Bianca and Franklin rejoiced with Ann and Greg as they shared the good news of their decision to reconcile with them. “They want to come in for a few sessions of marital counseling,” Bianca said. “Praise God for another success story.”
“Stories like that make it all worth it,” Franklin said. “By the way, I’ve been receiving great responses from the letters we sent out to the pastors. It’s interesting the percentage of pastors and church leaders who have carried on or are carrying on an illicit relationship even though married. And guess what? Many of them said they have no desire to leave their current wife.”
“That’s what I cannot quite understand,” Bianca said. “Why would you want to stay married even though you are being unfaithful to your spouse? Did they give any reason for wanting to remain in the marriage?”
“Yes. Some are staying in the marriage ‘for the sake of the ministry’. Many pastors caught in adultery and those who have gotten a divorce have had to step down from their post, and these want to stay in their post as pastor. Some say they would not be able to bear the stigma and shame that will be brought upon them if they got a divorce. Others are staying married for their children’s sake. One pastor said his children are still minors, but as soon as they leave home he is leaving his wife. He has it all planned out.”
“How interesting,” Bianca said.
“One pastor says even though he has committed adultery on his wife he will not divorce her because he fears what God will do to him as he knows God hates divorce. He kind of scribbled off to the side that he has not told his wife of the adultery and that he has no intentions on telling her, at least not anytime soon, as in his eyes, what she does not know will not hurt her.”
“Is that right?”
“Yep. You’ll see it when you look through the surveys,” Franklin said.
“How can he live with himself, especially as a self-professing ‘man of God’?” Bianca said.
“I have no idea,” Franklin said. “I guess him sharing that with me is his way of confessing it; however, I don’t think the guilt will be completely removed unless he tells his wife.”
“I know one of our questions was, what led you to enter into an illicit relationship? What reasons did they give?” Bianca asked.
“They gave a number of reasons,” Franklin said. “An unloving wife; an uncaring, disrespectful wife. One pastor blamed the pressures of the ministry. Another pastor said he just did it for the thrill of it. This one takes the cake: he said he did it with the wife of a pastor who had done him wrong. He calls it pay-back. One pastor said he had to come to grips with understanding that his wife was just not taught how to take care of a man. He quoted that verse in Titus about the older women teaching the younger women as they did way back then. He says that’s just not happening as the older women he sees today are too busy trying to get their groove on.”
“Well, these pastors should know better than to blame their wives and try to shirk responsibility for their own sin. However, I do agree that many of the older women today don’t know how to stick with their marriages as they are from divorced homes themselves or they themselves are divorced and are in a second or third marriage,” Bianca said. “All they have seen is when Mamma and Pappa have problems they go their separate ways. So when they and their spouse have problems they go their separate ways as well. The Bible does say the love of many shall wax cold. People don’t really care about each other anymore. There is a spirit of selfishness and even a spirit that seems to say ‘because we failed in our marriage, we don’t want you to succeed in your marriage’. I can’t understand that mindset at all. You’d think because of how painful a divorce is, divorcees would be on a mission warning others not to go down that pathway.”
“There are some who are warning others not to go that route,” Franklin said.
“Yes. But they appear to be few and far between.”
“Well, these are just signs of the end times,” Franklin said, pulling a sheet of paper out of his desk drawer. “By the way, I did further research on why people commit adultery and this is what a Barna survey had to say:
20% admitted because they enjoyed the sin
20% to escape reality or get away from real life
8% to feel less pain
7% to satisfy other people’s expectation
2% because it was a shortcut to what they want
50% do not know why they do it”
“Hmm,” Bianca said. “Fifty percent do not know why they do it. I believe that is because there is no valid reason to be unfaithful to your spouse no matter who you marry. If we would all fulfill the role God has given to us in our marriages any marriage will work. I say that without fear of successful contradiction. Remember when we first got married how I refused to wear that thick winter coat you bought me even though you insisted on me wearing it once. To some couples, that might have been a small matter, but to us, it was a source of controversy in the marriage. Then you had to open your big mouth to Mrs. Wilkins about my being rebellious and not wanting to wear the coat along with some other things I was being stubborn about. I was mad, but I thank God for Mrs. Wilkins taking me aside and laying things out to me not caring anything about my feelings being hurt. ‘You are just being rebellious’ she said. ‘I should be the one to decide what attire I’m going to wear,’ I told her. But she did not want to hear it. She said if you want constant unrest in your marriage then keep on being contrary and let God’s cursing fall upon you. But if you want peace then just do as your husband says. Then she ended with: ‘Is that asking too much of you especially since he is not telling you to do anything sinful?’ Thank God I listened to her advice, and now I can truly say to any wife, if you just do what your husband desires you to do you will enjoy your married life to the Nth degree.”
“Here, here,” Franklin said with a chuckle. “But your being obedient to me as the Bible tells you to be has been worth it all, wouldn’t you say?”
“Yes,” Bianca said. “You know, I’m beginning to think colleges and universities ought to have a mandatory course called something like ‘Marriage Matters,’ and have husbands and wives who have weathered the storms of marriage to come in and share with students the real deal about marriage. And I’m talking about the negative aspects about marriage primarily. We can all handle our spouses’ good behavior, but how do we handle those behaviors that get on our last nerve?”
“And those churches with a Divorce Care ministry and or a Newly Wed ministry and or a Marriage ministry ought to stop playing around and do the same. Stop just talking about buying the wife flowers every Wednesday, taking her out to eat every Friday, buying her new lingerie every two weeks when she already has a drawer full, some of which she has not even worn, changing the baby’s diapers at twelve midnight so the wife can sleep even though he has to go to work the next morning and she has the privilege of staying home, doing all the laundry for her, etc,” Franklin said. “If the husband does all that, what will the wife do? Paint her finger and toenails all day?”
Bianca chuckled. “I agree with you. Talk about how both husbands and wives are destroying their marriages because both refuse to obey God’s clear and simple commands about marriage. Colossians three verses eighteen and nineteen sum it up for us: ‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.’”
“Like I tell the married couples who come in, you don’t have to be wise, but at least be smart. Do what the Bible tells you to do so you can at least have peace in your home. I had to tell that to the two old geezers who came in huffing and puffing insisting that I give them divorce papers to sign right away. Remember them? They did not want to hear it when I told them I did not have any divorce papers to give them since I am not a lawyer and do not encourage divorce for anyone. The female geezer insisted on speaking with you when she found out that we worked as a team. She said, ‘Your wife will get me the divorce papers because she’s a woman and women understand women.’ I had to tell her, Yes, ma’am, my wife understands women and she understands very well how wrong some women can be.”
“I’m curious. What was her husband’s response?” Bianca said.
“Oh, he just cracked up and said, ‘Maybe I ought to be talking to your wife.’ His wife said, ‘Over my dead body. Let’s go. We’re wasting time here.’ He looked at me and said, ‘See what I mean. She orders me around.’ They left still huffing and puffing.”
Bianca laughed. “Who is in a better position to tell them than us as we have had to learn the hard way.”
“Sometimes experience is the best teacher,” Franklin said. “A hard teacher, but the best teacher.”