Monday, April 18, 2011

a note from Nato: my side

ladies and gentleman, please give a warm welcome to my husband, mark nato...guest blogger. ha. 

Alright, well hello....  I'd like to start off by thanking all of you for all your comments and prayers, as well as for all the questions.  Just so you know, I really have no idea how I'm going to roll with this blogging thing, so bare with me...  It's quite foreign to me.  I probably will not be able to answer every question in 1 simple post, but I do plan to answer every question.  I do think i could answer a lot of them if I just shared my side of the story. Lots of details in here that you may or may not want to know.

Side note: despite what I’m about to share with you, we are able to say that our marriage is better now than it ever has been. So just keep that in the back of your mind as you read this.

I Became a Christian in 2001 while in college.  I believed in the Gospel, but just thought that was the entry point. You know, ask Jesus into your heart and now go out and be a good Christian.  And I did just that: I worked at Christian summer camps(Kanakuk), volunteered with youth groups, led small groups...  I basically thought I was an All-star.

(you can read about how we actually met and fell in love here or her side of the story here)
We were married in ’05.  Two weeks after that we were prego with Layne and about 2 years after he’s born we had Lila.  My wife worked on staff as a children’s ministry director, we were  leading a couples small group, active in our church community. I thought we were THE couple... That we were perfect.  But of course we weren’t.  When things would get rough in our marriage, I would turn to other things to comfort me. it was the start of lots of bad habits. I would pretend like we had worked through stuff, but I was really just running away from facing any of my problems.

(jami says: all pictures taken by nato...he is a budding photographer)

One of the places I ran, was to the "arms" of another woman. Although no one knew it, I was becoming emotionally attached to this woman I worked with at a hospital. What started out as an emotional affair and what I thought  would never "cross that line" DID.  I thought, I’m a Christian, I’m better than that.  How did I end up having a 1 night stand with her.  I remember leaving feeling so ashamed and surprised at the darkness of my heart. So I decided to bury it and never tell anyone about this night.  I continued to bury myself in work because I’m getting a lot of “that a boys” and it feels good, plus it distracts me from thinking about what I had done. if I run hard and fast enough I’ll forget about what I not only had done to my wife and kids, but what I had done to Christ.  So obviously, as unconfessed sin often does, it created a huge gap separating me away from Christ and my bride and everything else that was important.  Of course,  I was still able to look like a good Christian.  But the reality was that that secret was rotting inside of me and killing me.

Then a year later, I meet another young lady who I exchanged numbers with.  I would often go into her place of work without my wedding ring on. My wife had no idea how messed up I was. We started texting, which lead to phone calls, then of course hanging out, then to where I’m basically dating this girl and spending more time with her than my wife. You might think Jami was stupid, but I covered it all up in my crazy work schedule…which is orthopaedic trauma. People break body parts at all hours of the night, right? I was, for all she knew,  always in surgery...or meeting with a doctor...or driving all over the state. but really, My days would consist of me waking up in the morning, going to work, come home for 20 min and say hi…fight with my wife about me being gone too much then escaping back to work or go hang out with my girlfriend.  Leaving my crying, lonely wife alone with a toddler and a newborn, while I’m out acting like a bachelor. I’d go to bed at this other woman's house, get up at about 3 am, come home, shower, get in bed with my wife for a couple hours then get up and go to work and continue that cycle. It was obvioously exhausting and really stupid. And of course, only Lasted for about 2 months. All the lies were catching up to me.

It all fell apart one day when taking a nap with my bride in the middle of the afternoon. She felt convicted to pick up my phone and look at it.   When I woke up 5 min later my phone was missing.  Before I was able to fully get out of bed, my bride came into the room with a look of defeat, she was destroyed.  And I knew exactly why.  She looked at me with tears and said, I knew it, you’re having an affair. You need to go pack your kid’s bags and say good-bye.  And so I did…not realizing how bad my world was about to be rocked.

