What Your Wedding Ring Means To You

As I reflect back on the years of affairs and how many times I looked down at my wedding ring wondering what it “really meant” to me.  As we went through one of the last affairs, I thought I wanted another wedding ring as that defined what my marriage was.  In my mind E had defied everything it was suppose to mean. It wasn’t the ring that defined my marriage, it was the love I have for E that made the ring more special and the commitment to stay with him no matter what he was struggling with.

Today my mother and I were talking about my grandmothers wedding ring.  My mother wants to wear it and yet it makes her miss my grandmother. My grandmother would’ve wanted her to wear it. It should remind her if the love that my grandmother had for my grandfather. The love that made her get up at 5:30 every single morning and fix him breakfast before work. The love that supported him through thick and thin.  The faith she had that he was lifting her up in prayer and she would do the same for him. The trust she had in herself to stay by his side not matter what. That is what her purpose in life was, was to display her love for her husband. She loved well.

As I was caught up in the affair, being offended and jumping on the band wagon of “me, me, me” I did not think one time of what my grandparents displayed to me if what love was.

Struggles in marriage then are certainly not what they are now although it was still hard according to the times.  There wasn’t a billboard of a naked woman that distracted men. Affairs were not as displayed then as they are now, pornography was not displayed in your local store and it was not acceptable for a lady to be seen with a man that wasn’t her husband. Values were different and so was the time. One thing that still remains the same is the value that Christ has for His children and the way He wants us to love.

Galatians 5:16-26    New American Standard Bible (NASB)                                         16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh [a]sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you [b]please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: [c]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry,sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger,disputes, dissensions, [d]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who [e]belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

He says to walk by the Spirit not by what we desire.  You see, they didn’t have internet, Facebook, social media, cell phones that were easy to hide, erase text messages.  Understand that I am not saying people did not have affairs then, I’m saying it was an easier choice to not have an affair.  The temptations were not as they are today.

The spirit of love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Be understanding and love. It is the choice I made that this is what my wedding ring would mean to me, and it does.

Marriage|What women should know about picking up the pieces


Pick It Up

Have you ever been at a place in your marriage that you just didn’t know how to pray? Are difficult times making it too hard to pray? Maybe sometimes you really just don’t want to pray for him…been there!  I know all too well what this is like.  Sometimes when you get to that place is it like you start losing momentum in your everyday prayer life?

I was trying to get my morning walk in yesterday before bible study. As I was walking, with my arms swinging, I looked down and saw a penny. I heard a gentle voice say, “go back and pick it up”. Unfortunately He had to tell me twice. I turned around walked back to the penny and as I picked it up I noticed there were two pennies….and they were heads up. Beautiful, shiny, bright pennies.  I began thanking the Lord…

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Back it up Buddy!

As I have been afraid would happen as I blog, my fingers have moved faster than my mind.  I would be leaving too much out if I failed to go back and add a few things that in retrospect had a HUGE impact in my adult life.

I am returning back to my adolescent years.  I did as most young boys did at this age, I played sports, I fished, I hunted, I camped and trapped along the river I grew up on.  I also had a very deep and dirty secret that I kept hidden from everyone in my life.  I continued to view pornography, terrible, hardcore porn.  Most would think or wonder where I could find such porn in rural Texas, but as I mentioned in my “clubhouse” blog, I had found my stepdads stash, soon I found my grandfathers stash as well, and it was endless.

My grandfather taught me a lot as a kid.  He provided a house for my mom and brother and sister and me when mom divorced my stepdad, but looking back now, I realize that he too was ruled by addictions.  His addiction to porn was uncontrollable.

In my grandfathers closet I could find magazines in the early years and then videos as VHS came around.  One of the heaviest burdens of shamed that I carried after S and mines recovery was the fact that I brought several of these videos into our early homes as we were first married.  If any young husbands are reading this blog please let me cry out to you to NEVER allow this to happen.  Never allow Satan into your home, into the place that should be sacred to you and your bride like I did, and if you have and you expect any hope for your marriage then get it out of your home NOW.  Get it out of your home and you and your wife pray together and close any doors that it opened for the evil one.


