Dudes… Stop Breaking The Hearts of Your Tender Wives

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?

breaking the hearts of your tender wives

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.

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  • John Garbett

    Do you know how many husbands are abused by these tender women. I have been punched, kicked, slapped, cut, and driven to a nervous breakdown by a tender wife. I still live in fear. And forget intimacy. It has not happened for many years. Some of these tender women can pack a physical and emotional punch to the gut!

    • Marc

      John Garbett. Greg wasn’t saying that all men who want a divorce are breaking their tender wives hearts. Greg didn’t denounce divorce. Greg didn’t say that women never commit adultery.

      I am close to a man who divorced himself from grumpy and liked this essay.

      From what I can see(All I know is what you just wrote.) divorce might be the right thing for you. If your marriage is so terrible that you should get out, adultery is never an legitimate option. The men who Greg is denouncing would commit adultery over vain and lustful things. My best guess is that Greg would recommend you get a divorce(if you are correct in your accounting of things) but not commit adultery. I hope things work out for the best for you.

      • John G

        Not that easy brother. Sometimes, for the sake of the family, you just have to deal with it. It is just so tiresome to hear the church always refer to woman as though they are little, fragile flowers. Many wives, including mine, have become bigger than their husbands, and not very nice.

  • John Garbett

    Have you ever been abused by your wife? I have, and many men have. Believe me, some wives are not all sweet and tender.

    • Marc

      John Garbett. I sympathize with you. Greg wasn’t writing about you. Greg didn’t say that all wives are tender. Greg was scolding the men who have cheated on tender wives. The man who had an affair when his wife was 8 months pregnant had no excuse. He is scum.

  • jacalyn

    by the way, yes I know Trump hasn’t made temple covenants…. so he “doesn’t know any better” (Yeah, right!) and he’s certainly not the first political leader to set a bad example that way… but I had so hoped that Utahns would stand up and show they believed in something better 🙁 As it turned out, it wouldn’t have affected the election – just improved the reputation of the LDS church!

    • Marc

      The Mormons who acted like the Presidential election was a temple recommend interview hurt the reputation of the church. Trump had a vulgar conversation about what women will let you do to them if you are rich and famous. People against adultery shouldn’t vote for a woman who attacks and threatens rape victims. The reputation of the church was hurt far more by Mormons who would be willing to vote for a rape victim attacker. That is what America’s other option was.

  • Thanks, Greg. I work as a Marriage and Family Therapist with many LDS clients. This is an important message. Although there are those who will point out that it goes both ways, the couples I see are typically those where the woman is hurting, and the husband is the cause of her pain. In those cases, I wish men would read your message before they ever allow themselves to consider such behavior. Let this be a reminder to all of the profound significance of the covenants we make and the ongoing need to nurture the loving relationship we promised to protect for time and for all eternity.

  • Sashabill

    When it comes to verbal abuse, and sometimes even physical abuse, women can be every bit the equals of men. I can testify to this personally.

  • Kevin Lewis

    All very true, but one missing element of this article is the atonement. I know couples who have worked through infidelity and come out the other side with a full understanding of what the atonement really is – from both being forgiven and forgiving. I understand not every situation and every relationship can recover, but it is possible. Better to never need to go through it, but in an article about LDS couples and infidelity I feel the atonement should be at least mentioned.

  • Brooke

    Addiction is so much more than this…This article just adds to the shame surrounding addiction…If you really want to help addicts and their spouses, learn more about addiction. Signed, a wife of a recovering addict.

  • Tiffany Love

    This happens in all religions and even non-religious homes. We are human making human mistakes. Our purpose is to realize our mistakes, ask Jesus for help and keep going. Keep going. Forgive. Go to counseling. Love each other. Jesus loves the cheated on and the cheaters. Husbands and wives make choices and a marriage means pushing through. It may have been a lapse judgement (women cheat too), but eternity is worth fighting for. So fight for it. Being cheated on sucks. The ramifications are grueling. But just like addiction, unfaithful behavior can be rectified. If your eternal companion cheats, there is still hope. Keep fighting. It may not work out and divorce may be the next step. But isolation from church keeps you from blessings and help.

  • Danny Devine

    This problem will never be solved by the “it’s bad, so stop doing it” approach. Your post delivers a healthy dose of shame, but the vast majority of cheaters are already painfully aware of the awfulness of their actions. They know what it does to their loved ones, and ironically, the pain of that awareness leads them to more sinning to drown out the pain. What we need in the church is less shame, and more forums for open discussion. Painting sick, but otherwise good men and women who have fallen into sexual transgression as the scum of the earth puts them in a place where they fear admission because they will be crucified by popular opinion. Sexual sin is a symptom of sick people who need help and grace. Many of them are also good people, and worth fighting for.

