A marriage was restored when God intervened. This couple’s testimony has become an inspiration for struggling married couples.
Emily and Josh Bengen
Before becoming engaged, Emily and Josh had been the best friends for a long time. But four months after their wedding, they were already working on their marriage and in pastoral counseling.
“We argued on our honeymoon in the hotel room about anything and everything. And I can remember thinking while we were there, ‘My gosh, who is this person I married? I just want to go home and get this annulled if this is how marriage is gonna be,’” Emily recalled.
Josh, on the other hand, also thought he “turned into a very negative person myself and towards her. It seemed like almost everything irritated me about what she did.”
Their marriage was one big fight most of the time. They never discussed their personal struggles private, and Josh simply got angrier and angrier.
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Because of the constant fighting, Emily grew cold toward Josh. She thought God wasn’t listening. So she went to work and found a sympathetic ear with her boss. They were soon secretly texting outside of office hours, which went on for months. Emily ended up involved in an emotional affair, which eventually became physical.
Emily said, “I was mad at first and then when the anger dissipated, I was back to, hey, my husband’s still a jerk and you’re still not and we’re getting along and this is what happened, and now at this point—at this point this happened, so why stop now? It felt good to have somebody who fit the category who actually loved me, or what I thought was love.”
Emily and Josh’s marriage was all but over by Thanksgiving. And to prevent Emily from leaving all together, Josh stayed in their pastor’s spare room. At that point, he began to realize his role in their problems and began praying to God for answers and forgiveness.
He recalled, “I didn’t know what to pray for. I was obviously praying for her and whatever is going on. But I was also praying for myself, because I was a very selfish, very controlling, probably even manipulative, and an angry person. I felt so broken and so lost, just at a complete loss of how did I get here? How did we get here?”
Meanwhile, Emily, who was also seeking God’s guidance, had to confront her role in their failing marriage, including the affair. She said, “I never meant for this to happen. In my mind, there was no way. My marriage was like crumbled. Dead, gone, done. And I said, ‘God, if you can do a miracle, I’ll believe it’s you.’”
When they met, they were ready to sign the divorce papers. Emily admitted she had an affair and that shocked Josh.
Emily said, “I really did pour my heart out in asking for forgiveness and I said I was sorry. And I had truly ended the affair that day. It was done. There was no more.” While Josh said, “I felt the Lord come over me with peace and I didn’t have to say anything, I didn’t have to do anything, and I just had to love on her. And I just felt that love in me to love on her.”
Washing of Feet
As an act of love and forgiveness, Josh washed Emily’s feet. Emily remembers, “Here’s my husband, where I had done so much wrong to him, and he says, ‘I love you no matter what. We’ll get through this’. And I just felt so forgiven. I felt so free. And in that moment, I just wept. I just lost it.”
Emily and Josh eventually found healing and had their marriage restored by God. They’re dealing with their personal issues via counseling, forgiveness, and a new commitment to Jesus Christ. They have three lovely children and are happily married now.
Josh concluded, “A heart and a head surrendered to the Lord is the most important thing. To learn who He is intimately, to know Him intimately. It’s the biggest thing that you can do in your walk and affect others around you.”
Emily admitted, “God is bigger than your circumstance, and it’s never too late. That God can always do a miracle. He’s always with you even in the ugly moments. He’s there—right there with you. And that He can still change all of your ugly, if you just have a little bit of faith.”
Header image: Emily and Josh Bengen [700 Club Interactive]. YouTube, 15 February 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnnVtAwtCIc
Reference: 700 Club Interactive