shaken, and stirred

I’m feeling a little unsteady right now. I learned very recently that one of my best friends is staring at the end of her marriage. They are *that* couple: maybe not perfect, but perfectly happy. Solid. Share the same morals. Good parents. Strong family values.

Except I guess not. For some reason, the husband, whom I also count among my closest friends (after all, we’ve known each other for, what, ever?) decided to step outside the marriage. “Emotional affair”. Affair. More than just e-mail and cell phone conversations, less than the whole shebang. But like she said, what difference does it make? How do you decide how far is too far? If it was just kissing, is that any better than torrid, steamy sex? Is a one-night stand better than a long-term tryst? Maybe for some women there is a difference. Certainly for some men there is a difference. But not for me. Not for my friend, either.

It is still raw. She doesn’t know what will happen. She’s ready to stand on her own, ready to be without him, if she has to. But she doesn’t want to have to. They are going to try, at least for now, to get past it. I hope they do. I believe that she is the kind of person who, one day, may be able to fully trust him again, and that he is the kind of person who, one day, will be fully trustworthy. I wish them well.

And then, I turn to me. My husband and I turn to each other. How does this happen, he asks? I remind him of the statistic, 50 (or is it 60) per cent of marriages end in divorce. I go through our friends, too many friends, who have already ended a marriage. Our families, our brothers and sisters. It is discouraging, terrifying. And strangely, it brings us together. Why is it that other people’s misery is so often the cement that holds us together? Why does it take the personal tragedy of a loved one to make you appreciate all you have?

We have our issues, for sure. We bicker when we are overtired (and we are so often overtired). We don’t get out together enough. We don’t have as much fun as we should. But we love each other. We love our marriage and, above all our family. I know with 100 per cent certainty that neither one of us would let another person destroy the sanctity and the sanctuary that we have created. Not today, anyway.

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