Marriage; When your spouse is “dating” another person
By Debo Akinyemi
Deola has been sandwiched in the throng of stranded passengers at the bus stop for about an hour now. No thanks to a heavy downpour earlier in the day. The whole traffic has been locked up tight in to a clutter. It is now the survival of the smartest as Deola and other commuters do shoving and pushing in the rush to catch up the few buses making whistle stops to pick passengers.
In all the several attempts she makes to hop onto a bus, Deola has been unlucky. Oops! What a day! What is she going to do now? The situation is getting more frustrating by the second. There seems to be no solution in sight. So Deola is marooned in the hopelessness of a fruitless struggle to wriggle out of the tight spot. Her house is many kilometers away, so trekking down cannot be a reasonable option. She is not up to such an arduous task, anyway. She is still deeply ruing the misery of the moment when a miracle looms some meters ahead. A car approaching the bus-stop looks like her husband’s. Same colour, same model, same frontal features. Naturally, her heart instantly flutters with an admixture of anxiety and joy as she confirms at closer range that it is her husband’s car after all.
She quickly begins to wave frantically to get her husband’s attention. But no luck! .The car weaves around the other vehicles in the traffic and speeds past like lightening. As if that is not bad enough, Deola notices something disturbing. There is an unfamiliar feminine figure sitting in the front seat beside her husband. In fact the lady is the reason her husband is not paying attention to what is happening outside. The two are lost in an animated chat with the lady turning to face Deola’s husband, thus blocking the window by her side but who could she be? A neighbour? A colleague? A relative? A.? Hell no.! It can’t be what she is thinking. The woman can’t be her husband’s secret lover. God forbid bad thing!
As she continues to process the thought racing through her troubled heart, a cab pulls up right in front of her. What luck! She makes a beeline for the only vacant seat and in the twinkling of an eye the car zooms off. As if the driver knows Deola’s urgency at that moment, he simply matches down on the pedal, making the jolty car roar and grumble as it virtually flies past other vehicles in the same lane.
Deola lets out a nervous sigh. She loves the adventurous antics of the driver. She needs to close in on her husband and check out the identity of the lady with him. Within few minutes, her husband car comes to view again. This time, she has to open up to the driver on the need for her to catch up with her husband. And the man accepts the challenge, what with a promise of a little largesse from Deola. So in no time the cab levels up with Deola’s husband’s car, giving her the opportunity to check out the woman. Bang! Her fear is confirmed! She is not somebody Deola’s knows or has met in her entire life. Immediately, a wave of anger and irritation travels through her. “Dele has a lot of explanation to make today when we both get home” Deola says, signaling to the cab driver to overtake her husband’s car and move on ahead.
By the time Dele gets home Deola is waiting by the gate with a mean look. Dele has hardly turned off the engine when Deola yanks the driver’s side door open, grunting a cold ‘welcome’. As she peeks her face in to the interior of the car, whiff of a feminine perfume wafts into her nose. She then searching around the car with curiosity only to stumble on another disturbing evidence. An artificial toe nail is lying in the foot well of the driver’s side seat. What? She screams to the shock of her husband who is just watching in a confused state. Now charged like someone possessed by a demon, Deola gives Dele a menacing look, slams the door of the car and storms away. The worse has just happened. Dele has called for trouble. And hell will be let loose between them tonight.
Elsewhere, Jude is angling for a space in the congested parking lot of the large departmental store. But suddenly, a scene takes his attention away from the porter standing in front of him to direct him to an available space. His wife, Romoke is emerging from the exit door of the store, chatting heartily with a man.
Just as he is still wondering who the man could be, Romoke does the unthinkable. She stands on her tip toe to help the tall man adjust the collar of his shirt. Then the two of them walk to a Mercedes Benz Jeep with a glittering metallic black colour and drive away. Damn! “Romoke is seeing another man” Jude soliloquizes aloud. “So this is the reason for all those long phone chats she is been having of late “, Jude blurts further. In a blinding rage, Jude selects the reverse gear, backs out of the parking lot and swings the car around to give the Jeep conveying his wife a hot chase.
Both Deola in the first scenario and Jude in the second are responding to the same stimulus-impulse of assumption. Yes, the tell take signs suggest that their spouses are two-timing. But this is just an assumption that could be right or wrong. Assumption is a delicate thing. And acting on it could set one on a wrong-headed course.
