When I was in the heat of my marriage dissolution, I remember constantly being thrown off by the email responses I received from my (now) ex-wife.
They would make me particularly upset when she continued to insist on pinning the fault for the marriage ending on me.
Looking back now, I can see how out of touch with reality her responses were. But that is hard to see when you heart is so invested in a marriage and the hope that you can “fix it.”
I share this by way of encouragement. Both to remind faithful spouses in the midst of the struggle that being sucked into the madness happens and that a day does exist when you will look back wondering why you even bothered so much.
Looking at my correspondence, I can see how I was sucked into the madness. My buttons were being pushed with skill.
Maybe you can relate?
As I genuinely believe, she was using my commitment to my faith as well as my commitment to caring for people as a means to keep me off-balanced. The shame attacks were fierce.
Maybe your cheater did something similar?
They came after your character. The identity they painted of you did not match what others–and you–knew yourself to be. Maybe they called you crazy? An abuser? Manipulator? Always angry?
Maybe they even were bold enough to claim they wanted to honor God in your marriage looking to you as the one who was preventing this (while they were still lying and cheating)?
The interesting reality about all these accusations directed at faithful spouses is how they are mostly projections.
Cheaters are abusers. They have abused the trust in the marriage and emotionally plus spiritually harmed the faithful partner as Scripture teaches (see here).
Cheaters are manipulators. What do you call lying and deceiving your spouse other than manipulation?! And that isn’t even taking into account all the relationships the cheater used to cover his or her tracks in hiding the cheating or in seeking sympathy.
Cheaters are angry and crazy. I am of the mind that cheating on a spouse is an act of aggression. The cheater is actively violating the other partner by committing adultery–i.e. they are forcefully violating the spiritual and emotional oneness of marriage (see Mark 10:8).
The final absurdity is how cheaters dare claim that they are honoring God while lying, denying, and cheating on their respective spouse.
They project their responsibility to repent upon the faithful spouse. It is insane! But this happens all the time.
The reality is that no adulterous spouse is in right relationship with God! You cannot be in right relationship with God while actively and willfully sinning against Him.
Now, this broken relationship with God can either be a temporary situation or a permanent one. It is up to the cheating spouse to decide which they want.
Choosing to repent makes it temporary. Refusing to repentant makes it a permanent state (e.g. I John 3:6).
I think these truths and my clearer view of reality–now years remove from the situation–has helped me to be settled in my mind and heart on my first marriage and how it ended.
See the absurdity.
Recognize the projection.
Don’t let it trouble you.
Cheaters cheat. Liars lie.