Since when did marriage become a game of musical chairs? This morning I read an article that was posted in a section of National News, except it was an article posted by an anonymous blogger about his two families he kept at the same time. The first family was his wife of 20 years and three children. While they had mutual interests in skiing and music, and she was a gracious hostess, he described her as the person that was standing next to him when he felt it was time to get married. Wow. Lucky her. I don't know if he was trying to gain sympathy in this plight, or make this some kind of confessional that somehow makes infidelity ok, but my sympathy landed with the wife. He went on to describe that there wasn't passion, or love, or "light" in the marriage anymore and so while on a business trip he met another woman, "unlike all the other women he'd met" (also, he lumped in American with this, as in, all American women are shallow, materialistic and selfish). They had a two year, blissful, happy and romantic relationship which eventually landed them a son. His one and only rule he had in all this was he never wanted to hurt his children.
Maybe this is the way the world is going now. The marriages of 40, 50, 60 years of wedded bliss are slowly declining. A marriage of 20 years is somehow miraculous. I think somewhere along the lines, this guy missed the key word for a successful marriage: WORK.
In the body of the article, he describes his perfect life: successful career, a balance of time at home and time to travel which allowed for hm to see his mistress and son. He was happier in both lives. He and his wife kept separate bank accounts and took separate vacations, so she had no idea about the mistress. After the mistress had the baby, he didn't have to be there for the whole recovery, "I'm too tired to do anything" part, the mundane tasks of life raising a baby and two older kids from her previous marriage.
Sadly, his perfect life started to crack. His career started going downhill. He couldn't afford to pay for everything in both lives or his child support to the baby. To make up for it, his mistress wanted more of his time. Oh no! He didn't think of that! Now he was breaking the number 1 rule he had: Don't hurt the kids.
His priest he confessed all this to gave him this advice: don't tell your wife, wait until your children are older and let them know about the other baby. They'll be upset, but they will be able to handle it.
"O' what tangled webs we weave....."
My overt sense of loyalty is going through the roof right now. Again, maybe I'm being naive here, but I can't wrap my head around HOW to have an affair. I realize it happens. I realize people do it and sometimes have no idea how they got to that point. I realize that drugs or alcohol can have a major part in helping you to make some very regretful choices. I think what disturbs me most is that this man made conscious choices to do these things, and seemed to do so with very little regard for the adult women in the picture.
Eventually his kids did find out about the other woman. His oldest son met the baby. His mistress moved on after falling prey to the friends and family that criticized him and told her she was better, deserved better and needed more support. He mused about how he liked it when they made up their own rules and played by them, the world having no intervention in all of this.
Personally, I have never been cheated on by my husband or boyfriends, and I hope its something I never have to endure. I have read the romance novels and yeah, its easy to get sucked into an ideal life of love and passion, but what are those novels for? An escape. Pretty soon you are back into reality. Now, maybe you can use some of those ideas to better your life (who doesn't want to have a successful business renovating old houses and finding a box of antique crystal doorknobs, or renting a beach house and having all summer to write the perfect novel, or serving your gorgeous husband a candlelight dinner on the beach/garden/mansion floor?), but our whole lives are not to be floated through on summer breezes and all we worry about is a wilted rose in the garden. We have to have trials. Marriage won't be successful without work. Parenthood won't be without work. The bottom point is if you are feeling like marriage isn't perfect, isn't ideal, isn't what you signed up for, then you need to take some time and look at yourself. Where can you improve? Remember the Golden Rule? "Do unto others and you would have done unto you", this applies to your marriage and your kids. When you change yourself, others can and will change too. Take inventory and lower your pride.
When Curtis and I got married, I wanted to be able to say I found my best friend. I wanted to be able to still laugh with him even when the times were tough, when things were sad, when we discovered our kids weren't perfect, when we didn't have anything to do but laugh. I certainly didn't want to say, "Well, when the timer stopped, I grabbed the guy standing next to me." Never did I want to make up excuses for why we were divorcing, separating, having an affair, or avoiding each other for the sake of our children. I don't want to wake up one morning to Curtis confessing he has this whole other family either (of course, I don't know what person wakes up wanting that to happen). Neither do I want to sit down for breakfast in 20 years when all the kids are gone and look at Curtis, wondering who the heck he is.
President Spencer W. Kimball said, "Every divorce is the result of selfishness on the part of one or both parties to a marriage contract. Someone is thinking of self-comforts, conveniences, freedoms, luxuries or ease."
The last line of the article is, "Reality kills love". Well, yeah, it could. If you aren't supporting your spouse, bitterness seeps in. If you are being selfish in your affections, wants, and needs, people get hurt. When you justify your sins, it's not going to feel good and eventually your consciousness catches up.
This was the original article here.
As Curtis and I discussed the article today, his advice was to read these two books about marriage, one for guys and one for women:
Letters to Philip
Letters to Karen
No matter what age/stage you are in your marriage, it doesn't hurt to get some advice. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, the world had enough problems, but then to read something like this...makes me want to give my wonderful husband a big hug and kiss. I'm glad to know I wasn't a "musical chair".