Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Love First. Feelings Will Follow.

Leslie Basham: Do you expect your husband to fulfill all your needs? Susan Putnam speaks from experience.

Susan Putnam: When you are seeking to have all of your needs met through your spouse, it’s a recipe for disaster, because God didn’t equip them to do that. Ultimately, He is the only one that can.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, September 30. Yesterday, Nancy began a conversation with Susan Putnam. She’d expected her husband to meet all her needs. When that unrealistic expectation didn’t work, she carried on an adulterous relationship over four years.

At a Revive Our Hearts conference, God changed her heart and convicted her that she needed to confess this sin to her husband. You can hear the first part of the story at ReviveOurHearts.com. As we move into the second part, you won’t hear anything graphic, but the topic is adultery, so you may want to get younger children busy doing something else. We’ll pick up where we left off yesterday.

Susan: That Sunday I wanted to go to church first. I felt like I needed to go to church and get that extra little encouragement or courage or whatever. My husband stayed at home. I said, “When I get back, I’ve got to share something with you, and it’s going to hurt you very badly. I need you to be praying while I’m gone.” When I came back, the boys were at a friend’s house, and I shared with him what had happened at the conference. Then I shared that I had been committing adultery with another man and had been for four years.

Nancy: Someone he knew, also.

Susan: Yes, and he did say, “Sometimes I thought there was something, but, of course, I never would have dreamed that you would have done that.” It was very, very difficult, but he never talked of divorce. He ended up leaving. He’s a baseball coach, and a lot of times he’s talked about that the field is where he feels he can talk to God. He almost manicures the baseball field, he is so particular about it.

He went up there, and there was a time I was afraid, “This is going to be it. He’s going to go up there and think about it, and he’s going to come home and send me packing.”

Nancy: So you didn’t really know how he would respond.

Susan: No, I didn’t. But by God’s grace, he came home, and we began to mend our life together. I’d like to say that that day it was like our marriage was hunky-dory, but it was not.

Nancy: Well,  it didn’t get to that place overnight, and it wasn’t going to get healed overnight.

Susan: Right, and the year after that was horrible.

Nancy: So you’ve just poured out your heart to your husband, you’ve opened this big can of worms, so to speak, and life was not going to just automatically get fixed and better. There was still a lot of repair work to be done, and we’ll talk about that in a minute.

First, you had this issue of this relationship you were still in. You’d now told your husband; what did you do about the other man?

Susan: The next day, on Monday, I called him and told him that I needed to see him. I just went and shared with him that I could no longer do this. It was wrong. I had gone and confessed to my husband and it was over; that I was going to go back home.

Nancy: I know with some people in that situation, it’s still a while; they toy with it, they play around with it. You really did make a clean cut. One of the things I’ve seen as I’ve walked through with people who have been through adultery and they’re trying to get back with their mate, they’ve been investing in the other relationship, the illicit relationship, for a period of time. Four years. That's a long time. There’s a lot attachment, emotionally, that’s been made.

My observation has been—tell me if this was true with you—that it takes time, not to break it off, but to detach emotionally and to reattach emotionally to your own husband. Did you find that to be the case?

Susan: Yes, honestly I did not turn from the relationship because my feelings changed, or they had changed for my husband. It was purely one-hundred percent obedience to God.

Nancy: And that can be excruciating. I’ve heard it described as being as painful as cutting off a limb, something you feel so tied to that you’re having to break off. I just wanted to be clear that this is not necessarily easy.

Susan: Oh, no, the year following was so difficult. I think there was almost a part of me that expected God to reward me for my obedience, and that it wouldn’t have been that difficult, or that my feelings would have just miraculously changed overnight. What I do know is that I was miraculously changed overnight. That Susan Putnam doesn’t exist any longer, and from that sense the emotional part was not so tearing for me because I think I realized after hearing your conference that that was not a true love.

 I was really seeking something from this man that Satan had put icing on the top of, and made it look really good, but truly I was not any happier. In fact, I was ten times worse. My marriage was bad now, and it just added an incredibly worse situation on top of it.

I was so profoundly affected that night that, to be obedient to God, that was going to be my happiness. That was where my life was going to become peaceful. When it didn’t quickly, or what I considered quickly, I would sometimes just pray and say, “God, why did you ask me to go back home if this was what it was going to be like?”

Nancy: When you say the next year was horrible or hard . . . in your marriage?

Susan: Yes, like I said, we really did not have the resources. We were just sort of trying on our own to work it out. There would be days he would come and would want to know details, which were very difficult, but I felt like I owed him the telling, that he deserved that, if he wanted to know. I would say, “Are you sure that you want to know? Because what are you going to do with it after you hear it?” He would insist and want to know, so we went back and forth with that.

Nancy: Were you ever tempted to go back to the other relationship?

