I was in a coffee shop waiting for a friend, when I saw Lysa TerKeurst’s marriage news:
I gasped and resisted the urge to sob (in public).
In the post, she revealed that her husband of almost 25 years has been having an affair with a woman he met online. In what was no doubt a thoughtful, thorough, and difficult decision, Lysa has decided to seek a divorce. (She elaborates on her journey to the decision, here.)
Even as I type this, I can feel the tears creeping up again…
…not only for Lysa, but for every marriage maimed by adultery.
And for every “other,” who is equally as deceived as the spouse in the affair.
(Deception in various forms, but mainly spiritual, is as essential to an affair as darkness is to mold.)
You see, I was an “other woman” in a married man’s affair.
(To be CLEAR, the man I was involved with was NOT Art TerKeurst. That man is not part of my life, and hasn’t been for at least a decade now. I also don’t know any more about Lysa and Art’s situation, beyond what she shared in the post.)
VIDEO: Following Lysa’s news, I continued to feel simultaneously heartbroken and infuriated:
When my friend arrived (whose first husband also had an affair…beautiful redemption story there now), I shared the news about Lysa’s husband, saddening us both.
Having seen the underbelly of the beast that is adultery, I am convinced that it’s only a matter of time until Art and/or this other woman will get a serious wake-up call…
…if one or both of them haven’t already had one.
Me? I was already a Christian when I made choices that resulted in my 6-month affair 10+ years ago. One of my wake-up calls came when he announced he would seek a divorce.
(Which, by the way, was not the joyous moment I had delusionally envisioned. When it comes to adultery, it’s usually more nightmare-come-true than dream-come-true.)
All these years later, I’m still not proud of my choices…
…but I’m not haunted by them, thanks to Jesus and my free-willed choice to repent and cut ties with that man. I couldn’t go back in time and undo the start of it…but I could still end it!
And I’m not proud of my choices…
…but I am proud of what God through Jesus has done to redeem them.
I believe in the redeeming power of Jesus for Art and/or this other woman. I don’t wish ill on them. But I also know how the spirit of adultery works–for anyone having an affair (not just these two).
I know its shallow promises and deep cost. I know how worth it it isn’t. I know its tactics. The way it woos–then wrecks. The way it deceives and can undermine what even a believer believes about adultery being a sin (and all-round bad idea).
Adultery is designed to destroy.
Like a lure on a fishhook, it’s designed to attract, not repel–and then, without any warning or regard for the pain it causes or what it rips from you, it hooks you, reeling you in and revealing its true intentions:
To destroy your life.
Adultery is incapable of bringing and sustaining life in a relationship.
One thing I hope we learn from the TerKeursts’ situation is how to identify who’s capable of an affair:
Ready for this?! Anyone who’s human. Period. (Be careful, fellow Christians, if you think, “I could never!” I used to, too…and that pride was in fact a precursor to my fall….)
I’m not suggesting that every- or anyone’s “bound to cheat!” Though, there are usually warning signs that someone may be susceptible (it’s not something that happens accidentally, nor suddenly).
But if you’re looking for the “smoking gun” of a textbook “type” that you can literally see coming from a mile away, you probably watch too many Lifetime movies (no offense, Lifetime).
None of us are above needing the wisdom, humility, and courage necessary to avoid or end affairs. And none of us are above needing The Savior who redeems us from ALL and ANY sin.
Sadly, what’s happened in Lysa’s family and marriage is happening too often these days–by men and women. By non-believers and believers. Our denial isn’t doing us any favors.
Also sad, is how the Church has been a bit of a wimp about both physical AND emotional affairs…and really equipping engaged or married couples AND singles…
Please wake up, Church.
In my experience, the Church still views adultery like U.S. suburbs view human trafficking:
“Oh, that? That doesn’t happen here. No…not us. That happens in other countries.”
Some sobering stats:
- In 2008, a Christianity Today survey found that 23% of 300 pastors surveyed admitted to “sexually inappropriate behavior with someone other than their wives while in the ministry.”
- Affair-networking site Ashley Madison? Through a survey, 25% of members self-identified as “born-again” Evangelical Christian. 22% identified as Catholic; and 22% as Protestant.
Combined, that’s almost 70% of Ashley Madison users who identified as Christian.
Please tell me that we’ve had ENOUGH of our own disillusionment that affairs aren’t happening in the Church?!
NOTE: I’ve purposely not linked to any of my paid resources through this post. This is not about leveraging Lysa’s tragedy for my financial gain. I’ve also already decided to continue last year’s choice to give away any Words from the Other Woman book royalties, to organizations helping people avoid or heal from affairs. This is, however, about joining a relevant, real-time conversation about adultery. Which I happen to have a unique–and hopefully, helpful–perspective of.
After An Affair Series: Former Wife Sits Down and Talks with Former Other Woman
VIDEO: Finding Forgiveness and Healing After an Affair
VIDEO: How to Find Redemption After an Affair?
Red Rocks Church Shares Rebecca’s 2-Part Redemption Story
VIDEO: Part 1
VIDEO: Part 2