Every married couple who tries to move past an infidelity has to deal with it: the dreaded anniversary. Our first wedding anniversary post Husband’s affair was our 15th. I had been looking forward to it. What a milestone! What a testament to our love and commitment! What a sham!
It was last June, only two months after all was exposed. I was still neck-deep in sorrow, but tried to put on a happy face. I went through the motions, while inside I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry until I was dry. We had taken the kids to the beach for a few days. The entire drive, all I could think of was the last time Husband drove that stretch of highway. He was interviewing for a job in another city, and had texted with Evil Bitch the whole time. Just thinking about it knotted my stomach.
While at the beach, we had some nice family moments. Walking in the sand as the sun rose and set. Buying fresh seafood at the pier for a boil. Browsing through the local gift shops. Trying to be a solid family again, when inside we were so broken.
Because we were traveling home on our actual anniversary, Husband and I decided to exchange gifts on our last night at the coast. There was a funny moment when we each unwrapped the same present. Both of us had put together a photo book of our marriage. We both even included the lyrics to the song we danced to at our wedding. Great minds…or sentimental ones anyhow. I also gave Husband a framed picture of me in my wedding dress–15 years after he’d last seen me in it. Although I saw a much older bride, he thought it was beautiful. He also gave me a diamond pendant. I’d always wanted one. He tried to buy me one when we were dating, but he was a poor college student, and I wouldn’t let him. It was always our joke–someday I’d get my diamond necklace. And I did. I cried like a baby.
Sounds like a great anniversary, right? As I said, I went through the motions, yet it all seemed like a lie. We were celebrating vows that Husband didn’t keep. “In sickness and in health…forsaking all others.” Fifteen incredible, beautiful years had been reduced to so little by his emotional affair. I felt like he tarnished my every precious memory of our time together. One of the hardest things for me, is that I truly believed in the institution of marriage. Especially ours. I meant every promise I made with all my heart, and I’ve kept them all. It kills me that he didn’t.
For now, I’ve decided that I am done commemorating our wedding date. I need to separate our past from our future. This has been very difficult for Husband, and I do feel bad for that. He wants to focus on all that we’ve shared. He’s holding onto it for dear life. I am running away from it as fast as I can. I have to, because it doesn’t make sense to me anymore. And if I can’t make sense of our past, what are we doing together today? I need to let it go for my sanity and any hope of our survival. It’s hard, but he does understand it. I used to wear my wedding ring proudly every day. Now I can’t stand to look at it, so Husband bought me a small, gold band to take its place. It says exactly what it’s intended for: I’m married. There are no promises or sentiment behind it at all. For my last birthday, I asked my parents for my wedding video to be put on a DVD. I hadn’t seen it in years, and when I did watch it, Husband sat in the next room (texting her?). Now, the disk is put away. It’s all put away. Everything pertaining to the day we were married. I just had to do it.
Recently, we talked about possibly renewing our vows someday. This time, we thought it would be nice to go away for a few days, just Husband and me. Instead of making promises in front of a pastor, we decided it might be nice to write down exactly what the other person means to us and what our true intentions are. Just us, in secret. And while the rest of the world may acknowledge our old wedding date, we’d celebrate the new date. The start of the next chapter in our lives. Shedding the old, and moving forward. And maybe I’d enjoy my next 15th anniversary more. It’s a nice thought, but we’re not quite ready for that yet. When it happens, I want to be 100% committed to our life together. I want total forgiveness and love in my heart. I hope to get there someday, instead of in this limbo I’m in right now. I pray for it daily. Until then, no more wedding anniversaries for me!