Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not a fan

I mentioned Jon Gosselin and Tiger Woods in a previous post, and I meant to leave it there, as an aside, an annoyed comment on a random post.

But then I saw the finale of Glee, a show I am in love with, and now I'm mad. I've always been slightly frustrated with the way they portrayed the main character and the school counselor's relationship, since the main character is married. But it was subtle enough that I let it go and kept watching.

His wife on the show is mean. Cold. Calculating. She lied. She was deceptive. We're supposed to hate her.

But she did it all to try to save her marriage. Does that mitigate what her character did on the show? Well, no, and yes. She was wrong. She was a wife with flaws, big ones. But she did it all because she felt her husband slipping away from her, and I can't help having more sympathy for her than I feel for the school counselor.

Because literally....LITERALLY...he kisses the chick (the school counselor) on the same freaking day that he leaves his wife. He's still wearing his wedding ring as he runs down the hall towards her. The music is romantic. We're obviously supposed to cheer for them as they finally act on their feelings.

Hello, Glee Club director? You're married. You just left your wife. Yes. She kind of sucks, but do you really think you're being fair to your wife OR the girl you're kissing right now?

And School Counselor...seriously? You really have so little respect for yourself that you're going to kiss a man who you know is still married, on the day he leaves his wife, when you know he doesn't know what the heck he is thinking? You're a counselor. Shouldn't you know these things? If his marriage is really over, let it end before you start something. Don't sell yourself short. Don't be that girl.

It's a show. I shouldn't be overthinking it. But it just makes me mad.

Truthfully, I don't know whether to write this next part in the past or present tense. I still feel like a wife, but my husband no longer feels like he is my husband, so it's hard to find the correct way to convey my thoughts.

I wasn't a perfect wife. Sometimes, I wasn't even a good wife. I was controlling and I thought more about myself than my husband. I thought that telling him what made me unhappy was communicating, and I never asked him what he was struggling with. I spent a lot of our marriage wanting affection and validation from him without giving it to him. But I was still a wife, and that deserves love and respect. There were as many good points about me as the bad ones I just listed. And the thing is, it's not actually about whether I was a good wife or he was a good husband. It's about the fact that we were (are) married, period, and that our marriage should have been higher on both of our priority lists.

The past five and a half months of my life have been the most enlightening I have ever gone through. I fought for my husband, at least every way I knew how. Maybe they were the wrong ways, since as far as I know, he was never even tempted to come home. Maybe I should have done more. Maybe I should have done less. I guess I'll never know. But I do know that, without a doubt, my marriage could have been rebuilt, and I also know, without a doubt, that my marriage isn't ending without help from someone else, even if they weren't the primary cause, and it's just not fair.

But life's not fair, and for me? I want to choose to try to respect my husband, even after everything, even when it's incredibly hard, even when I want to do nothing but make him feel as bad as I do, until the day he's no longer my husband in the eyes of the law, at least. To be truthful, I probably didn't realize what respecting him looked like until he left, until I started taking a hard look at our relationship and where it had gone wrong. I've chosen to remain faithful to him even as he moved on without me, which doesn't make me special or a just makes me married. I have realized that I can only control me, that when it comes right down to it, I have two choices. I can be angry and bitter and feel angry and bitter and act angry and bitter, which gets me exactly nothing, or I can remember that I chose to marry this man for better or worse, regardless of his choices, and work on forgiving him. Then, the next day when I feel angry or frustrated or lonely, I can work on forgiving him all over again. For me. For the kids. To grow. I feel like it's my responsibility to do that for myself until the day we're no longer married, and for my kids beyond that.

But what I won't do is say that this is okay, that society portraying marriage as a disposable union is alright. Because it's not. The news should not be airing a story about someone cheating on his wife. Can you imagine how she feels every time she turns on the television? Kate Gosselin shouldn't have to hear people saying that she deserved to be left, no matter how bad her behavior. No one, except in very limited circumstances, deserves to be left. To be given up on. Our spouse is supposed to be the one person who will always stay, who will always fight for us, even when they don't agree with us.

The worst thing is, starting over doesn't really fix anything. Things will get hard, no matter who you're with. Unless you're taking a hard look at yourself and changing your issues...and I guarantee, whether you're the leaver or the leavee (yes, I know that's probably not a word), you have issues. It's hardly ever all any one person's fault, and in the natural give and take and sometimes tug of war of marriage, we're all going to screw up. To have bad days. To do things we regret. As believers, one of the greatest things that God grants us is grace. Grace to make mistakes, even big ones. Grace that forgives and forgets when we ask for it. Grace that erases our mistakes if we own them.  As husbands and wives, we should, in most cases, offer that same grace, because as spouses, we're supposed to reflect God to one another. When we're extended that grace, I really thinks it allows us to grow as individuals and partners.

The people who write Glee or the anchorman reporting on Tiger Woods would probably say I'm reading too much into this. It's entertainment. It's news. It's a comedy, not to be taken seriously. But it is serious. The more we're subjected to something, the more immune we become to it. A marriage ending is a tragedy, and it should be treated with more respect by all of us. It shouldn't be something anyone takes lightly.

I realize it's ironic that I'm sitting here lecturing on marriage and what it should be, since I am sitting here with a failed marriage on my resume. But that's the thing. I still believe in marriage. I can't change what happened, the things I did or the things he did. I can't focus on that, because it's in the past. Unless someone has invented a time machine lately, there's nothing I can do about any of the things either one of us did to hurt and disrespect the other. Going back and dwelling on them does nothing but make me sad or mad. All I can do is look forward. It was apparently too late to save my marriage, although I tried everything I could think of. And, as I go through a divorce, it has done nothing but convince me that in most cases, it's a terrible choice, and if I can say anything, even if it's ranting about a silly television show, to help one person wake up and actually sit down and look at their spouse...really look at them, and really talk to them, about something besides the kids and work and money, and remember that the person sitting next to you is supposed to be your partner and best friend before it's too late for them, then I'll rant about a tv show all day long.

That was a really long sentence.

Fail, Glee. Big Fail. Even if it's funny, even if it's to make fans happy, for someone out there, it's real, and it's heartbreaking.

Well, hopefully not the part about faking a pregnancy. That was pretty out there.

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