Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Don't Love You but I Always Will

This post is going to sound like a complete downer, but I’m not writing it depressed or anything. Just thoughtful. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about faithfulness and fidelity. I guess I’ve been thinking about marriage in general, and all that goes along with it. There have been a number of situations and experiences that have prompted these thoughts—movies, songs, personal conversation—but the long and the short of it is that it’s on my mind.
I caught the movie Love Actually on television a week or two ago and was really affected by the story of Karen (Emma Thompson) and her husband Harry (Alan Rickman). Toward the end of the movie she realizes that he might be cheating and there’s a very painful scene where she excuses herself from their family Christmas gift exchange and goes into their bedroom and cries. It’s a short scene and she’s quiet about it, but it hurt me to watch it. Shortly after, there’s a scene with the two of them at their children’s Christmas program. The conversation goes like this:

Karen: Tell me, if you were in my position what would you do?
Harry: What position is that?
Karen: Imagine your husband bought a gold necklace and come Christmas gave it to somebody else...
Harry: Oh, Karen...
Karen: Would you wait around to find out if it's just a necklace, or if it's sex and a necklace, or if worst of all it's a necklace and love? Would you stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse? Or would you cut and run?
Harry: Oh, God. I am so in the wrong. The classic fool.
Karen: [voice breaking] Yes, but you've also made a fool out of me, and you've made the life I lead foolish too.

See, that’s the thing. It’s not just about him cheating on his wife. It’s about everything that happens afterward. All of us ‘strong, independent’ women like to say that if our husbands cheated on us we’d just ‘divorce the bastard’ and leave him in the dust. We’d go on to lead a very fulfilled and happy life without that cheating piece of dirt. But would we? Really? Would we be able to? Would we even want to?
I’m not thinking about all of this because my husband is unfaithful. He’s never given me any reason to worry about that and I’m trying to do all I can to make certain he never goes out looking for trouble like that. I’m thinking about it because it’s all over the place!
With this movie, I am reminded of why so many women stay with unfaithful husbands. Or, for that matter, why so many men stay with unfaithful wives. The simple answer is this: how else can you live? If I were to find myself in this situation tomorrow, I’d be stuck. Do I go out and find a job and pay a small fortune to put my three children in daycare? Do I hope that my spouse will pay child support for the next 18 years? Do I hope that the babysitters I need to hire so that I can work extra shifts are good people? That I can trust them? Do I hope that whatever woman my husband is with in the future is good to them? Do I hope that I will not make my children’s lives hopelessly messed up because I have torn apart the only family they know? Where’s that strong, independent woman now? She’s scared.
I watched that movie one night and practically the next day I’m hearing that stupid Sugarland song ‘Stay’ on the radio. I hate that song. It’s from the point of view of the mistress or other woman or whatever they’re called now. This ‘poor woman’ is so sad because the married man she’s with keeps leaving her to go home. The nerve of that guy. One of the lines in the song is “We don’t have to live this way.” Well at least she’s right about that. I will never understand why women continue to pursue or even accept the unsolicited attentions of married men. (Here’s the video for that song. Feel free to give her dirty looks when she looks at the camera with tears in her eyes. Yuck.)

I guess what that really got me thinking about was just marriage. Marriage. It has come to seem so temporary in our modern age. It’s just the next step on the list of things that you do in life. It’s not serious anymore. I mean, in this day and age where couples are sleeping together right after they start dating, moving in together shortly after, etc., what’s really the point of getting married? Can we honestly expect someone to be faithful just because they have now signed a paper? Probably not.
So here’s where I ended up. I ended up with this beautiful song. Some people might think it’s a sad song, but I really don’t think it is. It’s a real song. Here are the lyrics and my thoughts on them. Not that I’m any kind of expert, but this song has come to mean a lot to me, so I want to share it. Maybe I can help someone in some way. : )

You only know what I want you to – From the moment we start a relationship, we begin omitting the things that we don’t want our partner to know. We don’t want them to know what we really think of some people, what we really wish we could say. Things like that.
I know everything you don't want me to – As much as we may try to keep our guard up, this person that we sleep next to every night knows so much about us that we don’t want to share with anyone else. They know what we look like without makeup, what our breath smells like when we wake up, how we react when offended. They also know some of the things we’ve done that we wish we hadn’t.
Oh your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine – I think this one is pretty simple. Nothing can wound like words from the person you love the most. And nothing means more than sincere words of love coming from those same lips.
Oh you think your dreams are the same as mine – Sometimes it’s easier to pretend that you want the same things even when you’re beyond those first months of a relationship. Sometimes you do what will make them happy, just because it will make them happy.

Oh I don't love you but I always will – There is something about love that sticks with you. Even in our darkest hours, I like to think that I will be able to look at my wonderful husband and just…love him. Even if I’ve been hurt. It will still be there. And that can be a blessing or a curse, which is why it’s so scary.
Oh I don't love you but I always will
Oh I don't love you but I always will
I always will

I wish you'd hold me when I turn my back – I don’t know how many times I’ve turned around or hung up the phone or gone into a different room during an argument. And even though I am trying to get away, I still desperately want him to just…hold me. Whether that means a phone call, a touch, anything. Just fight for me.
The less I give the more I get back – This one I honestly don’t know about. The only application I can think of is the possibility that if I was to stop trying in our relationship, my husband would try to bring me back. For instance, if a woman were to be unfaithful to her husband, he might buy her expensive gifts and do thoughtful things for her to get her to stop being selfish and stupid and think of her vows.
Oh your hands can heal, your hands can bruise – Another simple one. I love the feeling of my husband’s touch in love, but I can’t imagine the pain of his touch of anger. Not just because of the physical effects, but the emotion that goes with that contact.
I don't have a choice but I still choose you – I think this might be my absolute favorite. It doesn’t say I would still choose you. It’s I do still choose you. There are times in marriage when we feel…stuck. “Is this the life I had imagined for myself? Is this what I’ve always wanted?” But the fact of the matter is that we choose this life. I may be so angry with my husband that I want to get in the car and drive away, but there is no one else in the entire world I would rather spend time with.
So is this a depressing post? I don’t think so, but that might just be my opinion. I love my husband more than any other human being on earth. There is no one I would rather be with. He is a wonderful, loving, faithful, thoughtful and amazing man. Not to mention that he’s smokin’ hot. : ) I can’t say that I love every little thing about our life and our relationship, but the best part is that we both want to stick around and try to get all those little hiccups worked out. It will probably take years. But the truth is we both signed up ‘for as long as we both shall live’ so we’re not going anywhere. : )

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