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.”

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10 thoughts on “Surviving Infidelity: What Do You Tell The Kids?

  1. Another big WOW! I have wondered about this very thing, but knowing that you walk so closely to the Lord and in seeking His Words to tell your children, this was dealt with and you all moved ahead. I can see very plainly in reading what you shared with your precious little ones, that you did that very thing. How wonderful for them to get a grip on grace, forgiveness, and repentance at such young ages. I am afraid my mama protected me too much and I learned much more about those things as an adult….and am thankful I came to that point, but wish it could have been sooner. Thanks for sharing this and being such a fantastic example and inspiration for all of us. Hope you’re getting rested. The photos shared here are just heart-grabbing gorgeous! XO

  2. I love this. My husband and I stopped the history of divorce in both our families as well. It’s important to break those geerational curses for yourselves and for your childrens’ futures. Blessings to you all.

  3. I am glad u wrote this one. I wondered too. We teach the same way, only what they ask for. That’s all their little minds can handle. Thanks again for your honesty. God bless.

  4. Tonya,

    Thank you so much for sharing your life! I know I have left comments before but it seems like each post you have just touches my to the very core. We have never gone through this and I pray we never have to…..but the beauty of your “whole Story” is that even if you havn’t been through broken marriage vows all the lessons you can learn from someone who has. This post on the kids really put a lump in my throat. We have 4 children too and I just want to be a good “momma” and sometimes I feel like a failure at it but today’s post really encouraged me to say “I’m sorry” so they will see me being transparent. I heard the song by the “sidewalk prophets” I’m not sure the name of the song but a part of is “everything I say or do points to You” that my children and everyone else sees that everything I say or do points to Jesus Christ. That is a big challenge!! Thank you so much for sharing and encouraging! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

    Katie

  5. This post is so great! It is so wise that you discussed the simple truth with your children. The quote from Jami Nato about teaching your children repentance and asking them for forgiveness…SO true. Thank you for sharing in the wonderful, honest way that you do. His light shines through you!

  6. WOW is all I can say Tonya. I found your blog through a recipe search and I truly believe God led me here. My husband and I traveled a similar road over the past few years and, although our life is very different from your families, I read all of your posts with a very deep understanding of how you felt throughout it all. Although I spent most of my time reading with tears in my eyes or flowing down my face, it felt good to know that others have been there and we are all connected.
    I’ve subscribed and so look forward to getting to know you and your beautiful family.

  7. Wow! Thank you for sharing. God is in the business of restoration. From the first sin committed in the garden of Eden, God devised a plan of restoring his creation. I walked this same path you did, except my husband did not want to restore the marriage, he wanted to continue in sin and after 22 years of marriage he chose to walk out. Like you, I chose to forgive and modled that for out teenage daughters. God brought me through those dark days and has blessed me with so much joy and happineess … in contrast my ex continues to go from relationship to relationship and has lost everything. So sad to see Satan destroy families. That is why I am thrilled to read the committment of both you an Dale to stay the course and fight for your marriage. My prayers are with you that you will continue to grow in your love and forgiveness, as well as being an example to your children that it is worth staying true to God.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing so much of your life and all of your up’s and downs !
    My daily Prayers are with you and D ale and your lovely kids that you may all continue to grow with the Lord walking beside you.

I adore hearing from you, comment away! :)

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