1 Corinthians 13:13, And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Sometimes we don’t have a choice.
We trace our steps. What did we do wrong? What could we have done better? Is it too late to fix this marriage crisis?
We can blame others. We have a right to blame others, but we don’t want to. If it is someone else’s fault, then it is up to them to fix it. Otherwise, maybe we can mend our ways and fix this mess.
We hurt. What will happen if our family falls apart?
Will our children grow up in a broken home? Will our spouse falsely accuse us to get custody of our children? Will the courts rip our children from our arms? Will they kick us out of the house and make us pay for the other man’s or other woman’s life of luxury for wrecking our family?
We fear. And we pay massive legal fees we should never have to pay.
But justice is always “just around the corner” with a few thousand more dollars in legal fees. A few thousand for one document. A few thousand more for a hearing. And another document. And another hearing.
We scrounge for records, but we may not have access to those records if they are in the other house. While working. While the children are in a house of adultery in a room next to where your spouse is “making love” with someone else. It’s excruciating and unfair. But we must comply. It’s unjust. It’s stupid. It’s required. It’s not our fault, but that does not matter.
Perhaps you are soaking your pillow with tears praying that the other man or woman will die a death more horrible than anything imaginable on earth so their transition into hell would be scarcely noticeable. I did. I prayed the other man would die in a fiery crash on the freeway on his motorcycle or something worse.
Suicide, A Tragic Non-Solutions
How many people lose all hope? How many people lose all trust in our legal system? How many people take desperate actions with tragic results? Suicide? Kidnapping? Murder-suicide?
Police officers often dread going to calls involving domestic conflict and domestic violence. These are sometimes the most dangerous and gut wrenching calls.
Perhaps one spouse wants to save his or her children from being raised by a hell-bound and adulterous couple. And when they despair of any hope for justice, in anger and frustration, they may want to scream out a vicious and unforgettable lesson to the world that something must be done to end this insanity, this injustice, this cruelty, this rewarding of unfaithfulness, this cowardly and dastardly injustice, this violation of rights of the faithful and their children. They cannot allow this to go feebly opposed.
Please Do Not Judge if You are not Faithful
If you are an unfaithful spouse, don’t judge. You are likely the cause of this problem. If your promises to your family caused them to trust you and feel devastated by your unfaithfulness, it not your place to judge your spouse or tell them how best to cope with your unfaithfulness. It is your place to be faithful and honor your vows, to repent of your wrongs, and love your family enough to do what you are supposed to do.
It is not your place to make pathetic excuses. We’ve heard them all before. “I have a right to be happy.” “I cannot promise to feel something I cannot feel”. You know well that love is not a feeling but a promise. You know you have no right to destroy the foundation of family love for your children. You know that’s a dishonest, unmanly, cowardly, unwomanly way to behave. And you would not approve of other people doing the same thing unless you somehow felt that approving of this misbehavior in others would somehow reduce or hide your own guilt. Wedding vows are to be kept, and when people make them the vows, they know the promises are to be kept. They’re not a hope for good luck. They’re not a desire that the stars or tea leaves would line up or that happiness would magically fall down from the sky on everyone and make the marriage happy.
If you are the unfaithful spouse, your job, if you love your children and if your word is worth more than garbage, your job is to keep your word. And if that means you have to give up playing the whore or the coward or the liar on your marriage, then do it.
I would be sorry for being so harsh, but in this situation, I would have to be sorry if I cannot say it strongly enough for your well being, your children’s well being, your spouse’s well being, and the well being of society and for the honor of the holy institution of marriage as a principle of life.
Coping as a Victim of Unfaithfulness
Responsible and loving people cope if they still have enough sanity, calmness of mind, and commitment to doing what is best and wise. Granted, our government and society punishes them severely for that. There is a price to pay, and it is unfair. The unfaithful are unfair. The judges are unfair. The law is unfair. And the lawyers prosper from wrecking the families of little children and driving terror into the hearts of the faithful. But that’s America. And if you don’t like that, fake patriotism demands a virtue signalling and phony scream back into the face of the injured. True patriotism sees it as a call and need to help America become the great nation it pretends to be.
The faithful bear the pain and do the right thing even when faced with injustice. Life is unfair, but they trust that if they do what’s right, life will get better.
What is the best we can do for our family? For our children? For our loved ones? For our legacy? What example of wisdom can we set for others going through this agony? What outcome do we want for our children twenty years from now?
