Surviving Infidelity: What Do You Tell The Kids?

  I had a blog reader write me this weekend, and say:

The one thing I have not read about yet is about your children. No doubt that they saw a change in the way you guys interacted with each other. How and did you address this with your kids at all? I know they are younger but do you have advice on this?

   I do have some advice on this!  We met this issue head on, as we have chosen to do with all life’s issues: Death, Sex, Body Parts…..all those questions that make parents cringe! 

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  They were all met head on with simple, truthful answers, in simple terms geared towards their level of understanding.  You know what I love about kids?  When you quench their hunger for knowledge, with these simple answers, they are done.  They accept it and move forward. 

  It’s when we gasp and squirm, avert our eyes and say, “Go ask your dad.”  that they wonder, “Wow. That was a big reaction, this must be a really big deal.” Anxiety often follows.

  Destiny, 8 at the time, picked up right away on our tears and sorrow that first weekend.  We pulled her aside, and explained to her in simple terms, that daddy had broken mommy’s heart.  That there was going to be lots of tears and hugs and healing for a while, but that we were NOT going to get a divorce. That she had nothing to be scared of.  She nodded, tears streaming down her face.  This 8-year-old child, such a little woman already.

IMG_5699  From then on, she’d watch Dale comfort me with an understanding on her face. 

  A few months later, while I am tucking her in, she says “Mommy, I can tell God is healing your heart with super God Glue, because you are smiling and happy again.” 

Precious, precious words from a very grown up little girl.

  Our youngest children, 4, 2 1/2 and 1 at the time, didn’t ask questions, only began to act out more as the year progressed.  We are sure they felt the tone of the home change, even if they couldn’t understand why.  It was only after the Vow Renewal that they began to ask why we were getting married again? 

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  In simple terms we said “Because God saved our marriage and we wanted to give HIM glory, and because we love each other very very much.”  That was good enough for them! 🙂  Little Avery shared she cried “Happy Tears” at our Vow Renewal because her heart was so glad.  A friend later IMG_4878told me she had seen Destiny, swiping away tears that didn’t stop flowing during our ceremony.

They get it, guys.  They do.  Don’t cast them aside during hard times, thinking “They’ll never understand, this is a grown up issue.”  It only causes them to feel insecure.  To feel FEAR of what you are keeping from them.  Fear of what they don’t understand. 

  IMG_5876It’s so important that we come alongside of our kids during these rough patches in life and help them understand. Not barf our problems all over them, but in simple terms, sum it up for them.  Watch them make their peace with your truth, and easily move forward, as kids are so great about doing!

  Jami Nato of, Hello from The Natos, says it best:

i want to model a life of repentance to my children. what i don’t want to model to my children is a life of perfection. a life of false perfection, actually. how does that help children to be repentant when they never see you owning your imperfections. when they never hear you say, i’m so sorry…mommy was angry and she should not have punished you like that.

perhaps we even feel bad and go to God and ask for forgiveness. but it stops there. we don’t go to the person we hurt, even your 5 year old, and ask for forgiveness from them. no, that’s too difficult. no, they wouldn’t understand. no, they would think i’m terrible. no, it’s not that big of a deal.
it is that big of deal.
repentance in the small things not only points your children to repentance in big things, it points them to repentance was a way of life. that we are all flawed and that we all need a savior. all the time.

it is important to continually point our children to God. to tell them of his miracles in our lives! it is something to get excited about it. we talk about proclaiming the Gospel to your neighbors and friends and we forget about those little humans in our own house.
proclaiming the Gospel through repentance is so good.
so we will not keep the affair secret. we will shout it to the world and to our children.

  Whether our kids grasp all that occurred or not, it is our prayer, that ONE DAY, they will be able to look back over their lives, our lives as their parents, and say, “Oh yeah, mom and dad went through a rough time and fought for their marriage.  They fought hard, and God worked a miracle in our home. They WON the battle,  I can do that too.”

“My mom forgave my dad, when it might have seen easier to walk away, I can forgive, too.

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We want to leave a legacy of Grace for our children.

We want to leave a legacy of FORGIVENESS by the blood of Jesus, for our children.

We want our children to remember that marriage is HARD, but it is worth FIGHTING FOR!

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Our family has a history of divorce. 

It STOPS HERE.

It stops NOW. 

It will not be passed down to my children or their children.

Because we fought even when we didn’t have strength.

Because Jesus told us the Victory was OURS, if only we’d trust Him.

II Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

  We WON the battle.  We fought the good fight.  We finished the course.

Thank you, Jesus.

~T

Deuteronomy 4:9-10

  “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God…..when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”