I remember it like it was yesterday. I was wading in the shallow end of my best friend’s pool. It was one of my safe places during a rocky season in my life. Not only was the calm, cool water of a private pool refreshing, but so was the conversation with some safe friends. I valued their friendship and their wisdom. I just wish I had listened better.
I am not sure what day of the week it was, but a date night with my husband (at the time) was on the agenda for the evening. I was in an emotionally abusive marriage so date nights were few and far between. There were definitely nights we went out to be seen or play the part. They were usually corporate events or community events which made them date nights with an ulterior motive. This particular evening was just going to be a one on one, no-other-kind-of-reason date night. I remember being excited.
In that pool I began to share my excitement with my friends. I explained that dinner and a movie were the plans. When asked what movie we were going to see, I shared that we were planning to see the movie Unfaithful. It was a new movie starring Richard Gere and I was a fan. After all, both An Officer And A Gentleman and Pretty Woman were on my list of favorites. My wise friends immediately challenged me. That is what wise, loving friends should do. They didn’t think that was a very good movie for us to see with the state of our marriage. With more confidence than my marriage deserved, I responded with assurance that we would be fine. I explained that we both knew it was just a movie. My desperation for a date night became more important than the warning.
That conversation in the pool that day has played back in my mind numerous times over the years. I know watching the movie in the theater that night caused doubt to rear its ugly head. During my separation and divorce, it definitely came back to my memory. With adultery being the main cause for the end of my marriage, I couldn’t help wonder (and sometimes still do) how that movie affected my husband’s decision. Was an affair only a thought at the time or was he in the middle of one while we were on that date? I may never know.
Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I obviously know that ultimately a movie can not be the reason for divorce. We all have choices and actions that we are responsible for. The point I am trying to make is that some choices–even simple ones like what we allow into our lives–can affect us. Pride, selfishness or immaturity can keep us from thinking that the things we expose ourselves to can change us or our story.
As more and more TV, books, movies and social media invite us into some things that are damaging, we have to understand the potential influence they have over us. They may appear to be topics or scenarios that we can battle or filter through our own logic, but the risk is too great. As a parent now, I remember how much I wish I had listened to my friends that day. Whether that movie had any influence in my husband’s future decisions or not, I can tell you that the title, topic and scenes of that movie have not been forgotten in my thought process. I am confident that my much desired date for one night has not been worth the reruns of that movie in my mind as I have reflected back.