If I ever doubted the fruit of true love and wondered how that looked like, I bore first hand witness to that recently.
Only a year into her marriage, a dear friend of mine went through the painful trial of finding out about an affair her husband was involved in. It came as a shock to me. He was a pretty chauvinistic guy and definitely charming, but I never doubted his devotion towards her.
Perhaps the transition into a busy work life changed him. Or having to stay out late often and hanging out with his colleagues on the pretext of improving working relations shaped his behavior. Whatever it was, he started drinking, smoking, going to bars regularly and then the affair happened.
It wasn’t a one-off affair. Despite being found out by his wife, the affairs continued and the lies piled up along with the secret late night rendezvous.
If I used to think that he was pretty rude to her even in front of others, make her tend to his every wants and needs, his character was only salvaged by of his apparent faithfulness towards her all through the 8 years they were dating. But all that crumbled and he became the biggest jerk alive.
I sat through pots of coffees and tears with her. We prayed together. I listened while she ranted. My heart ached with her when she was on the verge of giving it all up because of his unrepentence. I was helpless in what I could do except to be there to hold her, listen to her, and pray for her.
It was a while after that episode before I saw her again and this time with her husband. Instead of divorce, she opted for continuous forgiveness. Instead of leaving him, she chose to love him again. And in response, he chose sacrifice and love, giving up what he thought he wanted, for what he committed himself to, and giving the marriage his best shot once more.
He gave up his work and found new one, in a family-oriented environment that shaped him to be more loving and tender.
He said he’ll not see the girl anymore, nor hang out with people with her amidst the crowd, and he must have done that too.
And he finally started going church with her, where she used to go alone.
When I saw them again, the fruits of love, sacrifice and forgiveness were apparent. If there was a cynical part of me that didn’t think this was possible…it is. I saw it for myself. He tended to her needs more tenderly than I have ever seen. His eyes weren’t all over the place all the time, the way he used to be, but focused on her when he speaks to her, and delights in her little nuances instead of react with annoyance. It was a new him.
Sometimes a cynical part of me is still lodged deep within and refuses to budge. Yet, it is also people’s experiences as such, that I encounter first hand, on the peripheral, which moves me to know that we do have a hope in Christ, a hope that all brokenness in men can be made whole again slowly…finally.