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...
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.