As children we were quick to learn the pros and cons of being a tattle tale. We learned that sometimes we could be a hero when being a tattle tale, especially if the behavior of others might have unintentionally caused someone to lose a limb. In these instances, the parent often chose to overlook the tattle-telling that was occurring for the safety of others. Other times it didn’t fare well to be the bearer of disappointing news. When there was a small injustice, and the parent was 7 weeks into summer vacation a tattle-telling instance may have been met with rolling eyes and sharp words from an exasperated parent.
Over the last couple months, I have been learning a great deal about being a tattle tale. The person I am telling on is myself.
In a marriage where infidelity has occurred, there is a change in what accountability is required for the betrayed spouse to feel safe. It isn’t unusual for couples to share an email or Facebook account to help maintain safe boundaries. I can only imagine that every couple will deal with relearning trust differently. There are different trigger points for everyone, and the couples will have to learn what those triggers are. According to affairhealing.com if accountability isn’t freely given, it’s going to be much harder for the couples to move forward towards lasting intimacy.
…if a cheating spouse has a genuine change of heart, he/she will want to prove their sincerity and will take the initiative in opening up the hidden areas of their lives to give assurance of their honesty.
Prior to my having an affair my husband was inquisitive to knowing what was on my mind. He was always interested in knowing my heart–I was the one with the block, and I chose not to be honest. I understand this differently than I did prior to my affair being disclosed, and now I want to open up to my husband–not because he stands over me watching every move I make. I have a greater understanding of my triggers, and a better understanding of the reasons why I should not only listen to my thought life–but share it with him. I have an understanding of how hiding small things will eventually grow to hiding larger things.
So…that’s all fine and dandy…but, what does that look like for the person who has nothing to hide? Ahhh…see, this is where the enemy gets us. There is always something to hide. Sometimes it appears harmless, but there are moments in all of our lives where we are in the position to open up and share–or keep silent. Keeping silent is a step towards isolation.
Our tendency is to try to conquer our demons on our own. We don’t see the monster we are facing as the GIGANTIC, SHARP TOOTHED, BLOOD-THIRSTY, EVIL CREATURE that it is. We see it as ‘a struggle’. We see a half truth as less offensive than a lie. We may even have the best intentions, “I don’t want to cause him to feel insecure…” Sometimes, we may even want to avoid a fight.
Not being completely honest may not be the same as having a secret cell phone, but withholding any part of ourselves from our spouse is the first step to giving ourselves to someone else.
For myself, I am learning to “tell on myself” when I am struggling with the emotional after affects of the affair. I tell on myself when I am feeling sad. That may seem harmless, even silly, to some. Why would I struggle with telling my husband I am sad? Well, quite simply, since I am the one who caused all the heartache, I feel guilty when I am sad about the trials we are now facing. The guilt I already felt for my betrayal was compounded when my husband lost his job due to my behavior. If I am not open and honest about my sadness and guilt, those emotions have the ability to morph into something more unpleasant and even sinful. Over time they can become a wedge between us.
When possible, I concentrate on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. But, when what I am facing is not one of these things–I quickly become a tattle tale.