Tag Archives: marriage

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.

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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

ambulance

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.

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.

 

 

The Prince Every Little Girl Dreams Of….

valentineAs we dated, it was like part of a fairy tale.  E’s grandparents, on his dad’s side, lived in a beautiful home in town and His grandparents, on his mom’s side, were very sweet home grown country, with beautiful hearts and a small country place. Both sets of E’s grandparents helped raise him.  The best of both worlds…

As I started to get to know E and his family it was like it was from a storybook…

I am going to share some of the things that stood out to me that said what kind of man I thought E was, when in fact there was so much hurt and scars on the inside that wouldn’t come out until later. When people “pretend to be normal”, they “appear to be normal” until something comes along to break the ease of pretending in their lives.  They pretend to be the person they desire to be but soon that brokenness on the inside works it’s way to the surface.

On our first date we went to the varsity vs. alumni basketball game. As the game was finished E asked me if I would like to go to get a soda and ice cream or get a bite to eat. He said, “you tell me to jump and all that I will ever ask is how high”. What woman doesn’t want a man that feels this way about her?  We went to the Sonic where we met and E’s last post was partially correct. Smiling, I put my hands on my hips and asked, “are you gonna kiss me or not”. A beautiful smile came to his face and he did.

As we continued dating there were many things that made me think he really cared about me.  I was getting ready for school one morning and I cut my fingernail when I was shaving my legs…don’t ask.  Ladies, you probably all know what I’m talking about.  That afternoon when I came home from school…I had flowers with a simple card attached that read, ” I hope your finger is better”.  The sweetest thing ever!

On Valentines Day when I went to get in my car, after school I opened the door and tons of red balloons started floating out of my car.  My car had red streamers draping all over it.  There was a box of chocolates in my seat with a card and flowers. We still went out to eat that evening for Valentines.  Always such beautiful things for a girl to see.

Please, do not get me wrong. I have an amazing husband and would not trade what God has taught us from our valleys. We want to share our story to bring glory to Him and possibly help a marriage.

Sometimes things are not as though they appear. E appeared to have this beautiful family life and even though several divorces had taken place with his parents, it seemed like everyone who had influence in his life was a christian with good character and great morals.  Things are not always as they appear.

 

 

That first kiss

Yes she did!  She gave me a bogus phone number that I kept in my super cool Ocean Pacific velcro wallet for several years.  Years that I thought of her often, until that day.  That day that she described in the last blog, when I pulled up beside her and she had me.

After our first date when she came and watched me play in a faculty versus players basketball game we went to the same Sonic drive in that we had reunited at, grabbed a drink, and I drove her home.  I walked her to the door, and after telling her thanks for going with me, and that I had a nice time she took my hand and said “aren’t  you going to kiss me?”  It was a wonderful kiss that I remember to this day. I will remember it forever.

We began a courtship.  In retrospect I wish it could have been different, but it was far better than what I see today with some teenagers.  We talked. Talked for hours upon hours on real telephones.  Not telephones you could drive down the road with while emailing and checking the weather at the same time.  Real phones, connected the the wall with real cords, and we had real conversations.  I enjoyed those days.  We dated.  I drove to her home, picked her up, and we went to a movie, or to dinner, you know, a real date.  We both courted to the best we knew how…and it worked.

I’m so thankful she fell in love with me!