Transformative Love and Respect After Betrayal Part 1

Transformative Love and Respect After Betrayal Part 1

Steve just filed for divorce from his wife Stacey. The reason listed on the decree was “adultery”. They had been married for 7 years and recently Steve had discovered that Stacey had secretly been seeing an old boyfriend. His life was shattered. The pain was overwhelming. He only wanted to forget and move on with his life.

Of course, no one would fault Steve for his choice. Even the Bible would justify his decision. He was free to go and marry again.

Today I’d like to offer a different perspective on love and respect. During my own experience with betrayal, I had to reconcile the world's view of love and respect versus what God has revealed in His Word. I wanted the pain to go away. I wanted to punish my wife for her actions. I had the power to ruin her life like she ruined mine. The world told me she deserved it. God gave me the right to divorce her.

One day at church soon after D-Day I was listening to a sermon on Ephesians 5. Some of the words struck me hard and influenced me to dig deeper.

Eph 5:25 “husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”.

Eph 5:33 “…wives must respect her husband”.

Notice there are no “because(s)”. “I love my wife because she deserves it”. “I respect my husband because he deserves it”.

There are no conditions. “I love my wife as long as she stays thin and attractive”. “I respect my husband as long as he is an elder at church”.

God instructs us to love and respect “anyway”. Love her even if she is an alcoholic. Respect him even if he is addicted to pornography. Love her when she doesn’t deserve to be loved. Respect him when he doesn’t deserve to be respected. Wow. A lot different than what the world tells us about love and respect. The world tells us love and respect is conditional, that we include “because”, “if”, “when”, “only” and other conditional words in our statements. How often do we include conditional words about our spouse or even our kids?

In fact for husbands it goes even further. “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. God asks us to love our wives even when she is the one crucifying us. Jesus did not have to die for us. He had the power to stop it. He chose not to. He chose to love those who were crucifying him and He asks us to do the same.

At the time these words really impacted my view of my circumstances. I didn’t have to rush to divorce my wife. I wasn’t weak for giving her the opportunity to recover.

I chose to love my wife even when she didn’t deserve it. I hope husbands here can make the same decision. My wife chose to respect me when I didn’t deserve it. I hope wives here can make the same decision.

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Thank you

Thank you for this posting. You are right about what the world has to say. I had yet another counseling sessions with my therapist where she is impatiently telling me when will I be filing papers. The world is so quick to throw away our marriages and people in our lives because of what they have done wrong. They might be caught up in sin, deception and addictions. We each have to follow what God is telling us to do

Sometimes divorce is surrendering to gods plan

Sometimes, and in the case of cheating many times – the cheater is unrepentant and unchanging; they just become better at masking the lies and perpetrating the deceit and manipulation. They lie to their spouse, they lie to their marriage therapist, they lie to their beloved affair partner, they lie in their voiced prayers at church, and they lie to themselves. God hates infidelity and God hates divorce – I also believe God grants divorce because he needs us to get out of his way to do his work on those who choose to live in infidelity.

Many of us tried to love our cheating wives as God loved the church. Many of us didn’t give into societal pressures and offered unconditional love and second chances despite grave disrespect and betrayal. Sometimes God has a plan for your life; and as painful as it is sometimes, he needs you to surrender to his plan so he can do his work!

In a much different sense, you could say a man who walks away from his hopes and dreams, from everything he as built and invested, and everything he gave in offering reconciliation is also offering transformative love. Many people won’t change until they’ve hit rock bottom and God understands that the unconditional love that you offer and your bruised and tattered spirit is the security blanket that keeps a cheater from hitting rock bottom.

when to go

Friend, I agree with you and I encourage you to follow the voice of the Lord. I have been "waiting" since my husband cracked the window of infidelity for me to see 10 years ago. We have been on a road to recovery since then and yet we have NOT arrived. I have NO trust that he is telling me the truth, we have spent 10s of thousands on Therapy, Intensives, EMT, books - YOU NAME IT!!! He is happy to participate, but he has never hit rock bottom and I have never seen any fruit of repentance or truly "owning it". When it all started coming out, I heard the Lord tell me "You can go, you have every reason to and I will bless you and take care of you..." but HE also said "if you stay, I will give you grace and you can be a part of Perry's healing". I chose to stay and I am still waiting. I don't know how much longer I will wait. God bless you!

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