Wednesday, June 16, 2010

De-sensitization by the masses

(These are my opinions because this is my blog. I don't need a disclaimer.)

My friend was telling me about a service website she saw on some morning show or talk show or something.

Their tag line:

"Life is short. Have an affair."

Their brag line:

"The World's Premier Discreet Dating Service with over 6,245,000 anonymous members"

This is the part of the blog post where I go off just a little bit:

What. The. Hell???

This. Is. Utter. Bullshit. Madness!!!

(These are even edited words, so if you are offended, please quickly get over it!)


The only thing that they do have correct is that life is short.

I am not a marriage expert, but I will be married next weekend for 17 years. No, the amount of years a couple has been married does not always translate into anything other than years, however, mine does. I am not going to sit here and brag about what an amazing wife I have been to Jason or what an amazing husband he has been to me. But my imperfect marriage totally stinking ROCKS! And I am a damn good wife and Jason is a wonderful husband!

Truth be told, we have emotionally gone to hell and back and I'm not just talking about our experience with losing a child or living on the brink of bankruptcy. There have been seasons in our marriage where we just weren't that enamored with one another. If you've been married more than one week, you will know to what I am referring. Literally, the honeymoon is over. I, in particular, went through a long season where I compared Jason to other men, wishing he had some of their traits. I was inviting discontent. I let those thoughts of wishing he was more verbally open, spiritually expressive, less of a workaholic, a little less clueless, I can't even remember what all else, become attention to, or realistically, attraction to, those traits in other men.

The good things that made up my husband, those that drew me to him in the first place and caused me to forsake all other men, were over-shadowed...my heart was wandering even if I told myself it wasn't going any further than that. The mind is a powerful place.

I finally confessed it to Jason. It was freeing...and painful. However, after sharing my heart with him, the wishing he was someone else didn't have any more power. God promises that He is the Light and will expose hidden things. There is a reason He tells us to confess to one another. Because then, Satan doesn't have a grasp on us...

Because. There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. A. Secret. Period. God knows and He will not co-exist with darkness, especially that which we attempt to hide.

You know...it starts out just "innocently" having "crushes" on actors and attractive people in magazines, or a cute guy or girl at work or even a friend's boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse. Then your mind wanders a bit and starts wondering how that guy or that girl treats their boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse. Then the thoughts of comparison set in and with it a whole gamut of un-fulfilling lies and discontent. "Every body's life is better than mine..." It's a snowball effect. And, some snow balls become avalanches. Things are crushed in avalanches. People die in avalanches.

What had started with just thinking Brad Pitt or whatever actress was hot has now translated into a mind and heart constantly consumed with everything that is wrong with the person you married and everything right about the next guy or girl.

"If only my husband or wife were more like so and so, our marriage would be happy..."

This kind of thinking is toxic and literally, no candy-coating here, straight out of Satan's very best play books. And guess what? People buy into it every single day.

The only thing that wishing our spouses would change to be more like so and so brings is discontent, dissatisfaction and a bloated sense of us thinking that everything wrong with our marriage is obviously the fault of the other person. I mean, obviously, right?! #$%^&*

Marriages fail because TWO people don't work together. Marriages succeed because TWO people work together. TWO is the key number here. NOBODY gets married thinking they'll have an affair or get a divorce. Why get married, then, if you just know it'll fail?

