One of the things about having a husband make really bad choices is that it’s hard for the wife not to feel guilty.
Ok. It’s hard for me not to feel guilty. By association. Except that it’s more than that.
We say our spouse is our “better half,” or at least our “other half.” Which implies they are part of us. They twain shall be one.
I think this is why husbands and wives have a hard time letting go of things like their “other half” leaving the lid off the toothpaste. “I don’t leave the cap off the toothpaste. That’s not something I’d ever do. I’m more together than that.” Sometimes we forget, at some deep, subconscious level, that our spouse is not us. And we get ticked off at not being able to control ourselves. I mean- our spouse.
Now up the crime, from toothpaste caps to child molestation, and I don’t just feel ticked off, I feel guilty. It’s not rational. I know with my mind that I didn’t do this– that I would rather die than do what he did. But that brain-knowledge doesn’t always trickle down to my gut. And somewhere inside me, I feel horribly, sickeningly guilty.
I was imagining tonight how fun it would be to see an old friend who I just found out lives nearby. I would have to tell her about the divorce of course, and that would lead to what caused it, which would be an unpleasant subject. Suddenly I remembered that when we last lived near them, this friend’s daughter was about the age my ex would have been likely to abuse, and I felt sick. What if he did something to her? I had no indication at the time that anything happened, but I had no indication of a lot of things. Surely, I thought, she would hate me if this was the case. Then I remembered I didn’t do it. I had nothing to do with it. Except that I was married to him. He was my other half.
All these mixed up feelings have been messing with my ability to do the things I want to do. (Remember, it’s not that I don’t know what’s real. It’s just that my feelings have a hard time remembering.)
I need to do new things. Brave things. Get a job. Start my own company. Publish my books. Support my family financially. And biggest of all– raise my children!
When my little shoulder angel begins to whisper, “Yes! I can do this! Heavenly Father will help me, and with Him, I’m can do great things!”
Then that nasty little shoulder devil throws a guilty feeling right in my gut, saying, “You aren’t worthy of anything good. You were an accomplice to evil.”
And there is a ferocious battle, and it takes everything I have for my little shoulder angel to remind my gut that I didn’t do it. He wasn’t acting as my other half. He was being selfish and acting completely on his own.
I Didn’t Do It.
Come on, other wives of sex offenders. Say it with me!
I Didn’t Do It!
Ha. Take that, shoulder devil.
Tonight I was reading in Ether 12 about faith. I was reminded that if I want to receive great blessings, (like being able to make things work financially, or knowing how to raise my children on my own) I need to exercise faith before I can receive the blessings.
Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith… wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.
“But how can I have faith in myself?” I wondered. “I don’t know if I’m actually capable of doing these things. What if I can’t?”
And then I remember, I’m not supposed to have faith in me. I’m supposed to have faith in Him. This isn’t about what I can or can’t do. This is about what He can do.
I kept reading and found this:
And if men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, I will make weak things become strong unto them.
So, it’s not wrong for me to see my weaknesses and to be humble. It really is hard for me to try to figure out how to raise and provide for my kids without a father. But I didn’t cause this. And it’s not wrong for me to feel hope– to cling onto faith that if I do what I can and put my trust in Him, things are going to work out. He will make weak things become strong.
It’s all about faith. In Him.