Don't Race Down Redemption Road

Over the years, I've been around countless marriages and relationships devastated by the discovery of porn of sex addiction. An unsuspecting spouse mistakenly stumbles across an internet history and sees the name of a site whose title leaves no doubt as to its' nature. Another spouse stumbles across an e-mail that was supposed to be deleted, but the words on the screen describe in detail that infidelity has entered and trust is now shattered.

After a few days and weeks of being stunned and in shock, the couple often decides to try to stay together. This is where I usually get involved, and it's an honor to be there. What they usually do not understand that the road to redemption is long and you can not race down it. It requires a slow pace.

Many of us that have been on the offending side of this equation figure that everything is cool now that we have been "forgiven." You know, Teresa and I made that mistake at the outset. I confessed to her, and she said, "I forgive you" and then we prayed and tried to act like everything was cool. It wasn't.

Those of us on the offending side really would prefer it to be that way, though. When a cold front moves back into the relationship, we love to quickly say, "Hey, did you forgive me or not? Forgive and forget, right? You can't keep bringing this up if you've forgiven me." I've often found that the words, "I forgive you" come long before the act of forgiveness. We want to claim it and move on.

But here's the problem - we've done great damage to the relationship. Think about Lightning McQueen in the Pixar classic, Cars. He destroyed the main road in Radiator Springs, and was sentenced to repair and repave the road. When he pulls, "Bessie" slowly, the damage is smoothed out, and then a nice even layer of tar is spread and applied to the road. It leaves no record of what had happened to the road. But when he begins to focus on himself, as any truly selfish person does, here's what happens:

When we race down redemption road, the road does not get healed. We just pour some tar over the wounds and scars and act like everything is alright. The problem is when we try and drive down that road, it's not a smooth experience. Mater's response was classic denial, wasn't it?

Lightning McQueen brings out the addictive response of invalidating everyone's concern, and responding with pride. He demeans the town, shows no concern for hurt feelings, and rephrases the deal in hopes of finding a loophole to make the town feel that it's their fault.

It's a very tough thing to be the one to pour cold water on things, but it has to be done. The offending spouse thinks everything is cool when the apology is accepted, or they are allowed to come back home. They'll agree to do some counseling, maybe go to some meetings, but only for a limited time. They are racing down redemption road.

The offended spouse figures that it wasn't their fault, so they don't think they have work to do. They don't see their contributions to the problem at all. It's all the offender's fault. "What did I do?" they often ask. Plenty. They need help too.

Many in this field will tell you that the couple is going to need to be in a counseling process for 3-5 years. You can't race down that road, but if you will commit to it, and to each other, this damaged, devastated road can be made new again. AND, it will be smoother than ever before.

You may say that you've been wounded too deeply, and there's just no way back. That would be true - except that we serve a Savior that has overcome death. DEATH. Because Jesus beat Death, there is nothing He can not do. NOTHING. Your relationship can be redeemed, you just have to commit to the process and ask God to guide and aid you along the way.

4 Response to "Don't Race Down Redemption Road"

  • Dan @ Necessary Roughness Says:

    Visiting here from the Boar's Head Tavern.

    Nicely done. I'd written something similar, Forgiveness Doesn't Clean Up the Mess. Nice use of Disney to illustrate your point. :)

  • Liza Says:

    As a spouse on the other side of this, I can attest to the marathon nature of this battle. Wives need to be prepared for a high rate of failure.

    Things can improve, but they do so slowly and in stops and starts.

  • Tal Prince Says:

    Thanks Dan! It's great to have some visitors from the Boar's Head! What a wonderful site. I'm truly humbled to have y'all here.

    Hang around! If you like this one, you may want to check out

    I love video clips, and use them in sermons with amazing regularity.

    If you can, check out the radio show on Sirius Satellite. If you don't have Sirius, you can go to and get a trial membership and listen. Tomorrow night we have the author of The Shack, William P. Young.

    Thanks again for visiting! I love the Boar's Head. Your piece on forgiveness was good! Great title for a blog, by the way!

  • Tal Prince Says:

    Hey Liza,

    I'm sorry that you have had to go through this.

    You have clearly been through a great deal, and I pray that you have both sought a great deal of help.

    Spouses need to be prepared for a long road. It's not just wives by the way. I have dealt with many husbands that are struggling with the serial infidelity of their wives.

    Addiction is an equal opportunity offender.

    What advice do you have for spouses going through this?

    Thanks for coming by!