ASHLEY MADISON: What’s Really Being Exposed?

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By Martin Schlomer

I have been keeping up on the Ashley Madison revelations, and I am very sad.[1] These revelations expose not only our own adulterous desires but also marriages whose dark closets are filled with unresolved issues and disconnected, lonely individuals. An outsider may not see this relational cancer by simply looking, but too often these issues are there nonetheless.

Like people, every marriage has a story, and it’s not the one that’s being told (Donald Miller). Too many spouses starve for affection, nurturing, acknowledgement, and encouragement (and a host of other essential ingredients) while they choke on hidden anger, self-pity, and personal sense of failure. Too often the spouse doesn’t even realize it. As a result, husbands and wives are frequently sent out into an oversexed and overexposed culture, in a perpetual state of weakness and vulnerability, to try to compete and succeed as human beings created for intimate relationship. How is this working for us? Obviously, not well.

I’m not relieving of responsibility those who have fallen, nor am I willing to throw rocks and declare that no one can be trusted (not even Christian leaders). I understand all too well the power of temptation and my own vulnerabilities in an oversexed and overexposed world. I want to passionately advocate something very different. In my dream world, every spouse would lay aside his or her own disappointments and choose daily to send his/her spouse into the world from a position of strength, not weakness. Every day, look for ways to fill your spouse with intimate touch, words of encouragement, and relational nurturing. Make him/her anticipate with eagerness coming home that evening. Stop focusing on how he/she can be a better spouse, and celebrate what you have. (While I have always been an advocate for talking about how one can improve, an overemphasis on this catalyzes a sense of failure.) As we celebrate what we have, we can cultivate spouses who want to grow and become the men or women we need and long for them to be.

I understand that some who read this may be thinking: “You don’t understand my husband/wife.” You’re right, I don’t. However, I do have a pretty good understanding of human nature. You cannot take responsibility for your spouse. You can only be responsible for the kind of spouse/person you choose to bring to the table of your marriage. Too many have tried demanding change and blaming him/her for the failure when he/she fell short. This has only weakened and crippled our marriages and us as human beings. How about if we try something different? If you have a well-intentioned spouse, I believe you have every reason to give this a shot. Let’s toast to giving strength!

[1] If you’re unaware of what I’m referring to, you can learn more here: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/07/20/hackers-target-online-affair-site-ashley-madison-threaten-to-leak-millions/

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