You Are Enough

This is not my (S) normal blog. As I set here tonight thinking about what to start with. I’m listening to Billy Graham….
I don’t know who I’m speaking to tonight…your marriage does not define who you are!!! God defines you. You are loved by Jesus. He is your husband and your father. You do not need man’s approval to be justified. God wants you to get down on your knees and let Him hold you. Do not believe the lies of the enemy.  You are who God says you are. He says you are blessed and highly favored by Him. He is your Prince Charming Touch His garment tonight. He knows.
Do not believe the lies of the enemy.

So many of us let our husband’s affair partner define who we are. If the devil sees he cannot destroy your marriage from the affair he will try to destroy you. Many women who cannot get off of a rotating wheel of pursuing married men to raise their self-esteem often operate in what some would have a word for, we will call it speaking things over the wife.  Do not entertain the thought of not being good enough, pretty enough or skinny enough. She cannot stand between you and God unless your thinking about her more than you are God. You are chosen by your Savior and He CAN restore your marriage.

Without repentance there is no forgiveness.  You choose a relationship with our Father and He has the final say.

Pretending is Easier Than Living the Truth

I don’t remember a lot from this very long week or so. After E not coming home after his first rotation I started suspecting things. It was pouring down rain and I was driving down a road to a small town I had never been to. After finding the hospital and asking for protection I kept driving and also had a fear of him seeing me. His truck was at an unfamiliar house. It was still pouring down rain as I drove back home.

Lots of things going through my mind. Many tears had rolled down my cheeks.

He completed shift rotations for his class, went to the fire department the next day and to another fire department the next…

I was the junior department manager at Bealls Department Store, the teen board director for Bealls and the mall. I had just started directing the mall fashion shows. This kept me busy.

I decided he needed something to relieve his stress so I bought him an inexpensive fishing boat. You see, it was much easier to say it was stress, and I needed to build my credit up than
It was to say, I wasn’t a good wife.

We were blessed to be a part of a fire department with families that were so close. We all fished together, spent a few holidays together and helped when we could. Of course at this time we had been there a little over a year. One of the couples called to check on me and of course I asked questions. I found out E had talked about a woman that was in his class, much older than him giving him shoulder rubs. He would pridefully talk about how nice this was.

I didn’t understand what I had done for him to not have called or come home for days. Of course I didn’t ask lots of questions but made it out to be nothing. We pretended everything was okay. It was as if we had gotten in an argument before his rotation and he was working after that.

Honesty…I was desperate and thought he hadn’t come home to me but knowing how much he loved to fish, he would come home to a boat.

He did.

Saving lives while throwing one away


Meanwhile, back at the firehouse, life was grand.  I had settled into my crew I was learning more and more everyday and was turning into a legend in my own mind.  I was married to my kindergarten sweetheart who was a gorgeous woman, I was enrolled in an EMS class, furthering my medical training, and had great brothers at the firehouse that I spent a third of my days with.

As my medical training continued, I was required to spend a certain amount of hours doing rotations as a student at hospitals in various departments.  It was during one of these rotations that another female student I was in class with asked me to go home with her.

S and I were young, and as I have wrote in the past, both came from broken homes.  She didn’t know how to be a wife and I certainly didn’t know how to be a husband, as nobody had ever taught us. Things were rocky around our home from time to time, as I’m sure they are with any new marriage. We would fight and argue over petty, simple things.  Things that didn’t matter. Unfortunately all I knew was pornography and how those women looked and acted and the things they did.  This is what I thought a wife was supposed to do, this is how I thought I should be treated because I was so prideful and selfish that I thought I deserved these things.  I accepted the invitation from this woman, 20 plus years older than me, diving into the first of many affairs just over a year into our marriage.

This was a very short lived relationship, as S became suspicious, and class came to an end, but the damage had been done, the path to darkness had been taken, and a road that took over twenty years to get off of was being traveled.

The Clubhouse and the beginning of an addiction

siloAs we have wrote in earlier post, S and I grew up in “Small Town USA” where we were able to ride our bikes up and down the streets all day long and fish in the nearby river without any cares or fears.  As with most young boys I had a “clubhouse” behind our home.  My clubhouse was an old concrete water silo which was probably a pretty dangerous place for a seven or eight year old juvenile to be hanging out, but it was a really cool place for me and my friends.

It just so happened that one of those friends was the cousin of S.  He was a few years older than me, and his grandparents lived in the town as well as his mom and stepdad.

