Trivializing pain: “Stuff happens.” – Divorce Minister

Skip to content

Me: “I got divorced. Then I had to go through a trial with my denomination to keep my license.”

Friend: “Don’t they realize that stuff happens.”

I do not recommend the “stuff happens” response to someone whose marriage has been blown up by adultery.

While I appreciate this friend’s effort to be understanding, the stance is neutral towards a horrific trauma every faithful spouse endures at the hands of their cheater. Our lives have been up ended by deliberate and malevolent choices and actions on the part of a cheating spouse.

The “stuff happens” response can come across as a minimization of surviving such treacherous trauma.

I reserve the “stuff happens” response to talk about a natural disaster or possibly accidents. Things outside our control usually fall into that category.

While this is true for the faithful spouse–as in the faithful spouse is experiencing something that they do not control–it misses the important point that someone did control the marriage ending otherwise.

The adulterous ending of a marriage was no accident. A cheater made some really awful (and sinful) deliberate choices.

We cannot fix the problem of adultery ravaging marriages in the church community if we speak with such neutral terms. The inability to assign proper responsibility for the marriage destruction and sin means the inability to call people to repentance. That is a real problem!

Stuff did not “just happen.” She sinned. And that’s the truth.

*A version of this post ran previously.

Post navigation

Republished with permission from

Related Blogs