Consequences of an Affair (The Love Project, Day 10)

time suitcaseNot long ago, I ran across a column by advice columnist Carolyn Hax that touches upon a topic that, for most couples, is simply unthinkable: infidelity. This particular column caught my attention because it is written from the perspective of … the one who cheated, and lived to regret it. Even more remarkable . . . it was the wife who did the cheating. It reads in part:

Ask yourself, when you get ready to send the next email, or make the next call, or set the next clandestine meeting: “Is my family worth it?” — and not just the big overarching question. Picture living in a separate apartment — away from your kids. Picture him telling your in-laws what you’ve done. Picture having to tell your parents. Picture having to divvy up the next Christmas between morning and evening. And when your kids are old enough to really get it, picture the judgment of you they’ll always have. You’ll be the one who did this.

The idea that there is one person in this world who alone can guarantee your lifelong happiness — and that finding this one person is justification enough to do whatever is necessary to BE with that person — is the salted caramel on the poison apple of self-delusion. Marriage is meant to endure not because it is the path of never-ending bliss, but because it is the foundation of both family and society. That path involves real sacrifice at times, crosses that under our own power would be utterly unbearable. And yet, the sacrament of marriage is replete with graces that will fortify us if we choose to avail outselves of that healing and fortifying balm.

It is one thing to separate from an abusive or addicted spouse, for the sake of your sanity or safety. But in the words of a recent Facebook meme: “If he doesn’t care about your soul, he’s not your soulmate.”

Today’s Love in Action: Do you ever find yourself lingering wistfully over thoughts of a bygone romance, or wondering what your life would be like now “if only . . .”? Recognize the temptation, and close your mind firmly against it — take it to confession, if necessary. Instead, invest those energies in more constructive ways. Give yourself a little pick-me-up, if you’ve let your self-care go by the wayside. Then make a list of 5-10 things you love about your spouse . . . and read it to him after the kids are in bed.

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