(Hutch and Francine were debriefing their work at their favorite restaurant, and before they could even place their order a mutual friend Jennifer tearfully approaches…)
Jennifer: He’s cheating on me, and I’ve had it. I’m exhausted and I feel so lost. I don’t even know who I am anymore. I guess I somehow thought it would all go away or that I could ignore it, but now I have so many emotions I don’t know what to do with. (long pause)… I’m sorry to bombard you so abruptly but I heard you two were here and I had to have someone I could vent to.
Hutch: Jennifer, wow that’s a lot to take in. Here, take a seat and join us…it seems you must need some space to exhale. I am so sorry that this is the reality of your life right now. It sounds so difficult and overwhelming. Please know that this is not an interruption or inconvenience to us. You are a dear friend and it’s a privilege to hold your anger, fear, and pain with you. How can we best love you today?
Jennifer: I really can’t even articulate what I want or need. But it’s easy to think through what I don’t want.
Hutch: What is it you don’t want?
“Do you not want me to be a pastor?”
Jennifer: I hate how much Ronny is always gone. From preaching, to hospital visits, committee meetings, and helping others he’s hardly ever home. And when he does come home, he’s so tired and has no energy or time for me. I understand he has an obligation as a pastor, but its gotten to the point where I feel like he cares more about helping and serving others before I’m even a thought in his head. And every time I tell him how I feel, he pulls the God card and is quick to deflect the blame right back on me with something like, “Do you not want me to be a pastor?” I’m exhausted because this has happened for years and I’m now feeling like I’ve done something wrong or that I must not be the loving wife that he needs. He’s cheating on me with his work. What should I do?
Hutch: Jennifer, first off please hear this with your ears and heart wide open; I am so sorry you are having to go through this and that you feel so unloved by Ronny. I wish I could bail you out of the situation, but I can’t. I feel like because of our relationship I can say this, but hope you don’t take this the wrong way: It is a lie from the pit of hell that you are not the loving wife Ronny needs. Of course we all, at some level, need to improve how we love, but at the core of who you are I see a woman who longs for reconciliation with her husband. And it’s so obvious how deeply you want an intimate connection with Ronny. This longing is a beautiful thing and it encourages my heart to have such healthy longings as yours. To answer your question I have no clue what you should do, but I’m here for you no matter what. I do know this will take some time, and that the grief and pain won’t just disappear. But hopefully we can continue connecting, listening for Christ in our midst even when He’s seemingly distant or absent.