Despite what many may think, marriage is not the opportunity for one person to make necessary changes in their spouse. It is up to us as individuals to work on our own crap, sometimes alone, sometimes together. It's hard work. And guess what?! Marriage is the very thing that will expose our ugliness. Our crap comes to the surface in marriage. It seems inopportune, but if you mean all the words you said before you got totally loaded at your reception, then there wasn't a disclaimer that read:

  • We're good as long as you don't offend me.
  • If you piss me off and totally break my heart, I am allowed to harbor the unforgiveness for a certain period of time, and after that you need to tread on thin ice around me...forever.
  • I'm perfect, so whenever you disappoint me, you will need to hear about it for X number of days, and or, years.
  • If you sin against me, I have full permission to sin right on back...brace yourself.
  • If I choose not to sin in retaliation, you will know about it because of the glow that hovers around my head at my mere existence.
  • And anything else I choose to add...
God is serious about marriage. He also knew it wouldn't be easy for us. Marriage is not just co-existing, but self-sacrificial living. If you don't believe me, as far as it has to do with God's word, then read it for yourself. He doesn't expect anything from us He hasn't already asked of Himself. Jesus laid down His life for His Bride. That's us. And we are asked to lay down our lives for Him. And in marriage, we are expected to love our spouse as ourselves...so, if you are disenchanted with your spouse, I guess a safe conclusion is to say you are really disenchanted with your own life. Harsh reality. I know I was. I wanted Jason to read my mind that I wanted a stronger spiritual leader in our house. I thought it needed to look a certain way. All the while, I was expecting him to just know what I wanted.

News flash: God did not create men with extra-sensory perception. They will not read our minds...and if they did, we'd complain that they weren't reading it right, anyway!!!!

LET ME TELL YOU...we all, every single one of us, NOT JUST HOLLYWOOD, have a PUBLIC PERSONA and a PRIVATE PERSONA. That means, when I walk out the door, 8.5 to 9 out of 10 times you will find that my face is neatly painted with a bit of mascara and semi-temporary lip gloss, I've colored in my less than fabulous eyebrows, the teeth are brushed (usually 10 out of 10 on this one...), I'm wearing a bra (again with the usually 10 out of 10 there...), and I have a smile on my face. If people ask me in passing how I am doing, the reply usually has a tune of "Great! Fine! Good! ...and you?" And as much as I am a very open person, and real, I really only open up to a handful of women, and even then, no matter how hard it is, I wouldn't ever throw my husband under the bus. Because I am not perfect. It's a harsh reality I've learned over 17 years of whining to God and Him being faithful to reveal truth...

The problem is: We compare our private lives to the public lives we see in others...the lives we portray. We will always, always, always then be disappointed and discontent because reality is, none of us is perfect.

Marriage is hard. Don't get married if you think it'll all be roses. Don't get married if you constantly will expect roses...and little love notes...and back rubs...In fact, if you have expectations that your spouse's one job in life is to fulfill your every desire, maybe not all big, but at least all the little ones...man, are you going to be highly disappointed...and we can all venture to guess that your spouse's life will be miserable living with you.

I am so sick of women thinking they are the freaking princess in a relationship and must be waited on hand and foot...and men thinking they are the machismo manly man that needs to be treated right by his woman. I know I let those thoughts run through my mind a time or two.

Oh yeah, and by the way, marriage isn't all about us. Marriage is a WE thing. Otherwise, stay single. And guess what? Just as my girlfriends and I have found, for reasons not our own, we can never seem to synchronize our "funk" stages, marriage is the same way. One is up while the other is down. Looking into it further we realized that God has graciously allowed it to reveal itself that way so that we are able to encourage one another, building the other up, instead of all be low together, pulling each other further down into a pit.

Sacrificial service. If we aren't ready to sacrifice and serve our spouse, we shouldn't get married.

I can't even begin to explain how pissed and angry and utterly grieved I am that there is an affair service being openly promoted in the media!

It's not the mere existence of the concept of having an affair, because unless you were literally born yesterday and have rock for a heart, you know that affairs have been "on the market" since humans had hearts. This is not new...or original. Unfortunately.

It's just mind-bogglingly blatant and predatory in its subtlety...and it isn't even subtle! #$%^&*.

And for those who actually believe that having a "guaranteed affair" experience will satiate what their spouse isn't filling...I am so sad for them because the "anonymity" of the whole operation will eat at their hearts and destroy not only their marriages, but their belief that marriage, though hard, is good and can be very beautiful when the TWO involved both lay down their lives for the other.

