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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


When I first made the decision that I would stay in our marriage, I felt like a coward.  It seemed as though everyone else was leaving, and why wasn’t I?  Tiger Woods had just been accused of cheating and his wife was leaving him.  Sandra Bullock suggested that Jesse James ‘not let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya’ (she didn’t actually ever say that, for the record).  Acquaintances whom I knew had gone through something similar were all jumping ship, separating, divorcing, making schedules for who would have the kids and when. And there I sat, choosing to stay with the man who had brought me so much heartache.  What was wrong with me?  Why was I so weak of character that I didn’t want to leave despite all signs pointing to the obvious?  Was I flawed?  Marred?  Scarred?  Abusable?

Over time, I’ve come to realize a few things:

1. Good people can make mistakes and still be good people
2. It takes a lot more work to stay and work on a marriage than it does to simply abandon it  and walk away
3. We live in a society where marriage is disposable and people are often too quick to throw it out
4. My responsibility in this lies not only to myself and my well-being, but also to my children and theirs
5.  You can’t change anyone but yourself, but if you find someone willing to change with you, embrace it and travel the road together

My husband isn’t perfect, but he is pretty close -for me, anyway. I saw this today, and thought I would post it for all of those people who have been hurt, deceived, and cheated on, and yet who have chosen to stay.  Many others won’t understand it, and you may get a lot of flack for your choice.  I applaud your courage and strength to face this every day, and do what you can to create something beautiful from the mess that has been dumped upon you.

Since we live in a society where marriage is disposable, I think sometimes, just sometimes, under the right conditions, we can take the crap we’ve been dealt, and work with it to create something better.  Instead of throwing away your marriage, employ the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Reduce: Take steps to reduce the negative forces on your marriage.  In many cases, that force is other people who aren’t, as Shirley Glass calls them, “friends of the marriage”.  If friends, family, or others aren’t supporting your union, and taking steps to cause you to question it, they need to be voted off the island.  Surround yourself only by those who support and cherish your union.  If a co-worker is making inappropriate comments or flirting a little too heavily, she isn’t supporting your union.  She needs to go.  As flattering as it is, she needs to be cut out like a tumour.

Reuse:  Remember the things that brought you together, the things you enjoy and the things you value most about each other.  Focus on those things and try to reintroduce them into your lives as you rebuild it.  Visit the place you fell in love, your first date, where he proposed.  Revisit and reuse those places again, and keep the memories and the feelings of those places alive.  It is sometimes easy to forget, but it is a gift if you can bring yourself to remember and value what you had before the shit hit the fan.

Recycle: Don’t be so quick to throw your marriage out.  Although divorce is at an all-time staggering high, you don’t need to be a lemming and throw yourself off the cliffside just because your friends are doing/have done it.  Reinvent your marriage with what you envision it to be, and take the steps to help your marriage become what you see.  Invest in marital therapy, and do your best to spend quality time together working on your marriage.  Make it a priority, not a side-thought.  Instead of throwing it out, recycle it into something new.  It will look different.  It will feel different.  Nothing recycled ever resembles what it did before.  But you may end up finding out that what you’ve created is a gem.

I love you sweetheart.

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Comments

  1. dotcablogger says:

    You’re not weak. Weak is quitting in the belief that you have to quit to keep an image to others that quitting means you’re strong. Last time I checked, quitting in things aside from marriage is viewed as premature, immature, and without thought? Think about the attitude on dropping out of highschool, dumping a job, etc. All actions of quitting on these things are viewed as hasty or immature.

  2. dotcablogger says:

    3. We live in a society where marriage is disposable and people are often too quick to throw it out.

    Yes indeedy. We view our marital relationships as disposable. Sad really.

  3. I agree. We have adopted a consumer mentality when it comes to relationships/marriage: if it no longer provides for our needs, we can dispose of it and get a “new” one that will fit us better. A dangerous myth.

  4. I completely agree with this post. I didn’t automatically stop loving my husband once I found out about the affair. Divorce was not on my radar though at the time of discovery I didn’t yet know what was on his radar. He assumed I would leave and has embraced this second chance at our marriage with gusto. I love him for that. I would rather learn from this and move on with someone I know and someone I love than to discard the 91% of our good years together and start over from square one with someone I would barely know in comparison. This was definitely the right decision for me.

    • Summer says:

      Carolynn, I like your thoughts and attitude!! How long did it take you to get past all the emotional effects of his affair?? That’s what I’m going through right now and it really is lame!! My husband is 100% in, I’m not quite there yet, hopefully soon!!

      • It’s anything but lame. It’s a natural response to having been through a tragedy like this. The emotional effects will linger a while. What makes them smaller is when you understand that he didn’t act to hurt you, to harm you….it was selfish for him only….and had nothing to do with you. When you are able to see the affair from his eyes, and understand what motivated him, you can actually gain compassion for him. Hard to imagine, I know.

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