Lysa Terkeurst’s husband has praised his wife for refusing to give up on their 25-year marriage despite his affair, saying that the “grace and forgiveness” she demonstrated exemplified Christ’s love for His people.
Over the holidays, Terkeurst and her husband, Art, renewed their vows — one year after announcing they would be separating due to his ongoing infidelity and substance abuse. On Instagram, Terkeurst shared a brief video of the ceremony, where the two exchanged vows personally written for one another.
“The way that you have loved me with grace and forgiveness gives me an undeniable understanding and perspective of how much God loves me,” Art Terkeurst said, “and what He did for me on the cross, you have lived out in my life. You never gave up, you disarmed all of the dark with your grace and forgiveness.”
Her voice breaking, Lysa Terkeurst responded, “You, Art, are the great love of my life, I’ve never known love like this apart from you, and I never want to know this love without you. ‘Together’ is my favorite word for us, and what a together we have.”
In a subsequent Instagram post, Terkeurst revealed that many people have asked her why she chose to fight for her marriage. But the answer to that question “is as complicated and intricate as trying to understand what makes a massive ocean pull back and stop at the shore.”
“Apart from God, who can ever truly understand a thing like that?” she explained.
Still, she admitted there was a “season that it wasn’t reasonable or responsible to stay.”
“Just like when the ocean doesn’t respect the boundary of the shoreline and hurricane conditions force evacuations,” she said, "there were long stretches of silence, separation, and seeking wise counsel.”
But over time, the shoreline “became safe again,” and Terkeurst said she was faced with a choice.
“Forgiveness is a process,” she said. “Healing is a long journey. And I’ll never ever criticize another person for choices they made that were different than mine when placed in the same horror and heartbreak as me. Or maybe they had no choice at all. I have nothing but tender love and understanding. It’s a brutal walk.”
She concluded: “So why did I stay? I was given that chance. I love Art. And I’ve discovered imperfect love is still full of sacred possibilities, redemptive strength, its own kind of purity, and moments like the one pictured here.”
In an earlier interview with The Christian Post, Terkeurst said that through this difficult season of life she's learned that with God there's "always a meanwhile."
"No matter what I'm feeling today, with God I can say, 'Meanwhile, God is working good, even if I can't see it,'" she explained. "Knowing that God exists gives me a purpose in the midst of my pain. That elevates my perspective."
"We may not see it for a little while, but God is working good there even in the darkest times," she added. "What you're feeling is real. The circumstances are hard. The solutions may seem very mysterious. You've got questions, you've got pain. But with God, there's another level, and we've got to lift our eyes up and recognize that there's more than just meets the eye."
Based on her experiences, she encouraged other Christian couples to remain open and honest with one another, as Satan works in isolation.
"The minute we start keeping secrets in our marriage and hiding things in our marriage, that is a one-way ticket to a disastrous situation," she warned. "I would just encourage some really honest conversations about those thoughts that you wrestle through when you wake up at 2 a.m. and you don't know the answers, and you don't know what to do. Don't keep those things hidden, because that's when Satan attacks."
"I want to encourage those walking through really difficult marriage situations to know that redemption is possible," she continued. "Maybe it's going to come in a different package than mine. Redemption and restoration don't always hold hands, and that relationship may not be restored, but with God, redemption is always possible."