To end this series on unfaithfulness, I want to add some personal thoughts.
Recently, I read that an infamous actor (who starred in a NBC series on Thursday nights in the 80’s and ironically, played the character of a psychologist) left his wife for a woman 26 years his junior. He said this about his unfaithfulness— ‘I needed more love in my life.’
I read that and thought, you have to be kidding me…does he really believe his own words? You need “more love” in your life?!
But in truth, I can’t tell you how often I have heard that same sentiment from others who have found “someone else.” When someone is leaving their spouse, they invariably say some of the craziest things.
One of the best ones I heard was this; a woman I had met with had the audacity to tell me, But God just wants me to be happy. This was a woman who was sleeping with her next-door neighbor while her husband of over 30 years was recovering from a serious surgery.
One final story. In my early years as a psychologist, I can remember I met with this couple in which the husband had left his wife for another woman, but he kept on changing his mind whether or not he was going to return to the marriage. I remember one March evening he finally made up his mind and he told me this, I love my wife, but I just don’t have the same feelings that I have for her (referring to his mistress).
I simply tried to explain this to him, that the love he “felt” for his wife really rested on his shoulders. If he didn’t feel it, he was the one who wasn’t making it happen. It was his problem, not hers. He didn’t buy it and eventually left his wife. He just didn’t get it—love is not a feeling—love is a willed action. He didn’t understand this: If I don’t “love” somebody, it’s not their fault. It’s mine. Just for the record, that concept is kind of biblical—the feelings of love occur first and foremost because of what we do.
But in all this, I have an admission. I have very little judgment when it comes to those who have been unfaithful. No different than what Paul said in the New Testament—I too am the “worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15–16) and if I am not actively protecting myself and my marriage, I also could easily fall. As the life of David shows (2 Samuel 11), nobody is immune to making really bad choices. If for even a minute I think that I am beyond any type of sin, I then become its easiest prey.
On a final note, I am now nearing my 18th year of marriage, and God has been teaching me probably the most important lesson of my life. He is teaching me this, and I hope I can continue to apply this truth until the day I die:
As I am faithful to you, Kelly, I want you also to truly experience what it means to be a faithful person. To one woman. To two sons. To me.
So far so good. In these last few years, God has been teaching me that as I am faithful to Julie—even when I don’t want to, even when things aren’t going my way, even when she isn’t “there for me”—in this act of being faithful, I am just a little bit understanding how faithful Jesus is to me.
I am learning this—his faithfulness to me is pretty incredible. He has never wavered and he has always been there for me no matter what. And with that, I’m pretty grateful.