I received an amazing e-mail from a reader, a husband, last week. His wife has engaged in adultery, and he stands ready and willing to forgive her. He didn’t blame himself for her actions, but he did point out areas, weaknesses, in their marriage that led to the dangerous path that they now walk. For whatever reason, hearing this expressed by a man was overwhelmingly powerful to me.
Toward the end of his letter he wrote how “nice” it was to be able to open up to someone who had gone through the “same thing,” and then he added, “albeit for different reasons”. Those words hit me with blunt force because everyone who is cheated on needs to know the reason why, just as everyone who cheats (and then desires repentance) needs to identify the root of his or her sin. And there are a million different “reasons” for adultery that I believe fall into three main categories: addiction, discontentment, and revenge. But as I read and reread that line, I became freshly aware of the one real reason.
Men and women cheat because they are not satisfied in their marriages.
Does it sound like I’m backtracking…undoing everything I’ve been saying for over a year? Well, I’m not; so please stay with me. No one who cheats does so while receiving satisfaction from their spouse. But, although there might be serious problems in the marriage, that does not make the adultery the fault of the betrayed spouse. The fault lies in a lie…that one ever could or should receive satisfaction and fulfillment from another person.
Papa Bear and I know a little something about this.
He wrote about his root issues here, but suffice it to say that my husband’s desire to cheat had nothing to do with me or my actions as a wife. In fact, when he fell in love with me he thought he had found a way out of the madness. His intense love for me would save him, he thought. And when I fell short (and I will always fall short), he became quickly disillusioned.
We’re not unusual in this regard. We’re just an extreme version of an everyday story that is playing out in homes across the world. If you are expecting your spouse to save you, if you need his love to make you whole, you cannot promise to not go searching. Our spouses can never satisfy us, because our hearts’ cry is not for them.
Do you believe this? If so, I have only one question to ask you this morning…
Who satisfies you?
And in this case, there is only One right answer.