We've all heard the expression, "Once a cheater, always a cheater."
I'm going to challenge you all today to justify that quote. Is that really true? Can no one ever change? Is it the ultimate trangression not worthy of forgiveness? Or can you move past it, avoiding the pain of divorce? I'd love to hear from you.
I am fortunate that I've never been cheated on nor have I crossed the line on Rex. (Though I have had the occasional dream where a younger man, who likes country music, brews me coffee and scratches my back "just because". But this all happens while I'm slumbering - a complete different kind of sleeping around.)
Perhaps because my trust has never been violated I am able to delve less emotionally into this touchy (pun intended) subject. I'm asking you to do the same. Again, I'm not asking you to condone cheating in marriage. I'm asking you to look at some reasons why people cheat.
Like alcohol abuse - where it's never just about the drinking - extra marital affairs (or porn addiction) are often about numbing the pain. It's about about running from uncomfortable feelings ranging from shame, abandonment, anger or depression. Oh sure, a cheater can say "My wife's ass got fatter than J-Lo's paycheck" or "My husband got more boring than a televised chess tournament in slow-mo" but the weight and the doldrums often rise from a lack of intimacy with one's partner. It's easier to eat a Ding-Dong than discuss the budget one more night. It's simpler to dance at a bar with single friends than find a passionate activity to connect you to your dull spouse. (Again, not justifying sex outside of marriage!)
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one only has to look at Tiger Woods with his beautiful/devoted wife to see that rampant cheating doesn't always have to do with looks, attention, wealth or fame. It's about deep roots of inadequacy. It's about lashing out with poor choices to make one feel temporarily better because it's simply too devastating to face the truth and heal.
One of my favorite radio personalities, Stephen Arterburn, gets into the nitty gritty of subjects like sexual integrity and pornography and affairs and infidelity.
He has a Christian worldview, but he's far from a passive ninny who uses God as a coverall for all poor choices. He talks about the psychology of cheating, and offers not only books and talks on the subject, but seminars devoted to transforming painful pasts into peaceful and joyful futures. He advocates for families. He advocates for courage. He advocates for healing.
He's also funny as all get out. I really want to have coffee with him one day. (But I won't hit on him or try to have an affair with him. But I will take some copies of his books. I'll also barrage him with some really bad jokes about porn addiction. "Is it tough to get a handle on the situation?"... "Isn't the wife tired of always getting the shaft?" ... "Man, those must be some hard seminars to run." Yeah, I'm real classy that way.)
So I'm putting it on the table: If the core issues why someone cheats are addressed, is it possible to survive in marriage? More than survive, is it possible to thrive?
* Photo on top from All Posters.com. Photo below of one of Arterburn's books and the subject of many of his seminars.Posted by Andrea Frazer
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