Monday, June 3, 2013

a man and his word.

    On Friday, June 7th, I will renew my vows to my wife of five years.  In the shadow of my affair, I can hardly believe that I’m getting to once again extend my word as a symbol of my deeper commitment to our union.  As this occasion nears, I am left to ponder on the purposes of vows and their place in modern life.
     Our culture recoils in horror at the thought of lifelong obligation; society insists that contractual marriage is not required to demonstrate love. This may be true to some extent, but I would propose that marital faithfulness is more indicative of one’s inward character than their outward affections.  We do not stand at an altar to merely profess fleeting desire towards another person, no matter how strongly it stirs within us.  It must be something deeper.
    After all, each person on this earth is a constantly-changing creature, and when we make vows of faithfulness and devotion, we are pledging ourselves to a future shrouded in uncertainty.  We have no absolute knowledge of what our partner will become.  I find it both amusing and somewhat tragic when spouses split under the pretenses that “they’ve changed”.  There’s no doubt about that – change is a given. It is the only guaranteed occurrence in a host of variables.
    When two bright-eyed lovers walk down an aisle, there is something so much more profound than romance taking place.  Shortly after my failures came to light, I went to a men’s gathering at church, and the focal point of the message was one simple phrase:     A man is only as good as his word.”
    Hearing this was like ingesting broken glass to my spirit.  After all, my word had been eviscerated.  In the fallout of my affair, I watched my words and actions become devalued to almost nothingness as they fell victim to my own dishonesty. It was like watching the economy of my self-worth plummet into calamity. I was powerless and worthless, and yet I believed this simple phrase as it was preached to me.
    A man’s word runs deep within him, like a vein pulsing strong with the lifeblood of his innermost character.  If his word is severed from his honor, he is weakened. If his honor is wounded, his word loses gravity.  With this in mind, it seems our vows say more about ourselves than they do about our spouses, and when we betray those vows, something withers inside of us like a tree limb removed from its trunk.  Our word is a direct representation of our integrity itself.
    This makes cheating all the more excruciating for the one who’s been wronged.  Not only must they sort through the manifold implications of sex, intimacy, romance and memory, but the betrayed spouse must come to terms with the greater underlying message about their partner’s very nature.  I have witnessed this, and I can say that there is no more chilling moment than when you realize your spouse’s belief in your character has been profoundly shaken.
    I realize that this is all very grave. However, let this be an encouragement, or even a warning to you.  Do not manipulate your word for selfish gains, or pollute the power of your words with dishonesty.  Hold firm to the promises you make, as they reverberate into the world with the deafening loudness of who we truly are.

12 comments:

  1. So true my friend. It really is incredibly disheartening to experience your actions affecting someone so much that the way they think of you can really be described as repulsed or dejected. But what has helped me get past that feeling of worthlessness is 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away; behold all things are new." This verse reminds me everyday that I am not defined by my actions and even though it may be hard for my wife to see who I really am, God's forgiveness has allowed me to defeat my selfish, sinful ways and start over. You're an inspiration and I'm so thankful to have an accountability partner to take this journey with.

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  2. I love that verse. It's a breath of fresh air to know that we can shed our old, shameful identities in exchange for Christ's likeness. I pray that I can become more like him every day.

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  3. Your wife should've left you. Has she no self-respect? Sickening the double standards women are forced to live with. You simply have no idea what infidelity does to a spouse. You have no idea how the inner workings of your wife's brain have been changed as a result of your actions, nor the pain she will secretly carry forever. And yet here you are... writing a blog about YOURSELF. Shocker. Selfishness is rampant in this country. You're part of the disease, not the cure.

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    1. To the Anonymous commenter: I am Ray's wife. While I'm sure you mean well, your comment was rude and way out of line. First of all, you don't know me. Posing questions about my assumed lack of self-respect is not your place.

      Secondly, you do not know our situation. And while this journey has been a very difficult road to travel, I am doing quite well. I have my battles to fight throughout this process but I am not doomed to a life of unhappiness and misery simply because I chose to stay with my husband.

