Once upon a time, I wandered the aisles of my brain for weeks trying to think of a meaningful gift for my husband's birthday. I finally decided on a well-deserved, long-overdue surprise trip. I saved up. I schemed. I contacted a handful of his best buddies from high school to see if they'd be willing to meet up for a ski weekend to celebrate G's birthday. These are lifelong friends who really get each other, great guys. Happily, they were all keen on the idea so they flew in from Oregon, California, and Arizona, meeting four more friends who already lived there in Utah. It was on.
Once he got a seat on the plane, G called to tell me goodbye and thank you, that he made his plane, and that he accidentally took my credit card with him. We were chatting away when in the background I heard a woman say (obviously to G), very clearly, "hi! do you mind if I sit in your lap?" + playful laughter.
Now, maybe there are some situations in travel I'm not aware of where sitting in a strange man's lap (or offering to) would be advisable. I can't really think of any right now. Or, let's give her the benefit of the doubt...maybe G was accidentally sitting in her seat. But, still. It rankled.
I piped up on my end of the line "um, I do!"
He relayed, "my wife says to tell you she minds." We all laughed. Hahahahaha. (Grrrr.)
. . .
It was kind of funny. Except not really.
It's been a tough decade for the marriage model, fidelity wise. It feels like every month there's a new scandal about someone (Say it ain't so, Dave! And Tiger. And various governors. And presidential candidates. And other politicians and celebrities. And other acquaintances. And friends' husbands. Say...it...ain't...so.)
I hate that this betrayal happens, especially when it's to people I love.
I'm sad that with every new story another whisper of a fear enters my marriage heart, despite my trust in G. I really do trust his love and goodness. Even saying that, the whisper pipes up "that's what all those wives said, too."
(And you know what else? It rankles that some women feel free to flirt with other people's husbands. We should be better to each other than that.)
. . .
Because marriage is a leap of faith--in the institution of marriage, in yourself, and in your partner. And fidelity (the Latin fides, meaning trust, belief, faith) is the privilege and price of that unique, wholehearted relationship that marriage offers.
My grandfather was born and raised on our New Zealand farm. He and my grandmother were married nearly 60 years. Preparing for a photo in the barley, my grandmother lovingly reached up to adjust his hat. This was his last harvest.
Gemma Collier, National Geographic Photo of the Day, 11.04.09
On a different but slightly related note, this post from A Blog About Love responds insightfully to a reader's question about feeling hurt when your man notices another woman.