Monday, July 18, 2016

Keepin' It Real

This is Why I Post

So many of you are at different stages of your journey.
Some of you are suspicious that your spouse might be cheating.
Some of you have evidence and you are trying to figure out how to confront your spouse.
Some of you have already faced the unthinkable and have confronted or been confessed to.
Some of you are panicked, worried, and desperate to find answers.
Some of you have chosen to separate and possibly divorce, simply because you couldn't imagine any alternative.
Some of you have chosen to try and make it work.
Some of you have chosen absolute forgiveness and are striving to pursue restoration.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, my wife and I made the decision to share our story to encourage you, pray for you, stand beside you, and to give you our perspective through our journey.

Many times you'll hear about ideas, plans, strategies and 'helpful' tips from marriage counselors, speakers, authors, and others. But it seems so far removed from reality. Yeah, that sounds nice and all...but does it actually work? I've never met anyone real who's gone through that. Sounds like something out of a textbook, thought up by a bunch of 'professionals' who don't have a clue about reality.

Well, here we are. Two real people. We've got kids. We've got jobs. We've been married for over 2 decades. I cheated several times. I filed for divorce. My wife forgave me. I didn't believe I could change. My family continued to pray for me. 2 years later, we are completely in love with each other. My heart was totally changed. Our marriage is unshakeable.

We share our story because we know firsthand that God can heal, change, and fully restore. When we encounter His grace and redemption, He makes a completely new creation out of us (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Our journey isn't a cakewalk. We have bumps, bruises, and difficulties along the way. I try to share some of those difficulties so that you can see the reality of the journey.

Recent Difficulty

Here's something that happened just this week. We were on an escalator in an upscale outdoor shopping center. I saw someone that I thought I recognized and so I looked at her for a moment. My wife is extremely sensitive about where my eyes focus. She made a comment about how my gaze followed this particular person, who happened to be thin and blonde.

Right away I understood how it looked. I did try to explain myself- that I thought I recognized the person - someone I hadn't seen in almost 10 years. It didn't matter. The fact is, I was looking at another woman for several seconds. That impacted my wife.

Our 10-year-old son asked me, "Why did mom say something about you looking at other women?" I told him that because of the hurtful things I've done in the past, she's extra sensitive. I said, "You know I don't check out other women." He nodded his head approvingly. I took great affirmation in his agreement. He is also ultra-sensitive. He was deeply affected by the divorce papers.

People always say, children are resilient. That just isn't true. Children are fragile. Their entire world stands on the foundation their parents create for them within the walls of their home. That is one reason our culture has completely crumbled into hatred, selfishness, entitlement, rage, and every other destructive condition you see displayed in the news. Without Godly men leading their families in prayer, and submission to God's Word (the Bible), there is no hope for positive change outside of the home.

Sorry - I went off on a tangent for a moment. Probably better to save that for another post.

As I was saying, children are NOT resilient. They are deeply troubled and wounded when their parents hurt each other with their words, actions, and separation. God's design was for both parents to function as one (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:8). One team. One purpose. One love. One vision. One life together. One family. One in submission to God and to each other.

Two years after the fact, I still see our children exhibit signs of trepidation. Thankfully, they are slowly gaining confidence and trust.

What I've Got to do

I am not tempted to check out other women. I will not allow myself to fall into that typical male pattern anymore. Regardless, I am now reminded of how much more carefully I've got to walk through life. My job is to love and protect my wife. I damaged her self worth, trust, and confidence in the past. If I now have to avoid looking at a person I think I might know, then so be it. Which is worth more - trying to figure out if I recognize someone, or protecting my wife at all costs?

I'm voting for the latter. I may have violated my marriage vows in the past, but I will uphold them at all costs from now until the day I die.

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