Thursday, July 11, 2013
Not Easily Broken?
I met with a friend of mine from our old church yesterday and the meeting was not what I expected. This friend helped me get ready on my wedding day and she and I and our husbands used to spend a lot of time together. I mean A LOT. We all even went on vacation to Cancun together a few years ago. Not to mention countless dinners and game nights and church functions.
Since we left the church she's been a lot more distant and not as supportive as I would have liked her to be while my husband and I are going through our fertility issues. To be fair, though, I haven't been very talkative about our issues after I sensed that it was too much for her. Which, let's be honest, for someone who isn't dealing with infertility hearing about it can be traumatizing and a bit much. No one ever really knows what to say. I think folks fear that infertility is something you can catch so over the past three years I've been very vague about our struggle. Part of the reason I started this blog was to have a place to say all the things I couldn't say to others.
So when she texted two weeks ago and wanted to talk, I took my own health into consideration and told her we would need to reschedule. El Hubster and I were dealing with the fresh loss of Little P and I really didn't trust myself to be around other human beings. Finally, our schedules synced up and we were able to meet.
I sat at the cafe table, happy to be out and about since the miscarriage, perusing the menu. I noticed right away that she was thinner, in fact, she was a little gaunt. We exchanged pleasantries and then she dropped a bomb on me..she revealed that she had discovered her husband was having an affair for over a year and a half and that they were now separated.
My mind spun. An affair?? What!? How the hell did that happen?!
Now, to understand my shock you have to know a little about her husband. They're an interracial couple, she White, he Black. It's never been an issue for us but it has caused some strife for them with their families on his side. They're both creative types so we know when we got involved with them there would be some dramatics. But her husband was also one of the pastors and worship leader of our old church,a prolific musician, an educated man with a great job, someone my husband and I considered a friend, who we took into our home and our confidence and someone we trusted. To hear that he had been living a whole 'nother life floored us. I had to remind myself that before he became all these things he was a human being, liable to fall short of grace just like you and me.
Now, my friend is living alone in an apartment she can't afford and her marriage is in shambles. She admitted that there were signs. His defensiveness whenever she would ask to see or borrow his phone, his long absences from events and laser like focus on his career, which took him away from home often and for long hours. Our friend is very into music. He even put out a gospel album not too long ago and had a concert. El Hubster had wondered aloud to me several times that he couldn't understand why our friend was so ambitious. That statement sounds strange but El Hubster has always maintained that any kind of crazy ambition should end once you get married. His favorite phrase is: "You ain't 'gon be no star. That ship has sailed. All I want is degrees and a baby."
I sat with her for a few hours and just listened because it was clear that she needed to get it all out. At that point I went into crisis mode and all my previous upset at her went out the window. El Hubster and I knew they were having issues but they had been going to therapy for years to fix them and we assumed that eventually they would get on the same page and work it out...because that's what you do when you're a Christian...you work it out. Throwing in the towel is not an option. But what if your husband blatantly disregards your marriage vows? The ones you said before God and friends and family? What then?
This was a cautionary tale for me. El Hubster and I had a good long talk last night about what happened between them and he assured me that that would never happen with us. The messed up thing is that I'm sure she thought that as well. I know that what happened to her may not ever happen to me but what if it does? El Hubster and I have our issues but I take comfort in the fact that we've always been able to talk about them no matter how hard the conversations were to have.
The whole situation placed doubts and fears in my mind that hadn't been there before. Was I certain that I knew what El Hubster was doing when I wasn't with him? What would happen to me if we split? After all, I've been sitting here at home for a year waiting for a miracle to happen. I have forsaken my career for the cause. I have no money of my own. No way of getting a new place if I suddenly needed one.
I'm really trying to rely on the vows we said to each other and our shared history to get us through. I know that whenever I feel the need to use his phone, or scroll through it, he allows it. I know that I can usually text him during the day when he's away and get a quick response. Whenever we feel an attraction to someone else, we express it to each other (although usually that person is a celebrity and not a real life person). El Hubster has gotten an insurance policy to make sure I'm taken care of should anything happen to him.
And what of the struggles we've already overcome? Research shows that couples who deal with infertility have high divorce rates. I admit that I've worried myself over how we would survive if we couldn't have the family we wanted but we've already been through three losses in three years and are still going strong and hopefully getting stronger by the day by faith.
El Hubster and I don't have the perfect marriage; Even though our fertility issues have pushed it to the background, our sex life still needs work. Our finances are nowhere near where we need them to be to be comfortable. There are things about him that annoy the crap out of me and vice versa but we're committed to working through any and every issue that merits it.
I think that's the key. You have to be willing to take the bull that threatens your marriage by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. Tell each other the truth. Make your time together more important than the time you spend with anyone else. Make time. period. Make time to listen to him complain about his work for the 300th time. Deal with his abnormal obsession for the Grateful Dead and he'll deal with the hours you spend on Pinterest. Pull out that old dusty wedding album from time to time and look through it together. Reminisce about how your wedding wasn't how you imagined it would be but the honeymoon was da bomb. Talk about the goals you have as individuals and the goals you have as a family.
Speak positivity into your marriage and pray for it to endure the powers and principalities of this world.
I don't know what will happen with my friend's marriage. Maybe they'll work it out, maybe not. She is a woman of faith with family and friends who love and care about her. I pray for her strength and I pray compassion for him as he deals with whatever mental demons drove him to forsake his vows. I have to believe that she will weather this storm, this horrible season, and trust that the Lord will bring her a rainbow.