A Room Full of Yearning Regret

I’m convinced that the one of the saddest parts of ministry is watching marriages fail, especially due to infidelity. To sit in a room with a husband or a wife weeping over the betrayal of their spouse is almost too much for any shepherd to bear. It’s the kind of scene that must never cross your mind in the midst of the affair, but it is where you will inevitably end up if you violate the covenant of marriage.

Wendy Plump of the New York Times paints a graphic picture of the effects of sexual infidelity in this article at the new York Times. It is a “must read” article and one that I will be using in pre-marital counseling to remind couples of the awful effects of unfaithfulness.

Here’s an excerpt:

"In the end your marriage may not need to be trashed, though mine was. The affairs metastasized in our relationship from the inside out. By the time all was said and done, there was little left to save. Our marriage had become like a leaf eaten away by caterpillars, where the petiole and midrib remain with some ghostly connective tracery in between. Not enough to hold even a drop of rain.

I look at my parents and at how much simpler their lives are at the ages of 75, mostly because they haven’t marred the landscape with grand-scale deceit. They have this marriage of 50-some years behind them, and it is a monument to success. A few weeks or months of illicit passion could not hold a candle to it.

If you imagine yourself in such a situation, where would you fit an affair in neatly? If you were 75, which would you rather have: years of steady if occasionally strained devotion, or something that looks a little bit like the Iraqi city of Fallujah, cratered with spent artillery?

From where I stand now, it all just looks like a cheap hotel room, whether you’re in that room to have an affair or to escape from the discovery of one.

And despite the sex and the excitement, or the drama and the fix of everyone’s empathetic attention, there is no view from this room that is worth having."
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