Another fall from grace…why is staying faithful so hard?

I think sometimes it is easy to forget that despite all that is wrong with the world in terms of the “isms” that many of us face, that there truly has been more progress than most of us realize. It wasn’t that long ago, that the idea of a Black man as president was absolutely laughable to most of us. Not because we didn’t like the idea but because it just seemed impossible. Now we are raising a generation that is growing up for whom a Black man as president is normal.

It wasn’t that long ago that gay marriage was also seen as laughable but in this most recent election, it’s become clear that the gay marriage issue is not going away and that frankly more and more Americans are perfectly comfortable with the idea and support it. The thing is it really wasn’t that long ago when being gay was a very big issue, when gays and lesbians lived in fear and while sadly there are still pockets of intolerance in the US, I think we are on the road where one day homophobia will be something our grandkids will simply think…wow, what was wrong with them?

Change is part of life, personal change and cultural change. Yet for some reason at least in American culture, there are some areas where we fight against change despite the fact that all signs point to a need for change.

Late last week the story broke that General David Petraeus had engaged in an extra-marital affair and well long story short, his career is over, just like my last attempt at dieting. Now I have heard many with experience in both the defense and military industries tell me that this affair was not just an affair but a major lapse in judgment where he made himself vulnerable to blackmail and a whole slew of other issues. There is also the fact that military codes tend to frown upon adultery.

I agree that based off the fact that affairs are typically conducted in secrecy , that yes, he did leave himself wide open…but what if he had told his wife and others from the get-go. Yep, what if folks knew up front that he was stepping out on his wife; wouldn’t that pretty much kill the whole idea of being vulnerable to blackmail, etc.? Look, I am not saying his wife had to like it or accept it, but secrets tend to only be powerful because they are just that…secret.

In the United States, half of all marriages end in divorce, so clearly the lifetime thing we agree to when we marry isn’t working for half of us. Having weathered my own marital storms in recent years, I know that no one reaches 15, 20, 30 years of marriage without hitting a rocky place, it is inevitable. We know this intellectually but few of us truly talk about it, it goes against the marriage as fairy tale myth that keeps wedding planners doing a brisk business even when the economy is in shambles.

I find it interesting that despite the fact that half of Americans really don’t do marriage very well, that any alternatives to straight ahead monogamous relationships is met with incredulous looks and comments. Yet we continue to believe the powerful fairy tale that we will meet this perfect person who will be our one and only and life will be grand, yet years down the road when the love glow has worm off, we are absolutely stunned.

Now I will be the first to admit that for most of us including myself, visualizing anything other than straight ahead monogamy is difficult, after all there is that human tendency to not want to share our humans. However in recent years as I have seen most of my friends divorce and having almost found myself back on the divorce block, I do wonder why there aren’t any viable relationship alternatives. Inevitably it often comes back to societal views, the truth is most us think that anything other than monogamy seems wrong, yet just a few short years ago, many things that are now normal were seen as wrong. Funny thing is most of us are not truly monogamous, at best we are serial monogamists, ending one relationship and moving on to another.

In the end, it gets tiring watching public figures fall from grace because of their personal relationships, as far as the good General goes, no one knows how this situation will turn out but the reality is why do we get so vested in the relationships of others? The older I get it is hard enough just to manage my own, so rather than judgment, I hope all parties in this sordid mess are able to heal and move on.

PS: I am aware that there might be more than just an affair going on with this situation but once again, wondering if this relationship hadn’t operated under the cover of secrecy, how much of this would even be an issue now?

 

Marriage…the real deal

This is a personal post, more a release of my own thoughts and yes while some of what I am about to say is raw, please know that everything that is on my mind has indeed been discussed with my husband.

Marriage, its that thing that many women dream about, from the time women are young girls somehow our culture has brought home the thought that one day you will wear a big white dress and walk down an aisle to your own prince charming, exchange promises to love, honor and maybe even obey. There might even big a party and afterwards you will  live happily ever after, maybe even have a couple kids, a house and be together until death do you part.

Problem with this thought is that its pure fantasy, everyone thinks about the wedding, the dress and all that other shit but very little detail is focused on the hard day to day work of staying married. I have talked about some of this before but marriage is hard work, its the second hardest job you get when it comes to personal relationships aside from raising kids.

I am going to be honest, I am in a rut. The spousal unit and I have been married 11 years, it will be 12 this fall…up until a few years ago, our marriage seemed perfect. I married a man who is my best friend and make no mistake he still is my best friend. There is nothing I cannot share with him hence why what I am writing is not new to him but the reality is that the challenges of living with less money thus the ability to take that occasional trip is now gone and just doing fun things is pretty non-existant, then you add to the mix we are raising the kids and you add aging ….well, its a recipe for feeling like BB King’s oldie but goodie “The Thrill is Gone”.

I don’t think the thrill is really gone its just that in the real world of marriage and relationships, sometimes there isn’t going to be a thrill….sometimes its going to feel like the most boring job in the world. You know that good steady job that isn’t exciting but pays damn well so you know you need to stay.

However there are times when temptation enters the picture, this is going to sound strange to anyone who doesn’t personally know us which is most of my readers but my mate is a few years older than me, so he has already crossed that 40’s threshold where I have a few more years to go, in case you care to know I am 36. Regular readers also know that the spousal unit is white and I am not…we are facing a strange scenario where the hubby is not aging as gracefully as me, we both attribute this to our respective gene pools. I look like I am in my 20’s and the hubby does not. Truthfully its hard for me watching him age less gracefully than what I am used to in my own family of origin, my Pops is almost 60 but still has a head full of hair whereas my husband is bald because the male pattern baldness was so bad that trying to keep what hair he had was not working anymore.

Now, I know I may sound vain as hell but the reality is its hard for me and well this is where my mind wanders and wonders, no I have no desire to step out on the hubby but since I lost all my weight and now am the size I have spent most of my life at, the reality is temptation seems to be lurking in every corner and I gotta be honest its hard to say no.

Lately I feel as if my soul is is in this death match, there is the angel on one side saying don’t go there and the spirit on the other side saying “Life’s short..go for it”. I made a joke a few days to my husband that I feel like I should never go back home for a visit since temptation would even be worse, of course never visiting family and friends is not feasible but you know what I mean…

My point in sharing this is that marriage is hard work, lately I have been praying daily to recommit myself to my husband and not allow these thoughts to take over but I am reminded that this is much harder than one thinks. I also have realized that many couples that have been married 20, 30, 40 and more years have also faced these same temptations…some give in but many don’t. Yet nobody ever tells couples when they are wrapped up in the love glow that a day may come when you find yourself praying for the strength and courage to stay the course and not stray.

I am also convinced that not all straying is the result of bad feelings, heck I love my husband but what I am battling is independent of him, in some ways its a moral test that I am facing. The one test I have no intentions of  failing but one I never expected to be an issues 11 years ago when I stood in front of my husband and my father (who married us) and pledged my undying love.

Beyonce recently came out with a song telling the single ladies to get a ring, well I say before you get that ring think about what the journey of marriage will entail, its more than rings and dresses…its a journey that can reveal who you are at your deepest core.