I have an exciting announcement. After almost a year in the works, it’s DONE. We have a brand-new website and I’m anxious for you to hop over and have a look. It’s still at leslievernick.com but is fresher, easier to navigate, and totally updated.
Since we are filling up our current classes quickly, we also opened some new dates and times for our Walking in CORE Strength group coaching program that starts September 12. If you’ve not taken this group coaching class, check it out.
Question: I have to confess that I am a woman that has committed adultery. Sexual relations with my husband had been pretty non-existent and I was miserable for many years and was feeling lonely and isolated when a married man told me he was in love with me, and I allowed myself to get involved in a situation which has caused a lot of pain and destruction.
My husband has reacted very badly and has been even angrier than ever, calling me the most horrific names in front of the children and making me feel unsafe and terrified.
He has also withheld financial support and so I am working and looking after the children. I know that infidelity is not a good thing at all, but this was not a one-night stand and I genuinely felt that this person cared and loved me at the time. I was very vulnerable, and I tried to talk to my husband about it but he just sees me as a whore or a slag. I think he would have me stoned to death if he could.
Answer: I’m not sure I see a question here for me to answer but I do want you to know you don’t have to live like this. Adultery is not the unpardonable or unforgivable sin even though it’s serious enough to Biblically divorce a spouse. I believe one reason God allowed divorce when adultery occurs is the hard reality that some spouses will never forgive that kind of betrayal and the marriage relationship is over.
It sounds from the description of your marriage prior to your affair, that you were unhappy and lonely. There was no closeness, no intimacy, and general indifference to you as a woman and spouse. For your own growth moving forward, it’s important that you come to understand that you did have other choices when you were so unhappy. Just because you genuinely believed this married man cared about you and you cared about him does not make your affair a better choice than had it been a desperate one-night stand. Your choice was hurtful to your spouse, your children, his spouse, his children, to you, to him, and to God.
What might you have chosen instead? Hindsight is always much clearer but here are a few thoughts. You could have chosen to confront your spouse with your unhappiness and even your temptation towards another man’s attention. You could have chosen to leave your husband for this other man, making it clear you were leaving one relationship for another. You could have chosen to go for help to sort out your feelings and confusion before taking any action. There are other choices you could have made but I hope you are getting the idea that your emotions are wonderful informants (I’m unhappy, I’m hurting, I’m tempted) but terrible decision-makers.
Now after your disclosure he’s scary angry, calling you names in front of the children leaving you feeling frightened and unsafe. Now what? It’s still a bad marriage and I want you to know you still have choices to make but this time I encourage you to make good ones. Choices that lead to healing for yourself and your children and even potentially for your husband, not more brokenness and destruction.
Since I don’t know you or have more details than you offered, I’m going to outline some choices you currently have.
Choice # 1 – You can have a humble discussion with your current husband asking him if he has any desire to rebuild trust and have a better marriage? (This is ONLY an option for you if you want to do the work of rebuilding his trust and work toward a better relationship for you and for him). If he does, then what would rebuilding trust look like for him? For you? What would a better marriage look like for him? For you? If you can agree on those basics, then what steps would you take towards that end? What steps would he take towards that end?
Choice # 2 – You can get yourself into some counseling to see why you stayed stuck so long in a miserable marriage, why you were naïve about jumping into a sexual relationship with a married man who said he loved you while still married to your current husband. And why you are returning to stuck after all this happened?
Choice # 3 – You can let your feelings inform you whether or not his anger is getting more toxic and dangerous for you and the children and make a plan to move out so that you are the kids are safer.
Choice # 4 – Do nothing until you get so desperate, lonely, or angry that you repeat old mistakes.
Only you can evaluate the risk, cost, and benefit of each choice and make your decision. Nothing has to be wasted. God can use even our most stupid, sinful mistakes to help us grow into the person he’s called us to be. But He also tells us that gaining wisdom helps us avoid the painful consequences of repeating stupid choices. I hope you choose life so that you and your children and even your husband can heal and thrive.
Friend, someone once said we do not learn from our mistakes, we learn from reflecting on our mistakes. How have you gained wisdom from reflecting on sinful choices you have made in the past so that you do not repeat them?
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