After Jami found out about this she was at her parents for a week.  During that time our pastors were with me just about every night.  Speaking truth, loving on me, almost beating me up, and walking with me.  They kept telling me that it would be wise to confess everything and if I didn’t, it would just make things harder.  I heard them, but thought you don’t realize how jacked up I am.  I remember one of our pastors sitting at my table starting off one of our meetings saying that we’re all equally jacked up at this table.  I didn’t believe him.  So I don’t confess everything.  i wasn't ready.

After a couple weeks of being back at home, God continued to bring things to the light and I continued to get caught in many other lies. i kept thinking that I could still hide things from Him.  Well that didn’t last long.  Jami and I eventually had to separate because more and more lies kept coming out. I was putting her through emotional distress because I couldn’t confess who I really had become.  The thing is that I was caught.  I didn’t feel convitcted and confess on my own.  I was yanked out of my sin, thankfully...but i needed time to process what I had done.

At that point, we separated. For 2 long months. Seeing all that I had chosen to give up was when I was truly broken.  When Jami saw the change, she let me back in the home. We both knew it would be difficult but I was willing to do whatever it took to make it right. So with lots of counseling, tears, confessing, hard work, time, foot rubs, JESUS, and a decision to stay committed, our marriage was able to survive.

Through this painful process of having everything taken away, I was able to understand that the Gospel is not just a hurdle in the beginning:  It’s everything.  The gospel is applicable to my life 24/7.  I am jacked up beyond what I can comprehend.  The only way I’m saved is through faith and hope in the Cross.  I realized that during the time I was a “super Christian,” the reality was, that behind closed doors, I actually was occasionally looking at porn, occasionally flirting with other women, occasionally drinking too much, occasionally not being honest with my wife, and occasionally doing a ton of other crap that I let no one know about. All of my “occasional sin” became a lifestyle of sin that held me captive. The sad thing is that I had all the resources to get help at my fingertips(friends, accountability, church), but was too prideful to tell the truth and let people see my sin. That was my main hindrance...what would everyone think of me if they knew who I really was?

One of you bloggers asked what theme song I would pick for our marriage?  At first I thought, totally corny...we don't have a song. but actually, we kind of do.  it was to the song we had our first dance together at our wedding... The song that is playing right now.  Ray Lamontagne, "Forever My Friend."  Listen to the words or google the words.  We didn't know it at the time, but that song would mean a lot more years down the road.

Alright, thanks for reading.  Hope this answers some questions.  I know it didn't answer all, so I guess that means I'll have to post again...maybe in a couple weeks when I recover from being sucked into the blog world.

jami says: hey all, side note, there is another blogger doing a series on her husbands affair over here if you are interested in this topic! another honest blogger about affairs...woo woo!

also my sis is giving away a camera strap she's super cute. and you will love her blog because she's funny and has no filter. do it.


  1. im totally crying. thank you so much for sharing. jami, you are such a sweetheart and have such a beautiful heart and story lady. love love

  2. Hey Jami and mr nato. :) I am actually a newer follower... maybe 2 weeksish?

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for your transparency. We have ALL sinned and fallen short. It takes a REAL christian to admit that and not be religious. You know?

  3. Wow! Courageous...both of you! Thanks for your story and willingness to share.

  4. What an encouraging post! Surely this cannot be an easy thing for you to re-visit but I think it has great power in sharing. I think it's especially hard for strong men to admit when they are wrong but you have strength in your faith! I think a great marriage is based on truth and openness and it's wonderful to see two people working hard to keep it strong.

  5. Thanks for the honesty. I can understand how difficult that can be for BOTH of you to reveal something so personal. I'm so so so so happy that you allowed Christ to soften your heart.

  6. I think you are very brave for writing this and sharing it with the masses.
    Thank you.
    We cannot help one another if we pretend everything is perfect and continue to live out the lie.
    "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13
    Just imagine how much better off we'd all be if we truly lived out the words in this verse. But everyone is so afraid of making people uncomfortable.
    I am inspired by your honesty.
    With deep appreciation,

  7. praise jesus! powerful story, thanks for sharing.

  8. I read the story of Jami with open mouth and now yours. I am really amazed of all your honesty.
    Although it is a very sad thing that happenened it has such a pretty ending.
    It is also very admirable that you overcome this battle together.

