Vulnerable In Grief

So be careful. If you are thinking, “Oh, I would never behave like that”—let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin. But remember this—the wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it. – I Corinthians 10:12-13, The Living Bible (TLB).

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8, NIV

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When going through a divorce–even and maybe especially one invoked by a stbx’s adultery–one is vulnerable. Grief makes us vulnerable as we are loosing a significant relationship in our lives by which we were once oriented to the world. This means we need to be extra careful about the relationships we develop in this time.

Satan likes to prey on us while we feel lonely and needy.

What starts as “innocent” sharing with a coworker of the opposite sex can quickly escalate to more if we are not vigilant. It is not good enough “to not intend to commit adultery.” We need to intend to hold to our commitment to the bitter end. And as the divorce process goes forward, it is an especially perilous time.

I remember how awfully lonely this in-between time was for me. It physically hurt to come home to an empty bed that had been once filled by my wife for more than five years. And the daily reminders that she did not care about my day hurt as well. Gone were the days when we would share interesting tidbits with each other. I had to remember she did not care anymore (if she ever did). You see, I missed much more than “just” the sex. The loss of companionship coupled with the contemptuous rejection (for that is what adultery is) was truly painful…

…And it made it made me all that more vulnerable to starting an illicit relationship with another woman.

longed to be understood. And I missed the human connection on all levels–i.e. emotionally, spiritually, and sexually.

Like me, I am sure many of you can relate to recognizing the availability of such relationships, yet were given the grace to choose wisely against giving into such real temptation.

Scripture is clear that we are all capable of falling into sin. This includes falling to the temptation of adultery. No one is immune, and the wise person realizes this taking precautions.

More than half the battle is awareness.

Realizing we are vulnerable and taking care not to put ourselves in compromising positions is key. Surround yourself with friends of the same gender who affirm your values and faith. Do not spend time alone or one-on-one with someone of the opposite sex where you share deeply intimate issues–e.g. how your marriage died by adultery–as that is signaling to them your availability as a partner.

Be careful.

Be wise.

To close, I will quote from a very wise man commenting on the human condition:

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956.

1 thought on “Vulnerable In Grief”

  1. DM,
    Thank you for this post. The vulnerability is felt keenly on a Friday night when the kids are away and there’s no one home but you. It is felt on the next Saturday, again while you’re alone alone, and passing by “dens of iniquity” after a whole week of being a responsible adult and wanting to blow off some steam. When those times happen, I just tell myself that when the time is right someone better will be in my life. I engage my logical brain and tell myself that this is the venerability creeping in and that the next healthy relationship won’t be found at this moment because I’m not a healthy person yet. I’m working on the healthy part, and would love to say that I’m there. Logically, I know this journey has a long way to go.

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