I don't know if you can love someone and betray them or be cruel to them, but I do know that when you betray someone...you are not practicing love.I once worked with a woman whose husband seemed like a dream mate. Her desk was constantly crowded with fresh flowers that he had delivered with notes professing his love. She told us stories of arriving home from work, tired and cranky, only to have him pour her a warm bath and massage her feet. I, unmarried at the time, thought her marriage sounded like heaven.
Turns out it was hell.
I found out years later, after she'd left this seeming wunderhusband, that he beat her. The flowers were apologies...and from the blooms on her desk, he clearly had a LOT of apologizing to do.
He told her constantly that he loved her.
But, reeling from his latest blow, what the hell difference did that make?
I'm still pondering Rabbi Gorman's recent post about betrayal as abuse.
It might not leave bruises on our cheek but who among us can say it didn't bruise our souls?
And yet, betrayal so often occurs in "loving" marriages.
My husband often told me he loved me. He still insists that he did, even when he was lining up his next encounter.
And what I can't seem to get him to understand is that professing love isn't enough. Even feeling it makes absolutely no difference. Practicing it, however, now that's something that counts.
Brené Brown is right. You can't practice love for a partner while you're with someone else. It simply doesn't compute – emotionally or intellectually. If loving someone includes a promise to be sexually and emotionally monogamous – to share intimacy only with that partner – then becoming intimate with another is a denial, or at the very least a neglect, of that love.
So while it's possible to love another and engage in extramarital affairs, it isn't possible to act loving within that context.
And I've spent far too many years accepting professions of love instead of insisting on practice.
How about you?