Saturday, June 9, 2012

Third of the Three Intolerables

This one should be obvious, but to a surprisingly large amount of people, it is not: affairs.

Unfaithfulness has deep and destructive effects that can't easily be healed by a simple, "I'm sorry, I won't do that again."  That doesn't mean that cheating or affairs automatically makes your marriage hopeless, but if the wound is not treated in a radical way by both partners, it could easily become fatal.

I have seen the issue of unfaithfulness become a big mess plenty of times.  It's often one spouse feels so unloved, that they have a secret sexual fling out of emotional distress, or some desperate hope to win back the affections of the other spouse.  Stupid, I know, but people do this.  A lot.

Then the affair is discovered.  She weeps in remorse saying that she just wanted him to give her attention. He is angry, hurt, betrayed, but then takes her back because she seems so sorry.  The marriage goes on, but no underlying problems were resolved.  His inability to be affectionate, her insecurities, his feelings of inadequacy to make her happy, her frustrations, nagging and put-downs, just grow with time.

Eventually a breaking point comes and he finds himself in the arms of another woman - not wanting to end his marriage, just wanting to feel loved, and now the tables are turned.  Again the affair is discovered.  She's mad.  He's mad that she would have the gall to be mad after what she had done to him.  She feels guilty because of her own unfaithful past, but also vengeful towards him and the other woman.  They now both love and hate each other, but can't let each other go.

And here we find ourselves in a tangled mess of a soap opera-worthy melodrama.  Except it's worse, because it's real.

Neither of them were prepared to make the tough decisions to live up to high standards before they even agreed to marry.  What are those standards?

  • My value as a person doesn't depend on anyone else but me.
  • Promises of faithfulness in any area of my life will not be broken, even when I don't feel like it.
  • I don't enter into agreements with people who don't believe in being true to their word.
  • If I am fooled by someone who is unfaithful, I'll only take them back if that character flaw is gone.
  • If I find myself tempted into unfaithfulness, I will seek urgent help to change a serious character flaw within me.
  • I don't use flirting or sexuality as a form of revenge or attention seeking.
  • I have the right to end a relationship with an untrustworthy person.
  • Forgiveness doesn't mean trust. 
  • I will give my best to whom I marry - I don't accept anything less in return.
Happy couples know that there is a high price to staying happy.  The knowledge that each partner holds themselves, and each other, to a high standard adds far more value to a marriage than just passionate romantic feelings.

"I'll never be happy without her," is never true for those who have a healthy sense of self-worth.  It's not just her presence that can give you fulfillment, but her character - combined with your own. Contrary to popular opinion, love only intensifies and sweetens with each year of patient, enduring, hard-working, faithfulness on both sides.  Maybe you've never been a witness to that kind of marriage,  so decide to make yours become the first.

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