The Lord is pleased with good people, but condemns those who plan evil.
Wickedness does not give security, but righteous people stand firm.
-Proverbs 12:2-3, GNT
I remember confronting my ex-wife one Sunday afternoon following church. It was an encounter that is forever burned into my memory. Vividly, I remember how she looked completely different than the woman who left me months prior and how she had removed her wedding ring against my explicit request, which was probably the most honest thing in that whole encounter. This was the confrontation no pastor had offered to do on my behalf. And in retrospect, I see this lack of pastoral support as a gift. I was able to confront directly and watch as the lies were exposed for the hollow, wicked drivel they were.
Back to my possible regret.
I wish I had fortified myself for the inevitable lies. The evidence I had was damning. She had taken out her chosen birth control from our residence while I had been out of state interviewing for a job. It was the sort of birth control only used for heterosexual intercourse. And we were not having sex, of course. Plus, I had just learned the name of the Other Man with whom she had hidden months of extensive contact until that point. Other pieces of evidence existed as well.
It was obvious…
But I still hoped I was wrong.
I did not want to believe my wife had been involved with another man even while we were going to crisis marriage therapy sessions, and I certainly did not want to think she was having sex with him. My hope was that it was “only” an emotional affair. It was a ridiculous hope considering the evidence; nevertheless, I hoped and other people–including a pastor–reinforced this false hope as well.
This false hope left me vulnerable to further emotional/spiritual abuse.
It neither served me nor my (now) ex-wife.
In a redo, I would have told her I knew about the Other Man. And I knew that she had been cheating on me for a long time. When she chose to lie in response, I would have told her firmly that I know she was lying. Furthermore, I would have told her that her lies would be exposed to the people involved in “helping” our marriage as they deserved to know the truth as well.
I did not do that.
While I did not completely cave, I did give into avoiding the subject of the OM and the adultery in false reconciliation attempts later running up to the divorce. It took around three months before my (now) ex-spouse acknowledged her lies spoken that Sunday afternoon. But I am thankful–even though it hurt a great deal–that I know the truth beyond a doubt.
Pastors and Christian friends, you are not the one so deeply invested as the faithful spouse. You have some objectivity. Use that objectivity to serve God, the marriage, and the faithful spouse. Do not use your position to enable sin coverups. I encourage you to strengthen the resolve of your faithful friends/congregants when faced with similar circumstances.
Do not feed false hope!
Help faithful spouses to stand firm in the truth.
It will be painful.
But it is better to live in the truth than in the world of false hope and lies.
And this is true for both the faithful spouse and the adulterous spouse.