Will Maria Shriver’s marriage survive Arnold Schwarzenegger’s admission of infidelity? I hope so (Part 12)

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Christina Schwarzenegger The Govenator Arnold Schwarzenegger takes a walk on Ocean Ave with his wife Maria Shriver and daughter Christina Schwarzenegger in Santa Monica, CA.

Arnold Schwarzenegger & Family Out For A Walk In Santa Monica

The Govenator Arnold Schwarzenegger takes a walk on Ocean Ave with his wife Maria Shriver and daughter Christina Schwarzenegger in Santa Monica, CA.

(// May 23, 2009- Photo by FlynetPictures.com)

Maria Shriver Asks – How Do You Handle Transitions in Your Life?

Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to his wife several months ago that he had fathered a child about 10 years ago with a member of their household staff. Maria moved out, but has not filed for divorce. In the you tube clip above she comments:

“Like a lot of you I’m in transition: people come up to me all the time, asking, what are you doing next?” she said, adding: “It’s so stressful to not know what you are doing next when people ask what you are doing and they can’t believe you don’t know what you are doing.”

“I’d like to hear from other people who are in transition,” she said. “How did you find your transition: Personal, professional, emotional, spiritual, financial? How did you get through it?”

Mrs. Shriver has asked for spiritual input and I personally think that unless she gets the spiritual help that she needs then she will end up in the divorce court. I am starting a series on how a marriage can survive an infidelity. My first suggestion would be to attend a “Weekend to Remember” put on by the organization “Family Life” out of Little Rock, Arkansas. I actually posted this as a response to Mrs. Shriver’s request on you tube.

I wanted to share the article “He Had Two Affairs in 18 Months,” by Mary May Larmoyeux. I found it very helpful on this subject. Here is the first portion:

Michael pulled his car over to the side in the middle of the bridge. He came to a rolling stop. Can I do it? he wondered. Can I jump?

Consumed by lust, he was cheating on his bride of less than 18 months. He was having an affair with a woman he hardly knew. He was also spending time with people who were dabbling with drugs and alcohol.

As he sat two feet from the railing of the bridge connecting sister cities, haunting thoughts ricocheted back and forth in his head:

Nobody will take you back.
Your parents will never accept you again. Look at how you’ve shamed them.
Angela’s dad trusted you when he gave her away on your wedding day.
How can you face Angela, knowing the poor decisions you’ve made?

Was there any way of escape? He looked at the swirling water below and wished that he could just end it all.

He believed in God but thought, Nothing can save me.

He had every intention of taking his life that night, but he just couldn’t do it.  

Michael turned the ignition key and made the painful drive home, knowing that he would have to tell Angela the truth.

A familiar cycle

When Angela and Michael (not their real names) were married, she expected a marriage like the one her parents had. Her mom and dad were best friends. They talked respectfully to each other when they disagreed. Because of her parents’ devotion to one another, she assumed that marriage would be easy. And Michael and she had even gone through premarital counseling with the pastor before they married.

Michael didn’t have any expectations when he married Angela. He just wanted it to last longer than his parents’ marriage did—seven years.

The relationship quickly began to follow a familiar cycle. They would enjoy great communication and intimacy, and then they would have an argument.

“We would give each other the silent treatment,” Michael says, “and it would last for days … and sometimes weeks.” Over and over again Michael replayed words Angela had uttered in anger.

Angela, who was going to college, thought that her young marriage to Michael was typical. Sure, they had some communication problems, but they went to church together and both professed to be Christians.

Soon after his near-suicide attempt, Michael returned home one evening and announced he was going to leave. “I told Angela that I didn’t want to have anything to do with her or our marriage,” he says. “I just really wanted to end it. I wanted to be in this other relationship.”

“I was crying and in shock,” Angela says.

Michael moved out and the next time Angela saw him was when they met at the courthouse to file the divorce papers. They discovered a paper was missing, and they didn’t file for divorce that day. And then, instead of continuing with the divorce proceedings, Michael started visiting his wife at the apartment. “We talked a lot,” Angela says, “and he shared more of what he was feeling.”

Michael ended the affair. Angela forgave him. They gave their marriage another try.

New arguments

Angela and Michael moved to another city to begin a new life together. She was confident that her husband’s infidelity would never happen again.

But the cycle of conflict and silence began again. They argued mainly about finances and sex, and there were a myriad of smaller issues: Where are we going to spend the holidays? … We spent just two days with my mom and dad, how can we spend four days with her parents? … Do we have the money to do this or to buy this? Why not? Why did you spend it all?

Their voices would get louder and louder when they disagreed. They often blamed one another. Angela says that she would walk away from Michael during arguments because she felt targeted. “I always thought, Why isn’t he coming and talking to me. … Why does he have to stonewall me for days and days?”

Despite their disagreements, they did enjoy times of intimacy. A few months after their move, Angela learned that she and Michael were going to have a baby. She was overjoyed and life seemed good to her. Michael, however, had never seen himself as dad material. “I wasn’t as excited as she was,” he says, “because we weren’t planning on being pregnant at that point in our lives.”

The hurtful truth

Michael began repeating old patterns—working late at night, having drinks with co-workers before coming home. “I alienated anything good or godly that was in my life,” he says. He repeatedly lied to avoid telling Angela the hurtful truth: He was seeing another woman again.

Because Michael worked in the world of retail, he often did not return home until 10 p.m. However, when he began arriving at 2 a.m., Angela became suspicious. “I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right,” she says, “but couldn’t make him tell me.”

Angela was about six months pregnant when Michael finally confessed his second affair in two years. It had been going on for about four months. Angela tried not to hyperventilate. She thought, This doesn’t happen to people like me.

He said, again, that he wanted a divorce. He said she should go live with her mom and dad.

The marriage conference

A month or so after Angela and Michael separated for the second time, Angela’s mother heard a radio advertisement for a Weekend to Remember®, a marriage getaway put on by FamilyLife. The ad promised help for struggling marriages, so she offered to send Michael and Angela to it….

Weekend to Remember “Getaway” Half Price Discount

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