And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord‘s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. – Malachi 2:13-14, ESV
Years removed from discovering my ex-wife’s adultery, I find it is not the discovery or confrontation memories that bother me the most. These are not the ones that evoke sadness for me. It is the good memories. Our hope-filled wedding day, happy family vacations, fun anniversary getaways, etc. These are like scars reminding me of the actual joy and innocence lost. And these memories remind me that it did not need to end the way it did.
But we all have to make choices.
And ongoing adultery is completely unacceptable in a Christian marriage (e.g. Hebrews 13:4 and Deuteronomy 22:22).
That said, I have no regrets about where I am today.
All I have is gratitude for the double portion God has given me in my work-life and personal life with Mrs. DM plus munchkin. I am truly rich in heart.
From my training on healing from grief, I know the pain about positive memories is to be expected. We come back from a place where we only see the negatives to a place where we see both the good and bad. The ex-spouse becomes more than the embodiment of evil. He or she becomes a real person with both gifts and flaws. Getting to this place is a sign of healing. It is a sign of making it through the grief tasks. I talk about all of this in my post, “You Never Really ‘Get Over It'”.
These good memories are gifts. They remind us that we survived. And they remind me to be compassionate to the person I once was–i.e. the 20-something David. Happy times did exist in that relationship. And I did the best I could with what I had back then. However, I am glad God has done a great work in maturing me since that season.
I write this post to say it is alright to grieve those good memories. It is okay to recognize that your adulterous former spouse is gifted and treated you well at one time. It is okay to feel sad that a former spouse decided to flush such happy memories down the toilet with their choice to commit adultery and rape the soul of the bride/groom of their youth.
It’s okay to cry.
All this means is that something good was indeed lost when the relationship ended.
And you are not crazy to feel sadness about that.