Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Famous Last Words


There is a great deal of naivete surrounding the concept of marriage and it's inner workings, and honestly, it scares me. Recently, we outlined the pre-existing conditions which contributed to the dreadful affair that wounded our marriage a little more than two years ago. One of the elements listed, naivete, may seem surprising, but in today's entry, we will explore this further.

Far too often, couples expect to prop up their marriages on false ideals. If your relationship finds its footing on emotions, physical attraction, or other temporal notions, you may be setting yourself up for disaster. Since we began to share our story, we've heard other couples reflect naively on their own marriages by saying things like "he loves me too much to cheat" or "my spouse could never do that kind of thing".  More importantly, we know that other people are thinking this, even if it remains unsaid.

Yes, your spouse could do this too. In a moment of weakness, after years of frustration, when the bank account is empty and their soul is in turmoil. After the weight of life has crushed them, and they've surrendered in their own internal battle, they could do this too. When circumstances align in the most terrible way, it could happen. Do not deceive yourself for the sake of romance -- it benefits no one. If you believe in your spouse, ask yourself one important question: why?

This type of thinking is dangerous because it invests confidence in all the wrong places.  Denying your spouse's ability to hurt you is an audacious choice to ignore their human nature. They are capable of amazing acts of kindness and deplorable wickedness, as we all are. If you cannot admit your spouse's potential for wrongdoing, you have a very unrealistic view of them. How can you fight for your spouse if you cannot face the reality of who they are?

"Why does it matter?", you may ask. Why not let couples live in a fog of romantic illusion? Because what you build your marriage on is fundamentally important. Our culture is building marriages on shifting sand. We're leaning relationships on an illusion. For the most part, weddings have nothing to do with marriage, and pre-marital counseling is often a formality instead of a real examination of married life. We have to do better, because we are setting up young people for failure. We cannot be satisfied by finding solace in how much our spouse loves us (however that's measured) or what kind of person they are. There must be something greater to establish our marriages on.

I hope you have confidence in your marriage, but more importantly, I hope you are prepared to do battle for your spouse's sake. If idealism and naivete are handicapping your ability to be the spouse your partner needs, cast it all aside for their benefit. Do not embrace mindless optimism and look away from the task at hand. There's work to do, and naivete will only serve to distract us. Thanks for reading, and please feel free to share your opinions (signed or anonymously) in the comments below or via email.

You are reading The Meaning of Repentance, a blog about The Hartsfields and their journey to recovery from infidelity. We urge you to subscribe via e-mail and consider donating using the Paypal link so that more couples can hear this message of hope and wisdom.


12 comments:

  1. You are so right. I was one of the ones who said "he will never do that to me". Oh boy...one of these days I'll learn to never say never. Now I'm 3 months in to healing & it's been very difficult for me. Partly because (I just realized this week) I had a "larger than life" image of him in my head. He is not God. He is human. He failed. In the midst of trying to repair our marriage and heal my heart, I am now also trying to adjust my focus & see my husband for who he is....a sinner saved by grace, just as I am.

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    1. Such a beautiful perspective! A "sinner saved by grace" is exactly what we all are. Showing your husband grace and choosing to work through things is such a beautiful gift. Praying for you both as you walk down the road to recovery!

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  2. I´m not even married and this is a really helpfull opinion! Thank's for the advice!!

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  3. You are right! Our partners are human too. They are as capable as we are to commit mistakes.

    May the fog of romantic illusions disappear and couples build the foundation of their relationships on solid rock. May couples know each other more deeply and accept each other unconditionally. May they be the mirror of the love of God for us. Amen.

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    1. Amen! Thank you for reading and for your encouraging comment! :)

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  4. I agree that young people are set up for failure in many ways. Did you wait for marriage before having sex? What are your thoughts on that relating to the cheating?

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    1. Unfortunately, I didn't wait 'til marriage As far as how that relates.... In general, I think there is some correlation there. I don't have any proof or statistics to back it up, but I *do* think that sex before marriage acclimates people to the idea of having multiple partners. In other words, extramarital intimacy normalizes extramarital intimacy.

      The couples I know who waited 'til marriage are probably a lot less likely to succumb to this tragic issue. After all, having another partner is a very radical idea to them.

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  5. What if the couple was only with each other before marriage?

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    1. I think the general consensus in our culture, and even many churches, is that this is okay... as long as you marry the person, no harm is done. I don't agree. Although the effect may be diminished, I still believe that sex before marriage acclimates people to the idea of sex outside of marriage being normal. Extramarital sex encourages extramarital sex.

      Now, a person who has multiple partners may be *more* swayed by the effects of extramarital sex, but the mindset is the same regardless. In any case, nothing excuses infidelity. I want to make that clear because I don't want to come off as giving justifications for this terrible deed.

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  6. I agree with this blog post and love the title "Famous Last Words" --so true!!
    I am also guilty of uttering, these famous last words, something I thought could never have happened in my marriage. I heard similar messages since- the moment you utter that it could never happen gives way to its possibility of it entering your marriage or thoughts! I could not agree more that we are setting young people up for failure (IMHO), especially in the Church. But how do you know what you don't know? Its tough.

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    1. I am so sorry to hear that you have gone through this as well. It's not something that I would wish on my worst enemy. We (the Church) need to work hard to help prepare the next generation for the trials and tribulations that they will inevitably face in their marriages. Fighting a battle is so much easier when you are armed with the right weapons! Thanks so much for reading :)

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