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DivorceWise Newsletter

Issue 19 - 2001 by Kari West - Garden Glories Publications
Topic: When A Wife Cheats On Her Husband


Welcome Survivor!

When a wife cheats on her husband, the devastation he experiences is identical to what we feel as betrayed women. In this newsletter, you'll meet Randy in Montana who shares the pain of his wife's adultery and the eventual divorce. With honesty and transparency, he reveals what he wishes he had done differently, his struggle to parent two sons, and the night God showed up.

Here's what is new

Kari's recent article, "Surviving An Anniversary of A Loss," is now posted on her website. Visit www.gardenglories.com and click on Articles; then, scroll down the list. This article offers tips for living out that first year after a loss, especially when family celebrations and holidays remind us of the empty chairs around our table and those no longer with us. If you do not have Internet access and wish a copy of this article, send your request to Kari at P. O. Box 11692, Pleasanton, CA 94588.

Gardenglories.com is getting a facelift! Lots more flowers, of course. Additional Resources and Links. And a brand new section called Relax. Enjoy! featuring midi files (music) and inspiration. Whether you're a serious horticulturist or a weekend patio-pot person, you'll want to drop by the renovated Garden Tips section to plant your tip for others to view and check out a link that shows a captivating view of our planet. It's all happening soon! Now let's meet Randy.

Personal Reflection by Randy in Montana

My wife and I met in the church that I was raised in. I wanted a God-fearing lady to be my wife. Now I know that this is not a fail proof decision. Statistics show professing Christians have a higher divorce rate than non-believers. I was raised in a Christian family yet for years I chose to devote much of my life to interests contrary to God's will. My wife was the spiritual leader of our family at that time as I nurtured a life of sinful behavior. In many ways, I am deserving of her decision to leave me. Although I stumbled many times in regard to my Christian walk during our marriage, I have always had a repentant heart for my trespasses against the Lord. Perhaps the biggest challenge in this divorce has been forgiving myself for the mistakes I made throughout my marriage. I am the beneficiary of faithful believers who have stood in the gap for me during those sinful years. I will forever be grateful to my mother and grandmother for their intercessory prayers for me. As a result, I will always pray for my exwife.

I was tremendously blessed by When He Leaves. However, my initial feeling was that the book portrayed the husband solely responsible for the mistakes within the marriages. God soon taught me that the authors were simply expressing their own individual healing. I painfully relate to the helpless feeling when a husband chooses to depart a marriage as my wife did.

She was a wonderful wife and mother. For many years, she stood in the gap for me. The first 15 years of our marriage, friends and family came to love her. She was a sweet, loving, and giving individual and a beautiful Christian lady totally sold out to glorifying God through her life. We had a beautiful marriage and love for one another. Sure, we had our problems just like any other couple, but we had overcome and accomplished so much together. I had a successful career and she ran a successful business. We had two beautiful sons with promise of leading successful God-serving lives. My wife prided herself on a job well done. But before long she began to develop a habit of judging others. I cannot count the times she made the statement, "I can't believe they did that. I would never do that," referring to people who had committed adultery.

Ultimately, my wife committed those same sins for which she judged so many others. At first, she engaged in numerous secret emotional relationships with other men that soon evolved into physical encounters. Finally, she decided to leave our family and become involved with a man who was my friend. When this situation surfaced, my wife maliciously campaigned to destroy me. At the time, I felt strongly that God was instructing me not to fight with her in the legal system. But I didn't listen.

To gain custody of our two children, I lashed out and told my wife that her adulterous behavior would be revealed if she chose to fight me for our children. I believed her when she told me she would withdraw her request and commit to working to restore our marriage. However, a couple months later I was served a judgment saying I was in default for failing to appear for a hearing on her request. I couldn't believe that she had lied and not withdrawn her petition as she had told me. The court awarded her custody of our children and almost everything we owned, including our family home. I was given two months to remove myself from the home that she had already left nine months earlier. Thousands of dollars later, the judge dismissed the judgment based on her deceit.

It has been a horrible ordeal for my sons and me. They were terribly hurt by the divorce and suffered immensely. Only by the grace of God have any of us survived. Only by the grace of God have I been able to grow as a man of God and not fight back with my wife since almost every word she says to me is filled with hatred. I could not deal with any of it if it were not for God carrying me every step of the way. My oldest son is now a sophomore in college totally estranged from his mother. My youngest son, Kyle, would not speak to his mother for several years after she left us. His behavior was frightening--from failing school to breaking the law. I enrolled him in a Christian school, didn't allow him to get his driver's license, and restricted him from other kids who were getting in trouble. His mother undermined my decisions by allowing him to get his license, attend the school of his choice, and choose his own friends. She also criticized me to him. Once my son got into so much trouble with the law that I grounded him, but his mother conspired to pick him up in the middle of the night. The rules seem so unfair when we try to live by God's standards.

The night Kyle left with his mother, I called the police. What happened next is God at His best. The officer explained to me that these situations are difficult with respect to law enforcement, particularly if my son is unwilling to return. Then, he looked me in the eye: "Randy, there is only one sure answer for your son in this situation: Prayer!" I could not believe what I was hearing. The officer took my Bible from the coffee table and read the story of the prodigal son. He told me that he felt the spirit of God in my home and believed that he'd been sent to deliver a message from God to me.

He said that once he also had a son named Kyle who died at a young age from an illness. The officer went on to say that his loss, albeit devastating, was much easier than mine in a sense. That he had lost his Kyle to heaven; I'd lost my Kyle to the world. At this point I was weeping. The officer took me in his arms and asked if he could pray for my son and me. We prayed. He told me he would continue to pray for my Kyle; and that if I would keep the faith like the prodigal son's father that God would carry me through my pain and keep knocking on Kyle's door. This is just one of many miracles that God has performed in my life following the departure of my exwife. God's mercy and grace is abounding. I cannot imagine surviving without Him.


Help for today by Kari

Psychologists claim that 90% of marriages that end in divorce involve adultery, and at its root is infidelity. Fidelity is a personal commitment necessary for a relationship to flourish. Lewis Smedes, professor of Theology and Philosophy of Religion at Fuller Theological Seminary, defines fidelity as the single ingredient that stamps a sexual partnership as a marriage. Like love and forgiveness, fidelity is not a feeling but an act of the will. Fidelity means that you determine to remain faithful to the original covenant, joint goals of your marriage, and to your spouse. Fidelity is a promise your mind makes and your heart keeps; it is lived in the choices of each day.

"Christian marriage rests upon more than an initial covenant; it rests upon the fidelity of each spouse to the other," says Dwight Small, professor emeritus of Westmont College. "Adultery, upon which we tend to place such singular emphasis, represents an external (visible) breach ... Infidelity, an internal (invisible) breach in thought or attitude, can also break the covenant. It is known only to the one who is secretly pulling away. But if left to continue the process becomes irreversible in time, except for God's intervention."

Like Randy discovered, an affair means that neither spouse wins. The consequences of infidelity are perpetual; and as for adultery, the stigma stays. Trust erodes. The betrayed spouse feels anger, humiliation, and rejection since the adulterer conveys a loud message that his/her mate is not enough. Children born of this union lose trust not only in the parent who cheats but in marriage itself, as their template for a committed relationship is shattered. Some lose trust in God.

After more than 20 years as a licensed family therapist, Jeff Klippenes believes we are often more concerned about the death of the relationship than the emotional and spiritual death of the individuals within the relationship. Although he tells rejected spouses that the default setting is always to trust God in the process, he says, "There's a fine line between trusting God and waiting in a crazy-making situation, losing your grip on sanity in a marriage that's distorted and lifeless. Nothing is moral about a divorce; it's breaching a covenant like adultery, but God is a God of new beginnings. We need to realize that God isn't still sitting in the Garden of Eden praying and trusting that first couple will come back to him. No. He adapted to reality and moved on. Grace says, 'You blew it, kid. Now you get to do over.'"

If your former spouse chose to walk away from you and your children, claim your freedom to choose the direction of your heart. In God alone you'll find the belonging and acceptance you long for and the validation and attachment you need to fully live. In the light of the truth of what you've been through, step out of the darkness of deception and over that marriage that died in divorce. God is calling you to light and life!

POETIC REFLECTION

YOU

2000 by Marie in Georgia

Thoughts of you invade my sleep. I find myself pushing through another layer of letting go and yes, more forgiveness for what you've done to my dream of love and marriage.

You, who were once friend, then lover, are now a stranger.

I see you off in the distance, wandering in the darkness, yet thinking you're in the light.

You, who were supposed to be a loving father (mother) to our children, have bruised their hearts and bodies,

yet you thought you were doing right.

My heart is heavy, deep into the night seasons, trying to shake the horror you brought through the years.

My only joy is that Jesus, You were here to dry all the tears of little children crying in the darkness

and of a wife (husband) with heart forlorn and afraid.

We truly have been delivered from a great weight, too heavy to bear.

Tonight, once again, praises are sung by angels and mortal souls alike,

"Give us joy in our sorrow and freedom from the pain.

Help us keep our eyes on You, Lord and know You will lift us up again high upon a mountain,

in the cleft of the rock where Your strength and peace keep us from all harm."

 

Softly crying myself to sleep

Jesus holds me as I weep

Gently, He cradles me in His arms

Till I'm safe from all alarm.

 

Close your eyes

Now, shut them tight

Let Him keep you

through the night.

 

When light comes again

Through your shade

Remember, God's love for you

Will never fade.

 

Listen, sweet songs

You will hear.

As Jesus sings

He erases all fear.

 

Hurt and pain melt away

As He gently leads the way.

I'll turn my focus back to You

Then I find gray skies turn to blue.

 

Sunshine touches and warms my face

As I walk on in Your grace.

Please hold my hand tightly

And light my path brightly

As I walk on with You.


A Promise You Can Trust

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live ... Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV


In the Meantime

Please feel free to suggest topics for the newsletter and share your story. Write Kari at Garden Glories, P. O. Box 11692, Pleasanton, CA 94588 or Clicking Here. DivorceWise Newsletter also available online at www.gardenglories.com. Archived issues available upon request.

 
Copyright 2002 by Kari West