Dear DM, Do I just keep sucking it up?

Dear Divorce Minister,

As hard as it is, I have been reading your posts as an offender against my husband. I have taken full responsibility for my actions, I believe I repented and worked for years to make amends. He says he has forgiven me, yet why do I feel as if I’m being constantly punished?

I acknowledged his freedom to leave/ or rather throw me out. I understood fully why he might do this, as the wound has cut so deep. Yet he chose to stay, saying it was because he loved me and wanted to ‘ sacrifice’ his life for me and the family.

The context ( not excuse) in which my affair took place was him being devoted to work and business before family and myself. He now says work is his way of coping for all the hurt he is in…nearly 20 years later.

Even though I feel neglected, have to put up with major stresses around his business I remain committed. I feel like he has me under his thumb in my indebtedness to him for his forgiving me and choosing to stay with me and provide for me. He says I wouldn’t cope alone. Daily he talks of loving me yet I feel I’m going crazy about these mixed messages.

I have no intention of leaving, but is this really forgiveness and love when he wont change anything in his life to make a better marriage? Do I just keep sucking it up because it’s what I deserve?

-JT

Dear JT,

I’m going to be frank with you:

Your post does not exactly exude the remorse and gratitude I’d expect from a truly repentant cheater.

It is heavy on what you see as deficiencies in your husband–your victim–and short on gratitude towards him for what he gave/gives you.

You wrote,

Even though I feel neglected, have to put up with major stresses around his business I remain committed. I feel like he has me under his thumb in my indebtedness to him for his forgiving me and choosing to stay with me and provide for me. He says I wouldn’t cope alone. Daily he talks of loving me yet I feel I’m going crazy about these mixed messages.

This sounds like a pity party to me. It is the sort of inner dialogue I’d expect as a ramp up to another affair. So, I’d be careful in feeding such thoughts.

The reality is you should be grateful that he did not divorce you, provides for you, and tells you that he loves you!

Instead of being grateful, you complain that he isn’t doing and giving you more! That sounds like entitlement to me.

Also, I do not know your husband’s heart. What I do know is focusing on controlling things outside your control like your husband’s actions is a recipe for misery. It seems from this part of your post that you are eating liberally of said fruits.

Next you close your post by writing,

I have no intention of leaving, but is this really forgiveness and love when he wont change anything in his life to make a better marriage? Do I just keep sucking it up because it’s what I deserve?

How about spending less time evaluating whether or not he has truly forgiven you or is willing to change and instead spend that time learning how to love him better and invest more in your marriage yourself?

Cultivating a spirit of gratitude is a good place to start. He might spend more time with you if he felt less like he was being judged–as you clearly are doing–and instead was made to feel appreciated for who he is plus what he does for you.

Discovering what communicates love to your husband most clearly and directly–i.e. his “love language”–is another place to explore as well.

 

You married this man for some reason. I’d encourage reconnecting with that reason. Maybe learn how to explicitly communicate your own needs or ways you feel loved best to him? Positive reinforcement is a good idea.

I guess my point is not to give up hope and resign yourself to playing the marriage martyr. Plenty avenues exist for growth if you are willing to do the work.

Final Exhortations:

-Do NOT allow Satan a foothold by allowing those entitlement “he owes me” tapes to play.

-Do NOT focus upon what is outside of your control–namely, your husband’s actions and intentions.

-DO assume the most charitable things about your husband and his motives–e.g. he loves you and is not punishing you.

-DO demonstrate gratitude to your husband for the ways he IS blessing you.

Sincerely,

Pastor David (aka Divorce Minister)

 

15 thoughts on “Dear DM, Do I just keep sucking it up?”

  1. Thank you for your response. Perhaps I didn’t express myself adequately but you are wrong on your judgments of me and my situation. Very wrong. God knows my heart and actions.

    1. JT,
      Below are some things you may want to think about:

      Do you understand what your actions
      did to him?
      Are aware of PTSD and that it is very common among betrayed spouses? Dealing with PTSD can be life long struggle. How do you think he’s coping with that?
      How does he know you have repented?
      Have you proven to him that you can be trusted and that you are devoted/loyal to him & your family?
      Does he know that you appreciate his forgiveness & decision to reconcile your marriage rather than divorce you for your unfaithfulness?
      Can you plan family outing that he & children would enjoy?
      How do you encourage him & show him that you love & respect him?
      Have you accepted full responsibility for your unfaithfulness or are you blaming him for that?
      Do you take responsibility for the consequences you now face and the extra work that you need to invest in your marriage & into restoring your husband?
      Can he trust the motives of your heart?
      Can he trust you with his heart? Is his heart safe with you?

      1. I don’t know. Her email doesn’t sound entitled; it sounds matter-of-fact. Yes, he could have divorced her, and yes, she should be grateful he didn’t. However, if after 20 years of uninterrupted proving herself in faithfulness he is still bringing up the adultery and actually states that he is spending overtime at work to cope, that sounds like someone who has not worked through it and fully forgiven and who needs to get counselling. Yes, there is a period of rebuilding trust after a betrayal, but 20 years is plenty of time for that. Also, God does not continue to hold our sins over our heads after we have truly repented of them. His comment that she couldn’t cope without him is very manipulative.
        My point is that he does not sound like he has forgiven her. If he is a Christian, he is required by God to forgive her completely, although he wasn’t required to take her back. Since he did decide of his own free will to take her back, he is responsible to treat her as Christ treats the church – which does not include selfishness, manipulation and gulit-tripping.
        JT, pray for your husband, pray for yourself, accept God’s forgiveness, and find your fulfillment in Christ. Be the best wife you can be for him, but know that God has forgiven you fully. Surrender any bitterness in your heart to God so that it doesn’t destroy both of you. Find mature Christian women (non-gossiping) you can trust to pray for you and with you and encourage you.

