You thought it would never happen to you. You have been a committed lover and spouse for years and you came home unexpectedly and met your spouse engaged in intimacy with someone else. That’s shocking, numbing, stupefying, and enraging. What happens next? Or what should happen next? How should you respond when you catch your spouse being unfaithful?
In her article on infidelity, expert Danine Manette states, “Infidelity is one of the most painful and emotionally draining experiences a person can endure. Whether it’s the frustration or psychological torture associated with a suspected affair, or the devastating emotional aftermath which follows discovery, the knowledge that one has been betrayed by their mate or partner can be simply overwhelming.” When one realizes over time or suddenly that a spouse is having an affair, there are a number of responses. First, there is the initial shock, then rage, then desire for revenge. For many who find a spouse making love to another, these responses can be compounded as one response causing an irrational reaction that may be lethal or wounding to the partners involved. This is when reason sits in the back seat and revenge stands in the doorway. But not everyone resorts to attack, fight, or murder. Many wisely walk away, though painfully.
In the past year, a number of men have told me of their own experiences of almost causing harm or possibly killing a spouse or lover they found having sex with another person. They all confessed that there was instant anger, but something caused them to control a violent reaction. One man, in a seminar, said that as he looks back, he is happy he did not follow his first intent to kill. Another man said he fought the man, wounding him as he ran out of the house. Why didn’t these men allow the need for revenge to lead to a lethal reaction? There is no real answer. However, all of these men had a few things in common – their strong childhood upbringing of faith and religion in their lives; their respect for the dignity of human life; their freedom from the need to control another person – they do not think of their partner as a property asset; a strong sense of self-control and discipline.
How would you respond if you found your spouse in a compromising position? If you are easily angered, quick-tempered, obsessive, and controlling, you may be at greater risk to responding in a dangerous way. The scary thing about these characteristics is that they are not always visible. When one is known to be mannerly and respectful, these characteristics can go undetected. Their ugly faces may only be revealed through extreme anger and revenge, causing a gasoline-like combustion that is often lethal.
Perhaps the best way to prevent revengeful, angry, lethal snaps is living a peaceful, well-disciplined life. Tell yourself, before you get angry or enraged, that no good decision is ever made when one is enraged. Keep the mind clear of vengeful thoughts. If you constantly feed your mind with thoughts of vengeance, all it needs is the right place and time and the explosion will take place. Avoid the fantasy trap. Fantasizing about what you will do if someone causes you great pain is dangerous. With the right time and opportunity, the fantasy will turn into reality. Realize that we are not the owners or bosses of others, especially our spouses. Possessiveness is not healthy. If you feel your anger is getting out of control, here are a few tips from various experts to help prevent the explosion:
Practice deep breathing: It is an anger control exercise that is practiced by many people and with a high degree of success. Whatever may be the reason for your anger, just close your eyes, relax your mind and breathe deeply. Do so for a mere 60 seconds and you’ll instantly notice the impact that it has on your rage or anger.
Walk away; take a time out: As you feel the rage coming, move away from the scene. Take time away from the environment where you can process reasonably before you return to the scene.
Relax and visualize: Calm yourself down. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, imagine all the bottled-up fury comes out of your nose and mouth. Release it and be free. Repeat this step over and over until you feel peace inside. Then, visualize being in a place where you feel happiest, calm, and relaxed. It may be a place like a beach, garden, scenic locations, or anywhere else you may think of. Just imagine being there and inhaling the essence of your serene environment. By doing this, you will not find it hard to attain inner peace.
Listen to soothing music: It calms your soul. A 20-minute session of listening to relaxing music while resting comfortably could soothe the upset spirit. Take deep breaths often.
Pray: Deadly consequences arise when people cannot hold back their fury. Ask God for grace to control your temper. Prayer brings inner peace to those who ask for it.