Pastor Chris Beall and his wife, Cindy, tell how they rebuilt their marriage from the ground up after Chris confessed to having a porn addiction and multiple affairs. Now the Bealls help others by sharing their story and teaching husbands and wives not to just repair their marriages but to rebuild their marital foundation on the promises of God.
About the Guest
Pastor Chris Beall and his wife, Cindy, tell how they rebuilt their marriage from the ground up. Now the Bealls help others by sharing their story and teaching husbands and wives.
Bob: Rebuilding a broken marriage is not a simple process; it’s not a painless process. But Chris Beall—who is doing it—says it is a worthwhile process to go through.
Chris: You’re walking through a betrayal—you don’t know the where to go. The best thing you can do for other people is not tell a story but live a story. It’s not time for you to focus on helping other people. Every day you’re going to choose to forgive the other person, you are writing a sentence in a paragraph of a story that years from now will be worth telling—and we do that by submitting to God at every moment of this process of healing.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, August 30th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. If there has been damage done to your marriage, there is a path forward—and it’s a path worth walking. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us.
I sent out a tweet a while back and I got a response to it. I’m thinking maybe our guests could help—knowing how I should respond to the response. The tweet I sent out said—it was from when Gary Thomas was here and we were talking about cherishing and what it means to cherish one another in marriage. I said, “Cherishing another person means I’m going to look out for your interests as more important than my own.”
The tweet I got back was from somebody who said, “How do you get there with a lying, betraying husband who has no idea what passion or intimacy is?” I don’t know how to answer that in 140 characters—I don’t think you can answer that in 140 characters—but it’s a very real issue for a lot of people thinking, “How do I fulfill my vows? How do I love and trust and cherish another person when they are a lying, betraying individual?”
Dennis: That really is a good question—and I’m glad we have the guests that we have on FamilyLife Today.
Bob: So we’re off the hook!
Bob: So, we’ll let them answer it!
Dennis: Chris and Cindy Beall join us again on the broadcast. Welcome back.
Chris and Cindy: Thank you!
Dennis: Chris is a pastor at Life Church in Oklahoma City. Cindy is an author of a book called, Rebuilding a Marriage Better Than New—and Cindy, you’re the expert on this because this is what you’ve done.
Cindy: One of the things that people often say is, “Well, I’m going to do this to them because they are doing this to me”—so through revenge they are getting back at someone. I believe that when we get back at someone, the first person that we’re hurting is God. If Chris sins against me and then I then turn around and say, “I’m going to go cheat on him.” I’ve wounded the heart of God first—I have broken covenant with Him first—and then I might hurt my husband.
For me, I would say to that woman—or to anyone—you’ve got to do the right thing regardless of someone else’s actions.
That’s it. Someone else’s sinful life does not give me the right to sin against my God. That’s where I lived. It’s not easy. It’s very challenging, and I can’t say I did it 100% perfect all the time—but I don’t want to break my God’s heart—I don’t want to do that.
Bob: You’ve had the opportunity, over that last half dozen years, to sit down with lots of couples who have gone through what you lived through. What you lived through was years of your husband looking at pornography—ultimately that lead to affairs outside of marriage—he fathered a son. You didn’t know any of this. He finally comes clean. You have to decide—“Am I going to stay with him? Am I going to try to rebuild this marriage? Can I ever trust him again?”—all of these things facing you.
When you sit down with these couples today, they are at a place that you were at, where there is a road in front of them.
You can pick one path and that’s a path that can feel like it will cause the pain to stop right away—or you can pick the other path which feels like this is going to take me right into the pain. What kind of hope do you give them and how do you point them in a God-ward direction?
Cindy: The first thing, I think— just the fact that maybe it’s the four of us—maybe it’s a couple and Chris and me. I think the fact just seeing us brings them some hope—just the fact that we’ve lived through it. So when I’m faced with that question a lot of women will say, “What should I do?” Honestly, I cannot make that decision for them. I tell them, “You don’t you have to decide the rest of your life today.” I steal that little phrase from my friend Kevin.
But I also just encourage them, “Look, whatever path you take is going to hurt. Where is God leading you? Let the peace of God be your guide.” If you’ve got a spouse that is willing to do whatever it takes—you’re willing to lay your life down and rebuild this. Consider this path. If you’ve got a spouse that’s still with someone else, or is acting like all this is your fault. Then you might have to play some hardball there, and show some tough love.
