There is an old lawyer’s adage that goes like this: “When the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the law is on your side, argue the law. And when you don’t have either the law or the facts on your side, call the other lawyer names.”
Sadly, this not only works on matters of law, but on the matter of adultery as well, as when an adulterer is finally caught and exposed for who he is, most often, instead of showing legitimate humility leading to contrition, he will go on the attack, questioning the character, conduct, and motives of the innocent spouse who has been devastated by his betrayal.
For those who have never been a victim of adultery, and therefore may question my conclusion, I ask, if possible and appropriate, talk to friends who have lost their spouses to the sin. They’ll tell you the heartbreaking truth. Not only did they see their lives ruined, they were then verbally, and sometimes physically, attacked by the very persons who wounded them so deeply. I know this is true because, as a lay minister/counselor who has devoted his ministry to helping adulterers and their victims alike, I have seen this truth time and time again.
The why of this matter is rooted in this one fact -- adulterers have a narcissistic personality. Meaning, their every thought and action is dedicated to themselves. Others are of no concern except as they might affect the life of the narcissist. An adulterer is within himself a paradox. That is, he has entered into a spiritual contract with another, as well as God, that by its nature is one of personal sacrifice and care for others (spouse and children), yet his very reason for living is his own satisfaction. So often in my counseling I have had an adulterer say, “But I have a right to be happy!” Here’s a fact of spiritual life -- no one has a right to be happy at the expense of others.
Adulterers, who have been exposed as such, are like cornered animals. They will lash out, attack, and do whatever necessary to redirect the focus of any conversation that tries to address the betrayal. They will blame-shift -- “my wife made me do it -- she no longer has an interest in sexual relations -- she’s gained so much weight” or the ultimate fallback position, “she doesn’t understand me.”
They will also act as if they were a potted plant in the matter -- “it just happened” -- they often try the “it’s no big deal” approach (it was “just” sex) -- and “I still love my wife and family.” I’ve heard hundreds of pathetic excuses, and they all amount to nothing. Why? Because there is no defense for adultery, none. When you commit adultery you’re acting as if you’re a follower of Judas. You’re betraying God, your Savior, your spouse, and children; everyone who should be important to you.
But, like the lawyer who doesn’t have the law or facts on his side, eventually things get very personal, as in a last-ditch effort adulterers will eventually attack their spouse -- and there is no level to which they will not sink.
At this point the adulterer is like the Wizard of Oz, who, after being exposed by Toto as nothing but a mere mortal, says “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” In this case, “the man behind the curtain” is a metaphor for once loving spouses who have destroyed their families -- and in doing so, themselves. “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He [who] does so destroys his own soul.” (Proverbs 6:32 NKJV)
In marriage counseling, adulterers almost always try to redirect the focus to the victim of their selfishness. They want the counselor (and their friends and family) to know that their betrayal isn’t the problem, it’s the response of the victim to their betrayal that’s the problem.
They’re trying to work things out, but the wife isn’t being “understanding.” She isn’t being trusting. She’s turning the kids against him. She’s making his life so terribly difficult. She’s upset his parents. She’s…she’s…she’s. An adulterer can go on for hours in this vein.
Adulterers, who give themselves license to offend anyone, including God, can’t seem to understand the stress their spousal victims experience. One second they believe they have a wonderful life with someone they trust implicitly, and the next their world is destroyed by finding their spouse is sharing his/her life with another.
How low an adulterer will go in the aftermath of the exposure of his affair is his willingness to use his children as a human shield. “She’s turning the kids against me” he will moan. In all my years I have yet to have anyone, on their own, acknowledge that they, and they alone, were responsible for the wedge that is suddenly between themselves and their children.
Too often the adulterer acts as if the spouse is responsible for their failing relationship with other family members. Adulterers will say, “But I love my children.” To that I say, “No you don’t, or you wouldn’t be in the process of destroying their childhood, and most likely influencing the rest of their lives in the most negative ways possible. “Talk,” as they say, “is cheap.” “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)
My goal in this article is to forewarn the victims of adultery of what they almost assuredly will be up against in a divorce caused by their spouse’s betrayal; or if and when they try and save their marriage.
And if you turn to a counselor who wants to spend anymore than 10 seconds on the “why” of the adultery, or if you feel you’re being made the cause and focus of your spouse’s failure(s), leave. Run! Find a counselor who begins and ends their focus with the Word of God, which says -- "You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14)
Edward Mrkvicka is an award winning Christian author, lay minister/counselor, and lifelong Bible student.
He is the author of The Prayer Promise of Christ, named Christian Book of the Year by Books & Authors.net.
His newest book, No Innocent Affair: Making Right the Wrong of Adultery, will be available on September 20, 2011. It can be preordered at: http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781617777684
Ed’s web site is located at: www.EdwardFMrkvickaJr.com