It still feels strange for me to even speak about how my first marriage ended.
I feel internal pressure and accusation as if speaking the facts means I have not forgiven her or am bitter. That’s a lie, by the way.
But it is a hard one to shake growing up amidst a Christian subculture that cannot move fast enough away from such discussions of marriages ending and people committing evil like adultery is (e.g. Deut. 22:22).
A good way to avoid talking about adultery and how such sin destroys marriages is to shame adultery victims into silence. Call them “bitter” or “unforgiving” if they dare mention what happened to them. This needs to change.
Sometimes choose to share the facts of how my first marriage ended. Not always, mind you.
It happened. My first wife committed adultery against me, God, and our marriage. Then she discarded me via divorce. That happened.
And it has shaped me. To not know that chapter in my life is to miss out on knowing a great deal about me. It is not the entirety of who I am and my aspirations. However, it was a very major traumatic event in my life. And I do not need to be ashamed of the fact it is part of my life history. It is.
Forgiveness does not change facts.
Forgiveness is about our response to the facts. And sometimes the furthest we can go on the long path of forgiving infidelity is giving all the injustice over to God for Him to handle (e.g. Romans 12:19).
He is the Judge, after all. Not me. Not you.
And He is just. Plus far wiser than I.
I trust He will deal justly and wisely with how His adopted son was wronged and wounded someday.
That is enough for me.
Forgiveness does not deny that the injustice and violations did occur.
The journey of forgiveness moves us from a place where those wounds and hurtful events own us to a place where we own them in the sense that the pain and grief no longer has power over us and we can freely talk about the events as historical facts. That’s how I see it.
Talking about evil events will be upsetting for some. It will especially be upsetting for those who rather not face their own vulnerability to infidelity. Their own powerlessness.
Also, it may be upsetting for those who know the perpetrator and would rather not deal with the reality that he/she committed such evil against the faithful partner.
It does not make the faithful spouse “bitter” or “unforgiving” to speak the facts.
Labeling them as such says more about the labeller than the labeled. It speaks to someone who is unable to handle the reality of living in a world broken by evil. And make no mistake, adultery is truly evil!