Category Archives: husband

Shadow stories of faithfulness

David Petraeus sits at desk

By US Army/Spc. Eric Bartelt ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The news this week is full of David Petraeus — his heroic leadership, his mentoring, his downfall. On November 12, NPR’s Talk of the Nationfocused on the good of this man, while playing fair and mentioning that not everyone in the military loved him. The show ended with a scathing call from a military wife asking the question, “If he did this, what else did he do?”

I’d like to think the best of a sad situation. Time will tell, hopefully truthfully, if he betrayed more than his marriage.

But here’s the thing: I get it.

Beautiful, intelligent, athletic, accomplished woman. A man with incredible authority. Common interests. Mutual respect. Mutual attraction.

Maybe I’m over-simplifying; maybe Paula Broadwell, Petraeus, or anyone close to the situation would say I don’t get it at all, and they’re probably right. This is not a blog post about them, actually, or on the causes or evils of extra-marital affairs.

This post is about the shadow stories. Because as I listened to the NPR report, I wondered about the men and women who do not stop at saying “no” once, twice, a dozen times. They say it again and again, to themselves, to their imaginations, to the very real people offering them a taste of a dream.

This is my salute to all the men who, time after time, turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the siren. My tribute to the women who choose not to encourage the intimate interest of another woman’s husband…or of any man other than her husband, if a husband she has. If it need be said, yes; the roles also reverse — women are not the only tempters.

man, woman, and child on walk in vineyard. Words on photo: Perseverance produces character; and character, hope.
Perseverance = Incredibly difficult, gut-wrenching, teeth-gritting, harder-than-you-ever-imagined, self-sacrificing determination to do what is necessary for the goal you set out to reach. Bummer, right?

Stories of temptation that end in triumph stay in the shadows, silent reminders of our frailty. Perhaps your spouse knows, or maybe the trusted friend who helped you keep your promise. Could be you are the only witness to the trembling strength it took to walk away, the only audience outside of the Almighty to hear the frantic, “Oh God. Help,” you pleaded more than once.

We don’t share these stories, perhaps, because we’re ashamed. We’re afraid of what we contemplated and of how susceptible we’ve turned out to be. We don’t want to hurt our spouses, or give them reason for insecurity or doubt.

Such a confession would demand incredible courage from the one tempted, as well as from the one not-quite-betrayed. Frankly, I don’t know if I could survive hearing Rob admit that he’s sorely tempted to go to another woman’s bed. Yet I know I want my love for personal security to submit to the good of us — which would mean rallying my heart to recognize the strength demanded of my husband to confess, and join him in his determination to see our marriage, our partnership, survive and flourish.

Sometimes we don’t know the strength and courage we possess until it is demanded…but I’m lying if I say I want to know if I have that particular form of courage.

And what about you? you ask. Are you susceptible? You bet — and I asked Rob at 11pm, in the midst of writing this post, “Do you want to know? Should I tell you if…?”

He thought for a while. Then he reminded me of one time I told him about…. “I told you about him?” I asked. More honest than I realized. Honest — and scared. Scared enough to be honest (and then, apparently, forget). Yet the question was not easy for him to answer. Finally he said, “Yes; tell me if it is an ongoing attraction.”

Stories of failure and betrayal are common now; stories of forgiveness, less so. Yet the stories of faithfulness are happening every day. If this is you, and no one in your life has the knowledge to say to you, “Well done,” let me be the first. For the only nod allotted to these shadow stories of determination and perseverance rooted in a promise are generally left at a short, seemingly simple yet deeply complex answer to the question asked of couples on their 40th, 50th, 75th anniversaries:

“What is the secret to your successful marriage?”

“It takes a lot of hard work.”


Posted by on November 16, 2012 in all about love, husband, Uncategorized


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I asked God for a husband…

I asked God for a husband who would be a spiritual leader
(frankly, “lead” meant “feed” — be my in-house pastor, always certain of God’s ways)

God gave me a husband who seeks Him with honest questions rather than easy answers,
that the legs of my faith would continue to grow strong — rather than weak from disuse.

I asked God for a man who would be ready to move at a moment’s notice,
following God into new adventures wherever He might lead.

God gave me a man with roots deep and strong, and a commitment to serve his community,
that I also could learn to let Christ’s light shine through me into the world around us.

I asked God for a husband with charisma
whom people would admire [read: “idolize”] and naturally follow.

God gave me a husband who is willing to admire others,
that I could grow into my own person and not always be in his shadow.

I asked for a man who knew the right things to say
in business, speaking from a stage, and in love.

God gave me a man whose honesty can make him fumble
whom I never have to question if his smooth words cover lies.

I never thought to ask God for a man who would not yell at me in anger
whose very quietness would force me to temper my own forceful language.

It never occurred to me to request a husband whose strength in logic would sometimes frustrate me,
but which I’d learn to appreciate for grounding my faith and alleviating fear.

I did not know the inestimable value of a husband who may not know what I need before I ask —
but who is humble and faithful to follow through when he understands.

I asked for the man I thought my world (my Christian world) admired,
whom I thought I needed in order to achieve the purposes God had for me.

God gave me a man who is teaching me what is worth admiring,
whom God is using to make me more like the daughter He wants me to be.


Posted by on April 15, 2011 in husband, Uncategorized