It was love at first sight for Cheryl and Jeff. Young and ambitious, the two fell in love and and got married. They had it all: ocean view home, the right clothes, the best jobs and there was nothing to want for that money could buy. But what about the things money couldn’t buy? Like happiness or love. Cheryl found herself secretly discontent and began to question her love for Jeff. Jeff, on the other hand went on oblivious to the true feelings his wife harbored and slowly, they drifted apart… Cheryl into the arms of another man.
She had an idea of what the perfect life looked like. That’s what she wanted, that’s what she worked for and that’s what she had. “But it was fake.” So is divorce, then, the answer or is it just running from the real problem? For Cheryl it was the answer and that answer was to end it all. However just because our plans are to end something doesn’t mean they are God’s. And just because we make mistakes -big or small- doesn’t mean He can’t fix them. In the end, both Cheryl and Jeff had to have faith, pure faith to see things through. See how faithfully God reconciled their seven-year divorce, step by step, back into the marriage He had in mind.
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From Jeff & Cheryl:
My thought of a perfect marriage was one of romance, being successful, having a great home, and I was doing my best to be a perfect wife to him and be—actually I was being fake. I was in college, and actually I was putting myself through school, I was a waitress. Jeff came into the place I was working one day, and he walked in and I looked over and I saw this man who was just unbelievably handsome.
The first time I walked in I thought, “Wow! She could be the one! And I thought…”
“Who the heck is that?”
She was beautiful and she was everything I’d ever dreamed about in a wife
We were in love with each other. I couldn’t sleep well. I had butterflies all the time, and he seemed to have the same.
Probably nine months after we started dating, Cheryl had to go off to Dayton, Ohio for some training.
When I came back for my training, Jeff picked me up from the airport, wisped me off to one of our favorite restaurants. The waitress came back to our table.
Pulled off the top of the platter and there was a box
It had a big bow on it. And I thought, “Oh my gosh! He’s going to ask me to marry him.” And that’s exactly what happened.
She said yes so we planned a marriage and wedding in about two months.
We called our parents. We were wisped off to wonderful southern California for our life together.
It was all about how much money could we make.
Buy the right clothes.
We bought a big house with a beautiful ocean view.
We went to the beach every weekend.
I thought our marriage was going great.
I thought we had the perfect life. What started to happen to me was there was a check in my spirit. There was what I would call a numbness that started to happen. I didn’t understand it. So what I did, I started getting angry inside. As I was feeling emptier and emptier nd emptier, I started putting more time into my job. The men at work were paying a lot of attention to me, and I enjoyed it. One year, I went to our national sales meeting. I started talking to a man that I had known for a long time, and he started talking about his marriage and how he wasn’t happy. I thought, “Oh my gosh! That sounds like me.” And this man flew into Los Angeles California to meet with me one day. I’m embarrassed to say this, but we met in a hotel, and that’s when the relationship became physical, and I succumbed to a full-blown adulterous affair. One day I just broke. I was talking to my mom on the telephone, and Jeff alked into the room and he saw me crying, which was kind of rare for me. I didn’t really cry a lot. And He said
What’s going on? And she said, “Nothing…” and I said no, come one. Tell me what’s up. She said
You know Jeff, I don’t know if I love you
I’m not sure if I love you, in fact
I don’t know if I ever loved you. Jeff stepped back and he tried to put his arms around me, and I shunned him. I just stepped back.
And she said, “No. I’m just not happy. “
I was so deceived, and I thought divorce was the answer. And that’s what I started to pursue, even with Jeff not knowing. And the way Jeff found out was that the sheriff came to the door one night when he was putting the girls in bed.
I was at home one evening reading the girls a bedtime story, and the doorbell was ringing. And it’s the sheriff serving me with papers, divorce papers. So, I signed for the papers headed back up the stairs, finished reading the bedtime story to the girls, put them down. Then just basically went crazy. Went down stairs and went, “What is this all about?”
And I was cold. I was cold to him. I didn’t’ want to talk to him. I didn’t want to go to counseling. I didn’t want to make our marriage work. So I divorced him on August 21st, 1992.
