Thursday, August 10, 2006


My first seminary teacher was a geeky guy who was nice enough but had no control over the class. I don't remember much about that year other than the spectacular fights and arguments between some of the students and this teacher's complete inability to maintain any semblance of discipline.

Things changed for my second year. My teacher was an FBI agent and had what I believe they call "command presence." You didn't mess with this guy. He wasn't very big but he was tough. One of the wrestlers in the class tried to grab him one day and instantly hit the ground howling in pain and clutching his arms around his lower legs. It seems that the teacher had instantly responded by taking the heel of his dress shoes and scraping it down the guy's shin ending with a stomp on the arch of his foot. Ouch.

But this guy was also very charismatic and a good teacher. Not only was the class under control, but it was also interesting. But the only lesson he taught that I remember wasn't from a manual. For whatever reason the topic of adultery came up and I think that several students made several comments on what a terrible sin it was and how a person would have to be pretty awful person to cheat on their spouse. At that point he cautioned us. He told a story of a man who was excommunicated for adultery. This man was branded and ostracized by the members and judged very harshly while his wife received much sympathy and support. But the teacher related that we shouldn't be so quick to judge. He knew this man and the details of his home life and he felt that if everyone knew the whole story that they'd feel compassion for the man and would feel little or no sympathy for the wife. He didn't give any more details, but I trusted his character and his judgment of the situation. It taught me that things are not always as they seem and that we should be careful about judging without knowing the details. It also hit a personal note with me since life inside my home often had little resemblance to the public image presented by our church-going, devout family.

I suppose that there can be a lot of reasons for infidelity and divorce, but they aren't all selfish ones. Some marriages are just unsuccessful and disfunctional and the divorce is just the ultimate, outward manifestation that the marriage was broken. Outsiders and sometimes even family members may have had little knowledge about the marriage relationship and how well it was working.

Sorry if that didn't make much sense. I wrote it because of a post on another blog where a child lost all respect for a father after he divorced her mother. The comments seemed to be quite ready to judge the father harshly and blame it on selfishness. I don't know the details, so maybe she was right to feel that way. But I wonder what was going on in his life to cause him to end a long relationship and take such a drastic step. I wonder how long the parents lived in an unhappy or unfulfilling marriage. I wonder how long it is good to continue a marriage for the kids. It's such a complex subject and there can be so many circumstances and issues. It's not always about selfishness and I don't think it's always wrong to get a divorce.


Rebecca said...

Oh, how I wish my parents had gotten a divorce years ago. Staying together for the kids - NOT their Best Idea Ever. So true that you just never really know what's going on if you're on the outside. Then again, I still think adultery is wrong 99% of the time. But there is always an exception... You had an FBI agent for a seminary teacher?!?! That's just cool.

La said...


Maybe I should email this to you. But oh well. I really respect your point of view on this. You're absolutely right about not knowing all the situation.

Nearly instantly I was "on my mom's side". In the years since, and living with my mom for 3 of those years, I absolutely have a better grasp on my dad's perspective.

The lack of respect I have for my dad had little to do with the actual divorce. It's the manner in which he's behaved since then. He no longer acts like our father, he acts like our equal. I could get into many examples and details, but I appreciate your bringing this up.

When I read the comments of that post, I too was concerned. Even ask Eric. I said to him, "I didn't intend to make my father look like a prick. I just wanted to show changes in our relationship."

Thanks again...


Anonymous said...

Infidelity is always selfish. All the cute little romantic comedies make it look like fun, drama makes it look necessary, but all gloss over the fact that someone made a committment they break with another person. Break up, get a divorce, deal with the dirty laundry in your life before you try for something new.