        1. I was not going to continue commenting on this, as I fear I cannot adequately express myself and will be misunderstood. Also, I have no desire to justify myself or be defensive. But thank you so much Jennifer for your kind words and encouragement. I hope too that if there are other repentant offenders reading this blog they may, along with the much needed hard truth here, find some answers for their own agonies.

          1. JT.
            I have prayed for you & your husband today.
            I’ve reread your comments, especially this one. I wonder if some of the agony you and other repentant adulterers struggle with is related to what we’re warned about in 1Cor. 6:18:
            “Flee sexual immorality. All other sin a person commits is outside the body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”
            Perhaps the agony has more to do with this than anything else.

    2. You asked for my feedback on your situation. This website is primarily a place to offer support to faithful spouses and their supporters.

      So, is it really shocking that I am unwilling to condemn your husband–the faithful partner–but encourage you to take more responsibility in repairing your marriage? It shouldn’t be.

      It is possible that your husband is bitter, unloving, and unforgiving. And it is also possible he is coping poorly with damage you did to his heart when you cheated on him (Yes, even 20 years ago!). I don’t know enough about the situation to venture a guess on which one it is. But I do think it is more productive to assume the later in charity than the former if true reconciliation is the goal.

      1. Ok, I see that my responses are not being published. Fair enough, I made a mistake thinking I could get help here. My last comment is this: I was not asking you to condemn my husband!! What did I expect? I said I ” FEEL” like I’m being punished. As I had already taken to heart all you say here about myself, I risked asking you to help me understand his behavior. I have taken all the responsibility for all issues in our marriage ( and I am not claiming to be a victim, nor wallowing in self pity). In fact, I wouldn’t blame him if he was punishing me. And by sucking it up, I meant absorbing any perceived hurt from him and keep loving. Yes, I wrote in a moment of despair over a rough week, but be assured we have stuck this out for decades with many good times and thanks now to you, hopefully the imbalances of much wrong help are being corrected. I am sorry though this isn’t a safe place for those that truly love their victim. You could have challenged me in a less judgemental and harsh manner. God bless and keep up the good work.

        1. JT,

          I can only go on what you wrote to me.

          In the name of “context,” you listed out how you’ve put up with him putting his work first over you, neglecting you emotionally, dealing with stresses from his business, and feeling like you are under his thumb for “forgiving” and providing for you. A list like that does come across as a pity party where you are caste as the victim.

          That said, maybe you gave me this list out of (legitimate, btw) frustration over your husband not following up his decision to stay married with the necessary actions (like going to therapy) to really make it a restored marriage.

          If faithful spouses choose to stay married, I do believe we are obligated to do the marriage work for full restoration (like facing our pain plus giving it voice in a safe space) and not turn to addictions–like an addiction to work–to deal with the pain or fall out of the infidelity.

          After your list of what you have put up with and are claiming willing to put up with as one committed to the marriage, your last two questions struck me as rhetorical. You clearly do not feel loved by your husband. So, that question strikes me as asking me to judge your husband as unloving and unforgiving (which is possibly true).

          I was married to a woman who had multiple emotional affairs (in my opinion) before consummating sexually the last one. She was happy to claim that she had dealt with her affairs. Then she quickly turned to point out my deficiencies.

          You are not my ex-wife. However, I am VERY aware that people exist in this world that behave like her. My words of caution are simply that…words of caution.

          -DM

  2. JT, I think that pointing fingers at others and others pointing fingers back is not helpful. You and your husband are lacking the tools you need to accomplish a full reconciliation. You both need to see experienced therapists to guide you individually and as a couple. I have seen this work when BOTH parties are heard and acknowledged. There is hope for your marriage to be reborn!

    1. My husband has refused therapy ever since. I have been to therapists and spiritual guidance myself for decades. I have begged him to seek help even just for himself. He counters by saying there is absolutely no one who would be able to help him. I have given him names, we know people personally yet he refuses.
      Which is why I came to this site to seek help for him. It is not easy to read such hard hitting truths about my actions as I have already been broken for decades. I have printed off all the articles and he has been reading them. I think he has found validation for what he has experienced, in a way that other Christian material had not provided. I am thankful for divorce minister for this. Thank you for the hope you give that seems to be a little lacking here.

      1. JT,

        Sorry, I have very little pity for your needy sad story.

        Your number of replies and tone is very familiar to many clueless forgiveness trolls trying to force victims forgive their offenders..

        1. You did share the “context” under which you choose to fulfill your unmet “needs”.

          Do you understand that there were plenty of women in history whose husbands were imprisoned over long periods of time…. and their wives had plenty of unmet needs as a result… and they still remains faithful.. but not needy you JT.

          Instead you chose to stab him in his hart, kill his dreams, steal his investments into his family, and ruin his kids family so that you can satisfy your need of another man’s validation…

    2. Agreed that both need to engage and find help from a good therapist.

      However, the questions JT posed at the end was for a judgment on her husband (“…is this really forgiveness and love..?”) and an exploration to see if she can stop tolerating how her husband is treating her (“Do I just keep sucking it up because it’s what I deserve?”).

      Both questions seem to be not profitable lines for marriage reconciliation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *