Saturday, November 10, 2012

Name Withheld

If you've been following the news, you have learned of the confessed affair CIA director and retired four-star general, David Patraeus, had with biographer Mrs. Paula Broadwell. Stay with me. This post is not about Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), though you should be hearing plenty about that. As the wife of a Service Member who is subject to the UCMJ and has had to perform an investigation of this very thing, I do have a lot to say about this, but not today.
Nor is this about a Benghazi scandal cover up.

Paula Broadwell is married to Dr. Scott Broadwell. It is rumored, but not confirmed, that he wrote the following anonymous "Dear Abby" letter to Chuck Klosterman at the New York Times:
My wife is having an affair with a government executive. His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.) I have met with him on several occasions, and he has been gracious. (I doubt if he is aware of my knowledge.) I have watched the affair intensify over the last year, and I have also benefited from his generosity. He is engaged in work that I am passionate about and is absolutely the right person for the job. I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort. My issue: Should I acknowledge this affair and finally force closure? Should I suffer in silence for the next year or two for a project I feel must succeed? Should I be “true to my heart” and walk away from the entire miserable situation and put the episode behind me? NAME WITHHELD
 I have been at the receiving end of letters and phone calls with a similar premise as this but from women. Regardless if this letter is from Dr. Broadwell, it is from a man whose wife is having an affair. It is telling to observe how very different this letter is from one a woman would write.

I recently wrote about honor and how a man's possession of it is a fundamental difference of the sexes. Read whatever you may into this letter, but recognize that this statement: "I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort." is paramount.

Any amount of betrayal, inflicted pain, frustration, or annoyance has the potential to drive women to expose her husband in search of comfort. Some will spill all on social media, some call their friends or family, but few will stop, calm themselves, and ask this very important question: "is what I'm about to expose about my husband going to 'create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort?'"

Ladies, our feelings at any given time are very subjective and change quickly as we process negative information. You would do well to take the time necessary to pray about and earnestly consider the consequences of delivering this information to the world.

Think of the important efforts that you and your husband are a part of. Think of each one before you bring a third party into your marriage. Here are a few important efforts you can begin with:

-God's Commandments - Love thy neighbor as thyself. What would my reaction be if my husband were to behave the same way I'm about to? False Witness: Is what I'm about to say even true?
-My vows - Does what I'm about to expose betray any of the vows I made before God? In particular the promise to love/respect him in good times and bad.  (Note: It is very unlikely that any of you stated in your vows: "I promise to love him in good times and bad unless he betrays one of his vows.")
-My husband - Will this negatively affect his reputation? Is it a negative seed I'll be unable to retrieve once it's sown.
-Our Children - Will I be placing a stumbling block in the way of my children's ability to honor their father?
-Our Finances - Will what I say negatively affect my husband's ability to provide?

Just these five points I have listed should be more than enough for you to reconsider exposing your complaints and feelings to your sphere of influence. And I assure you, they are the most important efforts there are in your life.

I'm not saying you should never request help in dealing with challenges in your marriage. Those requests, however, should be made after you have calmed yourself, worked through at least the five things I've listed above, agreed with your husband on where to find help, and with the utmost discretion in choosing the source from which you request help.

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