Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.
-Proverbs 27:6, NIV
Knowing the truth is freeing.
But this is often denied faithful spouses as their world is caved in by the terrors of trickling truth and horrors of betrayals both large and small.
I can still vividly remember feeling the shock. You just cannot fathom that your spouse made this choice. At least, I could not fathom it. I felt like I was having an out of body experience as I sat in the separation.
This was not supposed to happen to me. Is this for real? We actually are going through a divorce. She actually did commit adultery on me.
Shock is really the best way to describe it.
A gift from God to deal with overwhelming traumatic emotion.
I bet I am not the only one who has felt this way. Shock from the abandonment and further shock from the revelation(s) of adultery. It is so surreal.
And truth is what I needed.
It came slowly as pieces and evidence mounted. I still did not want to believe them for a while. Part of me wanted kisses that said my–now–ex plus I would survive this, and that same part of me did not want the wounds from true friends who saw the grim reality. Almost to the end, I was holding out hope that it was “just” emotional affair(s). I did not want to believe what I was seeing in the hard evidence.
It was traumatic when all doubt was erased one night. Images of where I was standing and how my disheveled kitchen table was arranged will forever be seared into my memory. One does not forget.
Yet I survived.
And that memory bears witness to my survival by the grace of God.
Knowing the truth of what happened and what was done is all part of the grief process. And I encourage faithful spouses to give themselves space to grieve. The obsession over the “evidence” is part of the grieving process. We have to know it is real. The adultery or affair(s) did happen. It has to be clear to us that the cancer is there. The x-rays don’t lie. See!
I encourage gathering what evidence you can to help you, faithful spouse, in this time. Do so legally and quietly. It is a mercy to know the truth even if that truth is wounding.
Blessings to you if you find yourself in this stage of discovery and evidence gathering. It will not last forever. But it helps you to silence the doubts later after the dust settles.
When people–especially well-meaning but misguided Christians–question your decision to divorce or your status as divorced, this evidence at least allows you to support yourself. It speaks to the reality of the marriage’s death by adultery and lies. And there is no shame in divorcing someone who has chosen to commit adultery against you and God as we see in God’s example (Jeremiah 3:8) and Jesus’ own words on the matter (Mt. 5:32 and Mt. 19:9).