Faith, Hope, Love is Not Clinging
Adulterous spouses are selfish and narcissistic. Our first temptationm might be to cling while they struggle harder to get away. We don’t want our family to break apart. We don’t want our children growing up in a broken home. But the best thing to do may be to let them go.
Clinging is emotional slavery. It gives your unfaithful spouse an opportunity to use your fear against you for their own selfish gain. It reduces you to being an enabler.
How many adulterous spouses figure out that they can play one lover against another?
Unfaithful spouses know they are liars, cowards, cheats, self-indulgent jerks who are not man or woman enough to make family promises and keep them–even for the love of their own children.
And they know it. Reminding them won’t endear them to you. Clinging to them will make them want to struggle harder to get away. Letting go is not a way to get rid of them
Is Your Unfaithful Spouse Ganging Up On You?
We don’t want to be kicked out of our own home and robbed of our children. We don’t want to be ganged up by a spouse playing the harlot or whoremonger on the marriage. We may feel helpless against a corrupt legal system of money grubbing jerks who would lie, cheat, and do anything unethical to rob the faithful and their children. We want our family to stay together.
So, we reward our unfaithful spouses. We ask ourselves what we could do to fix the situation. We ask what we did wrong and what we could do better. And our narcissistic, selfish spouse may find that quite gratifying. Imagine having two lovers competing for your affection and if one does not comply with your wishes, you can always go to the other.
When you cling, you help enable your spouse. You reward their selfishness. It is their moral obligation to stand firm on their wedding vows. It is a measure of honor before their family, their children, before God, before society to be honest and true to the promises made and not to engage in the cowardice of playing the whore onm the marriage while making pathetic excuses.
Failure is not Failure
Failure to honor the wedding vows is not a failure of luck. It is a failure to try. It’s a failure to honor one’s word. It’s a failure of decision. It is a decision to betray, to do wrong, to dishonor one’s word. It is not an unlucky turn of fate. It is a crime of intentional selfishness against one’s family and against one’s own word–an act of selfishness. A calculated act of cowardice and hypocrisy.
That is not meant to judge the poor faithful spouse who through no fault of his or her own suffered the agony of having an unfaithful or abusive spouse. Many faithful spouses soak their pillows with tears praying for their spouses to return to faithfulness. Many stand by their unfaithful spouses patiently and do not see adultery as an opportunity to end the marriage, but rather see it as a horribly sad statement that a faithful spouse and the children may have to move on because the unfaithful spouse would not allow the family to continue in a healthy loving relationship.
One spouse is apparently willing to wreck the foundation of family love for their own children for a roll in the hay or for another drink or another hit on their drug of choice.
They don’t love their children enough to be faithful.
The family needs and deserves better.
There are counselors, books, video tapes, and courses available that can help you go through this horrible agonizing situation and heal from it. And in some situations even a marriage can be saved. But it will almost never happen when the faithful spouse clings for dear life or pretends to do so on principle hoping that if they could lock themselves in morally or scripturally, they will eventually break through and save their marriages. Some continue with this pattern for decades and go to their graves never restoring their marriages while thier unfaithful spouse moves on and does whatever they want.
I feel very strongly that the most important thing to do is to take care of your own emotional health and that of your children. Get help. There is no point in focusing on saving your marriage at this point. You may be terrified that time will slip by and you will regret letting your spouse get away. But if your spouse is that unethical and unfaithful, your efforts may do more to drive them away and drive yourself into an early grave of deep depression. Your family needs you to be wise, free, and strong. You need liberty.
What do you need to be freed from? Slavery to fear, for one. Perfect love casts out all fear. That’s Biblical. Don’t let yourself be ruled by fear. What if your spouse runs away with some floozy? You are free from having a selfish, narcissistic, bad example–a coward, a cheat, a self-serving person who is not man enough or woman enough to keep their word.
Trust that you will be OK no matter what happens. Don’t tell yourself that specific good things must happen or all will be horrible. Instead, tell yourself that even if the most hellish nightmares happen, if you keep moving down that dark tunnel in life, there will be a light at the end and a better future, and all this pain will pass.
A Less Horrible Crisis
If your marriage is not that badly wrecked, some books or counseling from Michele Weiner-Davis might be very helpful–for instance a book called “Divorce Remedy” or “Divorce Busting”. She also has a website with coaching, and she is very good at helping people save their marriages.
But you may lose your marriage anyway. And if that happens, you may have to give your greatest effort to prayer and saving your sanity, your health, and your strength and ability to be your best for your children.
If that is so, then you may have to find joy in knowing that life will get better eventually if you ride it out prayerfully, love your family, and confidently do what you know is best.