It Could Happen to You!
January 17, 2011 3 Comments
“I love him, but I’m not in love with him,” Leslie said about her husband over lunch. “That’s why I left. I don’t know what to do, Missy. Being separated from him and living on my own for the first time in twenty years is lonely at times, but when I’m with him I just feel like I’m going through the motions. I want more from my marriage relationship than that. I’m tired of being unhappy. I know the Bible says divorce is wrong, but wouldn’t God want me happy?”
As I spoke to my co-worker over the phone she opened up about what was going on in her very brittle marriage. “David (her husband) won’t talk to me and I’m sick of it! I’m tired of trying to always drum up a conversation with him. It’s like pulling hen’s teeth. All he’s interested in after a long day’s work is plopping in front of his precious big screen with a bottomless bowl of chips in his lap until the last line has been uttered on his program and then it’s time to go to bed and time to finally show an interest in me. Of course that interest only lasts until he’s gotten his needs met and then the wall goes right back up again. What about my needs? Nick understands me. We have so much in common. He listens. I’m tired of bearing all of the relational weight in our marriage. I need something too, and Nick gives me that.”
Another of my friends fired one question after another at me after admitting to an ongoing affair with another man, who just happened to be ten years her junior. In reference to her husband she asked, “Do you know how many times I have asked him to mow the grass? Fix the furnace? Replace those annoying flickering fluorescent bulbs above the sink? Get the oil changed in our vehicle before the engine blows up? Stop the nerve-fraying beeping of that blasted smoke detector? Install the new towel bar in the restroom so the kids won’t have to drape them over the toilet tank? I’m weary, Missy. Worn out! I don’t even know why I’m married. I make more money than he does and I have to do everything around here! What’s the point? I might as well be single. Anything I can’t do myself my brother will come over and do for me….he already does anyway. Sometimes I can’t stand to be around my lazy slug of a husband! After a while you just get sick of nagging, so you don’t talk at all. Then the not-talking-at-all leads to loneliness. I was lonely and Jaxon was there for me.”
“I just got tired of always doing for everyone else-the kids, grandkids, James, my sick needy father,” sighed another girlfriend. “I got to a point where I wanted to do something for me. Brian paid attention to me. He did things for me with a good attitude. He made me feel like I hadn’t felt in years, so I caved. I wasn’t thinking of anyone but myself. It was my turn.”
After years of having multiple flings with various men, Trisha said, “I’ve been crying in my car (the idea here is that she hid her misery from her kids) for the past twelve years because that’s how long it’s been since I fell out of love with my husband. It’s someone else’s turn to cry (referring to the sorrow her husband and children were showing). It’s about time other people in my life get in touch with the way I’ve been feeling all of these years. I’m tired. I can’t take this anymore. It’s over for good this time. I’m leaving!” and she did.
This was an old acquaintance’s push back, via e-mail, after asking my advice on whether I thought God would expect a person to stay married even if he was not happy and living with a cold spouse who does not love him any more:
I’m sorry if you feel I am wrong, but a marriage entered into under a cloud of deception (author’s note: this “cloud of deception” consists of the fact that she did not turn out to be all he had hoped. My question is, “Who does?”) is not a good thing at all. I want to make this clear. He was not wanting out of the marriage BECAUSE we had an affair. We had an affair BECAUSE he was wanting out of the marriage. There has been nothing, absolutely nothing there for YEARS! And I don’t believe the God I know would have him stay in a destructive and unhealthy relationship that is slowly eating him alive. God forgives. And God wants us to be healthy and happy and to live full and rich lives. Jesse does not have that and certainly is not able to live that.
We’d been married for seventeen years. We’d just renewed our marriage vows five months earlier. We had two wonderful sons – a thirteen year old and a five year old- not to mention a lifetime of memories. We were high school sweethearts, but at the moment none of that seemed to matter. He left us anyway.
When I asked him, “Why? Why are you doing this to us?”
His answer was, “Because I want to. She makes me laugh.”
All of these accounts are true and personal. I know each person I’ve written of here and know them well. The last account was a little too personal, because it happened to me.
The most disturbing fact about all of these situations is that they happened to Christians. Each and every one of the people I’ve written about professed to be followers of Christ, and yet all of these believers were unfaithful to their spouses. Spouses of ten years or more.
Now, before you even ask it I’ll answer,
“Yes, real Christians.”
Bible reading, born again, church-going, hand-raising, give-God-the-glory, serving-in-the-body-of-Christ kind of Christians, teaching Sunday school and singing-in-the-choir kind of Christians. I realize that some of you are still thinking that a true Christian would never, could never, do the things I have just written about, but I am convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they can, have, and do. They do and they do and they do. Much too often they do- and I am sick of it.
Literally….sick of heart.
