By Dr. Kim Logan-Nowlin & Arthur E. Nowlin, LMSW, CAADC
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This article was written by Dr. Kim and Arthur Nowlin for Message Magazine : Drama Files
Ellis and Tamara were married for 33 years when Ellis found out that Tamara had been involved with another man for more than 15 years. It was by the grace of God, modeling His forgiveness and a determined effort to address the past, that they are back together and making a difference in the lives of others.
The couple had one son who died at 14 after a skiing accident. After that awful experience, the marriage never felt the same for either one of them. They attempted counseling but they never allowed the therapeutic process to assist them, so they stopped. At that point, Tamara was looking for something to fill the void of her deceased son and failed marriage.
France, Fashion And A Failed Marriage
As a fashion consultant Tamara traveled extensively throughout the United States and abroad. While in France on a buying trip, she met a charming, handsome and wealthy businessman to whom she was very attracted. After meeting Charles and beginning the relationship with him, her life felt new and happy again. She purchased another home in another country without Ellis’ knowledge and traveled abroad to be with Charles.
As she traveled back and forth to France it became easier and easier to deceive Ellis. She knew Ellis had no reason to doubt that she would ever betray him. After many years in the relationship with Charles she thought it would be better to tell Charles because he did not know she was married. She was afraid, however.
“I felt that part of my life was dead and I was afraid he would reject me,” Tamara told us later. “He never knew I was married before. He prided himself with integrity in people. I was a liar and deceiver.”
Charles beat her to the punch by asking her to marry him. She was even more unprepared and afraid to tell him the truth then. She decided to leave Ellis and relocate to France with Charles, sweeping her lie under the rug. A few months later she married Charles.
Ellis was devastated by her decision to divorce him. He was unclear what was going on but he knew that a third party had entered the picture. He had no idea that the intruder had been a part of his wife’s life for 15 years.
Five years later Charles became ill and passed away. Tamara, who had lost complete contact with Ellis felt all alone, helpless and hopeless. Charles left his entire estate to Tamara and she knew how much he loved her and she loved him. She regretted never telling him the truth about her, or that she came to the relationship with a problematic past. Charles always told her whenever she was ready and felt it was necessary to tell him, she would. That time had come and gone.
The Practice Of Forgiveness At Work
On a fall evening Tamara called Ellis. He had never stopped praying that she would call and finally tell him the truth. He had blamed himself for her leaving. When she asked for his forgiveness, he told her she was always welcome home. He told her he had forgiven her the day she left because if he had not, it would have consumed him and he would have lost his real love, Jesus Christ. The price was too high not to forgive.
Tamara cried on the phone and asked him to meet her at the airport and she would explain everything. She told him she would be arriving in two days. She worried about how Ellis would react to the truth.
At the airport, the couple smiled and embraced each other. Ellis drove them to a nearby restaurant where after ordering their meal, Tamara told him the entire truth. In shock and in tears, Ellis tried to compose himself but had to excuse himself from the table. When he returned, he asked her if she loved Charles and she said yes.
“Why are you here?” Ellis asked.
“You are all I have left in the world,” Tamara replied.
“No, you have both God and me,” Ellis said. “Thank you for finally easing my pain.”
Tamara realized that Ellis loved her the way his God loved him, with an unconditional love. She had turned her back on God because she placed her own preferences over God’s principles for her life. Tamara begged for God’s forgiveness and once again for Ellis to forgive her.
She didn’t know what she would do now with her life. Tamara shared with Ellis of the large estate Charles left her and she wanted to do something with this precious gift. She told Ellis she wanted to start halfway houses for women coming out of prison, teen youth group homes and assist students to attend college. She asked Ellis to help because he was an accountant, held a MBA and she trusted him. He graciously accepted the chance to be a beacon of light to help Tamara without conditions. He felt it was God’s calling.
Tamara donated the entire estate to help those in need. She knew her sins against God and Ellis were wrong and she believed that God and Ellis had forgiven her. She wanted to do what she could to help others going through difficulty.
Tamara and Ellis started counseling with us sometime ago and attend weekly sessions. Their goal has been to remember and appreciate the memories of their son and how God had blessed them to be reconnected. If Ellis had not been open to God’s plan of forgiveness it would have stood in the way of Tamara’s salvation and forgiving herself. Tamara and Ellis have renewed their vows and she was baptized at Ellis’s church. She truly understands the meaning of serving a second-chance God.
“We must remember that God is the source of true love and joy,” said Ellis. “Happiness is something that happens to us, but God’s joy is everlasting, and in time God will ease your pain if you open yourself to be healed.”