"I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try."
So begins a recent post on Tiger Woods' website. It is a humble apology written by a man (or the official representative of a man) who is desperately trying to get himself out of one enormous doghouse. Only time will tell if his apology is sincere.
While we may never know the extent of his infidelities, intense speculation over the past month leads us to believe that this is more than just a one-time moral failing. It is a pattern of behavior that will, if he wants to restore his marriage, require a significant commitment to change who he is and how he connects with his wife.
Which leads me to the reason I am proud of him.
"After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person."
Atta Boy, Tiger.
The most shocking development over the past month is Tiger's decision to step away from golf in order to focus on his family. Yes, I know...it may be a strategic move to get out of the tabloids or to retain a few of his sponsors. But it's a move in the right direction. On the surface, at least, it shows that he is willing to drop everything in order to fix what is broken in his marriage.
And it is a move that most people are unwilling to make.
My experience in dealing with couples in crisis is that one or both parties continue with their dysfunctional lives as usual, somehow hoping things will improve on their own. In fact, they often continue with the behaviors that are the root of the problem, thinking that the laws of relational physics don't apply to them.
A man whose wife complains that they cannot connect because of his demanding job makes no moves to adjust his workload.
A woman whose husband feels that she is too focused on the kids and unaware of their disintegrating marriage still won't ask a friend to babysit so they can have a night away.
An unfaithful spouse "breaks it off" but continues to stay in contact with his former lover because he is concerned about her emotional well-being. (It sounds crazy because it is crazy. But it happens all the time.)
When things are not working in our marriages, we must take whatever drastic steps are necessary to make it work. Because so much is at stake. The relationship between bride and bridegroom is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His church. As Christ literally went through hell to restore our broken relationship with Him, so, too must we be willing to adjust EVERYTHING to restore a broken marriage. It may be a hard, but it will be worth it.
I don't know what will happen to Tiger and his family, but I am so glad that he is choosing to set aside something he loves in order to work on something he loves more. I will be praying that he puts as much diligent, patient work into his marriage as he does into his golf game. And I will be praying that he eventually discovers how satisfying it is to love one woman very well.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see.