Dennis: I’m just thinking of the command in Genesis 2, that says, “for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, shall cleave to one another, and the two shall become one.” If you had not made a covenant between three—a man, and a woman, and their God—there’s no way this marriage would be standing today.
Dennis: There wouldn’t be a title of a book, Rebuilding a Marriage Better—Better!— Than New.
Dennis: The covenant of Almighty God gave you the standard to make this work.
Chris: Right. One thing that we experienced several years back—I’ll set the scenario, but it’s super-relevant—almost four years ago, our house burned down. We are going through this process of, “Okay we’ve lost everything, we have to rebuild. We’ve got to replace everything.” Our insurance company—that was amazing, I will tell you—they said, “We’re going to pay to rebuild your house, but we don’t think your foundation is damaged, so we’re not going to pay to replace it.”
In our office when we meet with couples—we see this every day—there’s some huge catastrophe in their marriage and they want a new house but they are unwilling to replace the old foundation. So how do we communicate? There are behaviors that we’ve got to go past the foundation and create a new normal.
Dennis: What you’re saying is, it’s not a matter of slapping a new coat of paint—
Dennis: —on a house that is rotting.
Dennis: But you’ve got to start with the right foundation.
I just have to say here, this is why the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway is so important for couples. I was driven to the airport by a guy whose son and a young lady are getting ready to get married. I told him and I said, “Give your son and your future daughter-in-law the very best wedding gift they will ever receive because it will help them turn their marriage license into a marriage—into a real marriage—”
Dennis: “—into one that is built on the right foundation.” It’s very practical—talking about how two imperfect people—from the start—can build a single structure—together—off the same set of blueprints. Give them the conference, the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway as a gift—it will pay off for decades. The guy nodded his head and said, “You know, I’m going to talk to my wife about that tonight because we want their marriage to go the distance.”
Bob: There’s information about the Weekend to Remember online at FamilyLifeToday.com if our listeners are interested. If you have not been—you really ought to check it out.
Dennis: And it’s not just for engaged couples.
Bob: No, and that’s right! It’s always good to take the marriage in for a little preventive maintenance; right?
Dennis: We had a couple recently attend who’d been married 60 years.
Dennis: They felt it was time for an oil change and a tune-up. There you go!!
Bob: I think one of the things that you two have learned in the rebuilding process of your marriage is that as you’ve invested in other peoples’ marriages—God has used that to strengthen the bond between the two of you; right? —Talk about that.
Cindy: It is the best part of our story that when we share with others—when we help them with the same help that was given to us—2 Corinthians 1:3-4—when we do that—it’s like we heal more.
Like with each couple we visit with—with each woman I talk with on the phone, or have a FaceTime conversation or meet for coffee—with each conversation, God is redeeming that marriage bit by bit.
What’s funny is I love our marriage where it is. We’re best friends! We’re very healthy—that’s the word I use to describe our marriage—very healthy. Not “perfect”, not “good”, not “great”—healthy and strong. What’s fun is that it’s getting better, because we’re going to invest—we are going to continue to steward our story and share and help others so it’s just going to get better.
Chris: I’d say for—say for any listener that’s in the early stages of just trying to figure out—you’re walking through a betrayal, you don’t know where to go—the best thing you can do for other people, is not tell a story—but live a story. It’s not time for you to focus on helping other people.
Every day that you walk through a trigger that hits you or you’re going to choose to forgive the other person, you’re writing a sentence in a paragraph of a story that years from now will be worth telling. You don’t need to be focused on telling your story but you need to be focused on writing that story. We do that by submitting to God in every moment of this process of healing.
Bob: I agree with you—I do think though there are some couples who think, “Well, we could never try to reach out and help others because our marriage isn’t perfect.”
Bob: That leaves a lot of people never reaching out and helping anybody—
Bob: —because our marriages are never perfect. At what level of health—where do you need to get to health-wise before you can start to say, “I think maybe we can speak into somebody else’s life?”
Chris: Early on it wasn’t us looking for people to help it was people coming to us. If we felt like we were at least one step ahead of them—
Dennis: There you go!
Chris: Here we go! Let’s go! We can offer you—here’s what we’re doing, we’re on the road too—we’re not experts. In these latter days it’s been much more where we’re looking to pro-actively help people.
But for the most part of this 15 years, people would come to us, “Hey, I heard you’re going through this”—if we really felt like that was a step ahead. That pretty much pertains to every person listening to this—you are a step ahead of someone.
Bob: That’s right—and somebody is a step ahead of you.
