Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

So, the website, Ashley Madison has been hacked. Thousands of names have been released, pointing direct fingers at the cheaters, including Josh Duggar, eldest child of the now-infamous Duggar clan of TLC fame, among others. For those who haven’t seen the news in the last week, Ashley Madison is a website that matches up people who want to have affairs. Yes, the internet has made it even easier for cheaters to cheat. Yay. Not that it wasn’t easy for people to cheat before, but this website has contributed to breaking down families and enabling bad behavior.

Now, a website, as despicable as its premise is, is not to blame for people cheating on their spouses. Cheating is a conscious choice, a CHOICE, not an accident, and the person who did the cheating is in the wrong. But I have a huge problem with those who see nothing wrong with cheating and who create technology not only to enable it, but to make it easier. Really? Let’s think about this.

People go into marriage with the romantic, but stupid, idea that it will all be happily ever after, that things will be perfect, that he will settle down, that she will grow up a little, but that isn’t ever the case. Realistically, marriage takes work in order to be successful. It gets boring at times. Your spouse will annoy you. You will annoy your spouse. After almost nineteen years, I know I drive Marty Man absolutely crazy with my OCD about the house, the way I leave the hose out after watering the lawn, or my big dreams of the future. He drives me nuts in a variety of ways, including when he makes five graham crackers with peanut butter instead of nice, even, numbers like four or six. (Seriously, why not an even number???) When things get boring or frustrating, we grow together as a couple, by communicating and trying new things or by giving each other space. It took us time to learn that, we went through lots of growing pains and it brought us closer together, but many allow those situations to drive them further apart, sometimes into the arms of people outside of the marriage, and that’s a shame. Look at it this way. If you are legally married, you spoke vows of some sort, in front of witnesses, to love, honor, and cherish, not to sneak around behind your spouse’s back and have a fling because things get boring after a while. If you are in any kind of committed relationship, you owe it to your partner to be honest. Having an affair means lying, whether by omission or deliberately deception. You lose all credibility and intergrity in that equation.

If you are married and unhappy, there are some choices to make. If your marriage or relationship is simply unbearable or there’s abuse of any kind, you need to leave. For your health and safety, get out and get yourself some help while you’re at it. If there’s a chance of fixing your marriage, there are a variety of things you can do. See a marriage counselor, take time alone with your spouse, read some books about the subject, do some introspective soul-searching, whatever, but DO NOT CHEAT ON YOUR PARTNER! Cheating breaks every vow, every modicum of trust and respect that your spouse has for you. The effects can be devastating: broken families, unwanted pregnancies, STDs, and having to sneak around on a daily basis. Affairs always get found out, maybe not right away, but somewhere down the line, something will slip. Why would you want to give your life partner, someone who you claimed to love above all others, that kind of pain and suffering? I love what Dr. Phil said about marriage. I’m paraphrasing, but basically, he said that if you wouldn’t do something without your partner standing right there, you shouldn’t be doing it. That’s something that has stayed with me for years.

The point is this: don’t cheat. I am glad that Ashley Madison was hacked, if only for the simple fact that it strikes their myth of “discretion” down. People are being held accountable right now and, yes, there are people hurting right now. It sucks. How do you want people to remember you? That you acted with honor, dignity, and respect, or that you were a liar who broke your vows in order to satisfy a selfish urge in a moment of weakness?

I hope that the owners of Ashley Madison and other sites like it see the light someday. I hope that they understand the damage that they’ve done and try to make amends, but I doubt that will happen. The almighty dollar is worth more than our integrity these days. As long as people have weak moments, they will continue to seek satisfaction elsewhere, when they really should be looking inside themselves. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can choose to be better than that, to put those sites out of business, to think twice about pursuing that person that looks so exciting, and to remember what’s really important: our loved ones.

Love each other.


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Last week I wrote about pet peeves, things that drive us insane at times. I do like to keep things balanced, so this week I’m writing about things that bring me joy.

Joy is different than happiness, a term that I use in to describe my constant feelings about certain parts of my life. For example, I have happiness in my marriage. That’s something that is all the time; a state, if you will, rather than a moment. Do I have moments of joy in my marriage? Undoubtedly, yes! But in my mind, joy is one of those things that happens spontaneously, a moment that catches you off-guard and can take your breath away while filling you with, well, joy!

For me, joy can be elusive. It’s not that I want to be joyless, but depression makes it hard to feel good things sometimes. Therefore, when I do experience something that brings true joy, the feeling is so profound that it stays with me. Moments of joy give me hope and keep me going. From the silly to the sacred, reactions vary from genuine laughter from deep inside to quiet awe and reverence. Here are some of my favorite things that bring me joy.

When Marty Man does something romantic. We’ve been married a long time, but he still has that power to make my heart flutter. It can be the surprise book that he ordered for me because he knew I would want it, the spontaneous, “I love you” that drifts across the couch, or even just a look that he sends my way. My husband brings me joy.

Connecting with my kids. I love my boys, always, but when we have a moment, whether it’s snuggle time or a good conversation, it makes my heart swell. They get closer to being on their own every day, which makes those moments precious to me.

Baby belly giggles. Completely unresistable. Hands down one of my favorite sounds in the entire world. I dissolve into a puddle of joy. It’s so real, so genuine. I can take on the world after hearing a baby lose it in laughter.

The ocean. Wild, raw, powerful, untamable. I love being around water in any case, but something about the ocean just fills my whole being when I watch it. I could stand there for hours.

