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Why Stand?

By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf

  • Love
  • Moral opposition to divorce
  • For better or for worse
  • In sickness and in health
    The dis-ease theory of MLC
  • Marriage is a covenant
  • For the kids
  • Faith he will come through...better
  • You know you are supposed to be together
  • To learn and grow by not giving up, but by improving yourself and learning about relationships
  • The person you loved and married is still in there somewhere
  • You understand what part you played in this and you've grown from it
  • You are being true to yourself and your heart

Those may or may not be some of your reasons for Standing, they are merely a list of ideas. None of those say he will come back; but they are reasons to Stand anyway. I said my vows because I meant them, not because everyone else does it and I was simply supposed to follow. I don't think most people mean their vows. They think they mean them, but then they also don't think this will happen. Unfortunately it happens to a lot of us. If you were to sit down and discuss some of the for worse things that could come up with a young engaged couple, they will believe they are immune. But also many people believe that those for worses were exceptions. But my vows did not include an adultery exception clause. Biblically it may be allowed; but it wasn't in my vows.

Standing has many advantages even if a marriage is not restored. You have been Standing for your beliefs; for what you feel is right and best. The actions necessary for Standing are relationship teachers. You have been going through the process of healing and repair so that you do not repeat the relationship mistakes you may have made previously. You can become stronger and more self-assured through the process of learning relationship problem-solving skills. Though it is true that you can become stronger and self-assured by other means, why not package those benefits with better relationship skills and the possibility of a rebuilt marriage? I am not meaning that Standing causes reconciliation, but that it can change you and your newly gained skills may provide you and your MLCer a greater chance at rebuilding if he chooses to return someday.

Do you think going through the divorce process will be easier and less painful than Standing? Do you think being divorced will be easier and less painful than Standing? You can choose not to Stand and seek or agree to divorce. But that choice will not be easier or less painful. It may be resolved faster, but the pain and regrets linger and have no reconciled ending. Divorce does hurt children. Sure, they may seem and even be resilient, but many of the repercussions are subtle and may not be recognized for 30 years or they will be blamed on something else.

You can divorce and eventually find someone else. But second marriages have a higher failure rate than first marriages and when there are children involved the failure is even higher. If you do not work to resolve your present relationship, you will carry your present problems into another relationship. This does not mean you will or will not resolve the present relationship, but the effort is a process of learning and growth that is beneficial for the health of any future relationship.

If you choose to Stand, do it with your eyes wide. Do not fool yourself into thinking it will be easy. At the same time do not make it more difficult by insisting it is too hard. Accept that it is life and it is what you make it.

I believe in Standing and believe that a person can do it. I believe it is hard, but also that it is as hard as you make it. Divorcing doesn't mean you are taking the easy way out. Some issues may end sooner, while others may last forever since they may not be resolved. And the pain of divorce can be a permanent scar for both the spouses and children. No matter what, there will be adversity; that cannot be avoided. The difference is how you respond to it. What outcome will be worse for everyone involved, divorce or reconciliation?

What do you want? If you want your marriage, if you believe in what it can become, then Stand. If you want your marriage and are not certain, then Pray. Most people are uncertain or doubtful at this stage. Standing doesn't mean you avoid divorce. It doesn't mean that you wait or even that you Stand forever. It means you believe in marriage and in your marriage, that you love your spouse and are choosing to Stand through the for worse mentioned in your vows.

Ask yourself do I want my marriage restored? Notice what the question is not. It did not address the process, only the end result of a process. It's not about whether you want to Stand; it's about what you can have as a result of Standing. The question to be paired with that is not do I want to Stand? but rather will I Stand? The result of Standing may or may not be a rebuilt marriage--not because Standing caused your MLCer to change his mind, but because it can change you and provide you with new skills to help your relationship.

Quit only if and when you want to quit. Some people Stand forever--Covenant Keepers. I'm not encouraging or discouraging that; it is a choice you need to make for yourself. Stay the course by focusing on yourself, learning who you are and working on your own growth and development. If you focus on your MLCer you will experience anger, panic, anxiety, frustration, sadness, depression…and all that good stuff that serves to weaken your strength and Self-concept.

Suppose you were a person who did not want to save your marriage. I would still advise you to Stand. It is not merely for the purpose of salvaging your marriage, but for learning to communicate and deal with this situation. Communicating with an MLCer--or a non-MLC walk-away spouse--with the intent of rebuilding and healing teaches you how to handle your next relationship. It forces you to look at yourself and find where you need to make changes. Your spouse's affair and MLC are not your fault, but you were not perfect and can always find place for growth and improvement.

Also learn whether you are in denial or not. Some Stand while stuck in denial about the situation. This affects how they react to their spouse's antics and prevents them from listening to criticism with an open ear. Denial of the MLCers state of mind and the situation is also a denial of any personal problems and thus a refusal to address one's own issues and make changes. A denying LBS often has a permanent residence on the Doormat.

If you are not in denial and you want to continue Standing, then do it, if you want to stop and you feel you have learned and can take what you learned to develop new and healthy relationships, then do stop--but sometimes it is at that time that an MLCer begins to return…when he feels he's finally lost you for good.

If your spouse does not return you will have learned valuable skills for future relationships. Standing is permanent for some, but not everyone; you can always change your mind. Whether you choose to Stand or not, you need to do the same things for your personal recovery as you do if you Stand.

I'm Kenda-Ruth and I believe in marriage.
Are you tired of hearing...
  • Once a cheater always a cheater?
  • You're better off without him?
  • She doesn't deserve you?
  • I guess it just wasn't meant to last?
  • Divorce is no big deal?
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