishing.  “I had pictures all over my desk. And they’d say ‘Ooh, that’s your wife?’ Yeah, that’s my baby right there. Proud and loving,” said Chadwick.

But, by their 12th year of marriage, the pressures of life seemed to mount, all at once. They lost their first home when Chadwick was laid off.  JaLana lost her father to cancer and she was having complications with her third pregnancy.  “The romance kind of died down in our marriage.  Here I am pregnant and, you know, ‘Don’t touch me’, you know. I just kind of wanted a friend at that point. I was dealing with loneliness and hurt from having both of my parents gone. He was working a lot trying to pay bills,” said JaLana.

“I began to be distracted by the cares of this life, And it really began to just deteriorate my devotion to the Lord,” said Chadwick.

Chad’s quality time with God and his family was replaced by a growing addiction to pornography.  “So I clicked out of curiosity and it opened up to a whole new world, a disgusting world, but at the time was appealing to me. To hide that from my wife, I was definitely feeling as if there was a part of me dying,” said Chadwick.

Continuing to serve as ministers, the couple agreed to share their home with three friends in need of temporary housing. Chad and one of the women began an affair. On the day the friends were set to move out, JaLana caught Chad and the woman together.

“I was 7 months pregnant when I found out. And I just remember praying, asking God that I would die on the table when they did the C-section for the pregnancy. I just didn’t know how to make the pain I was feeling inside stop. It was so painful to feel betrayed like that and to feel like I was no longer loved,” said JaLana.

“I did love her, but I knew without a shadow of a doubt, one, God was very disappointed with me. I believed He’s going to have a problem forgiving me. Also I didn’t believe my wife would—could ever forgive me for that. I was so deep and so dark and so disconnected, I was like, you know what, we can end this. I want a divorce,” said Chadwick.

But, JaLana decided to fight for their marriage.  “I came to quickly realize that I had to love me. I had to find my identity outside of my mom, my dad, my husband. I had to find out who I was in God. God was speaking to me to rise up, to be a warrior, you're a woman of God…So, I began to say let this mind be in you that’s also in Christ Jesus. Eventually, the Word of God was getting inside of me and it was building me up and making me stronger. And the Lord started speaking to me and He said,I want you to start showing your husband love. Stop bringing up the situation with the affair.

I remember saying ‘God, how could I forgive him?’ And God said as many times as you have been unfaithful to Me and I’ve taken you back, what pride you’re walking in not to show-extend that same love and forgiveness to him. I started praying for everything around him, that he would be the man of God that God called him to be.

“She says, ‘I pray that God would have mercy on you for hurting His daughter.’ It felt as if I was having a heart attack right then. It felt as if God took my heart and just clenched it. It was that moment right there that woke me up to know this woman truly loves me. And there may be a chance that God also loves me too. While we were yet in our sin, as I was, the Word of God says He forgave us.  I was like ‘Lord, I am so sorry. I’m so sorry for hurting my family.’ I said I’m going to turn my plate over, I’m not going to eat anything. I’m going to seek God,” said Chadwick.

As chad fasted and prayed, he also joined a Christian men’s group and overcame his addiction to pornography. The couple started praying together and communicating more.

“The key to our marriage being restored is, first of all, God. The Lord stepped in and just brought healing. And work. We had to put the work in,” said JaLana.

“We renewed our vows. We actually had a full wedding. At that wedding we actually exposed to the reception, , what happened and jaws were dropping, like ‘What? We didn’t know, we had no clue.’ And then after that, the response was ‘Hey, I’m doing this—I did that too. Can you help me?” Chadwick explained.

Now that god has restored their union, they counsel couples through their ministry, Forward Marriage. The Walsh’s share their testimony in their book called Infidelity.

“We’re not the couple who had a messed up marriage. We’re a couple who went through a storm, made it through,” said Chadwick.

“There is absolutely hope for any marriage that’s going through problems, betrayal, infidelity. I know firsthand that God can heal any marriage. I know it,” said JaLana.

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