Travel. Not necessarily the nitty-gritty parts of it, but the very thought of going somewhere, especially somewhere on my bucket list, is more exciting than Christmas morning. Right now, I’m looking forward to Italy. One month from today I’ll be in Rome. The anticipation is wonderful, but the reality will be even better. Even the opportunity to drive someone else to or from the airport makes me giddy, because it’s a wonderful place. I know, I’m a dork, but that’s okay.

Sleeping babies in my arms. I can’t even explain. Settling a baby down so that he or she is sleeping in your arms is amazing. They’re just so perfect, so innocent and beautiful.

Feeling God’s presence or understanding when He’s at work. When I’m reading the Bible or something related and a point just hits home, there’s no mistaking it, especially after I’ve been through a rough patch and the result is something that I never would have expected or planned for, but I know is right. The awareness that comes through and the feeling of being close to Him is indescribable, but joy is in that mix so it definitely belongs on my list. He is my everything.

Seeing the sun and clear blue sky after several cloudy ones. Relief, just pure relief and joy. I don’t know if this is a depression thing, but I do know that people, in general, feel better when it’s sunny out. It’s especially joy-inducing when it has been hot, awful, and muggy. I hate muggy. It makes my skin crawl, so when that lifts after several days and the sky is that clear, clear blue, it’s heavenly.

Music. I don’t know where I’d be without music. It helps to cope with or enhance every emotion, from the dark deep holes I can get into to the best moments in my life. There is a song for every feeling, every day, every time. Music understands.

Writing. I amost didn’t include this one, because when I write, I have to fight the nagging feeling at the back of my mind that tells me I should be doing laundry, or cleaning, or something else mundane because writing feels like such a guilty pleasure, but the times when I really just put that on the back burner and allow myself to get lost in my story or my blog are really full of joy. I love to write and I wish that I could make more time to do it. A work in progress, yes?

I’d love to know what brings you joy. Life is hard, joy gets us through.

Until next time.

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Dear Future Family Member,

You don’t know me yet, or maybe you do, but we’ll meet in a different context in the next decade or two. I’ve been praying for you for a while now. You see, I have three sons and chances are pretty good that at least one of them will get married at some point. I look forward to that day when you will be a part of our family. I don’t have any daughters and it will be nice to have another woman (or two, or three) around. After living with four males over the years, the excess of testosterone wears on me once in a while. Of course, you may be the kind of woman who enjoys burp jokes and who doesn’t mind dirty socks and underwear on the floor, but a mother-in-law can dream, right?

There are some things that I can tell you about your future husband. He will know how to wash dishes, load and empty a dishwasher, sort his laundry, dust, vacuum, sweep and mop floors, perform all personal hygiene daily, and know to treat you with the highest respect. I cannot guarantee that he will do all of these things all the time, except the respect thing, but the knowledge is there. He will be able to cook at least basic things, although Youngest Child shows the greatest interest in learning more in the kitchen. I haven’t always been the greatest teacher there. I don’t have a lot of patience in the kitchen because I hate extra cleanup, especially in the kitchen, I hate cleaning in general and want it done it done my way, but I’m trying to be more tolerant, especially since I know they’ll be leaving me soon. Middle Child shows the greatest willingness to help with cleaning. You may be more willing to let him make a mess. He would enjoy that.

They were raised in church and taught that faith isn’t about visiting the building once a week, but living it by not being ashamed of God, believing that He is there, and doing things that Jesus commanded us to do: Love one another, no matter what their lifestyle, respect all colors, races, colors, sexual orientations, and help others who are less fortunate than you. Oldest Child, in particular, has a passion for social justice and giving back to the community. While I hope that you share those feelings of faith, in whatever form they take, or that you are open to it, I won’t hound you about it; your faith is personal and none of my business.

I know that you may be anxious about how we will accept you, I was anxious when I met my future in-laws, but don’t worry. We know that if one of our sons brings you home to meet us, he loves you and that says a lot. I don’t care what race you are, what color you are, what you’ve done in your past, or who your parents are. I don’t care if you have children already, if you went to college or not, or how many times you changed your mind about what you wanted to be. None of these things make any sort of difference to me at all.

What I do care about are things that matter in life: Do you love my son? Do you treat him well? Also very important is how my son treats you. We raised him to treat everyone with respect and dignity, especially his life partner.

Will you be a loving mother to any children that the two of you may have? You may choose not to have children and that’s okay, too. It’s your life and I won’t bug you about it, even though I adore babies. (I have a reputation as a baby-stealer, just ask my family.) If you already have children, they will become a part of our family, too. That’s how it works.

I hope that family is a priority for you. I’m not the kind of mother who is going to expect her children to always stay close by when they’re grown, nor do I expect to see them every day or two, but my door is always open to you and to my sons and I hope that we see each other often. I won’t fuss about seeing you right on a holiday or demand that you choose between our family and yours. Holidays are stressful enough, especially if you do have kids. That’s not fair to you or my son. We’ll work it out, don’t worry, and it will be relaxed. I will respect your boundaries and not just “pop over” uninvited, walk into your home without knocking, or expect you to drop everything for me. I’m a pretty independent person and I don’t expect to be catered to. I want us to have a good relationship, to be a family.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything, and that’s okay, too. Different perspectives are good and keeping an open mind is even better. We can always agree to disagree on things. I just ask that you respect my decisions as I will yours. I won’t be that stereotypical, horrible, mother-in-law to you.

With all that being said, I’m very excited, and a little nervous, about the occasion when we’ll meet someday. I wonder about you and what you will be like. Will we be instant friends? Will it take a little work? Will you just tolerate me and want me to stay far away, or will you want a mother figure? The possibilities are all there and only time will tell. In the meantime, I’ll keep raising these boys to be the best human beings that they can be and hope for the best.

A presto.

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