I was watching a popular television talk show where they were discussing whether or not a person should confess an affair that happened prior to the marriage. Some of the hosts leaned toward hiding it. “What they don’t know won’t kill them.”
The thing is, confession isn’t necessarily about the other person. Confession is about healing. The sooner the man (or woman) confesses to their partner of any affair that’s taken place at any time before or during the marriage, the sooner the marriage can begin healing. Affairs (or any kind of guilt really) cause the guilty to become emotionally withdrawn looking for fights or sinking them into depression… Which will only hurt the marriage.
Without honesty, the marriage is already suffering.
It is not the confession that hurts people, it is the act. They were hurt the moment the affair began, and healing can only begin with truth and forgiveness.
Does that mean that the confession will make everything perfect? No, of course not. However, it’s not perfect now. Until couples are taught how to better communicate with love, honesty, and respect, they will continue to struggle. Marriage is already hard – holding back open communication just makes Divorce more plausible.
When making such a confession you have to be wise if you truly want the marriage to work. Making sure not to blame your partner for why it happened, not to get aggressive, and to make sure to give them whatever space they need to heal. Also, with the tables being opened and honesty flowing, be prepared to be attacked by your partners hurt feelings or to hear things that you didn’t expect.
Confession doesn’t mean you will be given forgiveness, and forgiveness doesn’t mean the other person has to stay with you.
Extend the same forgiveness you were hoping to receive.
That is the solid advice that should be handed out to the impressionable young men and women who watch that show wanting to maintain a stable marriage. Believe it or not, it’s 2000 year old practical advice that can be found in a very well known book.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. James 5:16
He loves me… he loves me not… he loves me… he loves me not… he loves me!!
Wasn’t life so much more simple when you could rely landing on the right petal, after plucking them off an unsuspecting dandelion, to let you know where you stand in a relationship with someone else? Everything is more complicated with age, including your love life. It leaves you questioning, “Does he love me or does he not”? With the crushing reality of adulthood settling in, you know you can’t rely on the once trusty old weed growing in your garden anymore.
May the odds be ever in your favor.
How many dandelions will have to be sacrificed to find out who loves you and who does not? How do you know he loves you? Will you always be in the dark? Here are 14 ways to figure out if it is true love or if it is one of those artificial sweetners that leave you with an addictive complex and a horrible migraine if you decide to leave.
1. Love is patient.
Is he able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious? You’ve decided, last minute as always, to go ahead and get dolled up for your night out with friends. You are already running late for the movie. You forgot something at home and have to turn around. Is he quick to anger? Or is he more docile when things have changed?
2. Love is kind.
Is he quick to give, gentle in nature? Would you describe him as someone with a “big heart”?
3. Love does not envy.
When you are successful in your career or friends/family relationships, does he support you?
4. Love does not boast.
Does he talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about his own achievements, possessions, or abilities. (Mainly because this will get very annoying…)
5. Love is not proud.
(This goes with #4. There is nothing wrong with excited about your accomplishment and even sharing your accomplishment with others. However, boasting and being proud are the extremes)
6. Love does not dishonor others.
Is he always putting others down?
7. Love is not self-seeking.
Is it always about what he wants to do, how he wants things to go?
8. Love is not easily angered.
Is he easily angered? (Goes with #1)
9. Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Does he constantly bring up where you have failed in life, or failed him?
10. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
“…Love does not try to find ways to get away with bad behavior, and it does not put up with injustice. Instead, it treasures truth, celebrates good behavior, and promotes virtue. True love has nothing to hide. Further, to “not delight in evil” carries the idea of not gloating over someone else’s guilt…”
11. Love always protects.
“…We find a wonderful example of love’s protective nature in the story of Christ’s birth. When Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy, he was faced with a choice: “expose her to public disgrace” or “divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1:19). Joseph, being a righteous man, was planning to keep the matter quiet. In other words, he was covering over what he saw as a fault in Mary, and he protected her from public shame. This is love.”
12 Love always trusts.
“The fact that love believes all things does not make a loving person a dupe. Neither does it mean that love is naïve, undiscerning or credulous. We’re not talking about gullibility here, and a foolish lack of skepticism is not a part of love. To trust someone means that you are “ever ready to believe the best”
13. Love always hopes.
“Part of showing love is hoping, and part of hoping is seeing the potential of others. As Goethe said, “If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” In love, we can always be hopeful and show confidence in others. This does not rule out confrontation or the redress of wrongs, but the impact of a positive attitude in the life of another person is incalculable.”
14. Love always perseveres.
“In the wedding vows, a husband and wife take each other “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” The basis of this pledge is the fact that love perseveres.”
In today’s society, love is now very conditional and based entirely on how others behave toward us. It has become very much about how it makes us feel. It is vital to the survival of a relationship to be nurtured, much like a garden where you grow those dandelions. If you find yourself ravaging through the garden, pulling up the flowers, plucking off all the petals until you feel love – then you are going to find yourself with a dead garden and an empty heart. So when you ask yourself, “Does he love me?” – be sure, too, that you are representing the image of true, unconditional love to him as well. (To answer that question, go back through 1-14 and see how those apply toward your returned behavior). Know also, that no one is perfect – and these 14 checkpoints to know if it’s love were pulled from First Corinthians 13:4-6 where the perfect Love is described. You must decide what boundaries you need to make in your relationship, when to cut the relationship off and when to keep on persisting. I would highly recommend reading Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk – one of the best written books I have ever read about boundaries (with ALL people – friends, family, coworkers, your children, and your partner)