Susan: No, I never did. Today, I would rather God take me home than that. I felt those who are forgiven much, love much, and I so knew that day that I was forgiven, and that Susan Putnam had gone with Christ. If I wanted the new Susan Putnam to be free, I had to be obedient to Him, and to continue in that. I did not want to go back.

Nancy: When you made the choice to break off the adulterous relationship and go back to your husband, you didn’t have the emotions for your husband, and they didn’t come overnight. How did God begin to renew you heart toward your husband?

Susan: I believe that over time I would turn around and say, “I feel something.” I have found that when I quit looking at Curtis to meet all of my needs and I began to allow God to totally work on me, for me to concentrate on my relationship with Him, that He just did it.

Nancy: Because you were getting to the living water. You were getting filled up with Christ and not looking to any man to be the ultimate one who would fill you.

Susan: I began to allow my husband to just be himself and didn't keep trying to fill my cup every day and it being short. Now, it was sufficient. I was, like you said, full, and just began to enjoy him. God has definitely done an amazing work.

Nancy: That’s such a critical thing in any marriage, in any life, to be finding fullness, our satisfaction, in Christ. Any marriage where a mate is looking to the other to be their “savior” is not going to be what it could be if Christ were really the one they were looking to. Then they can be givers and not takers, not sucking the life out of the other person.

Susan: When you are seeking to have all of your needs met through your spouse, it’s a recipe for disaster, because God didn’t equip them to do that. Ultimately, He’s the only One that can.

Nancy: And what an incredible thing, to see how God can restore what fifteen years ago you apparently thought was hopeless. I hope I can remember the words to the second stanza of an old-time hymn called "Rescue the Perishing."

The words to this stanza are,

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore.
Wakened by kindness, touched by a loving heart,
Chords that are broken will vibrate once more.

You’ve seen God’s grace restore a love and a tenderness and a relationship with your husband that, at one point, you didn’t think was possible.

Susan: Yes. So many times when God has given me the opportunity to share with other women, I tell them that He can resurrect a dead marriage. That is not too difficult for Him. Not only did He raise Christ from the dead, He can resurrect a dead marriage. I know, because He did.

When I became saved, I just was on fire for Christ, and teaching and doing, doing, doing, and it seems like the last year, maybe, year-and-a-half, that God has had me at home a lot. God is doing something in Curtis. He’s praying with my boys.

The other night my youngest son, who’s sort of struggling in school, and Curtis talked. Before, I would have been in there making sure he said the right thing. The True Woman conference that impacted Judy and I so much (we’re going to do that at our church), but we’re praying, because we’ve got to be true women first. We’re praying for God to make us true women before we do that.

I went to the elders, and have them praying. I told them that we want to begin a revolution in our church. But I need to be that at home, and I’ve given Curtis permission to tell me and help me if I’m not being a true woman. I see it as such a blessing now, as well as his umbrella of protection. Before, I wouldn’t trust when he would tell me things.

God is still working and still keeps changing me. I guess it will be until He comes back. He’s going to have to keep doing that. He’s just changing me more and more and more. I praise Him!

Nancy: Did you ask your husband to forgive you on that Sunday when you talked to him? Was he able at that time to express forgiveness to you, or did that come later?

Susan: Yes. That really has been a process. He didn’t just that day say, “Oh, yes, I forgive you.” He was very hurt, very angry. I’m very verbal, my husband is not. He needs to process things and think about it. He has certainly forgiven me. He has a very gentle heart.

Again, it’s a process. I don’t know that he has ever really come and said, “I’ve forgiven you,” but I’ve known that I am forgiven. On top of knowing that, I’m ultimately forgiven by God. I am free. Yes, I would give my right arm if it had never happened, but at the same time I know that He used that in my life to bring about the result that He has for the brokenness. That’s just part of my life experience that God is using. He’s turned it into His story to glorify Him. He did that for me.

Nancy: And not only did He do it for you, but now He’s using you, as you mentioned, to be an instrument of blessing and grace in the lives of other women. You see the legacy concept here, the principle of one generation to the next? The pastor’s wife who invested in you . . . who knows who invested in her at one point?

She invested in you, people led that Bible study . . . the Revive Our Hearts conference . . . different means that God used to bring you to the end of yourself, to brokenness, repentance, faith. Now, you’re the women’s ministry director in your local church, encouraging and serving and teaching and blessing other women who are, some of them perhaps, where you were fifteen years ago.

Susan: He does not take the people you would think. He takes broken people and turns them around and uses them. I certainly feel blessed. Judy Mangram, who’s our pastor’s wife, she’s truly been an example of being a spiritual mother to so many women, and I was one of those. She didn’t stop there, she continued to help me realize that my spiritual gift is teaching. I love the Word. God has given me such a desire for His Word, and He has turned around my experience, knowing that I was seeking something that was destroying me, that sought to kill me. You can have an abundant life. You don’t have to do that, and it’s in Jesus Christ.

