700 Club Feature Story
On October 12, 2012, the CBN 700 Club ran a feature story on Jay and Deborah Ross.
Can Infidelity Be Forgiven?
By Randy Rudder
The 700 Club
CBN.com- When Jay and Deborah Ross got married, neither of them had a clue what a successful marriage looked like. "I wasn't sure what marriage was about when I got married, I was just in love. I had not seen a model marriage lived out in front of me," Jay says. "My life was all about me."
Both of them had come from broken homes and tried to mend their emotional wounds with material possessions. Deborah owned a chain of dance studios, and Jay ran a pawn shop. "Accolades, money, applause--anything that was a pat on the head was an addiction to me. I needed it. I needed people to appreciate me," Deborah says of the early days of their marriage. But, although they were successful, it didn't fill the hole in their lives. "I lived pretty high on the hog, in my twenties, and had a good time, but I was always empty inside," Deborah says.
After their children were born, the stress of running two businesses and raising a family began to take its toll on Deborah. "It wasn't until I started having children that I realized I couldn't do it all,' she says. "It was like a roller coaster. You would just go wide open during the week, and then on the weekends you would try to drink it down, and I thought, 'There's got to be more to life than this.'"
One day, a lady visited Deborah at her dance studio with an unusual request. Deborah recalls that day: "This lady walked in my studio one day, and she said, 'We need somebody to dance in our Easter cantata.' I said, 'Oh, well, I'll get one of my students to do it,' and she said, 'No, I think the Lord sent me here for you. I think you're the one.' Deborah was not a believer at the time and confesses that all she really knew about the Bible was the Ten Commandments, Noah, and a few stories about Jesus. "I knew nothing about the Bible. I just walked in, did my part, and walked out," she remembers. But the poignant story touched her heart. "When I walked out, I fell to the ground, and I started crying," she remembers. "And this gentleman walked by me, and he said, 'Young lady, your life will never be the same. God has touched you tonight.'"
Deborah began attending church and later gave her life to Christ. She prayed for her husband's salvation; however, it would be a long time before that prayer was answered. She sold her dance studios so she could focus on raising their boys. Unbeknownst to her, Jay was leading a secret life. He often attended church with her, but she could tell his heart was far from god. She just didn't know how far. "I was a good liar. I lived a lie my whole life," Jay admits.
At the same time, God began revealing things to Deborah. "The Lord actually showed me point blank that my husband was lost. He showed me the pornography that my husband was dabbling in," she recalls. "I thought that he just drank beer occasionally and God began to show me that he really drank a lot. I would find pot seeds in the car. It even got to one point where I said, 'God, don't show me anything else. I can't take anything else.' I was so disappointed in my marriage that I did not want to see anything else."
But there was more. Jay also had a gambling addiction and nearly lost their home.
"People would call during the day when I would be at home and they would threaten me over money. And it was stuff I knew nothing about. Nothing. We couldn't pay the mortgage, we couldn't pay employees, and back taxes were due. There were all these things going on, and that really shook me up. That really shook my faith."
But the biggest blow of all was still to come.
"For about a year, I felt total darkness in my home," Deborah says. "My home felt very vacant and cold. Then one evening, Jay went out and didn't come home.
She called the police who reassured her that he was probably just out late with the boys. But Deborah protested. "You've got to find my husband. Something's wrong," she told them. "My husband's never done this.'"
Deborah waited up for him all night. Although she was unaware of it at the time, that morning, while he was driving home, God began convicting Jay of the sin in his life. "That morning, I felt the Holy Spirit's presence come over me stronger that anything I had ever felt," Jay says. "I pulled over to the side of the road, and I said, 'OK, help me Lord. I truly want to repent. I want everything you have for my life.'" Jay had finally come to the end of himself, and was ready to get everything out in the open. "It seems surreal now," he remembers, "but I was OK with losing my wife, with losing my children, with losing everything I had, but for once in my life, I was not going to live a lie any longer. I heard Him tell me that He loved me, which I had never really heard before. And the next thing He said was, 'OK, now you need to call your wife and confess.'"
Jay picked up his cell phone and called Deborah. The first thing he did was to ask if the kids were around her. Then he asked her to go to a quiet place where she would be alone. "I went to the bedroom, got on the bedroom phone and he started talking to me," Deborah says. "And he began to confess everything."
For the past year, Jay had been having an affair.
"I felt like I was dying. I literally felt like I was dying of cancer," Deborah recalls. "It was horrible."
Although she believed her marriage was over, she would soon find out that her 13-year prayer for her husband had not been in vain. Jay confessed to Deborah on a Friday. The following Sunday morning, he called to see if she would go to church with him, and she said yes.
"I don't remember one word that the pastor said that day," Jay says. "I just knew that I had to get to the altar, and that I had a lot of stuff that I had to lay down. I'd always seen miracles happen at the altar, and I knew that when you are at the foot of the cross, things happen. There were so many things that I needed to be delivered from, and I just felt like that was going to be the place where I could cast all my cares on the Lord."
Men gathered around jay to pray for him, and he stayed there for over two hours. When he stood up, he knew he was a new creation. "I needed the two-plus hours there at the altar because I refused to get up until I had my breakthrough, and Iknew that I was born again," he recalls. "I knew that all my sins were forgiven, but I also knew that it was a long journey to what the Lord was going to have in store for us from there forward. "
Over the next year, the Rosses worked together to heal heir marriage. Deborah chronicled her experience in her book, Healing a Broken Marriage: Love Never Fails (Creation House. 2010). Today, the two of them share their story at marriage conferences and other venues.
Deborah believes she has a message for those who think their marriages are doomed. "You have to remember that God is on your side. He is on your side," she stresses. "He is for marriage--He hates divorce. He loves you. He wants you whole, but more importantly, He wants your family whole. He is no respecter of persons. What He did for me, He'll do for someone else. I think the real defining factor is, will you say, 'Yes, Lord'?"
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