A few months ago I ran across a New York Times article by Wendy Plumb titled “A Roomful of Yearning and Regret”.
The author has both been the victim of an affair and has had an affair. She knows what it’s like to feel betrayed by the person who is supposed to be the safe place in a dangerous world. She also knows what it’s like to give in to the mix of hormones, emotion and hope that leads her to be the betrayer.
It’s hard to deny those feelings that the grass really is greener on the other side of the hotel room. She writes, “The great sex, by the way, is a given. When you have an affair you already know you will have passion – the urgency, newness and illicit nature of the affair practically guarantee that.”Her affair came to light and her husband had an affair as well.”
There is the ego rush of being desired, of feeling like you’ve been chosen. On top of that, the early chemical reactions of adrenalin and dopamine surge through your system.
But there are consequences as well. She continues, “What you don’t know, or perhaps what you don’t allow yourself to think about, is that your life will become an unbearable mix of yearning and regret because of it. It will be difficult if not impossible to be in any one place with contentment.”
Finally her marriage fell apart. After some twenty years of struggle, remorse and doubt she was divorced. It seemed right, the natural way for a marriage like hers to go. But as she began to process her marriage and divorce, she looked over the fence – not to greener pastures, but to her parents’ marriage.
They have this marriage of 50 years behind them, and it is a monument to success. A few weeks or months of illicit passion could not hold a candle to it.
Finally she asks:
If you imagine yourself in such a situation, where would you fit an affair in neatly? If you were 75, which would you rather have: years of steady if occasionally strained devotion, or something that looks a little bit like the Iraqi city of Fallujah, cratered with spent artillery?
From where I stand now, it all just looks like a cheap hotel room, whether you’re in that room to have an affair or to escape from the discovery of one.
And despite the sex and the excitement, or the drama and the fix of everyone’s empathetic attention, there is no view from this room that is worth having.
Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
God isn’t trying to ruin our fun, He’s trying to protect it.
If you’re on the brink of an affair (or in the middle of one), do yourself a favor and stop. Get some wisdom and godly counsel about how to get free, but STOP today. It’s not worth it.
If you’ve blown it and find yourself living in the war-torn world of joint custody, alimony payments and “what-if’s” – God doesn’t hate you. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Cheating sinners. Sinners who were cheated on. Divorced sinners. All sorts. Let the regret you feel (or maybe the black hole in your heart where you kinda think regret should hang out even though you’re not feeling it) lead you to Jesus. He understands. He forgives.
Your future doesn’t have to be about regret. It can be about grace.
(Read Wendy Plumb’s original article here)