My desire is for women to know that, and she had to encourage me, because like I said I tended to isolate myself at that point, and really had not formed a lot of relationships. She would say, “Susan, you have got to start talking to the women, and forming those relationships and ministering to other women, because God didn’t just do this for your marriage, He did it for other women."

She would continually encourage me to get know women. One time at a basketball game, I could feel that God was drawing me to speak to this woman, and I’m having a conversation with God, “I don’t know what to say to her; I don’t know what to do.”

He said, “Just go over there.” I went over and began to talk to her. Now, over time, I just love women, and love ministering to them and taking them out to dinner, finding out what’s going on in their life. I work in an elementary school as a bookkeeper and have had the privilege of doing Bible studies there. A lot of times, women whose marriages are having trouble come to me.

Nancy: And you have a life message. 

Susan: Yes, and He’s allowed that testimony in my life to glorify His work and His love and His grace and mercy and all the goodness that He is.

Leslie: Susan Putnam has been talking with Nancy Leigh DeMoss about God’s ability to heal a marriage, even after it’s been torn apart through adultery. Susan and Nancy will be right back. Some of our listeners need to follow up today’s program by putting some hedges in place, by protecting their marriage from adultery. Others need the power to change, break off an immoral relationship, seek forgiveness, and work on their marriage.

A book called Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome will help women in both situations. The author, Nancy Anderson, has been a guest on this program before. She tells the story of her own infidelity and the healing that God brought about in her marriage. She’ll show you how to protect your relationship, and how a couple can rebuild trust through the Lord’s help.

We’ll send Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome when you support this ministry with a gift of any size. Revive Our Hearts is able to stay on the air, thanks to the support of our listeners. When you donate by phone, ask for Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Our guest, Susan Putnam, will be checking in at the website, participating in the listener blog. You can scroll to the end of today’s transcript, read comments from our listeners, and add your own questions or thoughts. Again, that’s at ReviveOurHearts.com.

A real turning point in Susan Putnam’s life came during a Revive Our Hearts conference. Then, she returned to a second conference. She and her pastor’s wife, Judy, came to True Woman ’10 in Chattanooga.

Susan: God has really given me a tremendous passion and desire for His Word. Sometimes you get to the point where know the Word so well . . . but the conference made me sit and think, “How much of this am I living out?”

Judy and I really were humbled that we had to go home to our husbands and say, “We have not been true women. We’re not being the women . . Voddie’s message, James MacDonald’s message . . . I bought those DVDs and took them back. The elders had a meeting, and watched those videos. The whole message of being a true woman and getting back to the biblical mandate for what a true woman is and what a true man is has really sparked a fire there.

Leslie: Well, I think you’ll be challenged just like she was at the True Woman conference. The next one is one year from now, September 20 - 22 in Indianapolis. We’re calling it True Woman ’12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening. I hope you’ll join us as Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Joni Eareckson Tada, Mary Kassian, Janet Parshall, Priscilla Shirer and other speakers challenge you to experience personal revival.

You’ll find out what it means to be right with God and right with others. We’re praying that as women’s hearts are revived personally, they’ll continue to spread to message of revival, and pray for widespread awakening in our nation. Registration for True Woman ’12 has just opened. Sign up at ReviveOurHearts.com.

What should a woman do when the men around her won’t lead? The Old Testament tells us what Deborah did when surrounded by fearful men. Nancy will unpack the story on Monday. I hope you can be back with us. Now, Nancy and Susan Putnam are back to pray.

Nancy: I know there are people who’ve been listening to your story, who are, right now, where you were fifteen years ago—caught, trapped, fallen, broken, messed up. Their life is a wreck, as you described it. They’re in a relationship that is a sinful one. They’re thinking about perhaps getting out of their own marriage and maybe have given up hope that anything could ever be any different.

Or they’ve come back, but feel such a sense of the weight of their past that they feel God could not really use them. I wonder if you would just take a moment here to pray for those women who are at a crucial point, and God brought them here today to hear your story.

Let’s join our hearts, and would you pray for those women, that God would break through, that they would say, “Yes, Lord,” that they’d find Christ to be the living water that they’ve been needing and longing for, and that God would use even what’s just been shared now to be redemptive in the lives of those women.

Susan: Oh, Father, today there are women, God, a woman today that is listening to this message. She is in the exact same circumstances that I was once in. God, I pray today that through this message you will allow anyone who is hearing this to know that there is hope. Even though timing is not always what we would like it to be, if we will turn to You, repent and be obedient, You will do an amazing work .

God, you are an amazing God, you truly can resurrect this situation and, even though it seems hopeless and dead, God, you can take this and make it whole. God, You can restore a marriage. God, we love You, we thank You, and it’s in the power of your Son’s Name that I pray, amen.

Revive Our Hearts, with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, is an outreach of Life Action Ministries. 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion