Previously, I addressed the issue of infidelity in this column. I asked for wisdom from those of you who can offer some insight into either preventing or recovering from a spouse's affair. Your letters and e-mail offered the enrichment that could only come from readers such as ours who care enough to respond.
Many readers acknowledge the strain distance can put on a relationship, but note that trust can span the miles and is an important part of a successful union. A reader who responded via e-mail said, "Unless I find out otherwise, I just have to trust him... Why should the distance change the fiber of his being (or mine)?" She's right, as the miles are not the determining factor for a cheating spouse.
A reader in Wisconsin wrote a beautiful letter about her parents, who just celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. Her father drove for more than 50 years, and she writes, "In all those years and with all those miles traveled there were more than ample opportunities for both of them to 'stray,' but by God's grace, love, trust, and true commitment, they never did."
Richard in Indiana responded with this about his relationship: "My wife and I just celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary... I love her more now than ever." He continues, "You can be in trucking and make a marriage work. Trucking and families can be compatible."
Marriage takes a lot of work, a lot of trust, and confidence in each other. It's not easy being married while being apart, but if you are committed to our spouse, you will accept the responsibility that comes with our marriage vows.
Sometimes things can change in a relationship, and a spouse may not feel comfortable with the adjustment. This could be a job, a baby, or in Rose's case, a loss of more than 100 pounds. Her husband is uneasy with her attractive figure and worries about her fidelity. Rose is determined to put him at ease. After all, she is the same woman he married, just a little lighter and more active. She feels that if one of the partners cheats, then "something was wrong to begin with." This may be true, but when there is a violation of trust, the relationship will suffer.
A former trucker writes of his affair he had more than 25 years ago. His wife was eventually notified of the affair by the other woman's jealous lover. This reader was fortunate that his spouse was willing to learn to trust him again. He writes, "My wife and I have been best friends since the incident and always talk out everything." Since then, they have renewed their wedding vows and have kept "an open line of communication."
An affair, as Rose says, "puts a crack in the foundation, and leaves scars that take so long to heal... but can be fixed." During the process, however, there are others who will get hurt. A cheating spouse makes a three-way entanglement, and sooner or later only two will remain. They won't necessarily be the winners.
In the meantime, there are children, friends, parents and others whose lives will be affected. As the Wisconsin reader said in her letter, "Infidelity does not affect just the couple. If Mom and Dad had strayed, the lives of eight children, 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild would indeed be very different today, and not for the better."
Work on your marriage and renew your commitment to one another. Remember what is important in keeping your marriage strong... in the long run.
In the future, I will be discussing the issue of raising children alone, while your trucker is on the road. If you have some tips to share in making our lives easier while taking on the roles of both mommy and daddy, please write to us. Include your name, but we will not reveal your identity in the article. Thanks for all your wisdom.