Now that we’ve established you made a horrible mistake by marrying the wrong person, I have another uplifting gem to mention:
There is some really, really bad marriage advice out there.
This may come as a surprise, but I’m just not that into the idea of disposable marriages or starter wives or whatever else our selfish culture is promoting as the fix to inconvenience, frustration or dissatisfaction.
In fact, as I was researching the web for “the one who got away,” I found this nugget of nastiness in response to a woman’s letter stating she had a wonderful husband but had cheated on him with an ex-boyfriend (ie, the one who got away).
Feast your eyes this excerpt from the response to her problem:
You really just need to come clean with your husband and let the chips fall where they may. Yes, he will be hurt but better now than after more time cheating on him and trying to live a double life. You are really doing him a favor as he deserves a woman that will cherish him and love him only.
May I suggest you are never doing your spouse a favor by wallowing in your own selfishness? In fact, that’s completely opposite of what I would recommend to someone who was struggling with feelings for someone other than their spouse!
And yet, many people still struggle with these feelings… if they’re not valid, why do we think it at all? One smart guy thinks it’s because of our obsession with marrying “The One.” Here’s what he said:
“If we believe we must find the right person to marry, then the course of our marriage becomes a constant test to see if we were correct in that choice,” says Dr. Scott Haltzman, psychiatrist and author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men, The Secrets of Happily Married Women and The Secrets of Happy Families.
He adds that today’s culture does not support standing by our promises. Instead, he says, we receive the repeated message, “You deserve the best.” These attitudes contribute to marital dissatisfaction.
If we are trained by the culture to consider ourselves and our needs the most important (“Have it Your Way!”) then doesn’t the whole framework of marriage become a trap for disillusionment? Because marriage is not clean. It is MESSY. And it is hard work!
And messy, hard work is not what most people think of doing with their free time.
Having said all this, (in addition to lots of prayer!) I offer three tips to help you move past thinking of The One Who Got Away:
1. Start thinking about Today. Today is the day you can impact. Today is the day you can choose to honor and respect your marriage with faithfulness and joy.
2. Realize We Look Backward With Rose Colored Glasses. There’s a reason women have more than one child – we tend to forget the agony and discomfort of pregnancy and childbirth. It’s what humans are made to do and why we have the very true phrase, “Time Heals All Wounds.” You’re remembering the idealized version of that previous individual, not the sharply in-focus version that includes warts, bad breath and stupid decisions.
3. Trust Yourself. You walked away once. Trust the judgement you used at that point. Or maybe they walked away from you… in which case, why should you trust it would be any different this time around? My mom used to say, “Only dogs go back to their own vomit.” It’s a vivid image, but true.
Finally, turn your thoughts toward being and encouraging The Right Person.
“I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person. But I do know that if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. It is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person.” — author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar
I’m on a roll here and the research I’m doing is just compelling. Tomorrow I’m planning on turning the focus to the unmarrieds. After all, how do you choose your spouse if everyone is the wrong person?!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Please let me know in the comments, through Twitter @stealingfaith or Facebook, where you can like StealingFaith’s page and be first to know about new posts! Oh! And don’t forget to vote on the Worst Story Lines Ever in the sidebar! I’m doing my best to make you cringe!