Devil hates the marriage institution with passion simply because he knows God is interested in it. So sometimes he could weave together believable lies in logical sequence just to foment trouble between couples. That is why those suspecting their spouses should thread cautiously. Every philandering man or woman should be seen as being innocent until he or she is caught pants down.
It is better and safer for your partner to get away hundred times with acts of duplicity than to be hung once on wrong assumption. When we act on wrong assumption we fall into the trap of error of facts, error of conclusion and error of judgment all at the same time. Today, so many couples have split up just on wrong assumptions.
But Christian couples must not fall in to the pit fall of wrong assumption. And that is why we need to adopt some strategies to ensure that we are not caught on the wrong side of assumption. Let’s check out the strategies one after the other.
(1) Be Vigilant
In the present time we must put up our antennae to pick helpful clues early about our spouses’ present status. Detecting early that your partner is drifting is like discovering a disease at the stage of symptoms before it begins to fester. Please get me right. I am not promoting suspicion in relationship. But the point I’m making is that being proactive by nipping infidelity in the bud is better than being responsorial based on third party tip off. Some are so naive and impervious about the conduct of their partners until things get too bad. Please show your spouse that you trust him. But let him also know that your ears are to the ground. There is no better way to keep him in check and discourage possible marital misdemeanor. We all will do our marriages the world of good by making 1Peter 5:8 our watch word. It says we should be sober and vigilant.
(2) AVOID CONFRONTATION.
As Christians God expects us not to fight in our marriage but rather fight for it. Even when you have cast iron proof that your spouse is double dealing, confrontation can only be of little help. Confrontation, many times creates fire-for- fire situation which further aggravates the issue.
Cases of duplicity are better discussed than hotly argued. The guilty partner could go ahead to call your bluff or put up flat- footed denial of the obvious. Neither of the two bodes well for your marriage. So the best thing is to first commit the heart of your guilty partner in to God’s hand. Let God Himself bind his heart so that when the issue comes up for discussion, he would be penitent enough to accept his fault and genuinely pledge a change. There have been cases of women engaging their recalcitrant husbands in bloody fight over infidelity. At the end of the day the women packed out of their matrimonial homes only for the mistresses they complained about to come in and take over. Pity! Whatever dialogue cannot resolve will be difficult for violent confrontation to resolve. That is very certain.
(3) BE CHARTABLE IN YOUR INTERPRETATION
Most times, things are not as bad as they appear at first. That is why we must be ready to process and charitably interpret whatever negative reports we may have about our partners. In other words, we must be kind and cautious enough to accord our husband benefit of the doubt.
Even the law governing our land says an accused is innocent until otherwise proven guilty. This same principle should apply in marriage. What if the lady you saw afar with your husband is his distant relation you have not met before. Or what if that man your wife was chatting so closely with is just a mere friend. Through charitable interpretation, you will be able to consider all probabilities before settling for possibilities. It also helps us to apply caution in the handling of evidences so we don’t ruin them ourselves. And finally it helps us to give erring partners a long rope to hang themselves.
(4) BE READY TO FORGIVE
The Pharisees once put Jesus Christ on the spot concerning the issue of divorce in accordance to the Mosaic Law. He made it clear to them that Moses issued the divorce clause because the people were stone hearted and stiff necked. In other words, the law was in place because the people wanted it and couldn’t just imagine forgiving their adulterous women.
There was also an instance that Jesus set free a woman caught in the act of adultery to the shame of her accusers who couldn’t cast stone against her because they were equally guilty of sin.
Granted, forgiveness in some cases can be very difficult. But it is the surest way of unburdening heavy heart and healing the frayed nerves.
Jesus prescription is that we must forgive 70 times 7 times. Yes, Jesus said we could institute divorce in the case of adultery. But the Bible says God hates divorce. So not forgiving would make us do what God hates. And where does that leave us? We all, including me, want God to forgive us, no matter the offence. But we are never ready to overlook infringements committed against us.
Forgiveness is Germaine In marriage. It helps in binding our marriage together in one piece. It also promotes reconciliation and breaks down wall of partitioning in homes. Yes, it could be a difficult pill to swallow. But it is an efficacious drug to obliterate deep-seated hurt and set the mind free.