Let me be so bold as to say a few things about why our marriage isn't seeking an affair service:
  • Jason and I have had 17+ years of practicing forgiveness.
  • Even if our hearts are broken, we forgive quickly and do our own soul searching.
  • We still hold hands.
  • We kiss every single night before we go to bed, even if we are mad at each other.
  • Sometimes we have to allow ourselves quiet and space before we talk about a hard issue.
  • We apologize to one another and take responsibility for our own short-comings.
  • We do not raise our voices at each other because that accomplishes nothing and only causes pain.
  • We hug.
  • We still slap each other on the butt.
  • We've even had sex sometimes when neither or one or the other just didn't feel like it...because it's important...and if some people didn't have sex whenever they just didn't feel like it, they would never have it...most sexless marriages fail or are also known as "Friendships". I have plenty of friends, thankyouverymuch.
  • Jason is my very best friend. I decided it. I've stuck with it. And even friends hurt each others feelings.
  • We pray together.
  • We are vulnerable with one another.
  • We ask each other hard questions.
  • We don't fight over money. Our kid died. Money is just money.
  • We live one day at a time.
  • We laugh together.
  • We talk about our disappointments quickly and work through them so they don't become elevated or escalated.
  • We have fun together.
  • We actually say the words: "I was wrong." "I am sorry." "I forgive you."
  • We call each other on the phone and text.
  • We try not to take everything so seriously.
  • I am aware that I bring imperfection to our equation.
  • He is aware of the same.
  • We love each other.
  • We like each other.
  • We lovingly confront one another.
  • We don't use blanket words to describe our dissatisfaction, like: ALWAYS or NEVER
  • We try.
  • We fail.
  • We try again.
I'm so worked up about this right now...this will definitely be a series! Consider this Part I.

17 comments:

  1. I just love you and your heart.... I really do wish we lived closer.... meeting you for coffee and conversation is something I could really use in my life right now.... still feel so honored and blessed that GOD brought you into my life... glad HE introduced me to our friend and that it opened a door to one really amazing REAL women of GOD!!!!

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  2. I share your outrage at such a "(dis)service" being available to people who are lost. It's a map that leads to death...of trust, of marriage, of living in His will.

    Congratulations (a smidge early) on 17 years! We just had our 8th anniversary and I agree with everything you said in your post. The ups. The downs. It's all part of the deal and we are committed to ride the ride no matter what.

    Thanks for always sharing your heart and keeping it real.

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  3. I wish it were unbelievable that such a horrifying service were offered. Such evidence of our sickness.

    For those, like me, who don't live in a "we" marriage like you described, it's hard not to read your post and not think that your marriage is perfect. I know what you are saying- nothing is perfect. But I am not in a "we" marriage. All those bullet points you listed- I can say that I do strive to be that person, (I fail a lot) but my spouse does NOT try to be that other half.

    Some people have affairs b/c they are looking for a thrill or because of darkness in their hearts or... I don't know why. And some people have affairs b/c their marriage is a desert, and the wrong person comes along and offers them a drink of (what they think is) water. It's not- it's vinegar. But to the person thirsting to death...

    I agree with everything you said. But it's still hard not to look at the marriage you described and not feel like I got a gyp or made a mistake. Because, like you said, it takes TWO.

    All I can do is keep holding on and trust that God, who is always faithful, will help me survive this desert. Sometimes I can still muster the strength to pray that this desert becomes an oasis... and sometimes all I can pray for is that I don't die here.

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  4. thank you for this. thank you for sharing your "expertise" -- i plan to instill some of those in my marriage (going on 8 years) and yes, we've lost a child (2 of them) as well. LOVE the money is money. So SO true!

    thanks for sharing your heart!

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  5. Ade...
    I always love hearing your heart. Just so you know, when I myself get married, I want your advice and wisdom! :)

    Love ya!

