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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Price Of Infidelity {Wedded Wednesday}

What happens when you cheat on your spouse?

I'm not just talking about the clandestine meeting in a distant motel room, or the 'fling' at an out-of-town conference.

One of the most serious forms of infidelity takes place without any physical intimacy whatsoever...it's infidelity of the heart, emotional infidelity.

Why 'most serious'? because you promised your heart to your husband or wife...exclusively.

Give your heart to someone else, and you've taken it away from the person who has a rightful claim. That's one definition of theft.

But really...what happens? How does this mess play out in a marriage, in the real world?

The effects are powerful, and they can't be erased. You can't go back and say, "It didn't mean anything!"

It meant enough to break a vow.

Saying "I couldn't help myself!" is no excuse. Everything in betrayal is an intentional act, from answering a text to removing one's clothes.

So, before answering that text from the gal at work who makes your pulse race, just a little, or the email from the guy who seems so witty and cultured and fun...read on, and know the price you'll demand of the person you promised to honour before God.

If the affair...no, betrayal is kept secret, the wronged spouse often has the idea that something is wrong. There's a slight shift in the ground underfoot; what was once solid has the occasional tremor.

It's unpleasant and unsettling, but many - perhaps most - spouses can choose to ignore it, at least for a time. But it's a shadow across the sun, all the same.

The can feel an emotional distance, and find that sometimes a phone may be quickly snapped shut as they approach, or email logged out, while the screen is blocked by a quickly-turning mate with a too-ready smile.

There might be a text message that's a bit puzzling...was this meant for someone else?

Or a receipt for lunch at a restaurant never visited.

Some husbands or wives will ask, directly..."What the heck is going on?"

And usually there's a glib and smooth reply...because the cheating spouse is living on tenterhooks, afraid to be found out. Excuses and explanations are constantly being flipped through a mental Rolodex, against just those questions.

And then, sometimes, horribly, the cat comes prancing out of the bag.

This is where the price comes in...the price the wronged spouse is forced to pay. Sure, the cheater pays a price, too...but generally later, and, to be honest, deservedly so.

The first item on the bill is loss of the shared past.

Infidelity is what they call a game-changer. It cuts the present off from the past; the betrayal obviates the happy memories built over the years, turns them to ash.

All those years together...meant nothing. And it's hard to lose the meaning of a huge chunk of the past.

The second item is isolation. Where there was once a team, now there are two individuals, and the loyalty of one has fallen away. You can't know what tomorrow will bring, and you can't plan, or even really ask.

And third...and in a way worst...is what I call Groundhog Day.

It's that state between sleeping and waking in the morning, when for a quiet minute everything bad seems like it was a nightmare, that everything's really all right.that nothing really happened. It was all a dream, a bad dream.

But it wasn't, and the heart is broken again, anew, every morning.

Does the person you married deserve this?

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information. It's run by Beth Steffaniak, who has a heart for marriage and a soul for God!


  1. "Infidelity is what they call a game-changer. It cuts the present off from the past; the betrayal obviates the happy memories built over the years, turns them to ash."

    To me, this was one of the hardest costs of my previous spouse's betrayals. Even all of the 'happy' memories were proven to be founded on lies. Even the fun times with our children were tainted. That's a high cost...being robbed of carefree memories of fun times with children.

    1. How awful...Joe I am so very sorry.

      Thank you for contributing. I know that must have hurt, to describe what you went through.

  2. This post is so powerful, Andrew. It truly describes some of the ways an affair can "cut and twist a knife" in the heart of the betrayed spouse. They say that infatuation is chemically and biologically the same as being drunk. I think that explains a bit of the denial and insensitivity that the person committing the affair must have. But it also shows how very deceptive and unrealistic this pursuit--an affair--can be. It's a foolish and destructive path that I hope everyone who is lulled into it recognizes--sobering up and repenting of the damage done. Hugs to you, my friend. Prayed this morning for you to sense God's presence more and more with each passing day.

    1. It's a very apt parallel with drunkenness, Beth. Both the 'popular' description of infatuation (giddy, lightheaded, intoxicated with 'love') and the chemical response point there.

      It also does take away a sense of personal responsibility, and that is the aspect that has to be corrected.

      Great comment - thanks!

  3. Great post! I felt very betrayed in my first marriage - not by infidelity; but by alcohol chosen over wife, children...family. Not wishing to bring two small children up in an alcholic family - with one who chose NOT to seek help...or actually, to seek help, over and over and over again. Not the life I wanted for myself OR the children...so I left.

    Now, I realize alcholism is a "disease" as some would put it; but to consistently seek help; go back to drinking; seek help; go back drinking...etc. etc. I had had enough of it!

    And, I admit, I wasn't perfection in that marriage either, not in those later days when he made his choices; I made mine - and not always the best choices ...'nuff said.

    But, now I face another betrayal, not mine first hand; but an infidelity against my son by his wife, my daughter in law...after almost 15 years of marriage, and trying to conceive during this time. She chose to have an affair; and became pregnant. After almost 15 years??? I was devastated; and my son was blind-sided - working out of town to provide for his family (his wife and step-daughter-he is the ONLY father she has ever known and he has been with them since she was 2 years old!!).

    Sorry, Andrew! This post hit me in so many ways and I appreciate your sharing these words. Thank you for sharing...thank you for letting me "vent"!!

    Thank you...

    1. I'm so sorry for the hard situations you've had to face, and the one your son is facing now. My prayers are with you.

      Thank you so much for feeling that this is a safe place to tell your story - that 's a very high compliment, and I am honoured by your candour.

      God bless, Barbara.

  4. Another powerful post, Andrew. You're hitting them out of the park these days. Keep going, man ...

    1. Linda, thank you so much. That means a LOT to me. I really, really want to do a good job here.

  5. A great and powerful post. My husband of almost 11 years had an emotional affair last year. When I found out the pain was almost unbearable. The anger, the feeling that everything about us and about him was a lie. He is the only person I ever thought truly loved me and I felt like he didn’t love me and never had. In his mind he knew what he was doing was wrong but he think he was “cheating” and he didn’t see it as having an affair because there was no physical relationship. But I sure did. He chose her over us. I did not think our marriage could ever survive this. And for a while I wasn’t sure I even wanted it to. I didn’t think I would ever be able to forgive him or trust him again. It was an unbelievably painful time in our lives. But Praise God, He put us together years ago and He worked in me and gave me the strength and the want in my heart to fight for our marriage and the desire for our marriage to be restored. Today we are stronger, better and closer than ever. It would have been easier in some ways to have walked away. This forced me to take a good look at myself and to see my mistakes in our marriage and the many ways I treated him wrong and to really accept the part I played in it all. There is no excuse for what he did, and there was no excuse for treating him the way I did either. He is a good man. He just made a really bad choice.

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