Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Law of Entropy

Your marriage has a default setting. Do you know what it is?

Well, before I tell you all about your marriage's inner framework, I want to describe how messy my house gets. No matter how hard Hannah and I work to keep our home clutter-free, it seems bent on becoming disheveled again. Maybe our home is possessed. If you have kids in your home, you'll especially know what I mean. Many days I feel like we're fighting against the undercurrent of dirty laundry and the riptide of dishes in the sink. It's a swim upstream. We are fighting an uphill battle.

I've begun to accept that the inside of my home mimics the natural, carnal world. Our doormat should read, "Welcome to the jungle, baby." You see, science acknowledges this thing called The Law of Entropy, wherein disorder only grows over time in a closed system. To simplify the idea, you could summarize it by saying that disorder is the way of nature. Nature never organizes itself; it only becomes more chaotic as time passes. That's my house. If left to its own patterns, disorder only grows over time. I can't just wait it out. I can't just sleep my days away until the laundry is magically washed and folded by itself. Intervention must take place.

The picture I've painted for you is the same thing that's going on in your marriage. Many couples foolishly walk into marriage assuming that disaster is an exception and that success is the default. Wrong. I would argue that, just as our mortal bodies are prone to decay, our marriages default to disorder. Disorder only grows over time. Intervention must take place. You will not just wait out the storm of your marital issues -- you must take action.

I'm passionate about the underlying thoughts that drive married people and their perception of how relationships work, because I firmly believe these misconceptions can lead to tragedy. It's time for us to inspect the foundation of our marriages and the very frame their built upon, because we've often let pop psychology and romantic comedies form our theology of love. Naivete is the enemy of your marriage. If we are going to fight for our spouses and for the purity of our union, it must begin with soberly facing the truth.

Failure is the default for your marriage. I say this not to discourage or alarm you, but to compel you to action. Intervention must take place. We must intentionally sew the seeds of love, respect, and accountability into our marriages.  Please take a moment today to reflect upon your inner beliefs about relationships. What you believe will be manifested in what you do, for better or for worse.

You are reading The Meaning of Repentance, a blog about The Hartsfields and their journey to recovery from infidelity. We encourage you to subscribe via e-mail for regular updates.

Monday, June 8, 2015

No Man's Land

You weren't meant to die here.

Everyone knows the story of Moses and how he led his people out of Egyptian captivity. Disney even made an animated film about it. In so many ways, I see the experiences of many marriages in that story, especially when I look at how the Jewish people respond to the suffering that comes after their slavery ends. Unfortunately, the end of their servitude was not their final obstacle.

Affairs work the same way.  Even if you find victory over this daunting issue in your marriage, it surely won't be the last problem, and the shadow of infidelity can have a chilling effect on any struggles you face in your future. Suddenly, minor hurdles become major battlegrounds. Annoyances become burdens. Frustrations become toxic. Everything can appear magnified by the pain of the past.

That's where I come back to the story that unfolds after the famous tale of Exodus.  Everything wasn't perfect for the Jews once they evaded Pharaoh's pursuit. In fact, things were pretty awful at times. In Numbers 21, the miserable crowd begins to rise up against God, angry that they feel abandoned in the no man's land beyond Egypt. Take a look:

They began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!”

Indeed, when any major problems arise after an affair, our heart can resonate with this same refrain. Did God lead us through the pain of betrayal to let us wither in the desert instead? Of course, the answer is no, but the inside perspective is not quite that clear. When the sun's beating down on you and there's nothing to sustain you, it's not easy to see the victories of the past.

Don't misunderstand my heart here. This is not meant to minimize anything you may be facing in your relationship right now; it's quite the opposite. Imagine how serious the plight of the Jewish people must have been, that they would find themselves feeling betrayed by the one who liberated them!  At least, in their captivity, there was food and shelter. At least there was security in their misery. Now, they were in a new and dangerous place they've never been before. And the only solution to their situation was to keep walking.

I write all of this to say one thing: you weren't meant to die here.  God did not lead you to this place only to be devastated again. He is not in the business of watching your marriage suffer. He will sustain you as you travel through the no man's land, between the dangers of your former captivity and the abundance of your future promised land. Keep walking.

You are reading The Meaning of Repentance, a blog about The Hartsfields and their journey to recovery from infidelity. We encourage you to subscribe via e-mail for regular updates.