Dear Lovely Ladies From Focus On The Family (or message board that is Focus On The Family Based)
I really appreciate the recent traffic to my blog and taking the time to read the string of posts I have written over the past ten months about affair recovery and marriage restoration. I am not sure who linked you to my blog and why but based on the emails it was with good intentions and was with the idea to give women hope when things look like they are falling apart.
It has been over a week since I noticed the stream of traffic and began to get the emails. I haven’t answered all of them because I really do not know what to say. I don’t feel I have any Godly wisdom to offer you and I have nothing “Biblical”. Some of you probably would not even consider me a Christian. I am not even sure what it was in my posts that sparked the flood of traffic so I am going to try to address some of the questions and comments I got in my email.
- Mr. K did not “get saved”. Mr. K has not found any god or any religion but he has developed a sense of spirituality and has become more of a seeker than a doubting Thomas. I can tell you that he is a man who has experienced grace, mercy, love and forgiveness and I am certain that he understands what it is to live in faith like he never has before.
- I am not in church or subscribe to any certain kind of religious doctrine. I am a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. I am not a good Adventist at all. I do subscribe to love. I do my best to follow Jesus. I’m keeping it simple. Church is not a building to me, it is the company I keep and being with others in the world. So….
- I stayed in my marriage for …. Are you ready? ME. When I first found out about Mr. K’s infidelity I didn’t make any decisions. I thought briefly about murdering him but I have five children to parent. I didn’t think “I am going to divorce this cheating fucker”. I did however make a few phone calls, one being to my friend who is attorney and in the week after my life blew up I was certain of a few things: I had a home should I need one, I had two part time job opportunities, and I knew how much child support and alimony I would get. In other words, I knew that if I got divorced I would be okay, that I could continue to homeschool my children, and that I would financially make it. Unlike many of the women I have worked with I had support in place and this made it easier for me to make NO decisions on my future. I had a Plan B. So, what I am trying to say is I did not stay because it was the Christian thing to do, I did not stay for monetary reasons, I did not stay to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and I did not stay for the children.
- We did go to a Christian marriage counselor. He never once asked us to pray together or read the Bible together or go to church together. He did encourage us to go out on dates, be honest, deal with our pain and grief, and be intimate. There was no Bible readings or praying in our counseling sessions. We did talk about our spiritual beliefs and our beliefs about marriage. We did talk about God. There wasn’t talk of condemnation only restoration of our marriage. So when people send me emails wondering what Biblical principals we were taught or instructed to follow in counseling I am not sure what to say. Forgive 70×7? Love unconditionally? Do not judge?
- My blog doesn’t reveal all the details. I don’t think our situation is all that unique but definitely unusual. Good, wonderful people make really poor decisions and sometimes get lost. Really lost. That was my husband. After my murderous thoughts all I wanted to do was hug him and love him and assure him he was still my best friend. Compassion and empathy towards one another goes a long way. We were both a mess.
- I’m not “healed”. I am not sure what I am. I am a broken vessel that has been glued back together with love and hard work. I walk each and every day in faith. I don’t worry about where my marriage will be next year, I worry about right now. Only now. I’m in love with him right now. I choose him every day. I think that is HUGE – you have to choose each other, you have to choose your relationship, your family. I go to individual therapy, I’ve rid my life of a lot of confusion so I can focus on what is important, and I take medication for anxiety.
I am not going to give you any advice on how to be a submissive and godly wife. God is not going to magically fix things for you. You will not be able to pray your marriage into happily ever after. If it was that easy there would be less divorce in the church.
Now I am going to say something RADICAL. Well, it is really not that radical but we tend to ignore it. We have some idea in our head that God wants us to sacrifice ourselves for our spouses. That we are to become these submissive little women. God wants us to take care of ourselves. So your first priority should be taking care of yourself. I know many of you reading this are saying WTH because in many of the emails I got there was so much about what you could do to change your spouse and make him stay at home. YOU CAN’T MAKE HIM. The only thing you can do is work on YOU. That means you need to deal with your grief, anger, and baggage. Go to therapy. If you are having some mental health issues get some help. Exercise. Buy some new clothes. Get a new hair cut. Eat good food and food that is good for you. Go out – ALONE. Go out with friends. Do something you have always wanted to do but haven’t for whatever reason. Don’t give excuses just do it.
Now read this sentence over and over again – “There is nothing I can do to make my husband stay faithful.” NOTHING. It is all up to him. I wish I could tell you that if you had sex with him 4-5 times a week, gave him blow jobs, and be a good wife that those deeds would keep him from having sex with someone else. It just won’t. Ask me how I know. I believed my marriage was “affair proof” and by all standards it was, just ask our therapists. We frequently went out on dates, had lots of sex, and spent a lot of time together just talking. Also you can not pray adultery away. No amount of praying will stop your man from having sex with someone else. And chances are if your husband is cheating he is doing it with a “Christian”, possibly with one of those Proverbs 31 women that is married or a missionary. Ask me how I know. (and that is another blog post for another time)
So really, I’ve got nothing “Holy” to share with you. I can tell you we worked our asses off. I can tell you HE did most the work when it came to our actual marriage because he was the one who broke things. I can tell you that some of the reasons I choose him everyday is because he chooses to get himself help, goes to therapy, and does the daily work to better and heal himself and our marriage. I choose him everyday because when I look at him I see he is in love with me and that he is remorseful. I choose him because everyday since that day he has done everything in his power to restore our relationship and my trust in him. I choose me by going to therapy, taking crazy meds, living in the right now, and focusing on the six people I am most responsible for. By choosing myself and choosing him, I chose my marriage and an intact family for our children.
And let me say, the kids, they are so important but they played a very small role in us staying together. Our children have two good parents, they will continue to have two good parents whether we are married or not. I am not of the belief that you should stay in a unhealthy relationship or one wrought with turmoil for the sake of the kids.
Just to be clear, I am not telling you that your spiritual beliefs will not help you through what you are going through or that prayer is for naught. I am just saying Jesus will not save your marriage. Your husband is not going to “get healed” from having sex outside of marriage. You are not going to wake up one day and magically be “okay”. It takes work, lots of hard, daily work individually and together for your marriage to be restored.