When loving you is wrong (Part 1 in series)
Adultery is no longer the consequence of bad marriages or bad people. It is the choice of many–too many–who fail to properly understand the responsibility of commitment and fidelity in a marriage. It is the choice of people who fail to understand the sacredness of sex and the sacred bonds between husband and wife. It is a silent killer in our community. The Final Call newspaper wants to lift the veil on infidelity and provide guidance as a medicine to remedy this social ill. This is the second article in a four-part series.
Tanya Richardson thought she had a good marriage. She thought her home in the suburbs, with a two-car garage; three children; money in the bank; and a devoted husband was heaven on earth. She thought that until March 16.
“I’ll never forget the date because that’s when my life became a living hell. That’s when my husband’s secretary called to tell me about the three-and-a-half year romance she had been having with my husband,” said Ms. Richardson.
Studies show that 25 percent of women and 44 percent of men have had at least one affair or sex outside of their marriage.
“We live in a world of moral decay. Fidelity is the exception today and, unfortunately, infidelity is the rule,” the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has said. “Every time you engage in intimacy without responsibility, without caring, without commitment, without sharing, without honest communication, it lowers your self-esteem, self-respect and your self-worth until you begin to see yourself, and others see you, as a person without value.”
Not only is the self-esteem of the adulterer lowered, but also the self-esteem of the spouse left at home.
“I thought my world was over. I was scared to death. What was going to happen? What about my children? What would people think, but more important, what was wrong with me?” Ms. Richardson told The Final Call. “I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t sleep. My whole world came crashing down around me. I kept thinking, ‘not my husband.’ I suspected it, and even confronted him, but each time he told me that I was just imagining things.”
But it wasn’t her imagination. For nearly four years, Brian Richardson developed a close relationship with his secretary as they traveled together on business.
“I didn’t plan on having an affair with my secretary,” he explained.
But what he didn’t plan on doing is exactly what is happening more and more today. It happens between people “who unwittingly form deep passionate connections before realizing that they’ve crossed the line from platonic friendship into romantic love,” writes Dr. Shirley Glass in “Not Just Friends,” a book on protecting relationships from infidelity and healing the trauma of betrayal.
Now the Richardsons’ happy home is hostile territory. Ms. Richardson asked her husband to leave, but he’s reluctant. He wants to get counseling to repair their marriage. She just wants out.
Add children to the family equation, and leaving may become a tougher decision.
“Staying for the children” has some merit since children develop better raised in homes with both of their parents. But staying after an affair is easier said than done.
When Debra Harris found out her husband had an affair, she didn’t take it personally, but rather wondered why he had done this really stupid thing to himself.
“I felt like he had done this wicked thing to himself, to our community, to our church. He was a deacon and people looked up to him,” she shared. So, she stayed.
“My children need their father,” she continued, “and I told him that he would be their father in this house, but that didn’t mean he had to be my husband. I put him out of our bed for two years. It was penitence.”
The Holy Qu’ran prescribes a 90-day period of reconciliation in which the couple is to devote time and energy to repairing their marriage. While Allah (God) hates divorce, He permits it under certain circumstances, including adultery.
Adultery has ruined marriages and also allowed some marriages to ripen in spite of the affair. This betterment only happens with the right guidance and direction. It happens because the couple decides to work on their problems.
“When they are together they remind each other of the pain. He looks into her eyes and sees his fallen image. She looks into his eyes and sees someone who lied to her. It feels unbearable to each of them,” writes Dr. Glass.
“Your challenge is to put the pieces back together again, but not in the same pattern. A marriage that has endured an affair is like a cracked vase. When the crack is repaired, the superglue makes it stronger than before, but you will always be able to see evidence of the crack.”
–Nisa Islam Muhammad