    • Lexie Carter Genho

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who felt this way. I usually like Trimble articles but all I could think of was the adulterous woman who Christ told to go and sin no more after no stones were cast. Yes, men and women and every person does terrible things. I can’t imagine the pain and heartbreak I would feel if my husband cheated but I also already know that if he ever did he could be forgiven through the atonement of Jesus Christ and I could forgive him as well. Can we forgive those wrong us? I wonder if that would be a better thing to discuss and a better example to set. I realize there are extrenuating circumstances but to me there is hope in every situation if we are willing to do all we can and endure to the end. There can be tremendous pain in this life, but there can also be joy and light as bright as was the pain and darkness if we will persevere and help each other overcome the natural man.

    • Marc

      I don’t see how telling someone that an action is wrong pushes them to do it. Sexual sin is a big sin. Other wise good people are doing something which the Lord says earns them a spot in hell. I believe that you are minimizing adultery too much.

  • Kristina

    It’s interesting to see the variety of comments on this subject. I don’t know everyone’s personal stories, (although from reading the comments it’s easy to see which men have been unfaithful to their wives) but as someone who’s currently going through this exact scenario, I feel like I, unfortunately, have a good perspective on this subject. Are there women who cheat on their husbands- yes. But is this article about the rise of sexual addiction in women- no. It’s about men and the growing number of them that continue to break their covenants and the hearts of their wives and children. The answer isn’t polygamy. Nor is the answer shame. And it certainly won’t be solved by blaming the ones who were betrayed. The author is simply reiterating what President Uchtdorf said about choosing sin- “Stop it.” I understand addiction. But I also understand agency. When a man chooses to cheat on his wife(which includes- pornography, texting/flirting with other women, and sexual affairs), it is HIS choice. He may be an addict. Or maybe he is in an unhappy marriage. But it is STILL his choice. And it is wrong. It is sin. And we can’t continue to make excuses for sin. We also have no right to criticize the women who have been betrayed. Are there some who get stuck in the victim mentality? Yes. But before you start to point fingers at them, you should realize that what they’ve been through is trauma. They didn’t ask for this. And most of the time, they don’t know how to handle it. It has been discovered that being betrayed can bring on many of the symptoms of PTSD. It’s called betrayal trauma. Do sex addicts need help? Yes. Do their victims need help? Yes. The Atonement is real. It can heal broken hearts and it can heal us from sin. So while the victims try to rebuild their lives, keep your judgements and the blame game to yourself. We need more awareness of this issue and I appreciate the author trying to shed light on a topic most people don’t want to discuss. Or- as some of the comments have indicated- don’t understand.

  • Jeremy Olson

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f2aee351ad23199c098912417571b1bc57ef3b06a33f12585a90879fc8c767b9.jpg Before passing judgment, it might be a good idea to recall the Saviors perfect example on this very matter. Please read John 8:1-11. My comment here is in no way intended to excuse immoral behavior, just as the Savior’s actions toward the woman caught in adultery were not intended to excuse her immoral actions. But I wonder if to a certain degree people are not casting “social media” stones. I would reiterate the Savior’s response to the scribes and Pharisees of olden times, “…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Would Jesus have had the same compassion if the sinner was a man instead of a woman? If you do not know the answer to this question automatically, you do not know your Savior.

  • Beet Rolls

    I would also add mother enmeshment as cheating on your wife. I work with spouses of mother enmeshed men. These are tender women who always come in second after mom. It is impossible for them to build a normal close relationship with their spouse because his loyalty is with his mother. Emotionally, spiritually, even physically as much as possible without “sinning.” With the rampant divorces out there it has become an epidemic.Mother turning to their sons for support, making them partners. It is devastating for a spouse to be the outsider, and outsider they are for the entire family. The family holds this dysfunction dear because the enmeshed son takes care of mother and all the siblings support that in order to know mom is well cared for. The spouse of a mem (mother enmeshed men) is never fully accepted into the family and unfortunately in most cases their marriage will end in divorce and another cycle of dysfunction continues. Mother enmeshment is emotionally the same as an affair.

  • Vaughn Peck

    I’m one of the guys that broke a tender heart. I would like to talk to the author, and go into some details that often get set off to the side! Maybe consider co-authoring another book?

  • Shawn Peck

    How many times did Joseph Smith break Emma’s heart? Stop following that man.

  • J. David Taylor

    Greg, does the church compensate you for your hard work writing blog posts like these? If not, they should. Other folks are getting money to put out great content like this and you should too: https://mormonleaks.io/newsroom/2017/03/28/mormonleaks-publishes-documents-detailing-mormon-churchs-social-media-operations/

  • Porn is so terrible, completely abysmal. Both genders are affected by it. I should have married in college. I played Russian Roulette and will likely remain a bachelor all my life because most women think all men are scum as it is, based on many of these comments I’ve perused.