Staying together after infidelity has occurred is an irrational act. It really doesn't make logical sense. It sure didn't to me until I went through it. Every now and then, even today, I ask myself, what the heck was I thinking? Can I really ask others to go through this kind of pain without any promises and guarantees that it will all work out in the end? The answer is yes but it certainly isn't reasonable.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) made a fascinating observation during the days of Cervantes (1547-1616): Philosophy is based on reason and is, therefore, rational. Faith is based on revelation and is, therefore, irrational. Consequently, the greater the impossibility of the thing you believe, the greater the honor to God.
Faith is an irrational commitment of the heart, the pattern-recognizing right brain, not the deductive-reasoning left.
He had my attention but I hadn't really connected it to marriage...yet. He went on to say this about the irrational nature of marriage in general. If this is true in general imagine how much more irrational it is to rebuild a marriage after infidelity. He said,
But here, I believe, is the best irrational commitment of them all:
"…for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part."
In case I haven't made it clear. I am in favor of irrational commitment. "It is not good… to be alone."
On June 7, 1947, Paul Compton made an irrational commitment to Jean Johnson and in later years he would be called to deliver on his promise: Alzheimer's disease stole Jean from Paul, but left her frail body in his care. Strengthened only by the memory of their years together, Paul faced the never-ending job of caring for her empty shell 24 hours a day. And he did it without complaint for 20 long years.
I've never known a better man.
Paul and Jean had 4 daughters, all of whom work shoulder-to-shoulder with their husbands and have done so for more than 30 years. Miraculously, each of the girls is still married to her first husband, though none of those husbands is a prize. Trust me, I know them all. I'm the 18 year-old boy with no money and no future who married the youngest daughter.
If you would taste truth and beauty and grace, you must reach for the fruit of a tree planted deep in the soil of irrational commitment.
Are you struggling through the aftermath of an affair and wavering on whether to stay in it through all the pain? I've ventured deep into the soil of irrational commitment and have tasted the truth, and beauty and grace of which he speaks. It is a sweet, sweet fruit. You just have to sink your hands and feet into a lot of dirt and manure before the fruit sprouts from the vine.
Read all of today's Monday Morning Memo