Two Sundays ago, while onboard an FX taxi on my way to church, I heard over the radio the song “Sad Movies Always Make Me Cry.” I’m sure most of you have heard this song. While listening to it, I couldn’t help but relate the song to the things I have been learning about marital infidelity, especially through the January 28, 2006 seminar at the Capitol City Baptist Church.
The woman who tells her story in the song (the “persona” as Literature teachers would put it) says that “Daddy had to work and so I went to the show alone.” The woman then says that as the lights went down and the show was about to begin, her husband (who was supposed to be at work!) and her best friend (!) walk into the theater.
The woman then continues to say that as her husband kisses her best friend’s lips, she almost dies. “And in the middle of the colored cartoon,” she starts to cry. When she goes home crying and her mother asks her why, she just says, “Sad movies always make me cry.”
The question that comes into the minds of a lot of rational people is why the woman in the song didn’t confront her cheating husband and her lying best friend right there and then. I am not a great believer in psychology but psychologists would probably say that the woman in the song didn’t react, or reacted the way she did, because of PTSD or “post-traumatic stress disorder.” PTSD has been used to explain the delayed and contradictory reactions (stress in various forms) of Vietnam War veterans and victims of heinous crimes.
Dr. Willard Harley Jr. in his website http://www.mariagebuilders.com/ describes the impact of marital infidelity as follows:
A spouse’s unfaithfulness is the most painful experience that can be inflicted in marriage. Those I’ve counseled who have had the tragic misfortune of having experienced rape, physical abuse, sexual abuse of their children, and infidelity have consistently reported to me that their spouse’s unfaithfulness was their very worst experience. To be convinced of the devastating impact of infidelity, you only need to go through it once.”
David Clarke, Ph.D. is the author of the book “What to do when your spouse says, ‘I don’t love you anymore’” (Thomas Nelson Publishers; copyright 2002 by David Clarke Ph.D.). On page 34 of his book, he describes what a person goes through upon first finding out that his or her spouse is having an affair:
When your spouse tells you that the love is gone, you are traumatized in every sense of the word. There is no more brutal form of rejection. Your life is in pieces, and you have no clue what to do. What to say. How to attract your partner back and save your marriage. You are shocked. Stunned. Horrified. In absolute disbelief. Your mind can’t seem to grasp what’s happening. You’re in denial. You’re in grief. You’re in a fog. You’re in a panic. You’re overwhelmed.
If you want a no-nonsense, no punches pulled, beyond tough love, tough as nails, bring down the sledgehammer approach to handling marital infidelity, then I highly recommend Clarke’s book to you. Be prepared to be shocked by Clarke’s recommendations for dealing with a wayward spouse.
Anyway, the song “Sad Movies Always Make Me Cry” states in poetic form what Dr. Chalmers taught during the January 28 seminar:
 “Most affairs are between friends and co-workers.”
 “It’s a dangerous illusion to think that your spouse is, or yourself are, incapable of being unfaithful to your marriage covenant.”
 “A secret, second life is created to protect the adulterous relationship and a wayward spouse who never had a history of lying turns into a master of deception.”
Kerby Anderson in a Probe Ministries article (http://www.probe.org/) cites the work of family therapist Frank Pittman, author of “Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy.” Pittman has counseled over 10,000 couples over the last forty years and some 7,000 of them have experienced infidelity. Pittman, with some additions from Anderson, enumerates some of the proactive ways by which to prevent an affair:
 “Accept the possibility of being sexually attracted to another and of having sexual fantasies.”
 “We should hang out with monogamous people.”
 “Work on your marriage.”
 “Be realistic about your marriage.”
 “Keep the marriage equal. Share parenting duties.”
 “If you aren’t already married, be careful in your choice of a marriage partner.”
 “Call home every day you travel.”
What Pittman and Kerby are saying in number one above is that adultery starts in the mind. William Cutrer, M.D. and Sandra Glahn in page 135 of their book “Sexual Intimacy in Marriage” (Kregel Publications; reprinted in the Philippines by Evangelical Classics Library), recount the story of how Jeanette fell into an adulterous affair:
As a believing wife and mother who had an affair several years ago, I want to warn others that if they first yield to mental adultery, it could easily take them the whole way down the wrong road. If there is time to be alone with the other man, the two of you will most likely confess your struggles to each other. After allowing wrong thoughts, this is the most dangerous step to take. If he is a fellow believer, you will say you must conquer this thing together in prayer. You will feel such a tenderness toward each other that you will need to express your affection with warm embraces and “holy kisses.” It is a short road from there to the point where you allow yourself the pleasure of more and more sensual temptations. Finally, you quit trying to resist.” (emphasis supplied)
A Woman's Top Five Needs
Harley, in his book “His Needs, Her Needs,” says that the way to prevent an affair is to always keep meeting your spouse’s most important needs. He says that for the majority of women, their top five needs are the following:
 Honesty and openness
 Financial support
 Family commitment
Well, guys, there you have it! The keys to a woman’s heart! It seems from Harley’s list that women are easy to understand and please, right? But why then do most guys say that they just don’t understand women?
Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, said, “Every woman is a science.” (Back in the 1970’s, in UP Diliman, I lost my engineering scholarship because I failed Physics 41, Engineering Science I, and barely passed Chem 17. Hmmm … maybe that’s why I don’t understand women.)
I can’t remember the exact source but inspirational writer Max Lucado once said, “A man can spend a lifetime with a woman and yet never gaze into her soul.”
Pastor J. Mack Stiles in his book “17 Things My Kids Taught Me About God” (Kingsway Publications; copyright 1998 by J. Mack Stiles) is one guy who didn’t understand women. He says of his marriage to Leann in page 84:
Quickly we discovered this marriage stuff was a lot harder than married people let on. Understanding each other’s words proved tough enough. Take the vacuum cleaner I got Leann for Valentine’s Day. She’s always said that she just wanted me to remember her. We needed a vacuum cleaner, and it was in nice wrapping paper. Good grief! What’s all the fuss?
Back in the 1980’s I had a girlfriend from Marikina. When I found out that she loved the Chinese delicacy dikiam (the very salty kind), I made it a point to always buy for her a bag full of dikiam. On our way to her special choir practice in Barangka Drive in Mandaluyong, as she ate the dikiam, she would throw the seeds one by one out of the jeepney we were riding on. Anyone who wanted to know where we were going just had to follow the trail of dikiam seeds littering the whole of Ortigas Avenue! Hey, I was meeting her number one need for affection, in the form of a bag full of dikiam!
Ptr. Clem Guillermo, during the January 28 seminar, told the audience about a couple he was counseling. The husband said to the wife, “Why do you say that I don’t love you? I have built for you a mansion. I have taken you on a round the world trip twice.” Ptr. Clem then said that the wife replied, “If you really loved me, why don’t give me a hug or kiss me before you leave home in the morning, or when you come home? Why don’t you tell me that you love me?”
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife’s entire philosophy for their marriage seminars is founded on Ephesians 5:31 - that a woman’s greatest need is love or affection. (Their website is http://www.loveandrespect.com/ , and I highly recommend that you view the video clip “But I don’t know that woman”.)
Dr. James Dobson in his book “What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women” (Living Books; copyright 1975 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc.) says on page 65,
Women yearn to be the special sweethearts of their men, being respected and appreciated and loved with tenderness. This is why a homemaker often thinks about her husband during the day and eagerly awaits his arrival home. It explains why their wedding anniversary is more important to her, and why he gets clobbered when he forgets. It explains why she is constantly “reaching” for him when he is at home, trying to pull him out of the newspaper or television set; it explains why ‘Absence of Romantic Love in My Marriage’ ranked so high as a source of depression among women, whereas men would have rated it somewhere in the vicinity of last place.” (emphasis supplied)
John Eldredge, in page 182 of his book “Wild At Heart, Discovering The Secret of a Man’s Soul” (Thomas Nelson Publishers; copyright 2001 by John Eldredge), says in a memorable, very poetic way what every woman wants:
… the deep cry of a little girl’s heart is am I lovely? Every woman needs to know that she is exquisite and exotic and chosen. This is core to her identity, the way she bears the image of God. Will you pursue me? Do you delight in me? Will you fight for me?</<>(Eldredge’s book talks about what being a man truly consists of. He says that a true man needs an adventure to live for and a beauty to rescue. Although I recommend Eldredge’s book to you, please always read anything I recommend with discernment. Eldredge, for example, in one part of his book, espouses what theologians refer to as “open theism.”)
Well, well, well, listening to a sappy song like “Sad Movies Always Make Me Cry” while on that FX taxi traversing an almost empty Ayala Avenue on a Sunday morning on way to church can really get me going on and on. Speaking of movies, my favorites are the 1928 classic “It Happened One Night” starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, and the James Stewart 1930’s black and white classics “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” (a Christmas day tradition in the USA). Hey, what can I say? When it comes to movies, I’m a dinosaur!
So, I don’t want to hear “Sad Movies Always Make Me Cry” one more time. Next Sunday, I’ve got to make sure that I avoid riding that FX taxi again ...