A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. – Proverbs 12:10, KJV
Clarity can come from strange places.
And peace may flow from a time of unquieted anxiety.
I discovered these truths in my healing journey from learning of my former spouse’s infidelity and the subsequent divorce. What I realized was how recognition of cruelty brought clarity to the true narrative of my marriage’s demise. It illuminated character–or the lack thereof.
During the summer when my marriage imploded and we were apart, I remember attending marriage counseling sessions together with my (now) ex-wife in a desperate attempt–on my part–to stave off divorce. You see, I really wanted us to stay together as husband and wife. And I put myself through a lot of difficult things in attempt to do so.
That was a very miserable summer for me to put it mildly.
Unbeknownst to me or the marriage counselor at the time, all counseling sessions took place while my (now) ex-wife was actively cheating on me. A restoration of the marriage was never really on the table.
How can anyone rebuild trust and a marriage while one partner actively bludgeons the relationship to death by cheating and lying?
From the stories I have read here and elsewhere, I know my experience is not unique. I have heard/read stories where this behavior has gone on for years as opposed to the mere months of my experience. That is to say I am not the first husband or wife who thought they were honestly and jointly working to save their marriages only to discover their partner was actively dynamiting the marriage by cheating and lying.
Who does that to their spouse?!
Who goes to a marriage counselor with her spouse and spends this time tearing him down while secretly cheating on him behind everyone’s back?
Who does this for more than one session?!
What kind of person can not only rape his spouse’s soul but participate in giving her false hope while humiliating her and weaponizing the marriage counselor against her?
I will tell you who:
A cruel and wicked person.*
That is the clarity such cruelty gave me.
From such actions, I knew the true character of my ex-wife. And it was a sad realization.
This clarity about her character gives me peace today. It comes from a time of high anxiety and suffering. Yet I have peace in my soul about how everything ended. I do not feel a need to pine over her anymore. No way do I want to put up with someone who is capable of such great cruelty towards me.
And I feel at peace recognizing the outcome of saving our marriage was never on the table that summer. She had already moved on with another man but did not have the decency to say as much.
I share this very personal experience and lesson in the hope to help others. This is not about unforgiveness or harboring bitterness. My point is to recognize what people are telling you by their actions.
Do not sign up for more sessions of cruelty.
Do not be the pastor/Christian leader who presides over such cruelty enabling the mean cheater.
And do not beat yourself up if you endured such sessions.
The cheater took in the counselor/pastor as well after all.
This awful experience can be redemptive. You can learn from it if you choose to do so as I did. The cruelty you experienced can lead you to much-needed clarity and peace either while in the midst of a divorce or afterwards.
*We do not have to stay in our sin or remain cruel, wicked people. Hope remains even for people like my ex-wife. But we must repent of our sins in order to make that transformation. Making amends is in order, too, as a fruit of genuine repentance.