Tiger Woods: The Deal Breaker

The latest Tiger Woods headline is that his wife is not leaving…yet.

    Would you stay or go? My girlfriends and I have debated that question quite a bit since this whole Tiger Woods fiasco. I have always been firmly in the go camp. But I have a short foolishness fuse. My more longsuffering sisters always leave me dumbfounded. It never ceases to amaze—wrong word —astound me what other women put up with. My visceral reaction is so strong that even my husband, Tim, is taken aback.

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together in the sight of God…

    I made a lot of promises 17 years ago framed amidst a great deal of fanfare. I chose a dress as close to Princess Di’s as I could afford. I invited friends and magnanimously included a few enemies. I made vows to my husband and God in front of my family and friends. I poured over the Book of Common Prayer because I wanted to use vows that had stood the test of time. I would have repeated the vows word for word from the time-honored book, if my dad didn’t temper me. And that’s saying something. I was not a hasty bride. I had been counseled well. I knew that I was floating on cloud of romance and high hopes. I was not naïve enough to believe that our love would not be tested by the realities of life. I just couldn’t anticipate how much.

    Wilt thou love, honor, and keep him…

    I remember when Tim and I were engaged, my siblings tested him, “So, what is it about Gail?” “She’s meek,” he answered, looking at me. I wish you could have heard the earnestness in his voice. The siblings raised their eyebrows and looked at me hard. “Really, Tim? You think, Gail is meek?” They looked at me now with concern. Tim still insisted. It was truly touching. Today, I asked Tim if he still thinks I’m meek:

“What makes you ask that?”

“Tim, it was once a significant point.”

“I heard something in a message by Swindoll or someone about meekness.”

“So there was something that was said that made you think of me?”

“Yes.”

“What was it?”

“I don’t remember.”

“So, you weren’t bamboozled. I was meek in some sense based on that message.”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

     In all fairness, I intended to keep those vows when I made them. The truth is that my love is a frail thing indeed. It gets bored, annoyed, fretful, and stressed. It heats, cools, freezes, and boils. It is clingy, indifferent, possessive and nonchalant. It stalks out the door and returns humbled and repentant. I fail in a million ways to live up to my own best self.

Forsaking all others…

     My fear has always been that I wouldn’t be enough. No one is more obsessed with their flaws than me. I am painfully aware of all them. I also know that I am a truly kind person. I am generous and empathetic. I am thoughtful and loyal. I have a sincere heart for God. I am a good woman. I could be a great one. If there was someone out there who would hang in there with me. And I think that gets to the heart of it. When we get married, we are hoping against hope that this one person will hang in there with us. Through anger and grief. Depression and ecstasy. Through the painful and mundane. We say our vows, get naked and trust that this one person won’t turn away from us in our vulnerability. Hang in there. That’s all I ask. I know it’s a lot. I know it’s not always a fair exchange, but I have nothing else to offer than myself, and that has to be enough.

“The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours”

     That is why I don’t care if the other woman never meant anything or if the two were in love or in lust or in whatever. It doesn’t matter. It’s over. I believe that God hates divorce. I believe that divorce affects children profoundly, and if people can make it work they should try. Can God restore? I wouldn’t be a Christian if I didn’t firmly believe that God was in the business of mending hearts and lives. I have heard great testimonies about couples whose marriages not only survived, but even thrived after infidelity. God bless them. I am old enough to have learned the lesson, “Never say never.” One never knows what they will do in a given situation until they are in it. But, from what I know about myself, I can say with near certainty that infidelity is a deal breaker for me.

     Why is infidelity the ultimate deal breaker for me? I don’t fully know. I understand the sanctity of sex, but truthfully it does not always feel sacred. Sometimes it feels like a duty. I heard one of Tiger’s mistresses bragging to the interviewer that sex for them was exciting, not like married sex. A young friend once asked me whether she is just saving herself for boring sex. I had to laugh. It was such an honest, intelligent question. The truth is that sometimes it might seem routine. That can be a blessing. There is a lot to be said for a sure thing. Other times, when you are trying to make a baby, it becomes almost holy. In the course of a marriage there is such a range. But, yes, life is mostly predictable, and so is married sex.

     Marriage is two people plowing through life together. The exclusivity of sex means that we are still hanging in there together. Two flawed people with challenges that seem almost insurmountable. Showing up for each other day in and day out. Building a life out of joy, pain, hard work, and a very sacred promise.

