"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mailbag Monday ... Being a Help Meet Through Infidelity

As a blogger who tackles controversial topics, I get some unusual, gross, and sometimes angry (Sometimes?  Make that OFTEN!) emails from readers who either disagree with me or want me to fix whatever problems they have created for themselves.

Recently I received the following email.  There isn't really a question in the email, just a wife expressing a collection of emotions about her husband's infidelity.  What struck me (and convinced me to address this email) was the faith that is evident behind the words of this woman and her resolve to work out the problem with her husband.  Of course, the fact that she doesn't use bad language like so many others, is a huge plus.  So, here is a portion of her email ...

I used to think that what you wrote about submission was a load of garbage, but recently my refusal as a wife came home to roost in our house.  A couple months ago I found out that my husband has been having sex with a woman from his plant.... What an ugly scene when I confronted them.  It was awful - I screamed and carried on like a lunatic....  When I calmed down enough to talk to him, he told me that he can't count on me, that I've promised him things and never came through.  He said that"she" understands him, and that she gives him things (sexual - I'm not going into details, you can guess) that I don't give him....  She "speaks his language," and he feels like she really knows him and what he needs.  He said that he feels like he can open up to her, and that he can't do the same with me....  I'm really angry with him for cheating, but I'm also angry at myself for not seeing how my attitude was affecting him.  I never really took his desires seriously.  I kept putting him off for different things he wanted, I told him that someday I would, maybe next week, maybe, maybe, maybe.... If I would have just submitted to him I could have avoided this....  Then he just stopped asking so I thought he lost interest and wouldn't ask again....  And now he attached himself to somebody else....  I'm not sure how this will play out, but I'm hoping that somehow he will get bored with her or vice-versa, that I will be a better wife for of him, and that God will place it in my heart to forgive him.  I don't know how long it will take or if it will happen at all, but I pray that it will.
*Because this letter was from a wife and not a husband, I'm going to address her and her portion of the issues as I see them.  I say "as I see them," because I do not know these people, nor do I know the entire history that led up to this moment.  What I glean from reading the above words is that it is a bedroom-related issue as well as a submission issue, as stated by her words, not mine (possibly the two are intertwined?).  Anyway, I am by no means placing all the onus on women to fix all of their marital problems, but merely addressing the email as I see it.  I'm going to utter my opinion along with some other stuff that ive learned along the way.  I am not an expert in these matters, and this response isn't meant to be an easy fix or an answer to a question (as there wasn't a question in her email).  It is what it is - just a guy spewing out yet another opinion. 

Okay, on to my response ....


First of all, I don't think there is a person on earth who blames you for screaming and carrying on like a lunatic.  To bring adultery into a marriage bed is abhorent, to say the least, on the part of your husband.

That said, I think your insight into the situation is amazing.  I'm impressed by the grace you are showing toward him.  I'm not in any way saying that he isn't wrong for straying, but in recognition of marriage as the proverbial "two-way street," and since you are the one who responded to my blog, I'm going to give you my "take" on what you wrote.

First things first.  You should watch this video, then this one, then this one. Then come back and read the rest of my post.  Go ahead and watch the videos, I'll wait ..............
It's true.  There are women out there who are willing to be the woman of his dreams, women with whom your husband will become friendly, in a perfectly natural, innocent way, by matter of circumstance.  Most of these are relationships over which he has no control.  That's just the way it is.  If he goes out to a job, there will undoubtedly be women there - women he has to work with, women he is "teamed-up" with.  One consequence of these working conditions is that he will have female friends.  Most of these women will act very professionally, but occasionally one will not.  Unless he is very strong, he will be tempted at some point by someone he meets ...
  • at work
  • in church
  • at your kids' school
  • while attending activities
  • in the neighborhood
  • you name it ...
In today's world, anywhere (or I should say EVERYWHERE) your husband goes, he is bombarded with visual and spoken temptation, from the way women dress (or don't dress, to be more precise) to the out-of-bounds, inappropriate jokes that are told by both genders.

