Getting to the ‘Heart of the Matter’

It’s 9 days into November, and I still have 12 letters to complete on the A-Z Book Challenge.  I’m going to buckle down and finish off the list, which will make me feel like I’ve accomplished something at least, seeing as the Get Fit Challenge turned out to be such a bust. 

But, I find it so hard to base my reading choices on what letter the book starts with.  And, well, I thin k I’ve read at least a couple dozen books that I can’t include because I had already covered that letter.

Like H.  For that I read, House Rules by Jodi Picoult.  But, the other day I found a copy of Emily Giffin’s latest book on sale, and I bought it and read it, even though the title was Heart of the Matter, and it wouldn’t count.  But I read it ,and now I want to talk about the book (SPOILER ALERT, lol!).Maybe it’s because I’m an emotional basket case these days, but the characters in the book made me so angry that I literally couldn’t sleep.

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The premise of the story is two women whose lives become an entangled mess.  Tessa is a mom of two, married to pediatric plastic surgeon Nick.  Valerie is a single mom whose 5 year-old-son Charlie gets burned by a campfire at a sleepover, and needs surgery.  The story is a bit predictable – Nick is the surgeon, Valerie falls for him, Charlie loves him, Nick gets incredibly attached to mother and son, he cheats on his wife with Valerie.

I know it’s just a book, but I was begging Nick to stop before he made a colossal mistake… And when he didn’t, I slammed the book down in utter frustration, only coming back out of a morbid curiosity to see if he confessed – and if Tessa forgave him.

Clearly, my emotional instability is evident by reaction to this book.  But, cheating makes me so angry.  Ruining everything for a single moment of pleasure?  Is that really worth it?  The hurt it causes to the person you are betraying, your family (and children, in some cases), and even friends – how is that justified by your selfishness? 

Seriously, how hard is it to end your first relationship before jumping into another one? 

When Bob and I were dating, one of the things that clued me into the fact that I really wasn’t in love with him was how I reacted to other people.  How the more I learned about Bob, the less I liked, and I started noticing other men.  But, I didn’t cheat.  I ended the relationship with Bob, though that was one of the hardest things I’ve done because I didn’t want to hurt him – but I did it.  I didn’t start dating again till almost a year later.  There was no overlapping.  And I’m glad.  I think I would forever feel guilty if I had cheated, if two relationships overlapped.  And, I don’t know if I could trust the person I was with – if they were willing to be part of the equation of cheating – never mind the fact that I would have forever been labeled a cheater.

But, let’s jump to the victim in the situation… Before learning of her husband’s affair, Tessa stated in a conversation with 3 other women that she would never forgive her husband if he cheated.  I’ve made that statement – that it’s black and white.  But in the end for Tessa it turned out there were many shades of gray, because although she originally kicked him out, she did take him back.

Now, AMP abhors cheating – and I know he believes the same as I do, ending the first relationship before beginning the other.  But, this book made me wonder, what would I do in this situation?  Would I be one who stays and tries to make it work, or would I unequivocally end the marriage if there had been cheating?  I don’t think you can know unless you go through it – and I pray I will never have to.


4 thoughts on “Getting to the ‘Heart of the Matter’

  1. Cheating, to me, in unforgivable. It requires that the spouse who cheats place himself or herself repeatedly in an unsafe situation, one that will undoubtedly lead to an affair if actions aren’t immediately taken. It also breaks the bonds of trust for everyone.

    Like you, I can’t honestly say how I’d respond, but I do know that both Ben and I have said we would not tolerate it, agreeing that divorce would probably happen.

    Though I can’t foresee the future, I can make sure that I keep myself clear from these dangers. I can keep my thoughts and actions pure when in contact with the opposite sex, and constantly remember the covenants I made with my husband when we married.

    I also know that my husband will do the same things.

  2. This is a great post! Even though I would never expect my husband to cheat on me and I would never even think of cheating on him, we are imperfect. So if this ever happened, I think I would not stay with him. There is a certain level of trust that will never come back and I couldn’t live the rest of my life like that. I had someone very close and dear to me go through this situation TWICE! And it’s so painful.

    I agree with Amber cheating is not something that happens instantly, it’s something that happens gradually. So we must guard our treacherous hearts!

    I’m glad my husband and I have certain standards and love God more than we love each other, which has made our marriage strong.

  3. i read and liked Emily Giffin’s other books (Something Borrowed and Something Blue), that when I saw Heart of the Matter, i immediately bought a copy.

    halfway through, though, I couldn’t help but not like it. maybe it’s because the theme of the story struck close to home. and although it was just a book, a story, well cheating happens in real life… and it’s one experience you wouldn’t want to relive… specially if you were the one who’s been cheated on.

    cheating doesn’t just happen. a person allows it to happen. and that’s what hurts the most — the knowledge that at some point one could have made the right choice, but didn’t.

    you will never really know, though, how you will deal with it (whether you’ll forgive or you’ll take revenge) unless you’re in that situation… i do pray that you never face such situation because it is painful and it stays with you for a very long time.

    so, did you like the book? :)

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