A: Uh-oh, this doesn’t look pretty. Not one bit. At minimum you have a spouse who is keeping secrets and that is cause for deep concern. Are you overreacting? Honey, you are under-reacting. It’s time to make him prove his word.
Ask to see his text messages, emails and web-browsing history. Request an explanation for the fingernail. A man with nothing to hide will relent. A dishonest husband will make excuses and attempt to attack you rather than fess up.
Everything you mention here is like an over-sized, pulsating red warning flag. I believe on some level you’ve had an inkling about this fellow. Perhaps you’ve gone along to keep the peace and maintain whatever benefits or security the union provides. Now it’s your turn to have the courageous conversation with yourself and with him.
Don’t expect he’ll suddenly become transparent and divulge the truth. After all, living a lie has become second nature. Until he opens up, you should level sanctions. He shouldn’t be allowed the privileges and comforts of the marriage until he gets real and you both thoroughly process what has been happening. My heart goes out to you. This won’t be easy, but it is necessary and well worth it.
No matter what transpires, your top priority should be to forgive him. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to stay with him, but your eventual healing will demand that you forgive and release this burden.
One final note: Forgiveness does not preclude retaining a top-notch divorce attorney.
Q: Why are you so critical of material things? I’ve noticed you consistently put down the pursuit of things that can make life a whole lot better. Please explain your point of view.
A: Why? Because I seek the pearl, not the shell. Because the important journeys are inner ones. Because the meaningful things aren’t things. Because I am a spiritual being inside of a physical husk. And because worldly concerns only distract me from my divine purpose.
St. Francis de Sales had some beautiful words on this subject. He described a life lived strictly for show as a flower that blooms brilliantly and then quickly withers away. Further, he said a really great soul will not waste itself on such empty goods as rank, honor, and form. This person has higher aspirations.
I’m diving for the pearls. You can keep the shells.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at www.thecrackerqueen.com.