My husband asked me to marry him on a covered bridge about 23 years ago. And honestly, looking back on those 23 years it really could not have been a more fitting venue for the asking of my hand in marriage. The definition of bridge is :A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles without closing the way underneath such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle. The definition of covered is: To shelter or protect. I like thinking about our lives being lived on a covered bridge, always spanning various obstacles while all the while the world moves beneath us and our love shelters us from the elements. Kind of corny, huh?
People love covered bridges. They are the subject of many photographs and paintings. We find them endearing and charming and nostalgic. They always look romantic nestled in amongst the modern world of steel and asphalt. The reason that covered bridges even came to be was because engineers discovered that the trusses lasted three times as long covered as they did uncovered. The environment would cause the aging of the wood and failure of the bridge to progress much faster. Ironically, the environment you’re in can cause your marriage to fail much faster too. It’s a good argument for having your marriage “covered”.
I have said so many times that it was our roots that saved us. Our roots that went back to that covered bridge so long ago. I didn’t see that bridge as anything more than a romantic start to our relationship. But, that bridge has stayed with us, sheltering us from storms and carrying us over troubled waters. The bridge has become part of us, our lifeline.
I read an interesting exchange between two bloggers today. I can’t seem to remember which blog it was, but it was regarding putting more blame on the OW than on your husband and how HE is the one who made the vow. The OW, in essence, owes us nothing. Truly, I think every betrayed spouse has likely looked at the situation from every viewpoint along with under a microscope, perhaps aided by a magnifying glass. But, I thought I would revisit my feelings regarding my husband and the other woman and blame.
Even after my husband found out that the OW was also betraying him, he still placed all of the blame on HIMSELF for the affair. And, though I have not spoken to the OW about this after the fact, I believe that she would place all of the blame on ME for the affair (my husband agrees that this is exactly how she would answer). So, maybe it was logical for me to place all of the blame on her for the affair, since really nobody else had. Maybe I should clarify. You’re maybe wondering why, since he knows the OW also betrayed him, why he is not placing any blame on her. Simply put, he feels like he was duped by her and he should have known better.
Do I place any of the blame on my husband? Yes. First and foremost, I blame him, because I wanted him to be stronger, able to withstand any temptation, even from her. I wanted him to remain on the pedestal that I had put him on. I wanted him to stay on the bridge with me and not be curious about what was going on below and above us. I blame him for trying out the exciting rapids and staying too far and getting lost and almost drowning. And sometimes I blame myself for jumping off the bridge after him.
Do I blame her? Bobbie knew he was married, she knew he had kids. She saw my Facebook posts through the years and knew we were happy. There’s no doubt that she knew what she was doing. My husband knew he was married and had kids and that we were happy. So, is one of them more to blame? I think ultimately, it just happened. A generic response maybe to an affair, but I think that’s all it was. Two people caught up in something that intrigued both of them. The defining catalyst was that Bobbie is who she is. Having affairs and being flirtatious is just what she did. My husband was one of many for her. Then there’s my husband, family man, nice guy, not her usual type, a challenge to her to break that barrier of happy marriage. She is only one of three people he’s ever been with. Two completely different people intrigued by each other. You see, nothing changed for her, she continued sleeping around even while she was with him. But, for him, everything changed. He became a notch in her elusive belt. He had told me he was intrigued by her lifestyle, which was so different from our family lifestyle. Her life is booked with concerts and friends and meetings of all sorts. He got to be the cool kid with her. She had him under her spell.
If I blamed her, it would be blaming her for being herself. If I blame him, it’s blaming him for his curiosity and lack of will-power. I, of course, feel a certain amount of blame is due both of them. And sometimes I don’t blame anybody but human nature. At this point I’m fairly far removed from all of it. My perspective is different. My husband has talked to me and I to him. We have talked through it and dissected it all. And in the end Bobbie will still be Bobbie and my husband will still be who he is. The roots of who you are may sometimes push their way astray, but ultimately you are who you are.
My husband asked me to marry him on a covered bridge, the epitome of our marriage. He did lose his way once, got too close to the edge, and fell. He almost drowned. But the important thing is that he didn’t drown. He realized that to be saved all he had to do was stand up. And that’s how it is sometimes, you’re drowning and you forget that what you’re drowning in is a sea of nothing and all you have to do to live is stand up.
I stood up too. I could sit here forever and contemplate who was to blame or what happened or how I could have stopped it. And it would. not. matter. It happened. My husband had an affair with Bobbie. Maybe it was nobody’s fault or all of our fault. Or maybe it just happened. And after I jumped in after him, I was drowning my own sea of nothingness disguised as despair and anger. But, I decided to stand up and join my husband back on our bridge where it’s safe from the elements and still spans all of our obstacles, just like it always did.
I don’t hate Bobbie. Hate will drown you and I want to live.