Shortly after writing my “Birthday Blog” there was a knock at the door. A dozen red rose and a beautiful card from JR. He arrived home and we headed off to breakfast, then we headed over to the beach…it was a beautiful day. We sat there and talked for a couple of hours, watching the waves, listening to the seagulls, talking about our future. JR had to be at bball practice at 5:30pm. He dropped me at home and I showered and got ready for dinner. Dinner was wonderful, we celebrated with our 2 youngest children and our oldest via text messages from Miami FL. Later at home, I blew out candles and made a wish. JR got me a Nook and accessories but told me that he had another gift for me. He asked if I minded waiting to get it until we were in the mountains and alone. Of course I didn’t mind waiting and now I was excited.
Saturday morning we were up bright and early and on our way, 6 hours later and we arrived at our quiet little cabin in the mountains. This was our 4th year celebrating my birthday there and I can’t wait to return next year. It’s the kind of place that’s totally secluded. The type of place that you can walk to the hot tub on the deck naked and not worry about another soul seeing you. We love it.
As soon as the car was unpacked and the fire was going we got into our pj’s. JR says, “ Are you ready for your present now?” Of course I was, so I sat down and he walks over to me, pulls his hands out from behind his back and presents me with this small black box with a white ribbon tied around it, and hands me a card. He says to open the gift first, then read the card. There is a story to it he says. So I do as I was asked, I can see how excited he is, as am I. What I opened was the most delicate, dainty diamond ring. It was beautiful, not to flashy, not to big…the perfect size. It was a princess cut, which surprised me. My engagement ring is round but I have often commented on how pretty I thought princess cuts are, obviously he has been listening. He looks at me and says it’s a promise ring and I place it on my finger. He says, “Now read the card, it’s the real present.”
The card was very sweet and in it he wrote:
Happy Birthday Baby, I wanted you to have this ring (promise ring). Promise rings were originated back in Ancient Days. These rings symbolized a lot of different meanings. Elders believed that once a promise had been made and a ring placed on the finger, that this promise could never be broken. They also believed that it should be placed on the 3rd finger because it was believed that there was a direct vein from that finger to the heart.
My promise to you…
To love you always and forever.
To always be true.
To never let anything nor anyone come between us.
To cherish you till the end.
And I promise to grow old with you.
This is my promise to you.
I love you my wife…JR.
At this point I am crying, JR is tearing up as well. He looks at me and says, “I want you to wear this ring everyday, and every time you look at it I want you to think of these promises I made to you.”
The rest of our weekend was truly magical. We spent every waking (and sleeping) moment side by side. I slept on his chest, he slept curled around me. We laughed, we cried. We talked of our future and of our past. We cooked together, we showered together, we watched movies and played cards. Hours were spent soaking in the hot tub under the stars. We had very deep conversations about our life together.
I realize that my wedding ring was placed on my finger with a promise, a promise that JR broke. This ring has a renewed since of hope attached to it, a new promise was made by a man, not a boy. When JR and I married we were both so young, the love was different than it is now. Now we both know what we stand to lose should this marriage end.
It was a huge thing that JR did. It was so unlike him to go through the process he went through to do this. The idea came from himself, he did actual research about what a promise ring was and shared that with me. He called our oldest daughter, whom was very impressed, to ask her opinion on the idea. He then went out and looked at 7 different jewelry stores to find the perfect ring, keeping my likes in mind. The whole thing was truly overwhelming for both of us. I told him that I love the ring, but the real present was the promise and the work he did. Every time I look at it I find myself smiling. I wore it the entire weekend and JR would grab my hand and kiss it, then me.
I love that he is becoming the man that I have always known he could be. I love that he is being more consistent with these types of behaviors. He has been amazingly good to me this past month. He says he feels different and I think he is finally figuring out why all of this happened to us.
One talk was about the women who survive this and forgive their husband’s infidelities. He wonders how we manage to forgive and stay and still love as deeply as we do. This got me thinking, how did I do this. I don’t think of myself as some martyr or something. There is nothing extra special about me or my circumstances. I don’t have this huge capacity for forgiveness, in fact it’s quite the opposite. I have no problem writing off someone who has wronged me. So why did I forgive him almost instantly for this crime he had committed against me? How was I able to immediately return to loving him, to making love to him, to love.
The answer I came up with is this…I asked myself what is the absolute worse thing that I could imagine happening to me, the one thing that would end me completely? That thing is losing JR. I can’t imagine a life without him. I do not know how I would live in this world without that man loving me, and having him to love. I can’t imagine sharing a love this deep with any other man on the planet. I love everything about the way he makes me feel, if you remove the affair crap. He has always been so good to me, he is kind, he is caring. We don’t have to think when we are together, everything is so natural. I love how he protects me, when we walk through a parking lot if I happen to be on the outside near traffic he always moves me to the inside away from moving cars. He doesn’t even realize he does this. It’s his instinct to protect me. When we are riding in the car if someone pulls out in front of us instantly his arm goes up to shield me. When we lay in bed if I’m cold, he will get up to turn off the ceiling fan without my asking. This man will do anything I ask of him truly, and I would do the same for him. So when he asked me to forgive him, to have faith that he could change from the type of man who could have an affair, to have patience while he worked through all of the bullshit, to support him while he healed, what else could I do except what he asked. I have no choice in this, to turn my back on him would be to turn my back on myself because he is my heart and soul.
I believe good men make mistakes. I believe that people who deeply want it, can change.
When I started writing this blog several months back I was searching, I needed help, I wanted answers. I felt so far away from true happiness, I felt stuck. I thought I would spend years searching for the answers I needed. The one thing I decided the minute I started reading and writing was to let go of the control. I realized after reading other’s stories that the more I tried to control my situation the less I was getting the results I wanted. I needed to surrender myself to the life I was living, so I did. We have done more healing in the past 3 months than we had done in 2 years. I have learned more from the stories I read than I ever did sitting on some therapists couch. I love that what I read is real, it’s what is happening now at this very moment. I love that one day a blogger can write about how they hate their husband and that they can never forgive and move forward and then 2 days later they write that they are so happy and doing so well. That is the reality of infidelity, one day it sucks the life out of you and the next day you wake up feeling like it’s not all bad. It so up and down. Blogging allows us to all bare witness to the pain and sorrow felt by so many, but it also allows us to witness the true healing right as it is taking place…and the best part…IT”S FREE!!!! No therapist could ever give me as much information as this blogging community has. In my effort to gain as much information as I could I made it a point to read from all points of view. I follow many women who were betrayed, men who were betrayed, men and women who are the betrayer. I follow the other woman and a couple who are having an affair with each other behind both of their spouses backs. I want as much information from as many different people as I can possibly get. I love it, I drink it in daily. There is so much knowledge out there to gain. All of this is helping me, teaching me…everyday. It has been huge in our recovery. I vow to never let my marriage sink into a vulnerable state again…that is my promise, my promise to myself and my promise to my love, JR.