Thursday, June 30, 2011
Regarding Betrayal (a requested repost )
I have a dear friend who emailed me a few days ago, saying, "Barb, I need a favor. I shared with you that my marriage was in serious trouble, had been for years. And because of the lack of communication and how tall the walls between my wife and I were, I strayed. I didn't mean too. It was, at first, a genuine mistake, one I regretted so much I determined in my heart to work hard at my marriage, especially since we have the four children. But my efforts didn't work. My wife still loves me, doesn't want a divorce, but I do. I care for her but am now in love with this other woman. My favor? I need some advice. Do I stay, miserable as the situation is, for the sake of the children, or do I leave? Please get back to me ASAP.
I sent an instant message to my friend, asking "Do you wish for me to tell you what you want to hear, or to be honest?
He wrote back " Hard as it may be to hear, I wish you to be honest. I trust you."
First, let me tell you how sorry I am that things have gotten so off the track for the two of you. I've known you both for many years, know you both to be decent, caring, loving people. But things happen. The ones we love are imperfect, make mistakes,.just as everybody else does. Sometimes those mistakes are so small they wouldn't make a ripple in a pond. But other times, mistakes made can be very harmful, spilling hurt upon not jut the one who made the mistake, but to all who love and care for that person.
I am no authority on this kind of situation, but have experienced betrayal twice, so DO know a great deal about how it touches everybody, especially the children. Do I think you ought to stay, miserable as you are, or leave? That question is one you have to answer yourself. But the advice I will give you, is advice, that I truly believe if you follow, will make it easier for you, and for your wife.
Ending a marriage is a sad, painful thing, especially if your spouse still loves you and wants you to stay. Life offers no easy answers, my friend. When something this serious comes up, you must address it head on. I have been betrayed twice, as you well know. You know too, that because I turned to the Lord for help, this marriage has been saved. We've been together for almost 37 years now, and never been happier. I have reminded you of this because I don't want you to forget, that should you choose too, and truly want to make your marriage work, God would bless you and help you do that. If both parties want it to work and God is in the middle, it will work.
Now, regarding what you should do. You ask if you should go or stay, for the sake of the children. The best way to make good decisions on anything, my friend, is by asking ourselves the most difficult questions, the most painful, but honest questions we can think of like:
1- If I leave my wife, will I be able to handle the guilt I'm going to feel?
2- If I leave my wife will I be able to live with the damage it is going to do to our children?
3- Will I be able to endure my children pulling away from me, being angry at me, thinking I don't love them anymore?
4- Will I be able to handle the many questions my children are going to throw at me?
3- If I leave my wife, can I handle what this will do to her since she has always treated me so well, treated me with such respect, always looked up to me, been my best friend?
4- Have I taken the time to think about the history of our marriage, of all that my wife and I have been through together?
5- Have I taken time to consider the many times she has forgiven me so quickly, been merciful when I didn't deserve it?"
6- Have I considered how little I know about the woman I now claim to love? Unlike my wife, I don't know how she'd treat me if I were really sick, really stressing out, lost my good paying job. I don't know how she will be about me seeing my children, me still having contact with my now present wife.
The above questions are but a few you need to ask yourself. I'm sure, if you take time to do it, you can think of many more. The more questions you come up with (honest, painful ones), the more sure you can be that your decision will be the right one.
My dear friend, I suggest that when you have time, and can be alone, imagine yourself without your wife. Imagine (really imagine), how it would be without her, to not hear her laugh, to not see her smile, to not share meals with her, not to have her as your best friend any more. Imagine how you would feel if something happened to her, how you'd feel not being able to talk to her about what hurts you, like you once did. You two were very close once. I know that people have told you "well things change. People fall out of love sometimes."
True as that may be, I believe it is also true that love between two people does not always die. It just gets buried when people forget what brought them together in the first place; gets buried beneath health problems, financial problems, in-law problems, priorities in the wrong place, problems with the kids, etc.
I would like to point out something to you, left it till the last, hoping you will not easily forget it. You asked should you stay, miserable as you are for the sake of the children. How, dear one, does staying, under those conditions bless your children? What do you think the tension, angry words, shouting, threats, demands, broken promises, will do to them? Trust me, it will touch them, but not in a good way. Having come from a very horrific childhood, I know first hand what it does to children. A child might have both parents in the home, but if there is no security there, no safety, no open affection, nobody taking time to fill their needs, the child, in every sense of the word, is alone.
Whatever you decide to do, know I am in your corner always, your wife's too. Pray first, my friend, before doing anything else. God is so much wiser than we are.