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  6. Ack! What the heck? As if affairs are freaking glamorous or something.

    I want to point out something important that you said, but I think it might slip through the cracks. Your marriage isn't perfect and neither is Jason, but you never, ever, ever throw him under the bus. Now, maybe some people water this down a little bit because they don't know you and so they are thinking that you never, ever, ever tell his secrets to others or tell the details of what he might have done to offend you. No, that is not it. You never, ever, ever, complain or say one even slightly negative thing about him. And I tend to think that because it is quite normal for women (even Christian women) to do a little complaining about their spouses when with their closest friends, when such women do not hear you complain, they might jump to the conclusion that you have nothing to complain about. And then they start to think that you must have a perfect husband/marriage.

    Now, I know that is not true but what I also know is that neither of you complain about each other to others and when those kind of words never leave your mouths but they are, instead, replaced with affirming and uplifting words, your hearts toward each other are good and full of grace. AND, I know it is possible for every husband and wife to do the same--by the power of the Holy Spirit, of course. And it is one of my deepest desires that spouses would honor each other this way and, in the process, honor God.

    Anyhoo, just thought I'd bring that into the spotlight a little more. :)

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  7. Adrienne- I have learned so much from you and your family. I usually find a sense of peace in reading your blog, but this one leaves me with a heavy heart. I agree that encouraging affairs is unfathomable. I am in a similar situation to Gayla. I tried to make it work because we have a son, a son who deserved to grow up with his family. I was constantly criticized and felt like I couldn't breathe in my own home. I left, hurting my son tremendously. We share custody. I'm not asking you to be my therapist, but I respect you and ask sincerely, should I have stayed???

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  8. Yeah! What you said! ;o)

    Seriously though, I can't believe they have such a thing that is actually ADVERTISED, either. >:o(

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  9. So, I have 4 things to say:
    1) I have really MISSED posts like this...you are awesome!
    2) This post was fabulous, what any married person needs to be reminded of and just what this (me) married person needed to read right now!
    3) More please!!!
    4) Thank you!

    Have a great day!

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  10. I was very saddened to see that catch phrase. I have been married to my love for 12 years and I was hurt by that slogan. Affairs are hurtful and they only last for a season and someone goes away hurt but they both feel ashamed in some shape or form.
    Marriage is a job itself but a job I don't take lightly or without God's guidance. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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  11. I have read your blog for a long time, and have always loved your perspective and way of being "blunt" but I just have to say that, after this one, I have NO DOUBT that if we lived in the same town we would totally be GOOD FRIENDS!!! Amen and
    AMEN sister!!

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  12. The grass is definitely NOT greener on the other side...
    I really loved this post Ade.
    It spoke to me and my marriage in many ways.
    Thank you for being so open and honest.
    xoxo,
    Victoria

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  13. Great post! I agree with you 100%. Thanks for sharing this.

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  14. I recently saw this information advertised as well and at first thought it was a joke. Then I realized...no it's just a sad manifestation of our messed up society. Disgusting doesn't even begin to describe it. How many tears has Jesus shed over this?

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  15. "We don't fight over money. Our kid died. Money is just money."

    Best part.

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  16. Totally on board with you here .... Wow, what the heck is this world coming to.

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  17. Being in a 15 year marriage with forgiveness being the number one item that we have learned to practice, I cnan share in your deep frustration/anger in this subject.
    James and I have been through it all and are so much stronger today. We survived an affair and the only thing that helped us to this point, is God.

    Marriage is a covenant, not just a piece of paper.

    I think today, too many people go into a marriage for the wrong reasons with the wrong expectations and do not put the spouse first.

    I have taken on a whole to respect for marriage, the miracles God can do a broken marriage and have learned that I have to love my husband and put him first. Taking responsibility for sharing in the crappy part of your marriage is painful and liberating all at the same time.

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