Over and over again… Facebook message after Facebook message, email after email, I am sent stories from women who feel like there is no reason for them to go on in the church because their vision of eternity contains nothing but loneliness, heartache, and distrust. The childhood vision of a successful marriage and a happy eternal family is dashed to pieces because of the actions of a man who made and broke binding commitments and covenants. And for what… a secret rendezvous?
How can that kind of encounter even be desireable when there are so many horrific implications? How is it that five scandalous minutes can be worth an eternity? How can it be worth demolishing your character? How can it be worth the complete emotional obliteration of another human being, let alone the woman you love or have loved? How can it be worth the sort of example you’d set for your kids? How is it worth the pain and suffering? And really… how can you even enjoy yourself in those erotic moments with so much associated guilt that must accompany such an act?
But men will consistently explain that, “they just got caught up in the moment” or they “couldn’t help themselves.” Such Bologna. Such garbage. Such a spineless excuse. People know exactly what they’re doing. They’re not being hypnotized and these things don’t “just happen.”
I’ve heard recent stories of men who pursue other women because their wife is depressed and they “weren’t getting any love” at home. Not too long ago I learned of a man cheating on his wife while his wife was watching two kids at home and in the third trimester with another child. I guess the baby he put in her belly was cramping his style and it just became too much to bear by month 8. Maybe his wife was a little irritable or sick. So that must have made it alright, right? C’mon dude… she can’t carry your baby and satisfy your every need simultaneously. Another “respectable” man in the community decided to have a little woman on the side while his wife was dying of cancer. What is the mentality and where does that come from?
For most women in the church, their whole life has been about Celestial marriage and an eternal family. That one thing… just that one thing was all they ever really wanted. A man who loved her. A man to grow old with. A man to raise a family with. To go to the temple with. To go on missions with. And to preside over generations of grandkids at the family reunions with. That was paramount to any of her other desires.
She didn’t flinch at her man’s fat belly, excessive love handles, or back hair. She didn’t care that he was broke for most of their marriage. If something happened to him… well, she would relish the opportunity to be his caretaker. And yet… too many men out there drop these loyal women flat on their face for temporal and carnal trivialities. Tighter skin? Healthier hair? Something different? Boredom? Like immature high schoolers who think covenants, loyalty, and love is just one big game. Now she’s left to ask:
“Why should I even keep going to church. What is the point?
“My forever family is not forever anymore.”
“How can I trust anyone ever again?”
“We had a temple marriage… but now I’ve got nothing.”
“Everything in the church is about eternal families. Now I have no clue what will become of me… and worse… what will happen to my kids?”
No wonder there are so many single women in the world and in the church. No wonder people are more anxious than excited about getting married. Sister Carole M. Stephens shared that “We’ve reached a point in the Church now where more than half of our women are single. Women in Relief Society 18 years and older are just about 51 percent single.” Go figure.
One of the most important people in my life was my grandma. She lived with us for almost my entire life. Why did she live with us? Because she had no one else to live with. Her husband found another woman behind her back. The result was another single middle-aged mother of three (my Mom being the youngest of them) thrust into this chaotic world to figure things out on their own. The embarrassment. The loneliness. The anxiety of betrayal. Still, she found a way to mask the misery and step up for her kids and grandkids.
Every day, these women and their kids wake up in the morning wondering why they weren’t good enough. If men read the scriptures more than they watched sleazy TV shows and movies, then they might stumble across the words of Jacob. “It grieveth me that I must use so much boldness of speech concerning you, before your wives and your children, many of whose feelings are exceedingly tender and chaste and delicate before God,” says Jacob. “Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. ” (Jacob 2:7)
The rise in this kind of behavior is triggered by media desensitization. The world is filled with so much intrigue. It seems as if every single TV show or movie is filled with so much sexual innuendo and betrayal. Like… no one can just have a relationship in these shows without there being some sort of scandal. No one is content. There’s always got to be something more. Something different. They encourage men to feel like they’re some sort of “players,” while never depicting the real world fallout and misery that accompanies this kind of callousness.
After a long battle with a husband’s porn addiction, one woman wrote, “My problem is this, I cannot attend the Temple anymore because of the overwhelming sadness it causes. I cry the whole session knowing I do not have a family anymore. When I attend church I am also so sad. I cry silent tears and there are many lessons I can not sit through. I don’t see how I fit in with my religion anymore. I believe the Gospel and pray, but I am not a family anymore. I am not an eternal companion.
Dudes… stop breaking the hearts of your tender wives!
In saying all of this, I’m not assuming that only men are at fault for these circumstances. Anything I’ve written can apply to both men and women. But gosh it seems like there are a lot of men causing irreversible life-long damaging effects to the people who love them the most in this life.
To the women… and the men who have had to endure this kind of trial, just know that everything will work out in the end contingent upon your own faithfulness. No man can take that away from you. As impossible as it may seem, the promised blessings of a future family and exaltation is well within your grasp. Whether it’s in this life or the next, your faithfulness will be rewarded according to the deepest desires of your heart.