Sister to Sister: The Destruction of the Family Next Door

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Well, I’ve talked to a lot of people who have been a part of the agony, after the fact, but, thankfully I’ve never been privy to the dialog itself…until a recent hotel stay in another state. Glenn and I were staying next door to a couple whose marriage was forever changed. The conversation I didn’t want to be overhearing was excruciating for me, just lying there in the darkness in the middle of the night. But I can only imagine the depth of pain in the room next door. I could only guess the wording of the woman’s side of the conversation, for she spoke in hushed tones that resembled the sounds you might hear around a hospital bed as the life of your loved one ebbs away. And, in fact, it was the life of the marriage itself that was likely passing in the hotel room next door.

Husband (in a very deep and determined bass voice): No! You know better than that. We’ll see how it really was.Wife responds in hushed tones.

Husband: You know that’s a lie. It was your boyfriend. We’ll see. It’s all coming out now.

Wife again responds.

Husband: We’ll see.

Wife responds.

Husband: Well, we’ll just see, won’t we? I don’t believe that for a minute. You said you couldn’t even walk to the second floor, so how do you expect me to believe that story? How, Donna?

Wife responds.

Husband: Well, I guess we’ll know soon. We’ll see.

At this point, my heating system came on and muffled the noises coming from the next room. Thankful for the respite from the awful crash of a falling marriage next door, for the warmth, not just of the heating system, but of the contented and godly Christian man who lay sleeping peacefully beside me, the few quiet moments of the night were welcomed intervals of relief. But then the system would kick off and, again, the agony on the other side of the wall was apparent.

Husband (By now his voice was not as deep and there was weeping between his words.): Oh  Donna! Just tell me why? Why? Why were you willing to throw it all away like this? Why?

Wife responds.

Husband: But can you tell me why? What is it? What was wrong? Did I somehow do something to cause this? Why…a thousand times, Why?

Wife responds.

Husband: (speaking quietly, but gravely): No. I’m not going anywhere. This is my home. These are my kids.

Wife responds.

Husband: No! I tell you I am not leaving. I am not going anywhere. I did not make this mess.

Wife responds.

Husband: But I AM thinking of Lizzie. I’m thinking of Josh and I’m thinking of  Jessie. They are mine, too. I’m not leaving. But if you could just tell me why. Why? Why, Donna?!

I guess the heat came on again, because the next morning when I was awakened by Glenn’s alarm to summons us to hurry and get up and ready to go finish up a marriage seminar in this particular town, I, too, was still wondering why? Why do people throw it all away? It made me want to linger there in that bed with his arms around me for a few more minutes. It made me want to spend a few more minutes in thankfulness to God that day; for Glenn, for the Word that blesses us with sanctification in our marriage, for our children and for our happiness. It really just made me want to never, ever see a night like the people in the room next door had just endured.

But it also made me understand the exception of Matthew 19: 9…you know, the “except it be for fornication” part. God understands the pain of marital unfaithfulness. God knows the full extent of the damage done by Donna. He understands the depth of that cry: “Why?!” (Read the book of Hosea and understand with me the hurt of spiritual adultery against the One who has chosen us.)

I pray the alarm will go off in Donna’s room, too. Perhaps she will hear the wake-up call, before it’s too late. Perhaps her three children will never have to know the sorrow that comes in the wake of divorce. Glenn and I checked out of the hotel shortly thereafter. We left, at the hotel desk, a complimentary copy of our book about God-centered marriage with our contact info, for the couple next door. But I left determined to teach a little more passionately that day, to love a little more deeply and to thank God a little more frequently for the amazing blessings of marriage with Him at the center.

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