One day while at my friends house, he asked me if I wanted to see something, which I of course replied “yes”.   He went into his closet and returned with a pornographic magazine.  I was scared of what I was looking at, scared of getting caught, scared of liking what I was seeing because I knew it was wrong.  I was also captivated.  The fears were quickly overcome by the adrenaline rush and looking a porn became a daily event that summer as I had found my stepfather’s “stash” of porn magazines as well.  My friend and I got the brilliant idea that we would take some of this porn to our clubhouse and tear the pages out and glue them onto some scrap pegboard we had found and keep it on display.  To this day, I remember the images of those women on that pegboard.  They were disgusting pictures, degrading the women, as all porn does, but the seed of the addiction had been planted and was growing inside my very young soul.

It was only a few days after our pegboard display that we got caught.  I guess that my stepfather was missing some of his favorite magazines and knew exactly where to look.  I received a very severe beating.

Many years later pornography still remained in the house where all of my siblings would be exposed to it as well creating their own demons that would haunt them as they grew into adults.

The First Alarm

fire alarmShift change took place at 0630 and I was there on the first day at 0545, ready to save the world.  I had already been given my bunker gear, and been assigned a locker and a bed and was learning the ropes about Central Station when my first alarm as a professional firefighter came in.  I rolled out of Central Station on a Booster truck heading to a RV on fire a few miles south of the station on the major highway that ran through town.

As in my soon to be marriage, on that first fire, and many more after that, I did so many things wrong.  I had nobody in my family prior to me that was a fireman, nobody had taught me.  Again, this would be a comparison in mine and S’s married life as well.  We would go into the “fires” of marriage immature, not prepared, and quite honestly, cocky and full of pride.  As any seasoned firefighter knows, these are the qualities that will get you killed.

Pride, a word that carries two meanings, meanings that carry a negative connatation as well as a positive.  The negative meaning is what I have struggled with most of my life, “an inflated sense of one personal status or accomplishments.”  I thought I was all that and a bag of chips.  I thought I was the best fireman in the world and nothing could touch me.  There wasnt a fire I couldn’t tap out, or a car I couldn’t rip up.  I’m amazed I lived to tell this story!

I began to further my EMS training, and as S wrote in the previous blog, I was away from home for classes and hospital rotations, and the enemy found the open door from my past, and came barreling through as he does looking to kill, steal, and destroy.  The pornography that had come into my life so early was defining my marriage, and the pride that I struggled with was telling me that I deserved the images I saw in the magazines and videos I grew up with.  Truly this is not the portrait of marriage God has painted for us and I greatly began disrespecting my bride with this expectation.


Beginning the Life of a Fireman’s Wife

Fire Department

Just as other dating couples do, we had our good days and a few that were not so good. As we were dating I began to notice a few things.  E had a temper that would show itself ever once in a while with great remorse to follow. Fish stories….that seemed to grow a bit each time they were told.  I grew up with a dad and uncle that had similar tempers.  I thought it was normal for men to react and act this way, with the exception of my Pe-Pa, whom I had never heard raise his voice or hand at anyone.  He had also taught me that honesty was something no one could ever take away from you.

We were engaged and had set our wedding date for the day that we met. As E said, he was at the fire academy and I was at home going to college and planning a wedding. He would come home on weekends. The thought of becoming a fireman’s wife was ideal to me.

My mother raised me as a single mom who obviously had to work very hard with only $100. a month child support to help. Some how she managed to be at everything I participated in.  She wasn’t able to finish college as we could barely pay our bills some months. When I would visit my father on the weekends as a child, I would witness he, my step-mother and her daughter enjoying a beautiful home, nice cars, beautiful clothes, going to nice places and no hesitation to buy nice things. Although I knew they were dealing with underlying issues that my mother and I were happy to be relieved from, it was heartbreaking to see my mother work so hard to have so little.  My mother made our home beautiful and gave me everything I needed. She allowed me to participate in pageants and that was our time together. This etched in me a desire to want a family and to be there for my children. It also showed me that it did not matter how many things you could buy, it was the heart and the love that mattered.

E started his first job at a small fire department only 45 minutes from home. We married and I continued school there and had a couple of jobs. We had been married a little over a year and E began an EMT class to help further his career. He was gone several nights a week. When he was gone many nights I would go to my Aunt Dots for pizza.  I had an amazing christian aunt and uncle that loved us as they would their own. They were a huge influence in our lives.

As EMT school went along there would be rotation time that E would have to do on different ambulances, in different towns, to get experience.  This would be the beginning of what I knew later would either end our marriage or make us stronger.