Governor Mark Sanford, his wife and two of their sons have flown to London on a two-week European vacation. The Governor says the vacation is another step to repair his family following his admission to an affair.A state Senate hearing takes place in Columbia this afternoon to examine Sanford’s trips, on the question of any improper spending of tax money that might be indicated. Other than that, the ruckus around the governor’s personal life has quieted down.
But what is in store in the Sanfords’ future? In similar situations, do the couples stay together?
Dr. Roger Rhoades is a relationship therapist with the PACE Center in Spartanburg, and has appeared regularly on numerous national talk shows.
First of all, Rhoades says what happened to Governor Sanford is really not that unusual, that he sees it all the time, when a man, or woman, is struck hormonally or emotionally, often both, when they’re at a particular point in their individual lives. “They don’t think well. None of them makes standard judgements. They’re very self-destructive. And he’s been doing it on a national level with the media. But everyday, you go to church and you see someone, even a deacon, do something very similar, and everyone says, ‘Man, I can’t this happened to this guy.’ “
Rhoades says when the details of an extramarital affair become widely known, there is a lot of anger involved. “I’ve heard many women say that they would be gone by now. But in many ways she’s a stand up wife. Many times when you see someone throw something out there about another relationship, there is such shame and anger, that that’s the real reason they let the relationship go.”
Rhoades says infidelity doesn’t kill a marriage, but giving up on the marriage kills it. When a person hangs onto it and the other person is willing to work it out, then it’s ‘work-outable.’ Infedelity is not the marriage killer it once was.”
Dr. Rhoades says Jenny Sanford is a strong woman, and that’s an advantage to family unity. “She has four young men to raise. She has spent 20 years of her life with this gentleman. Everyday she looks better. Everyday she is admired more by the women of South Carolina.”