Bob: If you can be in a cycle where you’re learning from those who are a step ahead of you and you are helping those who are a step behind you. That’s how the church is supposed to work—that’s what this is supposed to look like; right?
Chris: Absolutely! Pauls and Timothys! We each have somebody pouring into us and we each have people that we are pouring into—absolutely!
Dennis: You had somebody who invested in you in the early months after the bombshell went off in your marriage.
Cindy: Yes, Jim and Beth Kuykendall—we cannot speak more highly of them. There are not enough words in the dictionary to talk about how amazing they are. Without their input we would just have been a hot mess.
Chris: Jim and Beth—for the first 30 days—every night—were sitting on our living room floor. There was just this invasive commitment to—“We’re going to do life together”—and, “As you guys face things—just today—we’re going to process them and speak of life over you—we’re going to go to God’s word, every single night.”
That may not be realistic for everyone, but that had such a huge impact—not just in the counsel that they gave, but just the relational presence—knowing that they had walked through a similar story. We have a physical example of hope sitting right in front of us on our couch.
Bob: Chris—I have to ask because it’s been 15 years now since the story was told. Prior to that time you had been ensnared with pornography and where that led you—the temptation can’t have just gone completely away. Over the last 15 years to where you go, yes, you know, I’ve felt that for a long time and I just never feel it anymore.
Chris: I’m all good! I’m fixed!
Bob: So what’s the difference between the temptation today and what it used to be?
Chris: How I would answer that is that I am free—but I am not fixed. I’m a human being, I’m imperfect—I have a sin nature just like everyone else. So I am free. I am not a slave to this sin and I haven’t been for 15 years—but I am tempted just like everyone else. I‘ll give you an example.
I have learned to see the temptations and respond a little bit more quickly to them. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago, that a young lady that came up to me—a precious young lady—attractive. “Pastor Chris, you’ve changed my life. I think you could really help me sort through some things in my life.” In that moment, I’ve got a little bit of warning signs going off—so I called Cindy. “Hey, this just happened to me.” Then I brought my staff—my entire team—I said, “Hey, I want you to keep your eyes on me. If there is anything that you ever see that seems off—intercept it.”
It wasn’t even like an inappropriate conversation on behalf of this girl—it was completely innocent—but it was like just maybe the beginning seed of a temptation that the moment I acknowledged it—and had a conversation with Cindy and my team—it was gone. So I do my best to kind of predict, “Where is the enemy going to come after me?” I am just going to be overly honest when those temptations come.
Keeping it in the dark is like a Petri dish for sin to grow. The moment we bring it into the light I just think that is where the power of healing happens. We do have a spiritual enemy! I believe that in those moments—“I can’t, I don’t have it in there, I‘m going to have to find a different avenue.”
Dennis: I believe it’s in Genesis chapter 4 where it talks about sin—
Bob: Crouching at your door?
Dennis: Crouching at your door. Chapter 4:7. What I just want every listener—male and female—to know—it may not be pornography.
I don’t know what it is—what your Achilles heel is—but I can promise you—in fact, yesterday when I stepped out of my house, I thought, “I’m stepping out of a safe place.” Not that there isn’t sin able to get its way into our house—there is—but I’m stepping into the world where there is a spiritual battle occurring. We don’t see what’s taking place.
Interestingly a friend sent me a link—and I don’t know what my friend was really thinking but I clicked on it and it didn’t take long to realize, “This is not a good place to be.” I clicked off and went away. I still think I owe my friend an email back to say, “Why did you send that to me?”
By the way, there’s a lot of stuff flipped around on the internet and posted in all kinds of places—just be wise.
You may be throwing something to someone and it may be his or her Achilles heel—spiritually speaking.
Chris: The spirit and the flesh—the Bible says—are at war for what is going to be dominant in their lives. The Holy Spirit wants to be that which propels us and leads every part of our lives—but if the things that we’re feeding our mind and our time are the things of the flesh—we’re going to be dominated by the flesh. We just have to be very aware that the more we can starve our flesh and feed the things that the Spirit in us craves, those temptations will minimize. They don’t go away—but they will minimize.
Bob: Most of us are way too casual in our daily battle with sin.
Bob: We walk around like there is not a war going on—we walk around like we’re in complete safety—and we get ambushed when we do that.
Bob: As opposed to walking around with the alert system on—your alert system that goes—
“Okay—this is just a seed here—but a seed can grow into something if I don’t deal with it right now.”
