Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Past is Still Present

I was an adult for 13 years before I proposed to my wife, but mentioning anything that happened in most of that time frame is a potential minefield, because if it can be in any way connected to a girlfriend or fling (like a trip I took somewhere), my wife may shut down, making it very clear she is angry with me, or remind me how stupid I was to not stay a virgin like she did.

Virginity is big deal to her, even more than I realized before we married. She was adamant that it wasn't a problem that I wasn't a virgin, but she was in denial. She knew she wanted to be a virgin bride as long as she could remember - before she had her spiritual awakening - largely because she knew her mother had been one when she married. On the other side of the coin is her father's infidelity of many years ago. Mix these things together and push it together with my days of being a very bad boy, and you get a corrosive brew.

Although I would never say it to her, I have reason to be glad I had those experiences. Again, I'm not going to say that sex with someone other than a spouse is morally acceptable. But if I hadn't had those experiences, I would be quite bitter about the current lack of frequency, or some of the limitations my wife places on our lovemaking. Because I did have those experiences, the thought that "I'll never know what that is like unless I can pester her into changing her mind" is not there. I would be upset that I had waited all of those years, only to find out that I was going to miss out even though I married. That's not godly thinking, to be sure, but it is an honest confession about my feelings. It probably isn't godly to tell someone that things are okay and then continue to hold that sin over their heads, either.

This all came up again because we're going to a wedding this weekend. The bride has been a friend for almost a decade, and we've been looking forward to her wedding. I used to work with this friend. Someone who will be at this wedding is someone else I used to work with; a woman with whom I had a short fling. The fling was stupid on my part on many levels, including that we worked together, though in that aspect I had a written communication from her indicating that she had been the aggressor and that I had been well behaved.

There was one positive aspect to the relationship. I've noticed that about all of my relationships – that there was something positive that resulted even though the overall situation was wrong.

It was a very casual thing – so casual I didn't care when she dumped me. The fling was her way helping her to move on from a long-term dead-end relationship. She's now married, and I don't have feelings for her as I barely had them to begin with.

My wife has known all along that this woman, with whom she has never communicated, is going to be at the wedding. But yesterday, something reminded her about this reality. And the frost descended into the room. I could tell she was angry. My wife told me that I could go to the wedding by myself. It's not going to be a small wedding. We don't have to interact with this woman and her husband.

There were three things I thought about after that. 1) Is she going to be like this all week? What about after the wedding? 2) Everyone "in the know" would know exactly why my wife didn't show. They wouldn't know all of the details or the full extent, but based on past events they'd know it was because she was there. 3) I once had brunch at an exclusive restaurant with a girlfriend and some people who had invited us to the brunch. That's not unusual, but the people who invited us were my ex-fiancée, her husband, and his parents. My girlfriend was fully aware that I had had sex with my ex-fiancée. I'm sure the husband was aware of that fact, too. And yet there we were, enjoying brunch as a group, everyone having a nice time.

From an objective standpoint, my wife is much more attractive than this woman. That would be true even if the woman hadn't packed on the pounds after getting married. If we were invited to a wedding for one of my wife’s friends and an ex-boyfriend of hers was going to be there (and she crossed the line with at a couple guys, but didn’t have intercourse), and I knew I was much more attractive than him, I would show up standing tall and with a huge smile on my face and my wife on my arm. It is sad that my wife is fixating on my sin from many years ago and that it would diminish her enthusiasm for our friend's wedding to the point where she would consider not going.

What are your thoughts? Have you been through something like this? Is it therapy time?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:34 AM

    But if I hadn't had those experiences, I would be quite bitter about the current lack of frequency...

    Yes, there are times I wish I'd done what you did, rather than waiting until marriage for sex that turned out to be almost non-existent and totally over-rated when it did materialize. Not very biblical, I guess, but human.

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