Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Brick by Brick: Rebuilding a Marriage

"A marriage or any relationship between partners is meant to be created and then re-created. It is an edifice a couple builds until the day the edifice can no longer hold them and they must bring it down and start again from scratch. And without any of the old assumptions... all good marriages are re-marriages."
So says Sue Monk Kidd in her book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. And so it has been with my own marriage. I had felt dissatisfaction for years, a struggle to find my place in my marriage. Long before I learned of the infidelity, I felt constricted by my marriage, by my commitment to a relationship that kept changing shape.
After seven years and three children, I had come to terms with the fact that it would never be what I had dreamed – that he wasn't perfect, nor was I.
And I had determined that a good marriage did change shape, depending on so many things. Career. Children. Aging parents. But I also believed, absolutely, that a commitment meant sticking it out, even if sometimes I had fingers crossed behind my back that we could pull it off.
Sure, as Kidd says, marriages need to be created and re-created. But infidelity doesn't simply bring down the walls of the edifice, it blows them to smithereens. The walls not only needs to be re-built, but the very foundation.
It's something some betrayed wives often lament. That the foundation upon which we'd built our future turned out to be made of sand. Not all betrayed wives feel this. Some of the luckier ones (lucky being a relative term!) are able to find comfort in the strong foundation of their marriage, making it easier (not to be confused with easy...but easier) to get past the betrayal.
But those of us whose spouses' affairs were long, or long past, or involved extensive cover-up often find ourselves looking at the foundation we thought we had...and realize that it never was what we believed it to be.
We thought it was rock. Solid enough to stake a future on.
And it wasn't.
So we set about rebuilding our marriage. Or, in some cases, acknowledging that there just aren't enough building materials there to create something sustainable.
Starting with the foundation...built on trust and transparency and honesty.
Without those, the walls of a marriage edifice don't keep the partners safe within, but create a barrier between them.

Have you been able to rebuild a marriage? If so, how? Was the foundation strong? Share your story here.

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