Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It Won't Be An Easy Fix

This post is addressed to offenders, cheaters, unfaithful spouses, and any other label you want to put onto someone in that category.

If you have decided to repent (which means to turn away from your sin), ask for forgiveness, make amends with the person you have wronged/hurt/shattered, and to restore your relationship, please be prepared for a journey.

When I use the word, 'journey,' I am not implying a short walk by any means. This will be a long road with many dips, hills, valleys, sheer cliffs, and treacherous terrain.

In the American culture (a culture overly-saturated with a consumerist mindset), we buy, use, and then throw away. We can immediately replace what we've thrown away with something completely new. Somehow, this mindset and cultural behavior has translated into the realm of human relationships.

We enter into new relationships with false expectations. We place unrealistic hopes and dreams into another flawed human who can't possibly satisfy us completely. I learned in marriage counseling that "P + P = C," meaning that Person plus Person equals Conflict.

We were designed for a committed relationship with a member of the opposite gender, however that relationship wasn't meant to replace the relationship and/or worship of Christ Jesus (who came to give us abundant life). He alone can fully satisfy and fill the empty void within each one of us.

Even though we as offenders/cheaters/unfaithful spouses were the ones who caused the pain and destruction through our actions, we sometimes get frustrated with aspects of the journey. We look at our spouse and wonder, "Why can't we just move forward?" "Why are there more questions?" "How long will it be until life gets back to normal?" We ask these, and many other similar questions.

I'll address the three questions I mentioned specifically.

Why cant we just move forward?
The truth is, you are moving forward. I can't say it enough - this is not a quick fix. Believe it or not, the painful destruction we've caused in our loved one doesn't heal with a little antibacterial ointment and a band-aid. The healing not only takes divine intervention, but metaphorical open heart surgery, and sutures. You are moving forward, but the steps you take together are sometimes almost invisible to the naked eye.

Why are there more questions?
Almost anything can trigger questions about 'what happened' when the infidelity occurred. Unfaithfulness causes your spouse to question their self worth, "Why wasn't I good enough...pretty enough?" Allow the questions to come as they will. Be patient and gracious (remember which offense(s) your loved one has forgiven you of). Avoid agitation, irritation, and defensiveness at all costs.

How long will it be until life gets back to normal?
This is a new normal. Things can't and won't return to the way they were before the infidelity occurred. Trust has been broken. Pain has been dealt with a heavy blow. However, that doesn't mean that life won't be beautiful and enjoyable ever again. Realize that with any major decision in life, things aren't going to be "normal" as before. Things will always be changing. Life will always be different as we move forward. However, a marriage restored is more beautiful than a marriage destroyed.

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