     The last I heard, Elin spent the holidays in Sweden and Tiger who was supposed to be saving his marriage is having trouble staying focused. When the priceless glass breaks, sometimes it is irretrievably broken, and the most one can hope is somehow to find the grace needed to give to the one who broke it. Elin will have to find grace for Tiger whether or not they stay married for her own sake and her childrens’. I pray that in the New Year both Tiger and Elin will have an encounter with the Prince of Peace. They and every married couple on the planet desperately need it.

Poem was an excerpt from “The Life That I Have” by Leo Marks

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About Gail Krahenbuhl

Director of Gracious Women's Ministries, Wheaton Christian Center
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13 Responses to Tiger Woods: The Deal Breaker

  1. Terri Kraus says:

    Another home run, Gail. I hope you’re collecting these wonderfully insightful posts for that book you are going to write!

  2. Tondaleya Lyons says:

    Hello Gail,

    You made some valid points and I would have to agree with you. Marriage is a full-time job and there are not any vacation days. You have to work on your marriage everyday. But, I do feel that divorce should be the absolute last resort. I do not feel it should be the first thing a woman or man should do in the event of a marriage crisis.

    No one knows the exact issues within a marriage except the husband and wife. We can give our opinions all day long, but it doesn’t change the fact that the couple has to make the final decision.

    I feel that if a couple can put God first (with the pureness of their hearts) everything will fall into place. My marriage isn’t perfect but I wouldn’t change it for the world! Anthony and I have grown so much as a couple and will continue with the help of God.

    That is the problem with a lot of marriages these days, God is left out of the equation. I don’t care what anyone says. God is the key! God is the key to happiness in my life and marriage.

    This is just my two cents!

    • Gail Krahenbuhl says:

      Tonda, I agree that if two people are 100% committed to God then they can avoid hurting themselves and each other. That is the ideal. I chose a partner who loved the Lord more than He loved me, on purpose because there are certain issues that I did not want to come up ever. I know myself, and I married accordingly. Unfortunately, many people don’t, and then heartache ensues. I believe that everyone should have a line in the sand. I read an excellent Christian book on boundaries in marriage, and I believe boundaries keep everyone safe and healthy. I am very troubled when God is used to avoid setting appropriate boundaries. I don’t think its too much to expect that married couples are faithful, not physically or emotionally abusive, communicate respectfully, and the primary breadwinner works to support his family. It could be just me, but I think this is pretty basic stuff and in my case are non negotiables.

  3. Ellie Pitts says:

    Hi Gail,

    I loved your literal interpretation of your marriage promise and what it means to be married; I agree. I loved the humor and no-nonsense approach; keep up the good work and yes, save these for your future book-a best-seller!

  4. Ellie Pitts says:

    Regarding “Where is the Bottom?”-Heart-wrenching! True prayer, TOTAL SURRENDER…Father, help!

  5. Carletta Seay says:

    Gail,
    Thanks for your candid and profound insight about your thoughts of this hot topic. I’ve heard so much about what the world thinks about it and it was great to read your perspective.

    p.s You are a great writer. Had me captivated! I also can’t wait for your books! Watch out Michelle!

  6. carmen says:

    Gail,
    This was a gem. Very timely, transparent and honest. I await your book with great anticipation.

    So glad to re-connect on FB.
    Blessings.
    Carmen

  7. Gail Krahenbuhl says:

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to stop by. I do push the envelope a bit. Feel free to disagree. Carmen, you are why facebook was created. It has been wonderful getting a glimpse into your life, and what a life!

  8. EASTER says:

    GAIL, Thank you for being true to yourself worth, I can relate to so many things you said. I think each of us in our LIFE’S journey has a book that GOD has already completed. We just have to figure out what chapter we’re on and LET GO AND LET GOD. You inspire me. GOD BLESS

  9. Lisa Shebar says:

    Gail – Another great article with great insights. I love how open you always are about your thoughts and feelings. You also have a great wit and are the master of understatement (e.g., Tiger seems to be “having trouble staying focused” on saving his marriage right now).

    Thank you for your blog. I look forward to every post.

  10. Sharon Ward, Your Biggest Fan says:

    I thought this was a wonderful article. I am glad you are taking time to explain what sex is all about and what makes it sacred in the eyes of God.

  11. Carla Reeves says:

    Gail,

    I think this is my favorite article. That is until you write your next one. I laughed out loud. I really appreciate your truthfulness. Marriage is not something that can be taken lightly. Thank you for sharing and being so open, I love it!

  12. LaTasha says:

    Excellent article

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