How long would you fake it?
This is not a hypothetical question, but I may not know how to word it all…I think it’s more for me to continue processing than anything. Men can answer, but I think I’m looking for a woman’s perspective…
How long would you stay and “fake a marriage” even though you really don’t love your husband anymore? How long would you pretend to be a wife just so you can live in the house with the monetary securities etc… How long would you pretend through sex and intimacy even though you really don’t care at all. ?
Would you have fought for the marriage in the first place after 2.5 years of infidelity (2013-2015), and then decide “you won’t leave” but you’ll put on a face pretending like all is well…for the kids, for the church, for the family, and the world…all while knowing that if he died tomorrow, the life insurance would be the reward you needed for all the pain he caused you…
so we had a long chat… she swears she’s not faking… but was very specific that she doesn’t have enough energy to work on us and that I’m apparently trying too hard to work on it. I’m not quitting, so I’ll be withdrawing a bit and let her work out whatever problems she’s having… I will start seeing my pastor as a means of counsel for now and my needs will have to wait.
I don’t know if my answer counts or not, as I really can’t fake things and I do hate anything fake. Nor do we have life insurance.
But, from my limited view, what would make or break it, was if my DH thoroughly repented, and than confessed to me, and he was genuinely sorry, it would make a difference.
I have a fairly high tolerance and a great determination, BUT, only if the other person is trying their best. Its easy to say now, that I would fight for our marriage, but if I was doing the hardest fighting and I seemed to feel more guilt (ya I know, crazy, but thats how I am.) about the situation than DH, than it seems I would look at it differently.
Faking isn’t my style….ever.
This is a complex issue….. Love/hate relationships are a fairly common thing. That definitely would have described our first 2/3’s of our marriage. Just because I didn’t like my husband and didn’t want to be with my husband, didn’t mean I was faking. I was in a very real and committed relationship, with him…. but even more so, with my First Love. My love for Christ, was very real. My desire to be faithful to Him, was very real. My desire to be obedient, was very real. I was one hot mess, that the Refiner’s Fire had to heat up for my sanctification, so in no form was I perfected…. but I was very real. I worked at agape’ing my husband even if I didn’t feel that passionate, married love…even when I didn’t feel that phileo, friendly, brotherly love. Out of love, even if I didn’t “feel” it, I have chosen to continue to have sex, I have chosen to stay and try to work on myself and us, I have chosen to stay committed….. it was not “faking”, it was not acting out of “want/desire” for my husband, but out of a “want/desire” for my Lord. My Lord wants me to behave a certain way as a wife, not just wants it, but commands it… because He desires it for me, I desire it.
Nobody wants to be chosen or loved because the other “has to”, but realistically, whose issue is that really? The one choosing to live in a way contrary to how their flesh feels, or the one who wants to reject it? Should we totally negate Jesus’ act on the cross because He didn’t really want to do this “act of love”, because He begged His Father to “remove this cup” from Him? Was His surrendering of His flesh “fake” because He didn’t really “feel” like doing what He was called to do and knew He needed to do? Was Jesus’ love real, even in the light of the garden of Gethsemane?
I know I have been guilty of this in my past, but it really bothers me when someone is surrendering their flesh, their worldly desires, and dying to themselves, so that the Spirit of Christ can live in and through them…. and it is stamped “not good enough”, “fake”, “rejected”.
There are frauds out there. There are people who are so deceived by Satan, that he is their “father”, the father of lies. There are people who are pawns in his hands whom he will use to steal, kill, and destroy others. There are “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who filter in to the fold to divide and destroy. There are two kingdoms, everyone is a part of one or the other.
If you’re married to a woman like that, maybe some different advice is needed, but if you see evidence of the Holy Spirit living in her, don’t focus on her flesh (that we all have and are fighting), but look at her spirit and her heart, and the Spirit that is within her.
It is hard to read your post without reading at least a little between the lines. What I would tell you based on that is to be careful that you are not assigning motive or intention based on your assumptions of what is going on in the heart of another.
The behavior you described does not sound like faking to me, but more of a determined perseverance and commitment. Unless you have facts to refute that, I would accept it as such.
You could be the best actress in the world, but if the relationship is toxic under the surface, that’s a part of the relationship that the children will grow up thinking is normal, and will likely take into their own relationships. They notice far more than we realize.
Honestly, for you, go see a good counselor. Don’t just go to the first name you find. Do some research and go to someone good. No matter what you do about your marriage, you need to make peace with the past. If you can’t forgive, it will poison you.
Wow….there is a lot of heaviness in your post. I’m sorry you have been through this, but I feel there are some things here that can be addressed.