"But because there is so much immorality, every man should have his own wife, and every woman should have her own husband. A man should fulfill his duty as a husband, and a woman should fulfill her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other's needs. A wife is not the master of her own body, but her husband is; in the same way a husband is not the master of his own body, but his wife is. Do not deny yourselves to each other, unless you first agree to do so for a while in order to spend your time in prayer; but then resume normal marital relations. In this way you will be kept from giving in to Satan's temptation because of your lack of self-control." 
(1 Corinthians 7:2-5)

The inference I get from your letter is that your husband is getting sexual gratification from this woman.  I am by no means condoning his behavior, but I will say that the more satisfied he is at home, the less susceptible he will be to temptation away from home.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
(Genesis 2:18)

By being a help meet for him you will have his back and will be the proper assistant especially for him and his needs.  FYI: "help meet" is two (2) words, not one.
Help (n.): that which gives assistance
Meet (adj.): precisely adapted to a particular situation, need, or circumstance
In other words, your job as his help meet is to assist him with his needs in a proper way, (proper for what he needs rather than what the average person needs, or what the media says he should need, or what you think he needs.  

I found a disturbing study recently (I can't place my finger on it right now, so if someone else is familiar with this study, PLEASE write to me and point me to it so I can give proper credit where credit is due).  According to this study, the majority of men who remarry after a divorce, do so because the new wife will do things that the ex-wife would not do.  In addition, the same study found that women will do things for their second husbands that they would not do for their ex-husbands.
 I'm disturbed by this because of the idiocy of the whole idea.  If the first wife and the first husband would only communicate and educate themselves, the whole fiasco wouldn't have to occur. (Oy vey!)
Okay, it's time for the question of questions.  Why do people choose to get married?  The answers differ significantly between men and women.

First, there are a whole slew of reasons why women choose to get married, including
  • Love - hey this is the BIG one, right?  Two people meet and fall in love, then they live happily ever after.
  • The need to have children - The biological clock starts ticking and time is of the essence.
  • Security - The need to be taken care of is a big reason for some women to get married.
  • Tradition - Get married, because "that's what we're supposed to do."
Why do men choose to get married?

While some of the reasons above are certainly valid motives for men, there is one thing a man gets out of marriage that he is largely unable to obtain elsewhere:  Regular sexual intimacy.

Before you start writing to me telling me what an idiot I am, hear me out.

Just think about it for a minute.  I am not saying that sex is the only thing men are looking for.  On the contrary, as I stated above, each of the reasons women choose to marry is also a valid reason for men.

However, here's some food for thought:

Everything you give your husband, he can get the same or better from his best friend, with the exception of sexual intimacy.  The only person he's allowed  to get physically (sexually) intimate with is you.   And that intimacy (or lack thereof) can make or break him.

Oh yeah, and, um ... sexual activity and sexual intimacy are not necessarily the same thing (more about that in a future post).

I can almost hear what you're saying:
"No way!  My husband can't get the same kind of relationship from his best friend as he gets from me!  After all, I'm his wife!"

Let's run through a few possibilities.
  • "I always show great respect for my husband." ... so does his best friend.  In fact, in most cases the respect between two male friends is so deep they will show up to help each other without even thinking about consequences for doing so.  
  • "My husband and I communicate very well.  We talk about everything." ... so does his best friend.  In fact, there is not a better person to lend an open, perfectly non-judgmental ear than a best friend.
  • My husband can always count on me." ... I read recently (another source that I can't find right now, when I need it) that men are more likely to rely on a best friend to keep his word  ("My word is my bond") than from anyone else, including a spouse.

Your task, then, as his wife is to learn what he needs and become that help meet, that best friend, in the truest sense of the term.

If this other woman is giving him something that you don't give him, you need to find out what that is, and if you are, in fact, his wife (his "help meet"), and you are earnest in your desire to restore your marriage, then you have to do your part, regardless of whether it changes his mind or his behavior.  You need to find a way to be the helper who was made particularly for him, to fill his precise, quirky, weirdo need.
  • Pray for guidance and pray that God will change you into a help, meet for your husband.
  • Pray for him, as he is living in sin and is in need of repentance.
  • Learn whatever it is that he needs from you. Learn what true biblical submission is (but don't be a doormat).
  • Start practicing what you learn.  Show him that you are sincere in wanting to reconcile and  in wanting to be the woman of his dreams.  Become his best friend.  Make sure he can count on you.
Well, that's all I have.  I'm not sure my words will be of any help to you.  I am just one genuine husband spouting off about stuff I've read and knowledge I've come across.   It may be helpful or it may be drivel.  You decide.

From the inside out,

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