Monday, August 22, 2011

For Better Or Worse, Forsaking All Others

What do I know of marriage? I know that I took vows before God and I take these seriously.  I know that marriage is hard work. But it's work I want to do. What I don't know: What happens when a vow is broken? I thought I knew what I would do if 'the' vow was broken, if my husband cheated (he didn't), that I'd be out of here. But a friend of mine is making me see things a little differently.

She is fighting for her family.

Her husband cheated, and after the dust settled, after the tears, she decided to stay. To let him stay. Because they had 12 years together and four children. Because they had a marriage (of sorts) and she loved him enough to try to fight. And he loved her enough to try, too.

So they are fighting for their family.

I was at their home last night. And I'll be honest. I have a hard time being with him, knowing what he did to this woman I love and respect. This beautiful woman who has been my friend these  past 7 1/2 years.  But I watched them together last night.  He spoke to her in a kinder voice than I've ever heard him use.  He looked at her. I haven't seen him really look at her in years. There was eye contact and conversation. He didn't put her down, which he always used to do. They didn't fight.

When I ask her about their marriage, about how she is staying, she says it's never been better. That they talk more, communicate better and have fewer fights now than before his infidelity. She say's it's because they are both taking responsibility for what happened, that there are factors on both sides that cause a bad marriage. So now they are both working on it. I never thought of it this way. I just thought, "You cheat, you leave. End of discussion." But now I'm beginning to see things a little differently.

Would I stay and fight? Or would I feel as I do now, that the fighting was done and the decision had been made when the cheating took place. I don't know.

I do know that I have a new found respect for her as she and her husband fight for this marriage.