Here’s the second thing I learned…
2. You can’t make a man stay faithful.
When I got married, despite the fact that I was lucky enough to actually marry my friend, I still went through the paranoia that many new brides go through. Marriage isn’t the most successful institution there is, and there’s so much media sensationalism about the ills of marriage that even when you feel fortunate to have married a good man, you are rife with the fear of the unknown. It didn’t help that he had moved me to a new town far removed from my comfort zone and with far more opportunities to entertain worrisome thoughts.
First of, I became Inspector Gadget, checking and double checking every social and business convo on every possible platform he had and I can tell you, it’s easy to get obsessed for you see, the less I found, the more I was convinced that he was hiding something and was just one step ahead of me. I started doubting that I had actually been one of the fortunate ones.
Next I started praying. Not the healthy kind of prayers you are encouraged to offer for your home but the kind that’s centered around imaginary strange women dying by fire. And the more I said these prayers, the more my paranoia grew. At this point I had almost worn hubby down with the constant inquisitions and policing. Sometimes he actually got upset but more often than not he patiently reassured me of his commitment and love.
Then I decided to apply some Isoko sense. If a woman greeted my husband before me while we were standing together or apparently fawned over him in the least bit she was put on the watch list and hubby would be almost certain of the interrogation to follow. I was careful of making female friends and also made sure I was at his side practically all the time even when I would rather skip the event and stay home watching series.
These were trying times birthed by an overactive imagination and an earful of marriage horror stories. In reality, hubby had not given me even the slightest reason to doubt him. It seemed the drama queen in me was punishing him for the sins of his gender. The funny thing was I had no concrete plan for what I’d do if I actually caught him cheating. Sometimes I allowed myself wonder about it. Would I leave or forgive? How would I make him pay? Would I relocate with no forwarding address or do some revenge cheating? So many women go snooping with no idea about what their next move would be if they found what they were actually looking for.
Five things happened to me in close succession that helped me slay the fear of the unknown before it hurt my marriage…
I. I remembered something a class mate of mine said. He once argued that if you kept accusing a good man of cheating when he was making a great effort to stay faithful, one day he would stop giving a f*ck about making an effort and just cheat since whether he did or didn’t do it, he had already been judged guilty and was in his opinion, already being punished.
2. A friend of mine advised me to block the negativity. These words were etched in gold. I was consuming unhealthy daily doses of marriages gone bad on social media and when I saw how seemingly united the couples were before it all fell apart, I started feeling like why would my case now be different. I was aligning with negativity and it was affecting my psyche. The more negativity I devoured the more I forgot about the beautiful albeit not perfect, long lasting marriages that surrounded me. Both hubby’s parents and mine had been together for over 35 years but these marriages and many other great ones, never made it to social media headlines so we ended up focusing on bad news.
3. My husband and I made some meaningful friends. There’s nothing like being friends with other couples who are traveling the same path that you are on. Iron sharpeneth iron and they make great accountability partners. A person is more likely to cheat if his/her closest friends don’t see it as a big deal or even unwittingly encourage it. The friends we made had marriages we admired and they served as role models in little ways that made a difference.
4. I read somewhere that a man would stay faithful not because you were the best, most beautiful, sexiest or most virtuous wife but because of his fear of God and his commitment to the marriage covenant. It made perfect sense to me because I never for once supported the popular belief that a man would cheat because his wife was fat, unattractive, a nag, abusive, dirty, a poor cook or lazy in bed. I had seen marriages where the wife excelled in all aspects and still lost her husband to a woman who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to compete with her and I had seen marriages where the man stayed loving and devoted to a wife who was outwardly less than stellar.
Making the man fully accountable for his fidelity made so much sense however I realized that since men were as human as we were, choosing to be any of the above could ultimately give them the justification they required to appease their conscience after they decided to cheat so I still had a role to play…basically to be the best I could be so that he was robbed of any moral justification to do me wrong. That seemed like a more achievable plan than trying to bend his will or threaten him into fidelity.
…do the best you can and be the best you can, the choice to cheat lies in his hands but don’t let him use you as his excuse…
5. I learned the right way to pray for my marriage. Speaking positivity into it each and every day and confessing simple bible scriptures that were marriage related but didn’t border on suspicion or warfare.
With time, I retired from the marriage police force and actually began to enjoy my marriage believing that since God was the center of it all and He had promised that His thoughts for me were thoughts of peace and not evil to give me a future and a hope, I would definitely be alright…
So here’s lesson number 2 in a nutshell:
Nothing you can do or say has that ultimate power, he simply chooses to remain faithful (or not). You can only make the choice easier to make!
Don’t give yourself unnecessary hypertension, life is too short.
Have a beautiful day Chutzpah fam and watchout for the third lesson tomorrow.