Sunday, May 17, 2009

Two relationships

In the first, the husband was unfaithful but deeply regretted it because he had great passion for his wife in his heart.

In the other, the husband never cheated, but couldn't care less for his wife.

Which marriage has hope?

3 comments:

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Interesting.

I don't think that either has hope, or rather, neither relationship is really as simple as described.

I am not very familiar with the first, but I am with the second.

The second relationship is described in two propositions.

The first is objective, "the husband never cheated," which I assume means that he never actually had sexual relations with another woman outside of his marriage.

The second is subjective, [he] "couldn't care less for his wife," because the verification of this isn't possible, because feelings are an internal structure that do not always manifest externally.

(The first relationship's two propositions are likewise objective in the first, subjective in the second.)

Back to the second relationship.

The husband never cheated. Did he flirt? Did he fantasize about other women (or men)? Reference the Lord's saying, If a man looks upon a woman with lust, even if he doesn't actually have sex with her, he is guilty of fornication. By extension, if he is married, he is guilty of adultery.

My experience? We all are guilty of our thoughts, and only by God's grace are we prevented from acting on them.

But the husband couldn't care less for his wife. This is the hard one to verify, and I will tell you why.

You can love someone, and even demonstrate your love in external acts, speech, touch, intimacy, provision, time. The beloved has to (1) believe in the reality of that love, and (2) accept the offerings of it. If these two conditions aren't met, then the lover can be accused of not caring, not loving. How and why? Because it is always the injured party that is believed, not the accused. The assumption is, the one wouldn't charge the other without good reason. That is not necessarily true, but that's how it works in most cases. The accused stands condemned already, the more so, if the accused is a man, and the injured a woman.

Scenario. A man marries a woman who comes from a background of broken family relationships, poor discipline and education, a history of male desertion and female domination. Her mother was abandoned by her father who disappeared in foreign parts. Later, as a young woman, she falls in love with a boy and has a baby with him, he flees to foreign parts, and her mother convinces her to give up the baby for adoption. She does so, and then goes overseas to find her boyfriend and the father of her now lost child in his own country, but finds the search hopeless, and falls back into a promiscuous lifestyle. She has a nervous breakdown, and her mother brings her back and cares for her while she recuperates.

Later, a man meets her and they form a relationship, without premarital intimacy, and he proposes marriage. She cannot accept without first confessing her past. He overlooks it and tells her, don't think of it anymore, all that is over. Just marry me.

They get married and raise a family. The woman begins to feel insecure, realising that she has "married up" without admitting it to herself, and she begins to suspect her husband of unfaithfulness even when he so much as speaks to another woman, even in her presence.

Gradually, she begins to pull away from him in intimacy, believing that he is being unfaithful. She starts accusing him of wanting to be with someone else, but not naming anyone. Finally, she fastens on a divorced woman they both know who is a flirt with the men, and accuses her husband of lusting after her, and at last she lodges the accusation of adultery, which he adamantly denies. From this point on, their marital intimacy ceases.

The husband stands accused, but his wife acts as if overlooking his transgression, while making it impossible for him to approach her with the love that he has for her, even after her false accusation. More than ever he cuts himself off from all friendships outside of hers, and tries everything he can think of, to prove to her that he does love her and wants to be with her, but she rejects it all, abuses him, and keeps accusing him of infidelity, even though she has no proof. This goes on for many years, while the husband keeps hoping she will change. The kids grow up and move out, but they are all damaged, all now afraid of women because they see what their father has endured.

In the end, after being forced by circumstances to live in the unfinished basement of their home, sleeping on a camping cot, cooking microwavable food when his wife is not around, doing his own laundry, and all the domestic things, while still supporting her financially, providing transportation for her, and baling her out in her bad money management, she finally tells him one day, There is absolutely nothing between us. You don’t belong to me, and I don’t belong to you. I charge you with desertion. She throws her wedding rings away, but he can’t take his wedding band off, because his finger has grown thicker in his middle age and the ring cannot slip off.

They come to a mutual agreement on the management of their joint commitments and, after making sure she can manage on her own, the husband turns over to his wife all their possessions, the house, everything, and moves out, taking with him only his clothes, books, and the car (because she doesn’t drive). He stays geographically close enough to come and help her in an emergency (physical or financial) and he does, but now he is free. They don’t divorce, since neither wants to have another relationship.

The husband remains chaste, but now he is free to have friendships again, of both sexes (though he prefers other males because years of fear of offending his wife, and because of her treatment of him, he no longer feels safe around women). He lives in his own place in spartan surroundings, but he’s happy because now he can relate to others in a loving way and not be disbelieved and accused of infidelity.

Was the husband guilty of adultery as accused? If the answer were yes, he would now be enjoying the fruit of his lusts. Was it true that he couldn’t care less for his wife? If the answer were yes, why did he stay with her so long and, now that she has dumped him (while still accusing him of desertion) he still helps her as necessity demands?

You see, brother, just from one case scenario that I am familiar with, how deep can go the reality beneath a simple set of propositions.

kennyching said...

Romanos,

I can see that you bring an (unfortunate) wealth of experience to this question.

What I meant by this question was to raise the issue of the Pharisee and the Publican, and why God can forgive any sin except that of not wanting to be with Him.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

This post reminded me more of the incident where the Lord posed the question "which did his father's bidding?" The son who said, "Yes, Dad, I'll go and work today," but didn't, or the son who said, "No, I'm busy," but went anyway.

The scenario I used to flesh out your second example is one that I know very well and am using as the story line of a novel I am writing, to be entitled Myron and Athanasia, which is based on a real life example, but takes place in rural northern Greece.

Very sorry to have missed your point. That happens with visitors to my blog sometimes too.