“…For better or for worse…in sickness and in health…’til death us do part.” Before that, I think it says something about loving, honoring and cherishing each other, right? So, if your spouse decides to break those vows and let’s say…have an extra-marital affair, does that justify you to break yours too and leave? There are a lot of different religious stances on divorce, case scenarios, and infinite combinations of circumstances that will justify a person’s reason to stay or to hit the road. Everyone has their opinion about what they feel is right when faced with infidelity, mainly because there’s no right or wrong answer.
Nowadays, I take people’s words and intentions with a grain of salt regarding what they will or won’t do if they caught their spouses cheating. Quite honestly, I feel like its nobody’s business anyway what goes in your marriage. Some things need to be sacred. So, if you stay nobody knows and if you decide to leave then, good for you! But, when we do talk about it and I hear people say, “Oh, I’d leave him in a heartbeat!” or “It wouldn’t be me!” I just listen because I’ve heard it all and guess what? He/She stayed. No fault of theirs, you just never know what you’ll do when faced with that gut-wrenching, heart-breaking decision – especially when there are kids involved.
Not long ago, I learned that a friend of mine, was legally separated from her husband due to his infidelity early on their marriage and they decided to still live under the same roof until their younger daughter graduated from high school! Her reasoning was that her daughters needed BOTH of their parents. Yes, initially I found that odd but, I realized, “That worked for them.” I have another friend that’s been married to her husband for 27 years. He has not one, but TWO grown children from extra-marital affair. At first glance, that too seemed like too much of a deal-breaker for me, but again I realized again, “Hey…that works for them.”
I’d like to think just like every other unknowing, confident married woman who’s had to endure the unthinkable, that I’m smart enough or I’m satisfying or I’m substantial enough or that I’m worthy enough of my husband being faithful in our marriage. But the truth is, it can happen to me too! I am not immune. I am also not ashamed to say that I think I can survive infidelity, but you never know the circumstances. I’ve always said, affairs of the heart are the worst because there’s much more involved than just the lust of the flesh, there are heart strings attached. Whew! Just thinking about all of this gives me a migraine. But sadly everyday, men and women go to sleep and wake up to the day they wish they could erase.
To contrast this, some people are happy when the dark secrets of their spouse come to light because they can now justify an action (of leaving) that they really couldn’t before. This still makes me sad because being a product of divorced parents, I know first hand that it can be devastating. An unforgettable amount of heartache and confusion that will get better over time, but will never truly go away. I’m praying that I’m never faced with this decision, because my reality is that I have children to consider. These are children that are reaping the benefits of a two-parent household and I love the family structure and environment that we’re creating for them. Whether you leave or decide to stay, you must always consider the ramifications of either choice and always always think about the children.
BMWK – We know that marriages can survive infidelity it they are willing to put in the work to rebuild the foundation. Check out our movie Still Standing that shows how a couple is able to build a happy life together after infidelity early on in the marriage. Is infidelity a deal breaker? If not, what would it take for you to forgive?
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