Affairs, Dissatisfaction and Idealistic Fantasies.

The TOP 5 Problems We Hear On the Radio…
and what to do about them.
Part 3 of 5

So you think that you are unique and that your problems are special?  That your life or relationship stresses are known only to you and that somehow your case requires special advice or care?  No, your problems are quite common.  Actually, human beings are not that inventive.  We all do the same things, have the same concerns and get into the same predictable dilemmas.

As a radio co-host on New Life Live, a nationally syndicated counseling talk show, I (Milan) have come to recognize that there are repeatable themes to the caller’s issues.  Whether it is Freda in Fresno or Bill in Baltimore, guess what?  As Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).”  In the next five weeks, we will cover the top five issues that we encounter and how to counter them so that you can grow and your situations might improve.

PROBLEM #3:


Affairs, Dissatisfaction and Idealistic Fantasies.
Sue from Sioux Falls, SD

When Sue called the show, she was struggling to hold back the tears and compose her emotions.  She was about to share a deep secret that had been plaguing her for months and her embarrassment factor was off the charts.  We welcomed her to the program and reassured her that she could feel safe with us and that we too were on the same journey of life, which included battles and struggles with sin and shame.

She told us that she was a pastor’s wife and had been married for 25 years.  Yet for the length of their marriage, she had always felt second in line behind the church.  Her workaholic husband was always at the church and when home, would allow anyone who called to interrupt their family time.  “I try not to get jealous, yet I cannot help but feel so unimportant, ignored and lonely.  Whenever I bring it up, he says, ‘The Lord and his work is first and God will make up for it in your heart if you just let him.’”

“About four months ago, out the blue, an old boyfriend from college who lives in another state called just to see how I was doing.  He was recently divorced and told me that he thought of me often.  I told him that I had thought of him throughout the years as well and had remembered fondly their dating years.”  After one phone call, she was hooked and went on to admit to us that they had secretly talked on the phone every day for the last three months.  Finally, in a moment of lucidity after the initial euphoric brain chemicals has subsided somewhat, the told us, “I became so convicted that this was wrong so I broke it off and told him that we had to stop and he reluctantly agreed.”
“I still feel so torn, crazy and guilty inside.”
“My husband never knew!”
“What should I do?”

So, what would you tell Sue from Sioux Falls?

What’s really going on here?

First, we need to understand that her pastor husband is out of compliance with the Scriptures.  I Corinthians 7:32-34 clearly states that if he is a married pastor, his interests are divided and he must therefore please the Lord with his ministry service AND please his wife as well.  No pastor who is married should attempt to be in ministry where they are essentially behaving as though they are single.
Secondly, this pastor may have the broken love style of the “Avoider” or “Controller”.  Sadly, many leaders are unaware of their dark side or broken parts and blindly trust that all “leading from the Lord” or “call to ministry” is completely from God, never suspecting that the “still small voice” within may simply be their own injuries echoing off the canyon walls of their heart.
This pastor has directly contributed to the problem at hand.  Even though he might have been technically proficient and competent to the public, he was anything but warm and inviting with his wife and family at home.  The Bible says, “You reap what you sow” and with a zero percent investment in bonding with his wife, he had left his spouse subject to dissatisfaction fantasies and affairs.
As a side note and unrelated to this call, another group “Vacillators” are very prone to fantasizing about “ideal” fairy tale love and over time can grow dissatisfied with anything less.  So a spouse could be doing as much as humanly possible to win them over, but anything less than perfection will make them angry with you and cast them off into their fantasy world of dreams of perfect love.
Sue was a Pleaser though, and was trying to make everyone happy, God, her pastor husband, her old boyfriend and even herself.

Our advice to Sue?

Sue needed to own her pleaser tendencies and learn more about her broken love style.  Pleasers tend to go along with things and don’t have a strong sense of self.  They often are not able to tell you what they need for they are under developed in self-awareness and weak at asking for their own needs to be met.  They also have an under developed emotion of anger.

Anger draws lines in the sand and yet they struggle to make boundaries that stick because anger after all is a “separating emotion” which makes the pleaser anxious so they abort challenging confrontations because it is too threatening to them.

Sue needs to tell her husband the truth as to what happened as well as describe how the dysfunctional marriage pattern had created a “set up” to make her susceptible to temptation.

She also needed to repent and apologize, realizing that no matter what a spouse might do to hurt or neglect us, we are never allowed to rationalize and disobey God.

Even though Sue had not committed the physical act of adultery, she had been walking on thin ice and flirting with disaster.

As a couple, they need to be in an emotionally based couple’s therapy program where they can learn to connect and bond.  For without bonding, their marriage is doomed to suffer from mediocrity or ultimately failure.

Lastly, if her husband refuses to repent himself and comply with the above directives, she needs to needs to tell the church governing board of the chronic spousal neglect she has suffered in the name of God.  Hopefully, the pastor won’t have the board buffaloed as well.

RECOMMENDED READING: (simply click the title to learn more)

The Emotionally Healthy Church, by Peter Scazzero with its accompanying workbook: The Emotionally Healthy Church Workbook

Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: The Paradox of Personal Dysfunction By Gary McIntosh.

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NEXT WEEK:
Bill from Billings, Montana: “Depression, Anxiety and Addictions.”

Love,
Milan and Kay