Was it all a lie: the scars of betrayal
When you have been sideswiped by an emotional affair, infidelity, or betrayal of any kind, you tend to question the foundation of the relationship. Was I built for this? Were we doomed to fail? But Lord I did it right (whatever right is these days) Why didn’t I see the signs? The truth of the matter is betrayal can knock on anyone’s door, no one is above it. Just because an infidelity or betrayal occurs does not mean you did not pray enough or fast enough. I know Paul exhorts us to pray always (Ephesians 6:18) but even Jesus disciples fell asleep while he was praying, illustrating that Jesus also experienced betrayal.
As women, we are often taught to respect and honor our husband. But often times, I don’t believe men are raised or mentored to honor and respect their wives; this is a mistake that should be corrected. Even the church often times has placed the responsibility on the women. I can site several instances in the media, where male pastors have been unfaithful or blatantly disrespectful to their wives. Yet, the church has allowed him to continue to preach, continue their administrative responsibilities without no recourse or consequence.
Whereas, if a woman commits adultery, she’s asked to step down, stay and fight for her marriage, as if the responsibility of preserving a marital home is solely that of the woman. Please, let me preface this blog to say that I’m not here to bash husbands or male pastors. I am, however, exhorting the church, married couples and singles to understand the importance of covenant, marital responsibility and rebuilding trust. It takes the contribution of both parties to make a marriage work.
What’s crucial about betrayal is how both parties respond to it. If you have been hurt, don’t ignore it or tell yourself it will resolve itself. Confront and deal with the situation. Even if that means seeking counseling or outside help. As Christians, we are taught to forgive and extend grace and mercy towards one another. This can occur, based on a serious evaluation surrounding the act committed. Some of the things to asses are: Is this a one-time occurrence? is this a habit with no regard for the impact on the family or marriage? Is this repairable or does this require ongoing counseling? Do we both want to preserve our marriage? Is the spouse who committed the wrongful act repentant or does he or she intend to do it again? God caused Hosea to unhardened his heart and purchase back his wife- displaying an inconceivable act of grace and forgiveness. Now you might say this is 2016, and I’m not Hosea- true- but what extent will you go to preserve your family and marriage?
I believe the symbolism of the closed loop wedding ring is to display an everlasting covenant between a husband and wife. The biblical story of Homer and Gomer illustrates God’s unrelenting love for Israel. Despite Israel defiance and idol worship, God chose to still love Israel- love is a choice. Hosea’s love was tested when his wife abandoned her husband and family to return to her old life of prostitution.
I know of a couple – John and Jill, who also extended grace and forgiveness to one another. John and Jill had been married for ten years, they had three children together, and Jill had been dating one of her co-workers for several months. She was telling John that work had been demanding and she just needed those months to focus and meet her deliverables. Well, John had become suspicious, even though he did not want to believe Jill could do such a thing. He respected and trusted her wholeheartedly. One day, john Just came right out and asked Jill – “Are you having an affair?”. and Jill said, “Yes”. She immediately broke into tears and confessed and begged for John’s forgiveness. John was heartbroken, but asked that they begin marital counseling twice a month and connect weekly in an effort to restore their marriage. Jill and John are more stronger today than ever,. They are still going to counseling monthly and having weekly date nights.
I’m not sure how trust has been broken in your family, and I’m not advocating that you accept or allow your spouse to mistreat you. What I am saying is that we should all understand that marriage requires mutual responsibility, mutual accountability and mutual trust. When that trust is broken, it must be earned, restored, not demanded. Also, the couple should re-estabiish what is tolerable versus acceptable in their marriage. To require that your spouse earn your trust again does not mean or imply that you have not forgiven them, it just means that their love for you must be demonstrated consistently over time for your trust meter to be filled once again. The process may be painful and slow, but necessary.
Names, characters, locales and incidents in this article have been changed to protect the privacies of the people concerned. Any resemblance after these modifications to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.