QUESTION: Should I perform an intervention on my husband who is having an affair?
My Husband filed for divorce in Feb 2013 in response to me filing for legal separation. We have had little or no conversation since then, other than emails that I have sent, with no response, and very little interaction. This Friday is our first court date, that my lawyer says is a preliminary meeting with both lawyers and the judge, to determine how long the divorce process will take to complete.
Short background: We were high school sweethearts. We will have been married 34 years. He was a minister for 27 years until he became emotionally involved with a person needing LOTS of help (and would “later” become the OW), and he was asked to resign.
He blamed me for “tattling” on him and “causing him to lose his job”. He knows all of the teaching and preaching. He has tried to justify his actions and seems to be convinced that what he is doing is ok. He has very little contact with our adult children. They are all very faithful Christians (because their Daddy showed them what that looked like). All 3 have confronted him about his choices.
Several other people, that he previously had close friendships with, have tried to talk to him. He continues to live his life going against everything that he has preached and taught. He feels that he is continuing in ministry and doing what God desires (while maintaining an adulterous relationship).
Joe, I/we first heard you preach at a Tulsa Workshop. We were so impressed with your passion to reach out and help people with problems that previously no one would dare discuss within the confines of the church.
One of my friends on Facebook shared a link to your Facebook page and I started following your posts. I have been following your Save My Marriage page since the first month that you started it. I have read articles and followed what other people have had to say about their struggling marriages. When I found the interviews and ebook about an intervention I listened and read intently. I felt like God had led me to your site for that purpose. It took me awhile to share with anyone in my family but after praying for guidance shared with my daughter and her husband. They were very interested in this idea. They shared it with my other two children and spouses. After prayer and studying your recordings more, they are planning to do an intervention with their dad.
I have a couple of questions that hopefully will help me and them to be able to accomplish this successfully. I have been trying to be very hands-off in the process of them deciding how to best do the intervention and who to include (since I can’t be involved in the actual intervention). Is that the best way to handle it?
Also, if you could give me any suggestions that would increase the chances of this being a successful intervention, it would be appreciated. I would really like to get him to come to your workshop (and so would the kids). In your material you suggest using bargaining but we have no mutual assets, no shared debts, kids are grown and the only thing on the table is that I am asking for alimony.
He IS a good man doing bad things! I have fervently prayed that he would see what is happening since long before I even initially shared my concerns with one of our elder’s wives (which is when it all blew up). I have prayed non-stop that his heart would be softened and that his blinded eyes would be opened to how contrary his life is to what is taught in the Bible.
I truly wish that I had known about your ministry when I first felt like the situation was not ok. But I also know that things happen in God’s time and that He led me to you at just the right time. I have learned more patience over the last 3 years but realize I have a long ways to go.
Thank you so much for ALL that you do. It can’t be easy to be confronted daily, multiple times a day, with all of our brokenness and try and help each one individually.
Thank you for your suggestions to make this a successful intervention.
Feeling hopeful and being prayerful
ANSWER: I’m so sorry that this is happening.
It’s interesting, but so very typical, that a person who does something wrong blames the person who caught them or “tattled.” It appears that’s a way to keep from accepting responsibility for your own actions. Rather than “this is a result of what I did” it becomes “this is because you told on me.” As you already know, it’s not an accurate view – actually it’s simply self-serving – but it is a common reaction from those confronted with wrong behavior.
It breaks my heart when people live in contradiction to the will of God while claiming that they still serve God and that He is blessing their sinful choices. (See this article for a conversation I had with a Christian man about that.)
It’s okay for you to be part of the planning for the intervention if you can do so with a clear mind. As you already know from our intervention material, it will not work well if you are part of the intervention itself. That would give hubby the opportunity to focus on you rather than the real problem.
Nevertheless, you can, and likely should, be part of the planning. We only recommend that the spouse NOT be involved in the intervention if s/he is too hurt, angry, vindictive, etc. to be focused on the intervention process. In short, an angry person tends to demand harsh actions on the part of the interveners. That can result in the intervention being useless.
You say that you have nothing with which to bargain to get your husband to get the right help. However, your children do. As part of the intervention they should require him to do a specific thing (such as attend our workshop) or face the consequences from them. For example, a few years ago two grown children intervened with their parents and told them that unless they attended our workshop they would never see their grandchildren on major holidays or special days. They could still see them and spend time with them, but NOT on Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, and the like. They told their parents, “The workshop doesn’t have to save your marriage for you to see the grandchildren on these special occasions, but you have to be there and participate all three days. If you do, even if you don’t save the marriage, you can be with the grandkids on those special days. These are our requirements.” I learned that story when one of those daughters spoke at a gathering and told how the workshop saved her parents’ marriage.
In addition to your grown children, are there other people that your husband respects who could be part of the intervention?
Finally, may I make a suggestion about your prayers? Perhaps you should add asking God to bring problems, difficulties, and misery into your husband’s life, especially in his relationship with the other woman. This is not a prayer of vengeance, but a prayer to bring your husband to his spiritual senses.
May God fill you with wisdom.
If your spouse is involved in an affair, then the Affair Toolkit can help you navigate:
- Exactly what happened that led to the affair
- How to act to your spouse to get your spouse to come back
- How to react to your spouse during conflict about affair
- and How to Rescue Your Marriage from the Affair