A Sad Tale As Old As…


More than twenty-five years ago a friend of mine stopped by my office to ask some advice. He was newly married and a father of an infant daughter. He had been presented with a job opportunity overseas which he thought would further his career.  He really wanted to go. There was only one catch, his wife didn’t. She adamantly refused to go if he took the job. He asked my advise. Should he take the job or not. I asked him how long he would be living abroad and he replied it would be for “only” a year. I told him that if it were me, I wouldn’t make my wife go if she was strongly opposed. He then explained to me that he could accept the job, live there alone for a year, then return to his family. He felt it was a great business opportunity that he didn’t want to pass up. He felt his wife was being unreasonable and not supporting him. It was clear that he was mad at her. Nevertheless, I told him that even if she wasn’t being supportive, I would never do it. But, he did.

A little more than a year later he returned and ended up at my office once again to “talk.” In tears he told me that upon returning, his wife was leaving him. I was taken back, but not shocked. He complained that his wife was spiteful and that now he was only going to be able to see his daughter on a limited basis. I tried to sympathize with him and supported him in his complaint against his wife. When I did so an interesting thing happened. He started to defend her. I was taken back because I was trying to be a friend. He then told me that he had been unfaithful to her while overseas and upon finding out, she had wanted out of the marriage. Then he put his hands in face and wept bitterly.

It has been many years since that day, but the same “scenes from a marriage” have been played out before my eyes on many occasions. The players have been different, but the results were the same; broken marriages, shattered families, bitter tears. The selfishness of one brings about destruction and ruin to the lives of many. And that “selfishness” touches, not only the lives of the immediate family, but the lives of the extended family. It impacts the ability of the children to have “trust” when they get married. The sins of the selfishness of the “one” seem to live on for generations. I am not writing anything new on this subject matter.

It’s been many years since my friend sat down with me and told me his sad tale. He has since moved and he and his wife never got back together. I heard he stopped going to church. I look back on his life, and others who had chosen a similar path, and see they have gained nothing except heartache and misery. Their “eternal” families are fractured. And I ponder over it. I know that, on occasion, things can get rough in a marriage. No one has a “perfect” union.  But it is a mystery to me as to why so many go down a road so well-traveled, that there is scarcely a question as to its ultimate destination. Perhaps some think that somehow things will turn out “differently” for them. I think most of the time, people just don’t think at all as to what is at the end of the “rainbow.” But from my experience, there is nothing there but a pot of fool’s gold.

Follow the counsel of our living prophets who have warned us “that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

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