Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

It's Not My Fault!

Stop blaming me!

Last week, I read three separate articles…all of which said people have affairs because their needs are not being met in their marriage. Three separate authors continuing the myth people only cheat when their spouses are distant or aloof. Three separate people claiming affairs are the result of workaholism or indifference. Three separate articles claiming affairs happen because of unmet expectations.

I am so tired of the myth that it takes two to cause an affair. It simply isn’t true.

I have no doubt some people get sucked into an affair because things are not good at home. I know it happens. However, it is not always the case.

I wasn’t a perfect wife…but I was a good wife. Faithful. Attentive. Supportive. I stood by my husband and faithfully served alongside him. I gave him my all. I overlooked many, many faults and loved in spite of his angry outbursts and his selfish nature. After our divorce, I had people tell me how angry they became with him, how they hated to see me working non-stop, serving him and my kids, while he never even offered the smallest tidbit of help. People told me how they respected me because I never said an unkind word about him, even though others could see who carried the load in our marriage.

I was a good wife.

And there are many other wounded spouses out there just like me. They gave their marriage everything. They loved in spite of the dysfunction, the abuse. They served faithfully.

Yet their spouse still chose to cheat.

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9

Let’s be honest: humans are capable of great sin. Our hearts are deceitful and wicked. Without Christ guiding our steps, each of us is capable of great sin—including the sin of adultery. It doesn’t matter how much love we have at home—if our hearts are hardened to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Not convinced? How about this one?

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. Galatians 5:19-21

People who choose to walk in the flesh have an impotence to love or be loved. They wouldn’t know if their spouse loves them because they can’t grasp love. Honestly, that’s what happened in my marriage. My husband didn’t love himself, didn’t believe that I could possibly love him. He told me. He was always telling me he was afraid I was going to run off with a doctor. His fears were unfounded, but he could not accept that I truly loved him. I think he believed it would be better if he ran off and found someone before I did.

I now believe that his mind was so warped by pornography. He was lost in the works of the flesh. He had quenched the Holy Spirit. Oh, I prayed and prayed…and I saw God work in his life. But he was too hardened, too intent on going his own way.

And it had nothing to do with me!

It was the condition of his own heart.

I hear it all the time: if someone has an affair, it’s because his/her needs were not being met at home. Why is it that adultery is the only sin where we blame the victim?

What about the deacon who is arrested for soliciting sex with a minor? Do we blame the child? The deacon’s wife?

What about the man who murders his children and then commits suicide? Do we blame the wife? The children?

What about the woman who embezzles from her employer? Is it her husband’s fault?

How about the drunk driver who kills an innocent family? Is it the family’s fault? Is it the drunk driver’s spouse?

Or the man who rapes a woman? Do we blame the victim?

Why is it that we blame the victim in the case of adultery?

Let’s look at a couple of biblical examples, starting with Abigail and Nabal. David and his men were fleeing from King Saul when they happened upon this unlikely couple.

This man’s name was Nabal, and his wife, Abigail, was a sensible and beautiful woman. But Nabal, a descendant of Caleb, was crude and mean in all his dealings. 1 Samuel 25:3

David and his men had shown kindness to Nabal and his men, so they asked for a little help in return. Instead, Nabal turned them away. David vowed to kill Nabal and his entire household.

Enter sweet Abigail. When Nabal’s men brought the news to her, she sprang into action. She prepared a feast for David and his men and rushed to meet him…without telling her husband. She apologized profusely for her husband’s actions and begged mercy from David. Because of Abigail’s kindness—and in spite of Nabal’s hard heart—the entire household was spared.

You see, it’s nothing new to have a marriage where the spouses are going different directions—one walking in step with the Spirit and the other lost in the works of the flesh. This malarkey about adultery being the result of unmet needs within the marriage needs to put to rest!

Not convinced? Let’s take a quick look at Bathsheba and Uriah. Uriah was a soldier in King David’s army. He was out faithfully serving, while King David stayed behind. Uriah, however, was exactly where he was supposed to be.

David—who was supposed to be out fighting the war (2 Samuel 11:1)—saw beautiful Bathsheba. He called for her and slept with her. When David realized she was pregnant, he thought he could trick Uriah into sleeping with his wife so he would think the baby was his. Uriah, however, refused to go home to his wife because he was a man of integrity, honor.

Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.” 2 Samuel 11:11

Uriah insisted on doing the right thing, not the easy thing. He was an honorable man. And yet, his wife walked away into the arms of another man.

So why? Why do we continue to blame the victim? Why do we assume that people only have affairs when their needs aren’t being met at home? Why do we think it’s the marriage that is sick rather than one individual within the marriage? Why do we insist that it takes two to have an affair?

Please. Those of us who have been the victims of adultery have suffered enough. The shame. The betrayal. The rejection in the deepest, most intimate way. It’s beyond anything you can ever imagine unless you’ve walked this painful path. We don’t need society, the church, heaping more abuse upon us. We don’t need people assuming that it’s our fault our spouse chose to walk away from the vows made on that sacred day.

Please. Please. Stop blaming us for our spouse’s sins. It’s simply not our fault.