So… there has been this harsh reality within the last several years of spouses having affairs in their marriages that has been heartbreaking to watch. I would say that about 80-90% of friends I grew up with between high school and college have either been cheated on or have done the cheating. Maybe even more. It’s getting to the point where I’m not really shocked anymore. That’s an awful reality. Supposedly, 60% of marriages face infidelity. 50% of marriages end in divorce. That means that about 10% at least of those that have faced the devastation of an affair have made it through. Not that every marriage that ends it due to an affair but you get what I’m say, right?
Marriage is such a tricky thing. Before you get married, you have this fantasy of what it’s going to be like and then you get married and it’s nothing like what you thought it would be. It’s either better than you dreamed of or much much worse. With that being said, the fantasy of a man and a woman are vastly different! Most women have this dream of a fairytale like future with prince charming romancing her, beautiful children in her beautiful home and a sweet life of unrealistic dreams that few come by. Most men dream that they’ll have sex everyday and be fed yummy food by a hot wife. Right?
Marriages get in this weird cycle of not meeting each other’s needs. Word on the street is that a man’s basic needs are sex, food, and sleep. A woman’s basic needs are always changing depending on the season of life she is in. A single woman or newly married woman has different needs than a young mom does. And a young mom has different needs than an older mom with teenagers does. And a mom has different needs than a woman who is unable to have children of her own. Women change throughout their lives. Men pretty much stay the same. The cycle can go from the man feeling rejected or not valued by their wife if she isn’t having a lot of sex with him. Sex for a man makes him a superhero so without his “cape on” he can then feel withdrawn and not seek out his wife to understand her and what she may be going through. She feels devalued or misunderstood or not appreciated and withdraws from him. For a woman to give her body to a man, he has to seek her out emotionally. Men are visual and women are emotional. So as the wife withdraws, the man feels rejected and the cycle continues.
When you are dating or newly married, life is so different. The man pursues the woman and seeks to know everything about her. What she thinks, what she likes, what she doesn’t like, what makes her happy, what makes her mad, what she has been through in her life and seeks to do his best in showing her he cares for her. The woman seeks to know him and win his heart by looking her best (because again, men are visual), finding out what makes him happy and doing whatever she can to keep his eyes reserved for her alone. The physical relationship can get hot and heavy because BOTH are seeking to meet the needs of the other.
Then life happens and things begin to shift. I’ve seen so many marriages that seem to just let go. They let go of themselves. They let go of trying to continually win their spouse’s affection. They get lost in excuses. How you get ‘em is how you keep ‘em but that gets so lost a few years into marriage. I’ve even talked to people that lost it on their honeymoon! The woman stops being as physical as she once was. The man stops pursuing with the same intensity as he did when they were first together and so the cycle continues until at best they are only roommates.
Affairs are way too easy to come by. Sadly, the devastation they bring not only to the ones married but also to the children have lasting effect and pain on their lives. Once you have kids, it’s no longer about you and your personal happiness. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that “God cares more about our holiness then our happiness”. Your marriage will have lasting impact on your children’s future, regardless of how old they are when it happens. Honestly, I believe every marriage is headed for divorce unless you fight hard against it. The best way to hurt the church is to destroy the family unit. Marriages, even the “good” ones are in a battle. If you see a good marriage, they only got there through a lot of hard work. It doesn’t come naturally to people.
If you think you know everything about your spouse, chances are that there is probably a lot that they aren’t telling you anymore. The same effort you put into getting their attention, looking good, flirting, writing love notes, going on dates, talking for hours, making special time for them, complimenting them, laughing at life and each other shouldn’t all stop once you say “I do”. So many couples let that all go. They lose sight of the goal. They stop taking their marriage vows seriously. They get lazy. There are so many couples that end in divorce and THEN they get fit again, start taking care of themselves, and end up becoming a better person than before. If you suddenly became single again, what would you do differently? Probably a lot! So we should strive for that IN our marriages. The grass isn’t greener on the other side. Who you are in your marriage is who you’ll be in the next. You take the same you wherever you go.
Anyways, ALL that to say is that with how common affairs and divorce are, it is possible to find healing and to recover before it’s over. I was reading this woman’s blog and she is so open and honest of the redeeming work of Jesus in her marriage after experiencing the devastation of an affair (actually two affairs). Although I haven’t personally walked though this in my marriage, I have seen so many go through this. Some survive and others don’t. I don’t know how I would handle it all if it happened to me. I also am not writing this as a judgment to those that have or are walking through this. I know that it is only by God’s grace that Tony and I are where we are today. Marriage is a gift but it’s also heavy and hard to walk through at times. We have to fight for what we have. Sometimes we end up fighting each other more than fighting for each other but 10 years in, we are still here and still seeking Jesus to be our strength in our many weaknesses.
For those that have walked through this, you might find this woman’s blog a comfort and a help to read. Here are some of the things she has written on her marriage. If you go to the search section on her blog and type in “marriage” there are a lot more posts she has.
Here is a note from her Husband too: