“Lizzie looked at me and said ‘I had no choice.'”
I’ve had a lifelong relationship with an amazingly loving woman who has shared many stories and life lessons with me. Of everything she’s ever shared, the most fascinating has to be the inner workings of her twenty-seven year marriage. For the purposes of this post, we’ll call this pillar of strength Lizzie.
According to Lizzie, she married her first love right out of high school. A couple of months after the wedding she discovered that she was pregnant. It was during this first pregnancy that Lizzie learned of her husband’s first affair. It’s not like he tried to hide it from her, he had his mistress/whore (that may have been harsh… no it wasn’t) pick him up at their home. I personally couldn’t imagine not trying to kill him, but they argued, he left, and eventually they moved on. As the years rolled by, Lizzie ended up with the six children that she says she’d prayed for since she was a child. But the years also brought her more and more heartache as infidelity after infidelity revealed itself. There was the longtime affair that garnered her husband two children that were the same ages as Lizzie’s second and third born. Lizzie explains that his behavior brought her many sleepless nights and more tears than she cared to remember. So naturally my question was “Why did you stay?”
Lizzie looked at me and said “I had no choice.” She explained that back in the day she did what women were expected to do. She raised the kids and took care of home while her husband built his business and was the kind of provider that a man was supposed to be. She went on to say that as her children got older, her parents got sicker. She was an only child and had no one to share the responsibility of her parents with. So now she had six kids, aging parents, and a good provider who wouldn’t even pretend to be faithful. I wanted to know how she could stand to even look at this man. It was then that Lizzie told me about a talk she had with God. She said that one night when she was at the end of her rope, her heart ached, and her tears refused to stop flowing she began to pray. She asked God to please take the pain away from her. She prayed for Him to fix it so that whatever her husband did it wouldn’t cause her the kind of pain that she was feeling then. She wanted the pain gone. Lizzie said that God answered her prayer. She still loved her husband, but the pain she’d felt all those years over his infidelity she no longer felt. There were no more tears and pleas for him to be a faithful husband.
Despite all of his wrong, as the end of his life neared it was Lizzie that spent every waking minute at the hospital, still faithfully by his side. When he realized his time of death was nearing, Lizzie witnessed him apologize and make amends with everyone he’d ever wronged, but he never once apologized to her. After he was gone, Lizzie learned of not only two additional children with yet another female, but she was devastated by the fact that he’d been married before and had never bothered to divorce. Her twenty-seven year marriage was all a lie.
These days Lizzie is living a comfortable life surrounded by her children. But she shares pearls of wisdom with any young woman who will stand still long enough to listen. She still believes in the sanctity of marriage and that loving, faithful relationships are possible. But she believes more in a woman’s responsibility to care for herself first. Loving, protecting and providing for one’s self should always be the priority. Once that is accomplished then a healthy relationship with someone who acknowledges and honors our worth will be all the sweeter.
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