Ladies … can we talk? I want to clear the air, drop some truth, and close the lid on the self-blame you just can’t let go of. If you’ve been where I’ve been, and you’re husband just walked away, and there are people in your life who claim to be Christians making all sorts of justifications for it, then you need to hear what I have to say.
If you’re holding on to the broken pieces of an annihilated marriage and the people who are supposed to be lifting you up and pulling you through it, are blaming your husband’s failures as a husband on you, then you need to hear this more than I need to say it. And if you can’t move forward, can’t forgive yourself, and are replaying the last five, ten, or eighteen years of your marriage over in your head … hear this:
You are not to blame for your husband’s sin.
A year ago I found myself at the receiving end of an affair. I was devastated, confused, and had no idea how to handle the explosives that were going off in my life. I immediately turned to God, my Bible, and anyone who looked like they had a good relationship with Christ because I knew He was the only one who had the answers, and I sure didn’t have them.
But, instead of being met with the TRUTH, I was given a laundry list of excuses and justifications for my then husband’s behavior, was met by people who downplayed the gravity of it (probably because they were given a one-sided version of nothing that resembled the actual facts), was confronted by those who claimed to be Christian with twisted scripture (who were clearly confused on who they were supposed to be confronting and the book they were supposed to be using), and was straight up blamed for his affair.
And I believed it…
Well, they had a “bad marriage.” She didn’t treat him right.
You know she never had sex with him, what did she expect? It takes two you know. She must have driven him to it. He’s perfect, so even his own actions couldn’t have possibly been his fault.
Well…you made me do it. If you were “better, smaller, faster, stronger,” then I wouldn’t have [insert whatever yours did to you here].
I didn’t see it coming, wanted my marriage, and was desperately searching for straight answers that I should have known I would never get. In the process, I took on so much self-blame that I adopted the space on the floor underneath the doormat in an attempt to rectify the list of reasons I came up with for why my husband didn’t want me.
We were not perfect wives, but …
Like you, I wasn’t a perfect wife. I think there’s no greater wake-up call than an affair to come to the realization of that fact, but I was a good wife – a loving, devoted, and loyal wife, one who did many things well and was always working to improve upon the things that I didn’t. I was serious when I took my vows and even more serious about keeping them. Chances are, you were too.
But when you stood at that alter on your wedding day, you didn’t promise to be a perfect wife – a promise you couldn’t possibly deliver on. What you did promise was to love, honor, be faithful to, and serve your husband, and he promised the same to you. Every single vow was based on unconditional love – not perfection, an impossible standard to meet if you’re not Jesus. Your obligation was to keep your vows and continue to grow, try, and love – in order to do so.
When someone steps outside their marriage, they usually do one of three things: They hide it, repent, or get caught. If they get caught, they won’t fess up and own up. They’ll look for ways to rationalize their behavior, shift the blame, create justifications that ease their conscience so they can continue doing it, base their willingness to stop on your efforts to change the “issues” that weren’t issues until they looked through the goggles of adultery, and they will go to great lengths to cover up their deception.
This isn’t new behavior – all of these things were being done long before the affair actually happened because an affair manifests in the spiritual realm of pride long before it manifests as a physical act.
Finally, you will then see the man who signed on to protect you, gut your marriage and use you as a scapegoat to justify it; and just like any man with an addiction, he will surround himself with enablers who make it easier for him to do it.The 'Eve made me do it' excuse has been well-played since the beginning of time.Click To Tweet
It’s funny, how a marriage is suddenly “bad” when one party in it steps outside of it. Yet, expecting a husband to look at his marriage the same way after he’s met a perfect Proverbs 5, is like trying to walk a straight line intoxicated. Your yard can’t compete with that green grass until the septic tank underneath it is exposed. And that bad marriage will be “all your fault” because you made your husband bite that apple from the tree.
But was it really your failures as a wife that led to your husband’s absolute inability to keep his vows? Did Eve let sin into the world when she ate from the apple, or did Adam fall asleep at the wheel and let a snake come rollin’ up on his turf?
Let’s be clear, it was Adam who was entrusted to care for Eve and it was Adam who was off doing who knows what when Satan dropped in for a visit. And over and over in the Bible you see it playing out the same way – people blaming other people, God, or Satan for their sins in order to escape responsibility and the repentance that would turn them from it.
There is absolutely no biblical justification whatsoever for stepping outside of a marriage. Not one. Even if you were a nag, dressed like a sock, couldn’t produce an “heir,” struggled with depression, didn’t heal fast enough, didn’t roll out the red carpet when your man got home from work, got a wrinkle, had the worst case of bed-head ever, or had sex less than 22 times a month … it is not your fault.
You are not responsible for your husband’s adultery, no more than you are responsible for his repentence. You did not make him lie. You are not responsible for his refusal to emotionally connect or communicate with you. You did not put him in another woman’s bed, drive him into another woman’s arms, or put his mouth on hers. You did not make him give up – on his vows to God or his vows to you. You certainly didn’t make him put you last and you certainly didn’t make him choose her first. And, it is impossible for you to make the choice to love you, for him.
You are not the reason your husband stepped out and you are not the reason he isn’t coming back.
The truth is, his relationship with God was broken long before he stepped outside of his marriage and he turned his back on God before he turned his back on you. I know, you heard that it takes “two” to break a marriage, but that’s simply not true. A marriage is between you, God, and your husband, entered into voluntarily by two people, but can be broken by one.
In order to heal your relationship with your spouse, he first needs to heal his relationship with Christ and you can’t seek forgiveness on his behalf to reconcile a space in his relationship with Christ created by his sin.
Taking the blame for something that doesn’t belong to you, only keeps him from dealing with the things that belong to him. You can only take responsibility for you and your choices, working on the areas you need to work on as a wife or as a person, but knowing that none of those inadequacies ever justifies the shattered vow of faithfulness, a lack of repentance, or the non-existent effort on his part to reconcile. Because let’s face it … if he married you, you’re worth it.