Me: “I got divorced. Then I had to go through a trial with my denomination to keep my license.”
Friend: “Don’t they realize that stuff happens.”
I do not recommend the “stuff happens” response to someone whose marriage has been blown up by adultery.
While I appreciate this friend’s effort to be understanding, this is not the most helpful of responses to someone whose life has been up ended by deliberate and malevolent choices and actions on the part of a cheating spouse. The “stuff happens” response can come across as a minimization of surviving such treacherous trauma.
I attribute the “stuff happens” sort of thinking to natural disasters or possibly accidents. Things outside our control usually fall into that category. While this is true for the faithful spouse–as in the faithful spouse is experiencing something that they do not control–it misses the important point that someone did control the marriage ending otherwise.
Is that how we respond to crime victims?
My sister was murdered.
I was raped, and I have to deal with people constantly who think I was “asking for it.”
Well, don’t they understand that stuff happens?
I hope that helps to illustrate how unhelpful such a response is to a true victim. And make no mistake: faithful spouses are true victims!
Such a response invalidates the reality that an injustice has occurred. There are perpetrators and victims here just as in the cases of murder and rape. “Stuff happens” obliterates that distinction. Hence, I have a problem with it.
“Stuff” wasn’t banging another man and violating my marriage.
That was my (now ex) wife doing that.
And no, that stuff was not inevitable but chosen freely by her. It didn’t just “happen.” Many deliberate and sinful choices went into that state of affairs.
“Stuff happens” does not even begin to point to the reality and injustice of being cheated upon by one’s spouse and divorced.