    Jami... I really love your blog!

    Hopefully there are not too many mistakes in my text, but I'm not used to write english

    Many greetings from belgium

  9. All I wanted to know was your favorite food=)

    Just kidding... seriously - you guys are awesome for sharing your story as brutally honestly as you did. I'll never forget when you guys shared it with us almost a year ago....We immediately respected your transparency. To see what God has/is doing through you guys is amazing.

  10. rock it robber boy. geat job nato. i'm proud to call you my brother. love you

  11. thanks - i totally appreciate this post! i love that realization - our sin isn't "worse" than someone else's.


  12. You guys are so great! And so honest. Glad God brought you to the other side.

  13. Good for you, Mr. Nato. Transparency is hard, and I think you really were transparent here. Amazing Grace, from all sides.

  14. I just want to thank you guys for your honesty, and your bravery. This kinda stuff is such a huge deal that never gets talked about. I really appreciate your openness, and how you are sharing the amazing healing power of Christ. Thank you for sharing your testimony!

  15. Hi Jami & Mark-
    Great "catching up" on your blog. It was ages ago that we were over at your house for 4th of July with a crew of other folks.

    Thanks for sharing so openly and honestly. Only God could do what He's doing with you and through you both.


  16. Thank you for your words here, for your honesty. Having been through something similar, I know what you mean when you say your marriage is better than it has ever been. I wouldn't want anyone to ever have to go through such dark stuff but I know how it's opened up a different kind of honesty in my marriage and, 4 years later, I'm thankful for it.

  17. Great post. It's always good to get both sides of the story. It's truly a blessing to see God's hand at work in your lives and marriage. He can change even the most JACKED UP soul there is!

    Praying for y'all as you prepare to welcome to new bambino! ;)

  18. i'm so thankful that God led me to your blog and let me read your words and your honesty that ministered to me when i just knew i was the only one in the world going through this. you guys have blessed me so much. seriously. nato, thank you for sharing!

  19. Thanks for telling us your side Nato!

  20. Wow. Your transparency and testimony is amazing. I know God is using both of you to reach many!

  21. so thankful that Jesus meets us in our humility...there's no doubt He's met you where you're at! Thanks so much for sharing, and reminding us how precious the gospel is every moment of our life!

  22. Right on, Nato. Thanks so much for being open and honest. From what I can tell you're a great man, doing great things in the world. Much love to you, my friend.

  23. We all have mistakes we have made. None of them bigger than the other in gods eyes. Your story helps to remind and show people that sin does nothing but bog us down and hold us captive. Thanks for sharing.

  24. thank you for sharing your story and your life. you are brave and generous. i see that clearly.

  25. It takes a brave soul to confess. Now you get to live strong and happily ever after in your faith TOGETHER!

  26. THANK YOU mark and jami.

    you are loved.

  27. Nato- thanks for your honesty. Praise the good LORD for what He as done in your relationship!!


  28. It's refreshing to see someone be so vulnerable and transparent. Now that you popped your blogging cherry, don't you feel better?!

  29. I think we as women can be quick to judge men after something like this happens. It's just our nature. After reading your story makes me realizes how much this hurt not just Jami but both of you. Thank you for sharing!

    I"m so glad you were both able to mend your hearts back into one and be stonger because of it.

  30. thanks for sharing nato. when all of this went down, i remember feeling disgusted and telling clay that i couldn't believe you could do that. he told me that when you feel you are above it is when it happens. you guys have really helped me and a lot of others see the truth of the gospel. thanks for being vulnerable.

  31. I am in TEARS! Oh girl! Thanks for the email yesterday.. I will email you back later but since things have been so difficult this week I'm staying of the web. But got on real quick to read this amazing post. Thanks for the shout out! You are a blessing and so glad that god allowed us to cross paths! xoxo!!

  32. Thank yall for being so open with your sin. Only being married a little over a year, we're still in that newlywed stage of everything is perfect. I know there will bumps and bruises along the way, and it's so encouraging to read your story in how God saved your marriage.