First, let’s talk about forgiveness. Being a Christian site, I think this is a good place to start. Have you forgiven him? Meaning, have you resolved in your heart, and even verbally to him, that you no longer need repayment for what he has done? Do not confuse forgiveness with trust, or condoning the action. What he did is betrayal to one of the highest degrees in the marriage covenant. But forgiveness is not about trust, and it is not about saying what he did will not be on your mind. It is releasing him of owing you anything, and releasing you of needing vengeance.
I am not saying you have to stay in love with him. That is for you to decide whether the covenant between the two of you can be restored. What I am saying is a very Biblical principle though of releasing and working out the bitterness. Holding on to that only hurts you.
Moving on to the more practical side of things: My mom is a family law attorney and has handled a lot of divorces. She is a Christian. She advocates that marriages should do everything they can to resolve differences before going through divorce. She knows how nasty it can be to the two adults and especially to kids involved. She would recommend counseling, either through the church or through a professional, and then if things cannot be restored, look at divorce.
One thing she has told me often is that “faking” marriage is sometimes more damaging than just divorcing, particularly around the area of just staying together for the kids. This seems odd, but she has a point: Staying together for the sake of the kids usually does not show them what a good marriage looks like. She would say seek counseling, both individually and as a couple (as I am sure you probably have), but don’t let the kids be the only reason to stay in a marriage.
I counter that a bit with this argument: In the book “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller, he cites a study that says that couples who rate themselves as “unhappy” in their marriage will stick it out and really work on things for 5 years see 75% of them change their view as being happy in their marriage. When I first read his book and saw this stat, I was amazed! You are a few years into this, and things in your heart and his can still change.
We have had many friends go through this. Most of them are still together. We have two couples that we have served with in marriage ministry that are doing great and walked through infidelity. One, even, is serving in a big way in ministry and may be planting a church soon. This is how they got though it:
- The offended spouse really leaned into God during this time. They knew in their hearts what was going on but it did not come out until much later.
- They got into a marriage group at our church (what is funny is my wife and I were their group facilitators). They both resolved to do this and to grow together. What happened during that time was both of their hearts were transformed by God, and in particular the one that cheated changed dramatically.
- They continued to work on things even after this group. They actually went through the study again with us.
- The offended spouse realized that Satan’s attack was going to be constant. Even after forgiveness, full reconciliation, and a vibrant, happy marriage, Satan still reminds them of what happened and plants the lie of why are they still together. They have worked hard on leaning into scripture when this happens.
- They have surrounded themselves with incredible people and mentors. They live life with people, they don’t hide their story, and they continue to allow people to pour into them while they use their story to pour into the lives of others.
All this to say, you have a choice to make. Yes, you were betrayed and yes, you were hurt, and your hurt is real and NOTHING should ever discount that. Nothing. But, do you believe God can heal your hurt? Do you believe God can change your heart to your spouse? Do you believe that God can change your spouse and his heart to you? And are you both really willing to fight for it?
If not, then I get it. But staying in the marriage for the reasons you have mentioned without working on anything only deepens the pain you feel. That is not healthy either. You have to choose to forgive, to work on it, or whether you should leave. But faking is not good.
@Brynna All answers count! So you said ” if my DH thoroughly repented, and than confessed to me, and he was genuinely sorry, it would make a difference.” In your mind, and in your heart you’d be able to forgive and move on…
@ SeekingChange i think what you said that is so profound and scares me the most is that for 2 and a half years I lived a lie. I put on a fake face as a husband while I was living another life in my heart…and now I’m seeing that same thing happen right in front of me, with what appears to be no remorse or self-identification that it’s the same concept, just a different story.
We talked about this topic quite a bit last night. Somewhat similar situation–Scott had a hidden porn issue for most of our 12+ yr marriage and finally confessed to Zelda last summer.
Zelda’s answer is that she wouldn’t fake it at all…she couldn’t live that way. Don’t know if that helps at all, but there could be a ton of reasons for the perceived lack of involvement (we see your “not enough energy” reason above).
We can also relate because for years Scott thought it was possible that Zelda wanted increased life insurance on him to compensate her for when he was “out of the picture”. But in reality, it all comes down to being able to provide for the kids and keep things afloat for a long time without him. It would allow her to grieve and maintain our standard of living without working.
I have not been through this experience, so would give more weight to the answers from those who have knowledge of some similar situation, but I believe that if my DH broke my trust in this way I would not fake anything. If I elected to stay with him, I would put my full effort into making our marriage better than it was when he fell; if I was not willing to put my full effort into making it good, I would leave in the first place.