Category Archives: Cheating

The pastor who said quit FB or resign was involved in affairs himself. Should our past stop us from ministering?

The pastor who told his church leaders to either quit Facebook or resign their leadership posts has created a buzz again when it was discovered that the good reverend had an affair himself–with his wife and a male church assistant!  As I understand it, the threesome was ten years ago, so it predated Facebook, and even though they participated together, it would be considered sexual impurity.  Then in 2003 there was a criminal case against the male church assistant, and that is when the facts of unfaithfulness came to light.

In my article as Portland Infidelity Examiner, The Pastor, Facebook, and Threesomes,  I did examine two relevant topics that have been intertwined: Is Facebook really the CAUSE of infidelity?  Should the pastor’s past unfaithfulness make any difference today?  In summary, my conclusions are no and no!  No–Facebook does not cause infidelity and we would serve married couples MUCH more effectively by teaching them how to be faithful, how to honor their commitment, and how to affair-proof their marriages by restarting Love Kindlers and ending Love Extinguishers!  Facebook is not the CAUSE of infidelity–infidelity is a symptom of a much greater illness in the marriage.  And No–what he did in the past and repented of has been forgiven if he confessed his sin.  If it’s forgiven, it is gone and irrelevant to the topic at hand.

BUT that the concept of forgiveness brings up a really tender topic for me that I’d like to address right out loud.  One of my good friends, The Holy Handmaiden, recently wrote a post about being Inadequate, and the two of us have been going back and forth a bit about how we both feel less that suitable to do what we’ve been called to do!  Like Moses, we sort of tell God, “But…but…but  I stutter!  You can’t want ME to go talk to pharaoh!”  Of course our heads realize He is the Almighty God and He’s arranged our lives precisely so we are the vessel He can use, but when it comes time to actually do it…well it can be intimidating.  Especially in my line of work, so many times people say to me, in a somewhat ‘holier-than-thou’ tone: “How can YOU teach people about infidelity and marriage.  You were divorced!  You haven’t had a marriage that lasted for decades” and you know what?  They’re right!

Here’s the truth.  I’m no more perfect than any of you.  In fact, I can say that I’ve had times in my life when I messed up BADLY!  One of the reasons my ex and I did divorce is that I married a man who was not a Christian–mainly because he was cute and because I liked him and didn’t want God to tell me what to do!  And the price I paid for that outright disobedience was a divorce and losing my family.  I could go on and on, but I’m sure you can all identify with looking back on your life when you were ‘young and dumb’ and realizing “Oh yeah–that was wrong.” Ideally God wants us to grow up in godly households where our parents stay married,  where we learn to obey God, where we marry other Christians, and live our entire lives to His glory.  But in the USA in 2010, pretty few of us come from homes that aren’t broken; we weren’t ‘young and dumb’; we have happy, stable, committed, loving marriages; and we have served God our whole lives.  (Just a note–even MOSES didn’t meet that criteria, and I’m telling ya, God used that man!)

So I have not lived a life that pleased God.  I’ve also paid the consequences for my choices.  And you know why I am still absolutely 100% convinced that this is what God calls me to do?  Because as Christians, part of our central doctrines is Forgiveness.  Our faith recognizes that “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) and that would include Pastor Miller’s past…and mine.  Our faith also recognizes that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just  to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)  We ALL sin!  So if we sincerely repent, ask God for forgiveness, and demonstrate a change toward godly behavior…then guess what?  It’s in the past, forgiven, and irrelevant to the matter at hand!   Yes, I suspect a person who has been happily married for decades, who understands the concepts of Love Kindlers and Love Extinguishers, and who teaches what covenant really is by their life may have a better life witness of those concepts.  After all–they’ve lived them!  But lots of people who persevere in their marriage, do so without husbands loving their wives, wives respecting their husbands, or using their marriage as a mirror of the kind of relationship the Church has with Christ too.  Living together for decades without divorcing is also no guarantee either, I’ve discovered.  Sadly, many of the people we talk to have been married 20 or 30 years or more, and if they neglect their marriage, it can still end up in divorce!

Noah got drunk and laid naked in front of everyone. Jacob got his daughter-in-law pregnant because he thought she was a hooker.  Moses, murdered a man for hitting a Hebrew.  Ruth spent the night with a man who wasn’t her husband at the place that was known for sexual immorality.  King David killed a man so he could commit adultery with his wife.  Even the apostle Paul murdered Christians before he became a Christian.  And God USED THEM because His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  2 Cor. 12:9 says “But he said to me,’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me .”  I join with the Apostle Paul in stating right out loud that I’m inadequate so that Christ’s power can rest on me..  Thankfully I serve the Lord God Almighty and He is more than adequate!

