Surviving Infidelity in the Thin Blue Line - Part III
As we've been looking at infidelity and the toll it can take on a marriage, today we are going to take a look at a few of the questions often asked when facing such a hurtful situation:
Is it me?
I think that's a fair question. When someone we love gets involved with another person, we automatically turn inward to find answers. Was it something I did...something I said? Am I not pretty enough? Did I not meet his needs?
Being constantly bombarded by the false (and demoralizing) images of what society labels as "attractive," we women naturally compare and hold ourselves to unattainable standards. So, when our mate chooses another, the burden immediately falls upon our shoulders.
Though there are situations when a wife has caused hurt feelings within a marriage, hear me when I say this...those things are never an excuse for infidelity. Do NOT own that baggage. A person chooses to be unfaithful on his or her own accord, and it has nothing to do with the other spouse.
Should I leave?
Society says, "Yes!" But what did your wedding vows say?
For better or worse, until death do us part.
I'm sure you would agree that infidelity is definitely the "worse" part. Yet, a marriage is more than just a contract, it's a covenant. You and your spouse entered a binding love agreement before God and man. The two of you, while madly in love, promised to do everything in your human power to hold this union together. So why do we automatically want to give up when our marriage hits rock bottom?
Because it's easier.
Marriage is work. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are foolish. Taking two completely different people from completely different backgrounds with completely different ideals, placing them together and expecting them to synchronize harmoniously for the rest of their lives is ludicrous. Yet it all goes back to the commitment you made; to stick with it even in the hard times...to fight for the marriage.
Should you leave? The answer is "no," unless there is physical abuse involved. Then, you should definitely seek safety for you and help for your spouse.
How can I forgive and forget?
You will more than likely never forget. We're human. Somehow our brains have a hard time forgetting hurtful things done to us. However, we can learn to forgive and move on.
I believe infidelity within a marriage takes five certain steps on the road to forgiveness:
Though your list may look a little different and vary in intensity and outcome, two people who truly want to make their marriage work, can and will, especially if they put God first in their relationship. I'm not going to say it will be easy. There will be times when old feelings of negativity and resentment will want to take root in your thoughts. However, be alert. Those are often tricks of the enemy to make you lose focus and conjure up bitterness within your heart.
Marriage can work and can be a wonderful thing, but it's going to take time, lots of prayer, humility, and a multitude of forgiveness. If your spouse is willing to work on saving the marriage, then fight alongside him or her. If he or she has completely turned away, fight for both of you until he or she has remarried someone else. Then you can honestly say before God and man, I held on for better or for worse and fought the good fight. I did all I could to save my marriage.
Chin up. Things will get better.