logoIn 2008, just before celebrating our 18th year of marriage, having enjoyed only the first several months of the long-awaited promise of our first child, my world turned upside down.

My faithful, church-raised husband suddenly overnight turned into a party boy. Gone was the man who held the same morals and Christian beliefs as his family and I. Gone was the responsible man who cared about God, his wife, and new child. He became unrecognizable. He moved out, and I crumbled in despair. None of it made sense.

Desperate for answers, I scoured the internet, and the first thing I stumbled upon that resembled my situation was “mid-life crisis” websites. They told countless stories of both men and women who suddenly, without warning, up and left not only their spouse and children, but they seemed to become angry and displaced in their faith and belief in God. Suddenly leaving, with nothing more than a goodbye letter, as they completely abandoned themselves over to a life of sin and pleasure. While our stories were different, they were eerily the same. I was shocked at the overnight change, and just how many spouses suddenly turned into someone else overnight.

As I searched through these websites, my spirit was uneasy. I didn’t like the anger, hurt, bitterness, and poor advice that was being shared. “Where was God in this?” my spirit whispered. I decided that while a mid-life crisis did sound a lot like what we were going through, my heart told me there was more. Blaming a mid-life crisis wasn’t addressing the real issue. There was no real hope to hold onto, or promotion of healing with God’s help.

I turned to the church and sought the programs they offered. I remember clearly the phone conversation with one lady as I told her my situation. I told her I was not giving up and would fight for my marriage, but I needed help to endure. “We have divorce care, and after adultery care. We don’t offer anything in-between. We don’t have anything for you; come back when your situation changes.” I hung up the phone feeling hurt, let down, and alienated from the one place I was sure would be able to help me. So I stood alone. For seven years! “We don’t have anything for you has haunted me for years.” 

During that seven-year storm, I turned to God and poured over the scriptures. I learned how to lean and push deeper into my faith. At some point, I came to the awful and painful realization that I was using God to gain back what I lost. I was a lukewarm Christian, a selfish Christian who had no real love for God other than loving what I could get from Him. “Could this be what God was using to get my attention?”  Standing for my marriage saved me. It introduced me to real love; a love I had been trying to replace with my spouse. Once I realized this, my pursuit of God changed. I started to request time with Him that had nothing to do with my spouse or marriage; time to get to know Him intimately.  Suddenly, I don’t even remember the day; it happened. Whether He opened the door to me, or I to Him, love for God came to live inside my heart.

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him. John 14:23 

Everything changed from that moment for me, especially my prayers. I now saw my husband as a lost brother, not just a lost spouse. My heart’s desire was for him to know the love that had just come to make a home inside my heart. This realization was KEY, it helped me realize this was the cause of the spiritual and emotional crisis my husband went through. He needed to grow, mature, develop in his emotional and spiritual identity just as much as I did. Neither of us were mature in our Kingdom purpose.

The storm was necessary to break down the barriers that prevented us both from allowing God to have permanent residency in our hearts.

As I drew closer to the Father, and He poured into me, I started to discover the truth about my husband’s infidelity and the hard heart that causes a man to put away his wife.

Matthew 19:8 ESV, “[Jesus] said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”” “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24 ESV

God led me on a journey of discovery about the spiritual breakdown that occurs long before the actual collapse of the marriage. He led me to pray for the soul and spirit, and against the snare which held my husband. All the while trying to get me focused on the most important thing, God’s relationship with His lost son. God was after something far more and greater than just a restored marriage. He was after two lost, backslidden, lukewarm Christians.

Let your broken heart show your sorrow; tearing your clothes is not enough.” Come back to the LORD your God. He is kind and full of mercy; he is patient and keeps his promise; he is always ready to forgive and not punish. Joel 2:13 GNT

Then it happened. One summer morning in 2015, just a few months before our 25th anniversary, God’s promises of “your marriage will be restored, and your husband will repent,” began to manifest. I found him on his knees, crying out to God for help. He turned his heart to Jesus, joined men’s church support groups, and never looked back.

With those seven long years behind us, I turned to Facebook Christian marriage groups to see if I could be of encouragement to others who might be struggling. I was shocked and appalled at the advice that emphasized “being happy.” Anyone mentioning adultery was quickly told to divorce, move on; God had someone better for them. Not having the freedom to speak the truth openly led to the birth of our “Standing” ministry, designed for those whom God has called to stand and fight for the healing and restoration of their lost beloved and marriage. A place of fellowship, support, and encouragement.

Over the years, we have heard countless testimonies of husbands and wives who abandoned faith, family, children, and spouse. Not all of them had become involved in adultery, but all had come into contact with someone who coerced them into pursuing “happiness.” A pursuit that led many (believers included) to choose to rebel against marriage and harden to God so they could have what their flesh desired.

We have also heard of the isolation these Standers face when they answer the call. They are called “desperate,” “doormats,” “crazy,” and “in denial.” Even though God heals, saves, and restores MANY marriages, the church still tends to advise standing spouses to give up and move on, insisting that “God has someone better.”

We at Marriage Revealed Ministries Inc. understand this is not just about saving marriages. It’s about souls; about lost, broken, and hurting people who choose unwisely to listen to the voice of temptation and break the vows they spoke before God. For the person left standing, it’s about discovering a more excellent love story waiting to unfold.

Each day we encounter backslidden, lukewarm, baby, and new Christians who come looking to God in desperation to get their spouse back. We recognize this desperation and deeply relate as we were once those Standers, seeking God to use Him to get back what was lost. We know, the longer they stand and press into the storm, praying for the lost soul of their spouse, they are knocking! If they persist, that door will open to them, and they will come to know a real genuine relationship with Jesus. We have countless testimonies of those who came looking for one thing, and found another!

Many Standers share their testimony of how, while amid the storm, while seeking God to save their broken marriage and family, God came in and exceeded their expectations by revealing Himself to them in an experiential way, becoming the most significant thing in their life. 

To this, they will agree with me: “The storm was the worst and best time of my life.”
Sheila Hollinger
founder of Marriage Revealed Ministries Inc.


ringsIF our ministry has blessed you, and you want to SOW in faith into marriage restoration and the work God is doing, would you consider GIVING?
ebooks & Magazines
Email Devotional & Support
FB support group,
ZOOM meetings
Want to be a Guest Writer? 

(~Marriage Revealed Ministries Inc. is committed to helping bring healing and restoration to couples who are struggling in their marriage. We do this through the revelation of Who God is and His heart and design for marriage which never intends abuse in any form. If you suspect abuse in your relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit them online at thehotline.org~