Dennis: I want to encourage our listeners—every listener who is a follower of Jesus Christ is an ambassador—an ambassador you have a message and a mission. I want to read to you a little bit of your mission and message found in Isaiah 61. If you haven’t read the first eight to ten verses of this passage of Scripture you ought to read it because I’ve thought of this all week as we’ve interviewed you two—how you guys are really like something that’s described in here—I’ll get to that in a moment.
Here’s what it says about our message and our mission: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, —
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; and to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor—”
It goes on to talk about some other matters and then it says:
“that they may be called”—and this is what I thought of you two—“oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities,”—listen to this last phrase—“the devastations of many generations.”
Dennis: You two are oaks of righteousness—you are providing shade for couples who’ve gone through the valley and they’re in need of someone saying, “You can do it!”
Dennis: The church is there. We will come along side you, we will pray for you, we will minister to you and future generations are at stake.
Bob: Tell our listeners about the dinner you had not long ago with somebody who had found Chris and Cindy’s story online along with other stories that they’ve heard on FamilyLife Today—and how God had used that in his life.
Dennis: This is a person who been through dark days in his marriage. He became a super sleuth on FamilyLife Today. He went in search of every story of redemption and reconciliation that he could find and he found yours. He said, “I was hopeless but I listened and I listened and I listened.” For three and a half years he battled for his marriage.
Dennis: I asked him—I said, “If I went to your wife right now and asked her what your marriage was like on a ten point scale what would she say?” He said, “A ten!” What about you? A ten! And he’s not saying it’s perfect, but he’s just saying where sin abounds, grace and forgiveness much more. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nobody listening to us here is beyond the reach of God’s arm to welcome you in to the family and forgive your sin.
There’s nothing you have done that you can earn God’s favor—nor nothing you can do to cause Him to flee from you. You just need to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord, Master, and Savior and then get on with the process—
Dennis: —of becoming God’s man—God’s woman, and if you’re married—God’s couple. Then leave a godly legacy to future generations which you guys have done.
And I just have to tell you again. I’m really proud of you for not quitting—for still standing—and for using your wounds to proclaim who Christ is. Way to go!
Cindy: Thank you!
Chris: God is good!
Bob: I can imagine there are folks listening who have been thinking—as they’ve heard you share your story—about a couple they know facing a similar situation—where there’s been infidelity, betrayal, where trust has been broken. I‘d encourage them not only to send their friends a link to the conversations we’ve had here this week, but also send them a copy of the book, Rebuilding A Marriage Better Than New—where you share with folks what you’ve done and how God’s worked in your marriage to bring it to where it is today.
We’ve got copies of the book, Rebuilding A Marriage Better Than New in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can go online to order your copy. Our website is FamilyLifeToday.com.
You can also order by phone. Our number is 1-800-FL-TODAY. So again. the website— FamilyLifeToday.com. The phone number is 1-800-FL-TODAY. Ask about the book, Rebuilding A Marriage Better Than New by Cindy Beall when you get in touch with us. And, if you’re online be sure to watch the video clip that features Chris and Cindy sharing their story. Maybe you’d want to forward that to your friends as well. Again the website is FamilyLifeToday.com.
As summer is coming to an end, the month of August is almost over and that means we’re in the home stretch for the matching gift opportunity that we’ve been telling you about all month long. We had a friend of the ministry come to us back at the beginning of the month. He offered to match every donation we receive during the month of August on a dollar for dollar basis. He put a cap on that at $800,000.
We’re in the home stretch to try to make sure that we’re able to take full advantage of those matching gift funds.
If we are, it will allow us to extend the reach of all that we’re doing here at FamilyLife in the months ahead. Help us reach more young married couples, more moms and dads, more people worldwide with practical, biblical help and hope for your marriage and your family.
In fact, we did some calculating not long ago and just with this radio program—if you’re able to donate $8.24—we can get the program in the ears of 1000 people. Of course, when you make that donation we’ll get another $8.24 from the matching gift fund—another 1000 people. So it’s just a great opportunity, but it’s got an expiration date—and that is tomorrow.
We’re asking you today to donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com or call to donate at 1-800-FL-TODAY. Or you can mail your donation and—as long as it’s postmarked today or tomorrow—it will still qualify for matching funds.
Our mailing address is: FamilyLife Today, P.O. Box 7111 Little Rock, Arkansas. Our zip code is 72223. And again, please pray that we will receive enough donations to be able to take full advantage of this matching gift.
I hope you can join us back tomorrow. We’re going to talk about the power of decisions that we make—and how some decisions can be life altering. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today; his name is Keith Lynch, also our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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