Recently a young married woman contacted me via E-mail concerning a single woman she thought was a member of this congregation. It turned out that the single woman was not a member here, but I was able to put the married woman in contact with her.
The problem was that the married woman's husband had been involved with the single woman -- at first by E-mail, then later in person. The husband finally left his wife and moved into an apartment so he could spend more time with the single woman.
As the story unfolded, it was discovered that the single woman knew that the man was married and had three children at home, but she was more concerned about her own needs than those of another family.
During the course of a couple of two weeks I spoke with the married woman a couple of times on the phone, and corresponded by E-mail a few times. When things started looking up for the woman she E-mailed me a "Thank you" note and I sent her the letter below in return. I also sent a good friend of mine, Gene Taylor, a copy of my final letter, and he suggested that I publish it verbatim for the benefit of others.
You should also read the letter I sent to "the other woman." This woman claimed to be a Christian, but her works denied her. The names in these letters have been changed to protect the innocent people involved.
Thank you for your kind note! I am so sorry our paths had to cross under these circumstances. You have been patient enough to listen to a suggestion or two I made on the phone. Would you mind if I offered you a couple more? As a minister I have been counseling people with marital and family problems for over 25 years, and here are a few things I've learned that might be of benefit to you at this time:
First, I know you have children, but I don't recall if they are boys or girls. If you have boys then you will have to find someone to be a male role model for them. It might be your father, brother, uncle, etc. Some male close to your family needs to spend time with them to show them how grown men act. They need to see a how a gentleman treats a lady. This person does not have to discuss your husband, but by example and teaching he needs to explain that cheating on one's spouse is always unacceptable. From experience I've learned if the mother tries to say anything negative about her husband, sons are likely to rebel and defend their father.
If you have girls then you will need to demonstrate by your life that a grown woman does not tolerate being used by a man. At the same time, you don't want your daughters to grow up thinking that all men are slime. Normally a girl's self-esteem is in large part a product of her relationship with her father, and your husband has done a great deal of damage in this department.
Second, don't beat yourself up by trying to think of what you could have done to prevent this. You are not to blame. Your husband stood before God and both of your families at your wedding and swore that he would never be unfaithful to you. That sacred vow did not have a list of "exceptions" attached to it.
I don't know if Rhonda pursued your husband or if he pursued her. Either way, both were at fault. If she had any moral character she would have come to you and apologized the moment she found out he was married.
It is possible that your husband has a medical problem -- your sister (a medical doctor) could help if that is the case. However, in the cases I've seen over the years it is highly unlikely. By the time most men get to your husband's age they start thinking about "what might have been." Did I get married too young? What would have happened if I took another job? What would my life be like without kids? Most of the time men get over these questions and move on with their lives. Sometimes they try to "answer" the question by developing a secret life. But again, your husband has the problem, not you!
Third, on the phone you sounded like a very reasonable and compassionate person -- I did not detect a single note of bitterness in your voice, even though you have been deeply hurt. Please don't let these events change that about you. Your children will do well in life if you maintain your honor and dignity in word and deed. There might even be some times when you want to give up, but you know you can't. We can't control what happens around us, but we can control how we react.
I'm sorry I've rambled on for so long, but I haven't been able to get your situation out of my mind and I told my wife that I would not be able to sleep tonight unless I sent you this note.
We will keep you in our prayers,
Note: No letter was sent to the man involved since I did not have his mailing address and had no way of getting in touch with him.