Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me a link from a blogger, Leanne, who shared her story about confessing infidelity to her husband. Her post is entitled “Karma?” (click on title to read her full post).
The gist of the story is Leanne cheated on her husband a couple years prior and lied about it initially when her husband asked her if another party was involved. This post is about her confession and his response to that confession.
She decides she needs to tell him the truth, now two years after the fact, and accept the consequences including divorce if he so chooses as she surmises, correctly, is her just due. When she confesses, he accepts partial blame–more on that later–and they stay together. Leanne then goes on to pen an ode to grace.
Here are a few of my thoughts on this piece:
-She did not start her confession from a place of entitlement. This is huge. Leanne explicitly writes about how an angry response from her husband, Andrew, and a request for a divorce from him are justified responses as she saw it. She did not enter the confession stage–trusting what she writes–believing she deserved to keep the marriage after what she did to violate it and her husband.
-She allows him to take partial blame for her sin. She reports in post what her husband said. Andrew responds:
“You know, I wasn’t there for you the way you needed me back then. You found someone who could support you emotionally. I get that. And if you would have confessed this back when we were in counseling two years ago, I wasn’t mature enough to handle it. You probably weren’t mature enough to deal with it either. Neither of us were. This whole thing would have been different. It’s okay. I forgive you” (source link here).
I have several concerns with this response and the lack of correction given by Leanne.
1) This sort of response suggests she was justified in her cheating on him because he wasn’t emotionally supportive back then. It is “The Shared Responsibility Lie” on display. His lack of emotional support is implied as the impetus behind her cheating as opposed to her poor character alone. Cheating was never her only option. She could have insisted on marriage counseling if she felt that emotional support was a problem. I hope she made it clear to him that she was 100% responsible for her poor choices to cheat and lie to him.
2) This sort of response sets up Andrew for a marriage based on performance. Without the emotionally supportive causal link broken, Andrew is on the hook for the rest of this marriage to make sure he does not fail at making Leanne feel supported emotionally. Mess up and get cheated on–apparently–is the “justified” consequence. Yikes! This is unhealthy and unbiblical. We are 100% responsible for our own actions and keeping our own promises.
3) Andrew cites immaturity as making it acceptable for her to lie to him for two years! This is not wise either. Whether or not we are mature is beside the point. Christians are supposed to walk in the light. Just because someone is immature and may respond–therefore–immaturely does not make it acceptable behavior to lie to them. I wish Leanne had caught that in her post and made that part clear as well.
I am all for forgiveness and grace. Personally, I do think Andrew has more to work with in Leanne than many of us ever did with our cheating (ex) spouses. At least, she was willing to concede anger and divorce as acceptable responses to her infidelity and lying.
Also, I can relate with Andrew. “Simple David” downplayed his wife’s emotional affair(s). He even was willing to overlook a full-blown adulterous affair if she would end it and stay. I might have even said something similar in the effort to keep my first marriage together if I had had such an opportunity.
…But that was Simple David.
Not “Wise David.”
- WD recognizes sin comes solely from the sinner’s heart and not from surrounding circumstances including marriage circumstances.
- WD recognizes blame-sharing is anathema to future relationship success as the only person who can prevent future moral failures–i.e the cheater–is passing the buck to someone or something else.
- WD recognizes that emotional affairs are serious business and need to be treated as such.
That said, Leanne’s post is just a small snapshot of their conversation. So, I imagine much more was said. I hope the shared-blame pieces were corrected for Andrew and Leanne’s sake.
God does give us grace.
I, too, am grateful for God’s mercy in not giving me what I deserve.