Sanford’s Steamy Affair

Jan 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Faith

The details are torrid, and the letters so eloquent, I’m sure it’ll be a favorite read for weeks to come.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, once most known as the ideologue who refused federal stimulus money for his state while the entire country was locked in its worst economic downturn in more than 20 years, is now the ideologue apparently so in love with with a woman who is not his wife, he ignored his four sons on Father’s Day, and disregarded his responsibilities as the state’s chief executive to continue a fling with a woman who can only inflict harm to him, his marriage, his kids, his larger family, his career, and many people in his employ — possibly even residents of the state.

One thing can certainly be said of the man: he stands by his convictions.

To be fair to the governor, I’m sure the picture wasn’t painted in such clearly obvious terms in his mind when he decided to “sneak away” on Father’s Day weekend to meet his lover. I’m sure the picture looked something more like sandy beaches, and tan lines, and he thought he’d never be missed.

Temptation is a crazy thing. It’ll will make you think that the 20% of what you want and see in someone else, is worth trading for the 80% of what you want and already have with the one you’re with.

Love letters from the governor’s computer, which have been confirmed by the media to have come from him, have the governor waxing on about his lover’s “beauty and grace” while his wife was at home, perhaps less beautiful and graceless because of the work it took to raise his four children while her husband is running state politics and standing under scrutiny for consideration as a vice presidential candidate.

I can’t say his wife was perfect; I know nothing of her. Clearly every marriage has its challenges, and when a man or woman decides to step outside of those marital bonds, he or she has already been discontent for some time. It takes two to tango, and two to make a marriage work.

But the thing about temptation is its just a mirage.

Most often, when you capture that thing that has caused your heart to sing, you’ll find that the 20% is not enough to sustain you, and that this new package comes with 80% baggage you don’t want to deal with.

Anyone can look like a great catch when they a) haven’t had to deal with your issues (the same ones over and over again) for several years; b) haven’t spent hours sorting and cleaning your dirty laundry (literally and figuratively) c) haven’t already had to forgive you countless times for infractions large and small and d) aren’t laden with the responsibilities of every day life caring for you.

It’s a fantasy to think your life can always be like it was that time you were on the beach, the cares of the world were far away and he or she catered to your every need. (and who wouldn’t want that fantasy?)

But reality is that most of our lives are not lived on the beach. The cares of the world will come a-knockin’ again, and he or she will get tired of being your nurse and eventually expect reciprocation.

They’ll need your attention too. They’ll need you to come home earlier. They’ll need you to pick up the dry cleaning on the way home. They’ll need you to sit up with the baby this time. They’ll need you to pick up your socks off the floor and squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom. And when they do, suddenly that person will look oddly like the one you just got rid of.

That beach, and those feelings will be so far away.

When couples learn to appreciate one another in real life, and the little sacrifices that each consistently makes, the feelings that got you down the aisle can be restored. When a couple is able to agree on the forces attacking their marriage, and to fight those forces together, the spark that started long ago can grow into a flame. When a couple commits to doing loving actions for one another regardless of their current feelings, (love is an action word) the loving feelings will follow.

See, that’s the thing about emotions: They do what we do.

James 1:13-17
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above

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