When I was already married with a young child myself, I discovered that my Dad had been having an affair – our entire family almost fell apart.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

I honestly never thought it would happen to me! Some of my friends’ parents had split up when I was at school and later on the marriage of a couple of slightly older friends broke down. But I thought that my family was stable and that my parents were the perfect picture of a long and happy marriage (of course no marriage is actually perfect).

However, at a time when I was already married with a young child, I discovered that my Dad had been having an affair. Our entire family almost fell apart. The consequences of this relationship breaking down were massive despite the fact that I was an adult and had left home several years before. My Mum, who, since the age of 18, had devoted her life to serving her husband and family was now alone. The impact on my own marriage and my sister’s attitude towards marriage were huge. Even now, 16 years later, family events are always very tricky.

So, reflecting on the effect this has had on me, I feel I have learnt several things. I am reminded of the Bible verse…

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8v28

Even when things go wrong, God uses such experiences to teach us and to make us more like Him.

  1. No marriage is perfect and marriage needs protecting and constant work to keep it healthy. Relationships take a lot of work and we need to work hard at our own relationships and support others who may be struggling. Marriage is a wonderful gift from God but it isn’t always easy and must be taken very seriously.
  2. In any relationship, especially marriage, the happiness and welfare of the other person should be the priority (not one’s own happiness or satisfaction).
  3. When my parents split up, it didn’t mean they didn’t love us, even though it felt like it at the time. When we feel forsaken by our parents, we need to remember that God is our perfect Heavenly Father who will never let us down.
  4. We can forgive even when we have been hurt very badly. That relationship may never be quite what it was before, but it can continue and we can still love someone who has let us down because God loves us (and them)!
  5. The failure of a parents’ (or other close family) marriage does not have to negatively impact on our own relationships or marriage. We must learn from what has happened and move forward positively.

God is always faithful and will be right there with us when we go through difficult times.

Having gone through this experience it has helped me not to take my own marriage for granted and has enabled me to understand some of what others have gone through or may be going through. God is always faithful and will be right there with us when we go through difficult times.