  33. I was reading through the comments and say Nato's real name is mark! LOL
    I guess that answers one of our questions! Ha. I like that you refer to him as Nato though!

    I really appreciate this post and all the post on this blog. you two are such an inspiration of trust and faith. Love you both..
    hopefully next post you will let me know about the houses for sale so we can be neighbors! :) have a great Holy week!

  34. awesome, How incredible is the Grace of our God! my husband also worked at Kanakuk for a summer before we got married in June 05......God bless you guys! your the sweetest couple!

  35. this story is powerful and there is truly no sin that God can't forgive. we all have something to learn from this whether we've had an affair or not.
    to God be all glory!
    proud of you both. ya'all have a cute family.

  36. Well done, Mr. Nato. Well done.

  37. I am so thankful for Christians who are willing to be real and transparent about their struggles. Blogland is all about putting your best foot forward and showing of the pretty parts of our lives, so it takes a lot of courage to speak up about the struggles we all have. Thank you so much to both of you for showing us all that God's grace is for everyone and forgiveness can happen not just with God but with each other. Much love and deep respect <3

  38. Humbled and proud to walk through life beside you guys - to share the messy and the wonderful. Mostly, in awe of the power of the gospel of Jesus.

    Love you guys,

  39. I have been studying David and was amazed at how parallel your stories sounded. His ultimate sin began with just one little "innocent" walk that quickly had him spiraling out of control and sinning over and over again. And then he lived for quite some time, thinking he had hidden his sins from God and everyone else. I'm sure you know the story. But this is how one author described the moment his sins were brought to light:
    "His ears were opened! For he heard the truth Nathan spoke. His eyes were opened fully to the evil he'd done, and he cried out in horror. How could he have been so blind? How was is possible to love God so much and be captured so completely by sin?"
    Nato, you are awesome. Seriously. Thank you for being willing to sacrifice your own dignity to possibly help others to not stumble the same way you did. We love you guys!

  40. Wow. This was really good. Hard, I'm sure, but so open and honest.

  41. i agree with the comment above...there is great power in sharing and I appreciate hearing your words.

  42. love you 1504x's more now. you two are awesome. redeemed. AMAZING. thank you for trusting the Lord in your stories - in living them AND in telling them. <3

  43. Wow, what a powerful post. You guys are one rad couple!

  44. Kudos to you, Nato. You're a courageous man and I'm glad we're friends.

    So grateful your marriage is alive and well.

    Love your sweet family tons.

  45. Thank you for your honesty. What a blessing we have a Savior who forgives and who teaches forgiveness to His children. :)

  46. What an amazing witness it is to be honest with your mistakes, and credit all healing and growth to Christ. You guys are so very courageous! Thanks for being so very raw.

  47. ohhh, crying....again. it is never a callous on my heart to "experience" your story again and again. I am always reminded of our need for Jesus and humbled to walk life with you, my dear friends.

  48. ohhh, jami! i love how real the two of you are.

  49. I wanted to thank you for sharing. I needed to be reminded today that my 'occasional' sin is building habits in my life each time I choose it over obedience. We are all capable of this.

  50. Wow. God works in mysterious ways, you know that? I found your blog searching for pictures of pom poms. I want to make some for my wedding next summer. They are so light and airy! Anyway, the next thing I know I am reading posts and read this one. I've been struggling with my walk with Christ and my salvation recently. This post and so many of the comments have opened my eyes and helped me in a mighty way.

    Thank you so much for your honesty. God is moving through you!

  51. I came across this post today, from a linky on today's post.
    And I'm Thankful for it. Married life is not a bed of roses, and being honest, I think everyone knows about it... But only brave ones are willing to speak up about it.
    To Nato, my respect! for being brave and walking out of Darkness.
    To Jami, my support! for being so strong and choosing to fight for your marriage.
    Thank you for sharing this! Thank you for being honest. Thank you so much for telling the truth!

    Ps.: and Sorry for making this comment a way too long novel. :(

  52. Fairly new follower here. Thanks so much for your openness and transparency. It is very inspiring and shows the redemption that is possible with Christ! Love your blog. You are hilarious! Oh and my daughter is named Lyla too! :)


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