A chill crept over me as I stared at the computer screen
in disbelief. I struggled to comprehend the e-mail I had just opened.
It was clearly a love letter, and its contents made it obvious the
writer and addressee had been intimate over a long period of time. The
incomprehensible part: This e-mail was signed by my husband—and it was
not addressed to me.
The e-mail explained why, 10 days before, our lives had
taken a devastating turn. We had spent a beautiful, sunny January day
picnicking at a riverside park with our son. Later, after Trevor* had
run off to play at a neighbor’s and I had started cooking dinner, my
husband, George*, appeared in the doorway of the kitchen, suitcase in
The blow of his brutally calm words shocked me: “I don’t love you anymore. I’m leaving.”
This man—who had told me he loved me every day for 25
years, gently cradled our babies in his arms, held vigil beside my
hospital bed through cancer surgeries and chemo, and even cried over
the pain I’d experienced—now seemed to delight in seeing his painful
words pierce my heart.
“I haven’t loved you for a long time,” he said, watching my reaction closely.
“What do you mean, you don’t love me? How long have you not loved me?” I cried in bewilderment.
“Why do you have to know that?” he coldly replied.
“Because you’re not only destroying our future, you’re
destroying our past!” For all I knew, our whole marriage was
disappearing down the drain.
“Oh, stop being so melodramatic,” was all George would say.
A much-loved ministry leader and family man for more than
two decades, George had been decent to a fault. This was a man who
shoveled widows’ driveways after snowstorms, organized and led missions
trips, and spent Saturday mornings happily riding our 6-year-old son
around on the lawn mower. A romantic, he often took me out for coffee
or dinner and always called me four or five times a day when he
traveled, saying he “just wanted to hear my voice.”
But this day, as I read George’s cyber love-note, a
different picture of my husband began to emerge. The chill of his
deceptions spread from my chest to the tips of my ice-cold fingers and
Why didn’t I know? I chided myself. To a more
sophisºticated woman, George’s growing preoccupation with the Internet
might have provided some clues. However, since he used the Internet in
his consulting business, I saw no reason to doubt his explanation.
His nightly trips downstairs to “watch a little TV until
I get sleepy” might have been a red flag, but I thought his “trouble
sleeping” just indicated he needed less caffeine, more exercise and
maybe an appointment with our family doctor. The idea that George could
be using the wee morning hours to get involved online with a woman who
lived a thousand miles away never occurred to me. I trusted him
Moreover, because I had no interest in the maze of the
World Wide Web, I certainly had no idea of the tangled threads of
temptation lurking there. Now, though, I was faced with a scary
reality: George had left us for an Internet lover.
For days after he left, I moved about as in a trance,
barely managing to perform everyday tasks. When I wasn’t trying to
comfort my heartbroken, bewildered kindergartner, I was on my face
before God, hanging on to Him as my only lifeline.
One afternoon when I was alone, I felt crushed to the
breaking point by what was happening. Seared by the pain of broken
trust, I collapsed on the living room couch, trying to block out the
agony of the thought that George might have been lying to me during the
entire 25 years of our marriage.
“Oh, God,” I sobbed, “all those years he said he loved me—he was lying all that time!”
As clearly and unexpectedly as if a bell had rung in the room, I heard God say, “But I wasn’t.”
For a short time, all went absolutely calm inside me. I
sat up, aware that I’d heard directly from the Lord, that He was there
in the room with me, saying He loved me and meaning it. Though the
absolute confidence I’d had in George had been violently ripped away,
God was beginning the process of replacing it with real security—in Him.