Governor Sanford and the Adultery Trap

APTOPIX SC Governor Where?I don’t know whether to be sad or just numb: today we had yet another revelation about a powerful man (who also happens to be conservative and a professing Christian) having an affair.

Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina sort of disappeared on Father’s Day weekend.  His wife didn’t know where he was.  His staff, apparently at a loss to answer reporters’ questions, told them he was on an extended hike through the Appalachians.  The mystery continued until Governor Sanford returned, finding more reporters waiting for him at the airport.  Apparently he had been in South America visiting the other woman. All of this drama culminated today with yet another news conference filled with tears, regrets and apologies.  

The Adultery Trap–Just Don’t Do It!
We’ve heard a lot of that lately.  Last week Senator Ensign of Nevada apologized for his extramarital affair with tears and regrets. You’d think by now enough of their colleagues have been caught in the adultery trap to merit them knowing when warning bells were going off in their own lives. But I guess compartmentalization defies logic.  These things are happening with such astounding regularity that it’s easy to get cynical, and it’s hard to be impressed when the apologies start rolling in.

A Wife’s Dignity
But with that said, there was something that did impress me: Jenny Sanford. She was noticeably absent from her husband’s press conference and she let him take the consequences on his own.  She issued a separate statement which was dignified and had a clear explanation of her viewpoint and expectations for her marriage and family. She maintained her dignity by reminding the public of her own accomplishments professionally, in public service and with her family. And she reiterated how her sons’ welfare was most important to her as she “seek[s] the wisdom of Solomon, the strength and patience of Job, and the grace of God” in working to heal her family. For complete text of statement see

It is never easy for a wife to deal with her husband’s unfaithfulness, and I’m sure being in the public eye makes it doubly hard.  But I think so far, Jenny Sanford has modeled grace, dignity and wisdom.  Let’s keep the Sanford family in our prayers. -R


  1. Thanks, Cyndi Ann. That really gave me encouragement on a day when I needed it and was in real danger of getting swallowed up in pain and self-pity. I want recovery and to be obedient. This reminded me that though this will take time, I need to be proactive in my choice to forgive and confirm my love for my husband. This one, though devestating, trait is just a part of an incredible man who needs my encouragement and support. Thanks for reminding me of my role in this situation and God’s expectation of me as His child.

  2. CyndiAnn:
    Wow – powerful word pictures you paint about being like an innocent newborn, and the feelings of tenderness the Lord has for us. Yes, I think wanting to be seen like that by God is beautiful. Thanks for sharing how obedience does that for us too. God Bless and thanks for your post, Cyndi Ann. -R

  3. Difficult as this issue is, I have had to deal with this and to slight it off as easy would be such a lie. But I was lead to 11Cor.2 when my husband, too, was unaccounted for overnight. I used to pity women who were married to men like mine. That is when I was so Norma Ray about my rights and knew the meaning of forgiveness. ((hope your sitting down)) But this passage tells us, if there be one that causes grief, sufficient to that one is the punishment, but that we, the faithful, are to forgive and…here’s the big one…Confirm our love to them, lest he be swallowed up in much sorrow and never recover. It says then, this will show us obedient in ALL things; are we sufficient? —eeek. The kicker for me was the verses that speak about this full out obedience diffuses the scent of Christ upon us. To believers it will be a scent of life unto life, but to those who don’t, a smell of death. —– I thought about what Christ must smell like, to God, the Father. Then I thought what my children’s heads smell like to me. Or a newborn’s head, know what I mean? I want to be like that to God. He never asks us to do something his son didn’t do, or anything that he doesn’t give us the strength to do. Ponder that one. :)

  4. I think all men are tempted even if they are Christians. These men just have to try harder because they are in the spotlight. Men think they can get away with it but they always get caught. The pain goes straight to the family. The men say they are sorry and are embarrased but they just go on with their lives. The wife and kids suffer and their lives will never be the same. Because of a man’s lust and selfishness. Satan is working overtime to attack our Christian homes.

  5. I was astonished as well when I heard he had said those things! Unreal! It just seems incredibly selfish and arrogant to say that- as though his wife does not even exist. Even if he is feeling them I cannot believe he can’t see past his own needs and emotions to realize how hurtful expressing that to the public is. Jenny deserves admiration for standing up for what is right and moral in this situation and making him reap what he has sown on his own.

  6. Sorry to vent again – do you think the Governor should stop giving interviews and save it for his therapist? I guess today he told the press that this other woman was his “soul mate” and he was “trying to love his wife again”. I’m sure that was not a good step towards reconcilliation –you don’t say these things in public to embarass your wife when you’re trying to get back together with her! I’m sure he’s grieving, but she is too and the media are not what I call empathetic listeners. What high drama.

  7. I think this will be hard for his wife, but I like the way she stayed away from the press conference and wasn’t all “stand by your man”–I’m sure she loves him (she said that in her statement) but why should she have to “take one for the team” as one of the comments here said. In a way, watching that press conference, he seemd like a big baby. I don’t know why these men can’t see how foolish and weak they come off looking like! Just like it says in Proverbs.

    She has to protect herself and her kids, and she didn’t do anything to deserve this. Who would want to be subjected to the media circus?
    He’ll have to take the heat for what he’s done, and that’s what’s appropriate. He’ll live through it, and hopefully end up being a better man… this will help him come to himself, I hope.

  8. I know… this is all so very sad. I think you post is compassionate and rightly focused.

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