He's stayed with jobs that have sunk him financially because he wanted to stand by his boss (pre-wife and kids). He's stood by friends, family, you-name-its.
When I was hospitalized with an infection, he hardly left my side. He fought the doctors for me. It made the nursing staff swoony, and they often complimented me on him.
"You don't know how lucky you are," they would say when they checked my vitals, "You would be surprised how many husbands aren't anything like that."
So why? Why is my loyal husband so... not loyal?
It's something that has plagued me all of my marriage.
"He is so loyal," his mother would say to me so very often.
"Yes, yes," I'd say.
"Very loyal," I'd say.
And then my mind would race. If he's so bloody loyal, where the heck do I rank? Beneath financially bankrupt bosses that take advantage of free labor?
For the past week, this question has been on my mind... only this time it's a little different. Usually I replay the question in my mind, and then I bask in The Land o' Victims.
I'm not worth being loyal to.
He's loyal to HIMSELF alone... always looking out for #1 (eye roll).
And then I would eat cookie dough.
This time I didn't sail to the Land. I just... thought a thought. I mulled it over in my brain.
Why? WHY? He's so loyal...
He IS loyal. HOW is he loyal?
He doesn't flirt with other women. He doesn't have a facebook account. He doesn't reconnect with old girlfriends. He doesn't fantasize about other women.
His phone is never hidden from me. He leaves it out, lets me answer it, lets me text from it and read texts on it if I really want to. Which I usually don't because I have once or twice and it's a huge yawn-fest.
He won't even spend a few dollars without asking me first, and he's the one who is primarily in charge of the finances.
I dwelt on all of this, and then my thoughts branched beyond the realms of sexuality.
I thought of my hospital stay, how he'd been right there.
I thought of the little boy in Primary who had disrespected me without me even knowing it... I had been teaching sharing time. My husband is a Primary teacher. He heard a kid being disrespectful toward me (I didn't hear it because I'm not awesome enough to be that aware), and he immediately brought the disrespect to a screeching halt.
And then there was his sister... she'd spent an entire evening texting him about how I'd done him wrong over something I wrote on facebook (I know, I know. I thought we were grown ups too...) and while she was poking her nose in to DEFEND her brother's honor, he made his stance very clear: he's with me. And then he insisted she oughta be with me too.
He almost got into a fight with a gaggle of boys who asked me via cardboard sign to flash them.
You should see him when I get cut off in traffic or when the sandwich I order isn't quite up to snuff...
He is, people, my loyal bull dog.
So what's the DEAL with this PORN thing? My thoughts took a turn. And then it dawned on me. I mean, I already knew it, but I didn't KNOW it, know it. You know?
He isn't doing this to me.
He's trapped -his agency has been compromised to some extent.
"It's like something takes a hold of me," he told me once in a revealing conversation, "I can physically FEEL it inside -it pulls me and it makes me feel powerless."
He isn't doing this to me.
He was doing this BEFORE me.
This has nothing to do with me.
Does it hurt me? Oh, more than anyone who hasn't gone through it would know. But he doesn't MEAN to. He doesn't WANT to.
For so many years, it felt like he was doing this TO me. It did. It still does on some days, but as I detach and I work on recovery, the easier it is to feel the truth of that statement:
My husband is loyal. He isn't doing this to me. Not really, really. Even though it may FEEL like he is, I need to keep a corner pocket in my brain for this week's thoughts...
No matter how much it hurts, no matter the pain, the tears, the heart break:
I can take it personally, or I can choose freedom from being a victim.
Most days I'm safely home. But some days, I still set up camp in the Land o' Victims. And when I do, I need to remember the truth that has been taught to me this week.
It doesn't excuse him. It doesn't excuse his behavior. It isn't a free pass.
But it's a free pass for me -a free pass out of the Land.
I can type that. I can write that. Living it is a different story entirely -one that I'm learning very slowly. This week, I'm so grateful for the lesson I've been taught.
How many times have we learned something we already "knew?"
I'll be honest: I'm not super excited to APPLY this principle -I'd much rather he stay sober.
But I'm grateful for truth.
I'm grateful for his loyalty in all it's forms.
I'm most sincerely grateful that my Savior is the perfect model of loyalty, and that He's always there for me, in hospitals, on facebook, in the middle of the night, in fits of tears, and smiles of glee...
He's here. Always here.