trusting home


this week one of my best friends, who has been happily married for more than 20 years, told me she just learned that her husband has been having an affair.  in fact he has been having multiple affairs.  she is confused, uncertain about the future, unsure how this happened.

they are a couple that have always seemed so comfortable with each other, so open-- i would have assumed that if there was any need for non-monogamy, there would have been a discussion about it, a joint decision, a plan.  they were, in my mind, THAT good-- that anything between them could have been worked out.

and yet, here they are, in a wreck because of lying, secret keeping, and the resulting total lack of trust.

i have to say that the problem, the real issue in these situations, is not the part we so often focus on-- it is not the fact of the affair, or the other relationship, or whatever-- it is the lying, secret keeping, and the resulting total lack of trust that is the problem.  it is the sense that two people, who had each, at some earlier point, had a sense of the other as 'home'-- now are divided and separate, unable, at times, to get 'home'.

'home'-- a concept we think of as having solidity, stability, and certainty-- is as fragile as any other idea.  it may be based in a place, but it is not really about the place-- for couples and families it is about the people, the relationships, the trust that has grown over time.  for everyone 'home' is about a sense of connection and meaning-- of safety.  it can be shattered in an instant.

when this happens a house-- the vessel which holds our sense of home-- starts to feel a lot less like home as well.  little vignettes in various rooms take on whole new meanings-- as that becomes the corner that one person stared at during a particularly painful conversation, or the place in which they first learned that their life is not what they had thought, or the place that their eyes rested when their partner screamed at them--   our material world takes on the hurts, the anger, the memories of struggling relationships just as much as the happy moments.

it is no wonder that divorced individuals often, all at once or over time, get rid of everything they had during their marriage and end up with a whole new set of material goods.

-mary moore. 

2 comments:

Sarah Buttenwieser said...

really astute observations.

you implied too the reason we seek making home as in house comfortable is to feel home as in home.

but without honesty, no amount of pretty can make a home homey.

shopgirl said...

thanks, sarah. much appreciated.

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