by Mike Manzie
I had just finished a counseling session when I noticed a voicemail from Ed, a friend from church. He had recently moved away to another city. His voicemail stated that he was with his sister-in-law and needed some immediate counseling advice.
I called Ed back and he told me he was still sitting and talking to his sister-in-law Connie. He has been talking with her for the last couple of hours, trying to encourage her. Unfortunately, his brother and her husband, Andrew, had been cheating on her with several other women. Ed said she is absolutely devastated, and he doesn’t even know how to comfort her. He said he was utterly shocked as he thought his brother was a model husband and father.
He then asked if I would talk with her and try to comfort her. I agreed and quickly prayed, asking the Lord to give me the words to say to her. She then got on the phone, obviously sobbing and very upset. I introduced myself and told her how sorry I was that she was going through this. She said she could not believe this was happening to her and didn’t even know what to do next. A few hours earlier, she said she had inadvertently looked at her husband’s phone and discovered texts to his affair partners. After reading them in disbelief, she realized that her “model husband” of ten years was carrying on relationships with several other women. She then called these other women, and they said that they were not even unaware that he was married. One admitted that she was in love with him and considered him her boyfriend.
Heartbroken, she reached out to Ed, her brother-in-law, for some support. He had always been there for other family members, and she respected him because she knew he would know what she should do next. Ed’s response was to ask me what the next steps should be. I advised him that it would be best if she could spend the night at Ed and his wife’s house. He agreed. I told him I would clear my calendar for tomorrow and drive up in the morning to help his family navigate the situation. I then ended our conversation in prayer and made plans to travel in the morning. I put the family on our confidential prayer line. I also reached out to Russell and Lila for counsel in dealing with this.
I left early the following day and arrived at Ed’s house just before lunch. His family was present; including his wife, other brother and sister, and their spouses. Connie had been resting most of the morning in their guest bedroom but was still very upset. The whole family was devastated by the news, and unsure sure what to do next. They are a very close family, and this shook them all. Ed has tried to contact his brother Andrew, but got no response. For the next couple of hours I encouraged the family, especially Connie. I explained the next steps for the family and what the counseling process should look like as we move forward. I prayed for the family, especially Connie, that the Lord would comfort all of them as only HE can. Then, Andrew called Ed and wanted to know what was happening. Ed explained my visit and that I wanted to talk with him. Andrew agreed, and a little while later, we all three met.
Andrew was distraught and remorseful for his behavior. I told him how devastated Connie was at his betrayal, as was the rest of his family. Ed then chose a few choice words, which shook his brother. I explained to Andrew what his life would now look like as he moved forward. I told him I was very willing to help him recover, but the choice was his. It is up to him to turn his life over to God for healing for this to begin to occur.
Several months later, Andrew and Connie have reconciled, and the Lord is providing healing in both of their lives. Both are receiving counseling at New Creation Ministries. They both have a long way to go in their recoveries, but God is doing what only HE can. Both have expressed their sincere gratitude for all New Creations has done to help them as they move toward restoration and healing.