One of the things about our particular sect that I've always admired is the very low divorce rate. When I was younger I thought it was particularity beautiful because I had the illusion that people not only stayed together, but that they had wonderful, healthy, beautiful relationships and unconditional love for each other. As I got older I started to hear more and more about the kinds of things that went on behind the scenes. Abuse, control, neglect, apathy, and.. Infidelity. I began to wonder why these things happen if our faith is so great? If Jesus is walking with us, why does He allow these things to happen? It began to be obvious to me that not all people stayed together because of their love and commitment to each other but perhaps because of the social pressure to do so. If they had such deep love and commitment to each other surely these things wouldn't happen, over and over and over. Yes, forgiveness is important but the Bible also tells us "Let us not love with word or with tongue but with deed and with truth." -John 3:17-18
The following posting is from a person who watched her mother suffer from her fathers repeated infidelity.
"I didn't ask to be raised the way I was. In fact I had no say in any of my childhood that just wasn't the way it was. You did what you were told and you believed what was preached high on the pulpit. It was a sin to question whether the things taught were right or wrong. Questions were not welcome. most of us didn't question anything aloud, silently we battled our doubts and fears and just prayed that we would over come them and move on with our lives. I wasn't much of a person to pray, I didn't really understand how to do it. We didn't pray very much growing up. Every now and then my parents would remember to say the Lord's prayer before tucking us in, but between all the kids and their own personal life that usually slid under the radar. We always made sure we said the gospel daily, however. Blessing each other and forgiving the others sins that had been committed that day so we could go to sleep with a clean slate but never once talking to God. I sometimes wonder if we were just so scared of God we didn't dare to ask him directly for forgiveness in case he would deny us of it, thinking our sins were too great.
Actions however, do speak louder than words. I love you is such an easy thing to say. To actually show it and mean it and live by it well, that's a whole other thing. I remember when I was younger my dad would get home from work and would give my mother a quick kiss as soon as he'd walk through the door, I don't remember if he did it every day but I'd like to think he did. As I got older that stopped happening. Looking back with what I know now, I understand the reluctancy to embrace someone who had become a stranger. My mother never taught me about relationships, never taught me about the importance of things like trust, communication, and all those things that are needed to make a relationship work. I watched my parents interactions and thought that was how it was suppose to be. I knew somehow they had a good marriage because they never fought in front of us kids. Whatever was wrong with their relationship they hid very well. As I grew older, it became incredibly obvious to me that something was amiss.
Once I turned 18 and started experiencing life for my own I took a good hard look at my upbringing and realized I had never actually experienced unconditional love, the kind of love you don't question. I guess I was under the impression that if you are with someone, you love them and you should stay with them no matter what unimaginable thing the other person has done. Because everything is forgivable right? I thought love was about staying together, even when both people were not happy. Have your sins forgiven, don't talk about it anymore. That's the vibe I got from my parents.
When I learned the truth of my fathers infidelity I was crushed,.confused, heart broken and extremely angry. How could he do that? How could my mother let him back into her life? How could he raise us the way we were raised, teaching us of "important things" like avoiding music, movies, and unbelievers while he himself is leading a double life; one of adultery? I felt betrayed and I was disgusted by the hypocrisy. I know he is human and we all fall down and sin, but when that same sin happens more than once well, now its a repeat offense and it gets pretty hard to keep forgiving. Is that really what love is?!? How could he do that, not only once to my mother, but repeatedly, after she had accepted him, and loved him anyway, after a complete betrayal. Is this the kind of love they would want for their children!?
Its not a big surprise then, using my parents relationship as a guideline for my own, that the man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with would end up cheating on me: completely shattering my world all over again. I'm not saying I blame my parents for my screwed up relationships, but I am saying they didn't help. It's the only model I had for what a relationship is all about.
I believe they didn't know any better. They married at a very young age without experiencing life before getting married and having children. To hear them give relationship advise would just have been comical. Marriage advise? Please! If my dad is even invited to my wedding, which I've debated many times, there will be no microphone time for him!"