Can your husband be both good and bad at the same time? If he betrays you, does that mean the love wasn’t real?

This week on To Love, Honor and Vacuum we’ve been looking at how to rebuild trust. We started with talking about how in Christian circles women have too often been taught to “respect” totally inappropriately, and that that can actually make marriage problems far worse. And then we’ve talked about porn addictions.

I want to end the week on hopefully a happier note–or at least a healing note. Every Friday I write a short, 400 word piece with one thought to take you through the weekend. I thought some of you may need this thought.

Sheila’s Marriage Moment: Was It All Just a Lie?

If your husband betrays you, by having an affair or watching porn or something awful, can you still trust the good memories? A bit of a pep talk.

When you’ve been blindsided by an affair, or discovering your husband’s porn use, or something that makes you feel as if your husband rejected you, does that mean that everything else was a lie?

I recently received this email from a reader:

I feel like hubby and I are finally building a new standard for our relationship after 7 years of lies about the porn addiction. However, what I do struggle with now is knowing how to look back on our memories. Every time I remember something I used to cherish, I feel that it was all fake, like I was living a lie and I get this sick feeling in my stomach. I don’t know how to look at the “pre-porn-discovery” days without a sense of everything being tainted by lies.

I understand her pain. Can you?

Let me tell you about a family I used to know. Two boys in their late teens. Two very involved parents who were at every game. They took fun vacations as a family. They were a unit.

Then one summer the dad, out of the blue, confessed to an affair with a younger woman and moved in with her, and her three very young children.

Obviously the wife was devastated. But so were the boys. And they basically cut off contact with him (which really I totally understand). What was haunting them, though, was the question, “Did he ever really love us?”

He chose a younger woman over his faithful, fun wife. He chose three toddlers over his two teenagers. Was his love ever real?

One of the things I find most amazing about Scripture is how God talks about deeply flawed people. He calls David, a guy who committed adultery and plotted to have someone killed, was a man “after his own heart.”

How does that compute?

God sees what we want to be. God sees the desires of our hearts. And He knows that sometimes our actions don’t match up with those desires. But He judges us by whether our hearts really love Him.

That doesn’t mean sin doesn’t matter. There were real-life consequences for David. But David also repented and still loved God through it all, even if, for a time, he let his focus fall.

One of the hardest things to do in a relationship is to understand that someone can be both good and bad at the same time. That doesn’t mean that the bad doesn’t matter; it only means that the good matters, too.

If your husband has hurt you, feel that hurt. Don’t deny it. Don’t diminish it. Deal with it appropriately. But also remember that it’s okay to remember the good times. Your husband’s sin has hijacked your present. That doesn’t mean it has to steal your past, too.

I’ve written at length about this before in my article on the Hamilton musical. But when we were speaking at the Jasper marriage conference recently, I shared that concept, and a few women came up to me afterwards and told me how much it had helped them. So I just thought it needed to be said again. 

Friday Roundup on To Love, Honor and Vacuum

What’s #1 at To Love, Honor and Vacuum?

#1 Post on the Blog: 10 Signs You’re Respecting Your Husband Too Much
#1 on the Blog Overall: 20 Two Player Games To Play With Your Husband

#2 from Facebook: Can We Cause Someone To Sin?
#3 from Pinterest: Creating Christmas Traditions When You Don’t Have Kids

I’m Done Until January!

I flew back from British Columbia last night and I’m done until January! No more speaking until we head back to Arizona and California after Christmas. I’m really excited to have a month to myself to get some work done and to start knitting some Christmas presents! I’ll do more of an update next week, but for now, I’m a little jetlagged. So I hope you have a great weekend, everyone!

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