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Reciprocal Love

by | Mar 18, 2019 | Divorce

She had loved him madly, desperately, longingly, lovingly. She loved him from their first date in high school. She followed him into college. She married him as soon as they graduated. She had borne him children.

But years had passed and life had changed them. They had “grown apart.” Over time, her interest strayed. Over time she found company elsewhere. Over time she fell out of love. Over time she sought solace in another’s arms. She committed adultery.

He was furious, understandably so. He couldn’t forgive her, or at least he felt that he couldn’t. They immediately sought counseling. She was repentant and remorseful. He was scorned and scathing.

A few months passed and she found herself straying again, seeking solace again, finding belonging and even joy in another’s embrace. She couldn’t bear being the dutiful wife any more. She filed for divorce.

People don’t fall out of love overnight. People don’t accidentally commit adultery. The seeds for seeking love from another, for moving on, are a long time in sewing and even longer in harvest. She didn’t find comfort in another’s bed in a barren field.

As is so often the case, there are two sides to this story.

When she and her husband were first married, they were the dynamic duo. They both worked hard. They both had dreams. Then, children came and the pace of life changed. It quickened for her. It slowed for him. For him, life became more static. For her, more vibrant. He worked less, sought fewer opportunities, shifted down a few gears. For her, she worked harder, sought better pay grades, put life into high gear.

Then one day, he suddenly quit his mid-level manager job. Just came home and announced that he quit. Just like that. It wasn’t that he wanted to be a stay at home dad. He just didn’t feel the need to work anymore. And he proceeded to prove it, day after day, week after week and month after month. He lived off of her efforts. Three years later, she was a changed person.

Now, he was screaming that she was a harlot, an adulterer. She had defiled the marriage, forsaken her oath. She should bear the scarlet letter for the rest of her life. She felt every bit of his righteous anger. She owned her mis-steps. She just knew that she neither could, nor wanted to walk back to where she had taken a different path.

What she hadn’t yet processed was how he had forsaken his oath. How he had changed the rules on her, become a dependent and not a mate, how he had become a worthless husband. She hadn’t yet processed that he all but forced her onto the path she took. But over time, she figured it all out. She still saw herself for the part she played but now she understood his instrumental role as well. His choices were critical for their result.

Adultery doesn’t just happen. Sometimes, people are shoved in that direction.

Marriage requires reciprocal love. Anything else is only a con-man’s game.

-Michael Manely