I’m sick of seeing fellow believers, friends, and their marriages being sucked down by the under current that accompanies the lie Satan whispers into the ears of the discontent and bored – the lie that says, “True happiness can be found in the company of another man or woman.” The deceived believes that real bliss lies inside the walls of another home- a new and different home that they will create together with their new found love. A home where the sofas are cozier, the romantic fire crackles brighter, the bills don’t pile up nearly as high, the nagging will cease to exist, no one argues about how household chores get done, no one is every tired and grumpy after an exhausting day at work, the kids don’t get in trouble at school, and best of all, every night behind the locked door of their seductive lair will be sensual and soulful love making like they have never experienced before. And if that doesn’t sound inviting enough, it gets even better. Not only will this new existence surpass the old one in every way, but this moment-by-moment ecstasy will last forever, because this one, this woman or this man is the one. The one that they were truly meant to be with. Soul mates for life. That’s the way they see it.
The question I have yet to get an answer to is, “Didn’t you feel those same feelings for your spouse before you married them?” I haven’t gotten an answer, but I know what it is. The answer is, “Yes!” Of course they felt that way. Most all of us did. That’s why we were so eager to say, “I do!” and get on with life together. We were convinced that this person was going to complete us. They were going to make us the happiest person on the planet….and then life slowly crept in. Real life.
I am sick enough about the decimation of too many families that I want to do something about it. That is why I am contributing to the writing of this book. I write with hopes that something I say will stir even one slumbering wife or husband to the fact that it could happen to them too. Yes, it could happen to YOU and I SO don’t want it to.
Of these that I have mentioned, some had short-term affairs, some fell hard into “love”, some chose their new mate over their children, others just enjoyed the attention of a new lover for a season and then ended it. Some left their spouses for the “newer, younger model.” Still others haven=t decided whether they are going to leave for good or stay. The verdict has yet to come in on some, and to be honest, it’s not looking too bright. Some got divorced and are now remarried with children together. Others changed jobs, and some even lost life-long careers they loved, all in the name of “love”. Some of their indiscretions were “shouted from the rooftops” while others have managed to keep them secret. In spite of all of the ugliness and heartbreak that I’ve spoken of, I am as sure of these people=s conversions as I am of my own. So, for those of you who are still doubting their sincerity to Christ and wondering if their salvation experiences were real, I am asking you to trust me because I don=t know any other way to convince you.
Most likely you will never meet these people for yourself, so you won’t be able to look at them under your own Amicroscope@. But I can say with confidence that all of these people were (still are) 100%, genuine, believers and followers of Christ. Immediately prior to the time of their “fall” they attended church every week, sang in the choir, some were married to deacons, others taught Sunday school, played the piano, worked with youth and children, and headed various committees and groups. My ex-husband was a pastor of a Southern Baptist church! But the best way I know to convince you that they were bona fide Christians is to look at their lives now. All but one of them (who is in the big middle of this drama even now) have repented. They are truly sorry and remorseful for the decisions they made and the raggedy paths they went down. They are back in church. They are serving the Lord in whatever capacity has been allowed to them, and they deeply regret the choices they have made, but are trying to make the best of the lives they now live.
With that said, I pray that those of you who are smugly sitting in your comfy love seats thinking that this (getting divorced , having an affair, being cheated on) would never happen to you – think again. That is the very lie Satan wants you to believe. It=s the lie I believed for seventeen years. I never dreamed in my worst nightmare that I would ever be a divorced person, but here I sit, just as divorced as Sue and Sam Pagan.
Just like the people of New Orleans never thought the Abig one@ would hit the Big Easy, I too never thought the Abig one@ could touch my big blessed life. Who cares that engineers and other very smart people had been saying for years that a hurricane could come right up the mouth of the Mississippi and wipe their city off of the map. They were New Orleans, baby! Where the good times roll and all worries are left behind. No one in New Orleans had time for worrying about some potential disaster that might come. In New Orleans time is not for fretting, but for partying, listening to jazz, savoring a cup of gumbo and a daiquiri the size of the Super Dome.
Because of the possibility of a monstrous funnel coming up the river into the city that lies below sea level and flooding it beyond recognition, key leaders were told numerous times to prepare the city and the people for this very real and threatening outcome. One can only conclude that, based on their lack of preparedness, they didn’t truly believe it could happen to them. Nor did I. I never fathomed that my marriage could end in divorce, and yet today, both New Orleans and Missy have all of the disfigurements that are left behind as the result of the “Katrinas” in life.
When you are not even prepared for a thunderstorm, let alone a catastrophic furor like a category 5 hurricane, the wreckage seems even more savage and potent than you could have ever envisioned.
Back in January of 2003 if you had told me that someday my boys would be products of a broken family I would have laughed in your face. Me having to drop my kids off mid-day on Thanksgiving and Christmas? Never! We’re not that kind of people. So I thought.
I desperately want to believe that this won’t happen to you, reader, and not because it can’t. I don’t want to foolishly believe that it won’t happen to you because both you and your husband love Jesus or because you’ve both sat down and talked about this very thing and have agreed that divorce is NOT an option. It wasn’t an option for me either. We had that talk too. I want to believe it won’t happen to you because you are wise enough to know that it can happen to you, but you are going to commit to doing everything in your power, with God’s help, to make your marriage relationship one that is fulfilling to both you and your spouse and at the same time is pleasing to God. A marital “train wreck” can happen to you…but it doesn’t have to.