Drama Files: Bye-Bye Jamal. You Can’t Have it All.




Paris sought  counseling with me while going through a divorce. The problem: she always had concerns about her husband working around women, and not setting boundaries with his students.

Paris and Jamal had been married  for only two years. She was a high school teacher and Jamal was a college professor. They loved  each other very much.

Tell-Tale Texts

Jamal had been receiving text messages on his phone consistently. Paris noticed he would turn his phone over, or just ignore the text. One afternoon, she received a text that her husband was involved with one of his former graduate students and that she needed to go immediately to his office.

Paris was off work on that day so she went right over to Jamal’s office. She opened the door and there he was kissing another woman, and she was pregnant. Jamal was in shock and all Paris could do was stand there and cry. She calmly walked out of his office and waited for him to come home.

She never saw any signs of the unfaithfulness in their marriage. She tried to play it over and over in her head, but she would become more frustrated. Finally, Jamal came home and told her everything. He also stated that the child was his and that the affair had been going on from day one of their marriage. On the day of their marriage, he had sex with her, yet and he claimed he loved them both. Jamal had tried to keep it a secret, but he knew it would eventually come out. He was to afraid of loosing Paris and being away from his girlfriend and his new baby.

“You lost me the moment I walked through that door today” Paris told him.

Too Late to Apologize

Jamal’s pleadings of  “Please  don’t do this to us, and I love you Paris,” made no headway with Paris. He was selfish and only cared about himself.

Paris had been trying to conceive and Jamal kept making excuses why they should not have a child. That evening Jamal packed his bags and moved out. Paris filed for divorce and never had any further contact with Jamal until three years later.

Paris was the keynote speaker at an educational conference, and after she finished greeting people, Jamal stepped up.  She was taken a little off-guard, but not totally surprised that he would possibly attend. After they exchanged greetings Jamal plunged right in with an apology.  His relationship with the other woman broke off shortly after his divorce, and she had a miscarriage.  He lost everything over his own pride and selfishness, he admitted.

For Paris, Jamal’s admissions and apologies now brought closure to their dramatic and painful divorce.  It was still over, however, and Paris made that very clear. She forgave him, but would not reconcile with him.

Choice At the Heart of the Matter

“But, you never gave me an opportunity to choose you,” Jamal countered.

” You chose the day you brought a another woman into our marriage,” Paris wisely observed. Their conversation ended, and Paris walked away never looking back. She continues to flourish and is focusing on her life with Christ and family.

I shared with Paris something my father told me. “If someone you have trusted can’t make  a decision for the betterment of your life, then you need to make it for yourself.”  Paris will continue her counseling with me me, is looking forward to a wonderful future and trusting God for her outcomes.



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1 Comment

  1. I agree that this kind of behavior is awful. Jesus himself stipulates unchastity as grounds for divorce in Matthew 19:9, “And I say to you: Whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery.”

    But I always wonder how much *supernatural power* was called upon in the selection of such a mate in the days before marriage? If men and women would ask earnestly, “God, please show me, is this the person whom I should marry” with fasting and prayer, I think that God would reveal to us these defects of character before marriage. I do not say this to shift blame onto the victim, but rather to recommend tools that work to protect potential victims—both men and women.

    Very few people can honestly tell you that they sought God’s will with fasting and prayer BEFORE they ‘jumped the broom.’ All too often that kind of serious soul-searching comes only after serious problems have come to light in the marriage.The greatest protection from marrying a scoundrel is to have invested in a close and trusting relationship with God and to seek his advice constantly when embarking upon life-changing decisions.

    This is not popular to say these days, even in the Adventist community, but in the case such as the one described in this column, there are questions that the wronged party must honestly ask themselves:

    1) Was I having sex with this person before we got married?
    2) Did we get engaged way too fast? (before I truly knew what they were really like)
    3) Did I trust God to say “no” or was I too afraid of losing my lover to listen to God?
    4) Did we often seriously discuss our spiritual lives, or was belonging to the same church enough?
    5) Was this person truly Christ like in character to all those around them?
    6) Did I actively seek God: “Please SHOW me the right thing to do” before asking, or saying yes?

    People who are practicing wickedness cannot truly live righteous lives on a part time basis. They can only conceal the obvious, but their altered values and priorities will always reveal themselves in time and with prayer. All too often we are fast to say that there were ‘no signs’, when the truth is that we were never carefully seeking for them out before. Also these days, we often are leading compromised lives that we see as “forgiven” while ignoring that there are real consequences for such lifestyles that include spiritual blindness, where God would have otherwise given clarity.

    None of this is said in order to hit people over the head with. But in a confused world, people need to recognize that these kind of situations are not unavoidable. This is not just ‘bad luck.’ A person CAN know beforehand who they are marrying and what are their standards, and that is good news. Finding a mate is not like shooting dice.

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