For those first three years following the divorce, I was so angry with Cheryl that I couldn’t even look at her. But I started pretty quickly after the divorce starting going to a Friday morning men’s bible study. And this went on for a long time. Finally about three years after the divorce, one night, in my bed, I was just laying in bed, reading the Bible. I came across a passage in Proverbs, it was Proverbs 3: 5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” And through that, God was just showing me, “Jeff, you’ve been leaning on your own understand for years, and for the first time in your life, trust in me with all your heart.” And that night as I sat there in bed and just prayed and cried and wept, I realized I needed to surrender my whole heart to the Lord. And that night, Jesus became first in my life.
About three months after our divorce happened, I heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. And that was an unbelievable day, and it was probably, besides the day of my divorce, it was probably one of the saddest days of my life, because I looked behind me, and I saw what I had left behind. I had made a huge mistake, and the huge mistake was that I didn’t know Christ. A few months after that, I kept hearing this—there was a stirring in my heart to call Jeff, to repent to him all the things I had done wrong. How I had hurt him. And, also just a very small inkling that I wanted to try to reconcile your marriage.
Michelle wrote me a letter, and she called me up and said, “Look, I’ve written you a letter.”I was very nervous and he wasn’t open to me. I just asked him if I could come over for ten minutes.
And I said to her, “Look, if you want to come over about the girls, that’s great. But, anything else, and I don’t want to have anything to do with it.”
And I said, “This isn’t about the girls and He said, “No.” And I said, “Just give me ten minutes.”
But after her pleading with me I finally said, “Okay. You can come over. You can sit across the room in this one chair. Read me the letter. I don’t know what kind of response you’re wanting from me, but I just want you to know, I still don’t trust you.
I was shaking. And I looked at this man that I looked at this man that I had hurt so very badly. God, how could I make up for what I had done? At the very end I said, “Jeff I’ve come to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior.” And I can imagine his thought.
I felt like, “Yeah this is just convenient or coincidental. After I had been begging for her to fight for our marriage and begging her to stay in the marriage, that she would accept Christ three months after that. In fact, I didn’t believe it.
And so, when I looked up, he had tears running down his face. And I ask him if he’d ever consider reconciling our relationship. And because he was crying, I thought it was his sign to me, or God’s sign to me that he was on the same page I was. And Jeff laughed in my face. He said, “I will never consider doing that. Don’t ever ask me that again.”
So yeah, she left the house. So I kept that letter and what she didn’t know at the time was it really did hit me. And I would take this letter out two or three times a week at especially when I didn’t have the girls, read this letter, and it would really just weep.
What God put on my heart very lightly at first became such a strong force. He said to me, “Cheryl I want you to walk with me. I want you to pursue reconciliation in your marriage. My desire is that your family and your marriage be put back together.” After about two years, I started to give up on it. I would cry out to the Lord. Sometimes I was on my knees praying and crying out to God, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.”
It took time for me. What I called it was she had to make deposits into my trust account.
Another couple of years would go by, and I would think, “It’s four years. I can’t do this. And it really didn’t matter what I thought.”
God was showing me week after week how she had changed and that she really was seeking after Him with all that she had and through that, there was evidence of a changed heart. And not only in Cheryl, but in myself. She started inviting me over for dinner to her house with the girls. And for a long time, I said no no no. And finally after about a year, I said yes.
Our dating started out as him coming over for dinner about once a week. And then what started happening about 6 months into us doing dinner together and being together as a family Is he actually asked me out on a real date. He actually said the words, “I think it’s time for us to get remarried.” I was overwhelmed. We had been divorced for seven years and now we’re going to be a husband and wife again and a family again. And God just put it all back together.
And October third, we went to Beaver Creek, Colorado and we were re-married at the chapel in Beaver Creek. It’s hard to describe what the lord had done. I just closed my eyes and said “Wow. You’ve done something huge. We’ve been re-married now for nine years and Christ is First. I’m Second and Jeff is Second and our family is Second and Jesus is First.
Early in our first marriage, our satisfaction came from all the things, all the worldly things, the possessions, the great house with the ocean view. Now we realize that that stuff is just junk. I wake every morning with Cheryl beside me in bed and it’s like I have to pinch myself. I can’t believe that our family is back together.
It’s definitely a miracle.