Tag Archives: infidelity

Decisions, decisions…

12 Apr

Making the decision to divorce is never an easy one. You’ve invested yourself in this relationship for a period of time. That investment is one of blood, sweat and tears. Marriage is hard work. It takes time and effort to maintain a relationship with someone. You have to learn about compromise, love, respect, needs, desires, temperaments, and personalities. On top of that, there may also be children involved which further deepens that tie and complicates that relationship. It’s a delicate balancing act of the needs of your children, your spouse and yourself on top of the demands of external forces such as your job, each of your families, your friends, and the world at large. If you’re a Christian like me, there is also the concern of what the Bible says about divorce.

Knowing when it’s really over is different for each person. I have a girlfriend who’d had what looked like a happy and successful marriage from an outsider’s perspective, but once you got closer you saw the cracks. When she confided in me years ago that she was thinking about divorcing, I couldn’t understand what was holding her back. She had no children. She had a great job and was more than capable of going it on her own. Even her financial situation was perfect–made good money, had a good savings, good investments, etc. While all of those areas matter to a degree, they are small compared to letting go of all you have put into this relationship you have had with someone. The years filled with memories, the good times, the potential…we want to believe that maybe there is hope. Maybe there is something we haven’t tried yet. So, we try some more to see if these things can fix our marriage. The problem is that it takes both parties to try; when you’re the only one trying and the other person is just along for the ride, it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s important to make those last ditch efforts, though. Those efforts are of a personal nature so we can walk away in the end without looking back and wondering if I could have done anything more. And, at some point, you want to be able to say that I did all I could because I can only control my actions and decisions. The decisions and actions of my partner are ones that they will have to contend with in their time.

She did finally divorce, but at the time I still didn’t understand why it took her so long until I was in the situation that I was thinking about divorce. It was 2008. Soon after our 14th wedding anniversary, an old friend from my Navy days was getting ready to head off to Iraq for a year and he got back in touch with me. He told me how amazing and special I had always been to him. It was the final thing I needed to free me from my relationship. Or, so I thought. In January of that year, I had lost my grandfather who was the first love of my life. That was the first awakening to my personal misery in my marriage. In July, I was hired to work for my current company and my sense of self-worth sky rocketed. And then, I found out that I could be loved just as I was. It was freeing! At the same time, though, it was also very confusing. This wasn’t just breaking up with Pep, a man I had been married to for 14 years and loved for the last 16 years, but it would mean breaking up my family.

As a child of divorce myself, this was a big concern for me. My parents’ divorce was hard on my siblings and me. We each came out of it with varying degrees of damage. I knew that I married a man who was a great dad so some of my pain would not be their pain–or so I thought. We told the kids at the end of December 2008 that we were going to divorce. It was melt-down city. I was a mess thinking about how this was going to affect them. My pain was nothing compared to theirs was all I could think. I read books, I prayed, I talked to my siblings and my mom, and then I revoked my divorce decision and said we’d work things out. Thing was, when we were supposed to be working things out, Pep was out doing what had gotten us into this mess in the first place. His selfishness and lack of self-control in regard to having a monogamous relationship with me wasn’t revealed to me at the time. We had a talk in January 2009 where I told him that if he did it again–because he got caught in January again by me–that I was done. At the end of April, he got caught again. Now, I had to decide if I was going to hold to my word or just keep letting him do this to me. For a week, I toiled in this. I contacted our pastor in charge of congregational care/counseling, but he was away until the end of May. I met with him on May 20st and walked out of his office after an hour-long, tear-filled discussion about my marriage. In the end, the decision was mine, but he reminded me that I was Biblically sound in divorcing Pep if that’s what I felt led to do.

I had peace for the first time in months as I walked out into the sunshine. I felt the weight lifted off me. I knew that Jesus was with me and that while what would come next would not be easy, I had made my decision and felt it was the right one. I called Pep and told him I wanted a divorce. He cried and tried to plead his case. I told him I had given him every opportunity for too many years. Now, he had to live with the consequences of his own decisions.