Finding Out: What It Feels Like to Hear that Your Spouse is Having an Affair

As someone who works every day trying to save marriages that are rocked by an affair, I’ve often thought that somehow there is a disconnect between the Disloyal Spouse thinking “Yes I understand that it hurt you but I was hurt too” and the true understanding of what it is like for the Loyal Spouse when they first find out.  Speaking as someone who understands both sides, I can also say that no matter what adjectives a Loyal Spouse may choose to describe it (like “devastating” or “heartbreaking”) there just are not words to explain the bomb that’s been dropped and all the harm that’s been done.  Language is insufficient to convey the full depth of it and it certainly feels as if the Disloyal doesn’t “get it.”  I’ve often wished there was some way to communicate to a Disloyal what it’s like to hear your spouse is having an affair, and yet every different method or wording I’ve tried has fallen short…

…until today.

Dear Hubby and I are taking classes to become certified nouthetic counselors in addition to our marriage coaching.  If you’re wondering, the term “Nouthetic” comes from the Greek verb “noutheteo” (or the noun “nouthesis”) and means “to admonish, to warn, to teach or to counsel.”  The word is found in numerous passages of Scripture and describes the manner in which we are to counsel and help other Christians.  Biblical (nouthetic) Counseling seeks to change the heart, not just alter behavior (Mk. 7:21-23; Prov. 4:23).  One of our classes was given by a man who is a law enforcement chaplain and his class was basically how to tell if it is an urgent situation, an emergency, or a crisis…and what to expect in a crisis situation.  For example, often the person appears disoriented, becomes hypersensitive or confused, has poor concentration, may shake or shiver, and might go into shock.  It was during this class that I heard an example that hit so close to home that I realized it was very similar to the shock one experiences when you hear about the affair for the first time.

Your 17 year old gets his driver’s license and asks you for the car keys to go to the football game.  He’s going to meet his friends there, but he will not be driving any of them in the car and they don’t plan to go out afterward, so you trust him and give him the keys.  He’s responsible and returns home in a timely manner, and pretty soon you have faith in his maturity.  One day he calls and says there’s been a minor fender bender, but no one is injured and information has been exchanged.  There’s a small ding in the trust and it’s urgent but still–he handled it well and these things do happen.  A year goes by with no incident and this time the hospital calls.  There has been an accident and your son was in a car accident; but he just broke his leg and the other driver was at fault.  This is an emergency and is serious, but again all things considered, car accidents do occur…injuries do occur…

Then comes the day you give your son the keys and he says he’ll be home at 11pm, but midnight,1am, 2am, roll around and he doesn’t answer his cell phone.  You’re worried sick and wonder what happened.  At 3am you get a knock on the door and see two uniformed men, one with a chaplains badge on your porch and you know….

…and that moment right there is what it’s like to find out your spouse is having an affair.  That immediate “NOOOOOOO!” and the world dropping out from under your feet.  Everything you loved and lived for is dead, and the initial numbness and disbelief are quickly overshadowed with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and loss.  The pain of hearing your spouse is having an affair has been reported as being greater than a spouse or child dying, and having been there, I’d agree that’s a true statement.  So next time you’re thinking “…I know I hurt you but I hurt too…” just remember the two uniformed officers at the door.

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Tiger Woods, Brad & Angelina….Why do they do it?

Tiger Woods is all the gossip recently for admitting to “transgressions” while married, and he is hardly the first celebrity who seems to have it all and ends up having an affair. Before Tiger there was Charles and Camilla, Brad and Angelina…even the AMAZINGLY beautiful Halle Berry had infidelity in her marriage! To us it seems like these people had everything: Tiger is a world-class golfer and could marry anyone; Charles had Princess Diana for heaven’s sake; Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were the golden couple; and if Halle Berry couldn’t keep her husband it couldn’t possibly be about looks or sex. So the nagging question has to be this: “Why do they do it?”

Affairs are very rarely about looks or sex. I mean, look at Camilla and Princess Di–Prince Charles SURELY is not “trading up” in the looks department there so it couldn’t be about looks! Yet somehow Charles just could not give up Camilla. Why? In a nutshell, it’s because the Other Person (I call them OP) does things that KINDLE love at the same time that the loyal spouse (LS) is doing things to EXTINGUISH love. And we’re all human–we tend to all do that. We get used to each other, the kids come, then the bills… and pretty soon we forget to take the time to do the things we used to do when we were dating.

The first thing I would say about the whole Tiger Woods affair–John Q. Public should give Tiger a break. We are not there and we do not know the facts, so to keep it on the rumor mill like this shows our worst tendencies, not his. Second, it is between him and his wife and family and it’s none of our business! Third, we aren’t there and we don’t know the facts, so let’s not assume that Tiger’s the bad guy and his wife is somehow the victim. In my years of experience in this field what I’ve discovered is that this can happen to anyone if they don’t guard themselves and that usually there was some sort of major relationship breakdown before this that set things in motion to get to where they are today. I’d say we should look at it like Tiger’s hurting, his spouse is hurting, probably the other involved party is hurting, and now they have to go through all that in public too. In order to save their marriage, both parties will need to look at themselves, admit what they did to contribute to this mess, and then do the work necessary to change than and become a better person. If they both stop the actions that extinguish love and start again to do the things that kindle love–well honestly they could have a whole new, more intimate, more wonderful marriage!!