From a Broken Marriage to Renewed Love: Karla's Story

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Karla Buch, who is part of Pure Life Ministries' senior leadership, shares how she persevered through the tragedy of her husband's betrayal and found faith, restoration, and "a love we never had before."

Karla, you and Ed went through a fiery trial in your marriage. But before we get into what happened, can you share a little about how you met?

Well, I grew up in a Christian home, where I had very godly parents who taught me about the Lord from the time I was very young. I went to a Christian college after high school, and then I worked for two different missions organizations. When I did meet my husband, it was a church, and we knew each other for about 15 years before we started dating. We both wanted to serve the Lord, we both sat under the same preaching and teaching, and we went to Christian seminars together. So we knew we really had something in common—a life where we wanted to serve the Lord.

What were your ideas of how marriage would be as you started life together?

We really were hoping that we would both be serving the Lord full-time. Even in the process of planning our wedding, we had gotten introduced to a Christian organization that was looking for Christian counselors, and that was my husband's field of work. So we really expected that we could be more effective serving the Lord as a married couple then each one of us would be individually. I was looking forward to a marriage that would be very fulfilling for me, because I had trusted the Lord to bring the right man into my life. I was looking forward to that companionship and just to having a godly husband who would be a good husband and potentially a good father to any children we might have—that we would really be living for the Lord in all that we did.

What were some of the first things you noticed that led you to believe that something wasn't right in your relationship?

Very early on, I sensed that he would go into long periods of withdrawal—where he would be very quiet, very hard to reach and hard to talk to. He could never give me a reason why. I would ask what was wrong, but he would always tell me that nothing was wrong, of course. We would be constantly arguing about household duties or time spent away from home, how much was correct. He immersed himself in his work and took on a position with his work where he had to be gone almost every weekend. So he would retreat into his work environment, and I would go home and stay with my parents for the weekend. It was like we were still living under the same roof...but almost in two different worlds completely. But yet, all the while, we were maintaining this facade that we were the perfect Christian couple, perfectly happy, and that everything was fine. So I knew something was wrong, but I really couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. There was no outward sin that I was aware of, but you just know somehow—I guess, from the Lord, maybe—that something is wrong.

Did you question God during this period when things weren't going like you expected them to go in your marriage?

Well, of course, because I had waited a long time before I got married and wanted the Lord to bring the right one into my life. And so now that he did, I was really beginning to question, "Was this the right one? Was this God's plan? Have I made a big mistake here?" But even in the midst of my questionings and my doubts, the Lord was working things out behind the scenes. One day, I was at the office, and a magazine came in the mail to my desk—and it came to my desk because it wasn't addressed to anyone in particular in the organization. It was Unchained!, the magazine from Pure Life Ministries. When I read through that magazine and heard about Pure Life Ministries' programs and about men that had been set free, for the first time, I had hope that maybe there was something out there that could help our marriage. I ordered Kathy Gallagher's book, When His Secret Sin Breaks Your Heart, and I began to read her advice to women who had been through the same things I was going through. It really helped me to see that we need to keep our focus on the Lord during these times, even when nothing seems to be happening.

I remember one night when I was just at the end of my own self, my own resources, and I was on my face before the Lord, just crying out him. First of all, I was just asking him to intervene in the marriage, and I was praying for my husband, praying that he would have a heart to change. But also, at the same time, it was just a time of surrender to the Lord, where I had to lay down that marriage and the all of the ideal expectations that I had for the marriage. And I remember saying to the Lord, "If this is the way that you want this marriage to be, then I accept it, and I am willing to continue to be committed to my husband and to allow you to be the One that I am looking to for all of my needs." At this point, I didn't know the full extent of his sin. I just knew things weren't the way I wanted them to be, and that was what I had to lay down before the Lord. It was probably only a few months later when my husband sat down with me one evening and confessed everything.

Later, Ed attended the Pure Life Ministries Residential Program, and you enrolled in the Wives Program. How did God work in your lives in this time?

In the Wives Program, I learned, first of all, what it really meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Like I said, I had grown up in the church, but I think my Christianity was more of a mental acknowledgement of the Lord—knowing about Him, reading about Him. But I came to learn that it has to be a personal relationship with Him, and he has to be real inside a person, and that's what happened for me when I did the Program. I also had a lot of pride. I had a lot of unrealistic expectations about what marriage should be. Fear of man was also a big issue for me; I was so self-conscious and worried about what others thought about me. Through the Wives Program, I learned to be more concerned about the needs of others.

When Ed was in the Residential Program, the Lord did a marvelous work in his life. The Lord has restored our marriage. We no longer have those doubts or fears or periods of silence. Nothing's hidden anymore. The Lord has given us a love for each other that we never had before—one that's based on true godly love, not just our own interests. We've been serving here a Pure Life Ministries since 2005, and we're very grateful for all that the Lord has done for us. It's not just that my marriage got fixed. It's that the Lord has come into my life and my husband's life in a way that He is the center of everything. We're not just living for a happy, comfortable life in this world. We now see that the Lord and eternal matters are much more important than anything we could ever hope for in this life.

Do you have any closing thoughts for other wives out there who are hurting?

I would definitely say that your best weapon is prayer, both for your husband and for yourself—to have the ability to be able to endure through what might be very difficult circumstances. Just know that the Lord is working behind the scenes...maybe in ways that you're not even aware of. And if you just keep looking to Him, He will be the one that will meet your needs and be your security. He will be your comfort and your stronghold during this time.

Have you been devastated by the pain and rejection of an unfaithful husband? Whether your husband’s problem is pornography, an adulterous affair, soliciting prostitutes, or even secretly struggling with homosexuality…we can help you.

This excerpt is from our podcast episode, “How to Find Healing after Your Husband's Sexual Sin”, Episode #332.

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