      It is sad that you live in a world where forgiveness and grace is "sickening". I believe that we are all sinners and we ALL fall short. To turn my back on my husband because he made a mistake would be the easy way out. But guess what....? No where in my wedding vows did I promise to only love him when its easy. We are in this marriage for better or for WORSE.

      And last but not least.. please do not assume that this blog is an act of selfishness. It is quite the opposite. This blog is something that I created FOR my husband. It is something that I encourage and monitor closely. I read all blog entries before they are published, per my husband's request.

      It takes an unbelievable amount of humility to write about what has happened. As you can probably imagine, this is a very embarrassing thing for my husband to talk openly about. But he does it.. NOT for himself.. but for the benefit of others. We believe that so many men stumble into the sin of infidelity BECAUSE no one is bold enough to speak out about it.

      I am so blessed to have a husband that not only admits to his mistakes, but is willing to openly talk about it with others so that they can prevent themselves from stumbling blindly into the same sin.

      In closing: I don't know if you are a man or a woman. It seems as if you are hurting.. possibly because you, too, are the victim of infidelity. If that is the case, my heart breaks for you. I literally know your pain. Maybe thats not the case. But either way.. here is what you need to know. You ARE capable of committing the exact same sin that my husband did. As am I. NO ONE is incapable of falling into sin. If you believe different, then you are in more danger that you even realize.

      We are Christians and we firmly believe in GRACE and FORGIVENESS. They are the cornerstone of Christianity. So how could I claim to believe in God and accept the forgiveness that Jesus provides because of His death on the cross.. WHILE denying forgiveness to others? The Bible says that if I withhold forgiveness from others, then God will withhold forgiveness from me.

      If you wish to talk to me directly, my email address is MrsHannahLeigh@gmail.com

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    2. And I would like to add that, in addition to this blog, my husband writes almost every single day on a private blog that is just for me. It is a place where he writes for me, about me, and to me. It has been an incredible tool in the healing process and this blog has been as well. So again, be careful to make assumptions about other people's lives, intentions, motives, shortcomings, etc.

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    3. I'm pretty sure you're my new hero. <3

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  4. @ anonymous You do yourself more harm when you are unforgiving, holding on to hurt hurts you the victim more and marriage is for better and Worse (not encouraging people to intentionally make mistakes). I believe it takes a woman endowed with Gods grace to forgive and that is divine.

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  5. Hannah, I can't tell you how much I admire both you and Ray, as well as your relationship. I am not Christian myself, but I can easily acknowledge that wisdom comes from many avenues. Both of you, thank you so much for sharing your struggle, your lessons learned, your faith and your hope with all of us.

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting! Sharing about our journey is trying at times but we love every minute of it. We feel very fortunate to have made it out of this tragedy with our marriage still in tact. Hopefully our story can provide hope to the countless couples out there struggling through similar situations.

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  6. This blog has blessed me tremendously. Divorce and infidelity are so rampant, yet people like the Anonymous commenter above are unmercifully judgmental. (I believe the Church does little to grasp the issue as divorce and infidelity figures are the same if not higher in the Christian community.)
    I am a woman that committed adultery years ago and suffered from it (as I should), more than any one would care to know. (Thankfully for us all the Lord is more merciful than we could ever imagine!) I believe, from my experience, that forgiving oneself is one of the hardest things to conquer as well. Even after accepting Christ's forgiveness and your own, it would be INCREDIBLY hard to be so open about such an embarrassing indiscretion, as you both have done. I truly appreciate the time, energy and sacrifices you invest in this open blog. Thank you!

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  7. This post is so true. A person's word is everything. There are internal issues with people who do not keep their word. I love the honesty of this blog and the transparency. I can see you all's love for people and desire to help those who are hurting.

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  8. Very powerful. I am a serial adulterer, and finally at the end of my road. I can lean not to my own strength or understand - it has led only to more failure and pain. At the end of my road means that I am turning away from my destructive behaviors, and letting God have his way with me. Thank you for this blog.

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