20 Sept 2019  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy,

A couple of months ago I had a serious health scare—I thought I had cancer. (I didn’t, although the signs pointed to that at first.) My husband was broken up by it, and in a moment of panic he confessed to me that he’d had a brief affair when we were young, almost 40 years ago. He says it was a one-time thing, and I believe him. I should add that we’ve had a good marriage—apart, apparently, from that. I think he thought he was doing the righteous thing to tell me, but his timing was terrible, and I’m struggling now to know how to react. 

Signed, From Crisis to Crisis

Dear Crisis,

From your letter, it sounds like you love your husband and have had a happy life with him. Aunt Sevvy hopes that you are able to save your marriage, since your language indicates an otherwise good relationship. But you are grieving, and this won’t be an easy thing to work through to find healing on the other side.

This may be a good time to begin to study and pray about forgiveness. Aunt Sevvy has no illusions that this will be easy to set aside. You’re not asked to forget, but to move on—whatever that will end up meaning in your situation. I recommend a piece by one of Adventist Today’s writers, Elle Berry. Says Elle, “I believe forgiveness is important. I also believe that it is something that many of us, inadvertently, get wrong.”

This may not be something you want to take to your pastor right away. Instead, I encourage you to seek professional help, someone outside of your usual circle. Locate a good counselor in your area, and go there and talk, though I will give you one piece of advice: be aware that some conservative Christian counselors have a reputation for putting pressure on a woman to forgive and submit in order to save a marriage. That isn’t what you need. 

You have every right to feel angry, confused, and hurt by this. And you’ve recently been through the trauma of a health scare to add to your grief and confusion. You need to work through all of this in a safe way without value judgments or pressure.

You’ll be in Aunt Sevvy’s prayers,

Aunt Sevvy

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You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without real names. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.

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