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There Will Be Threats

Yesterday I celebrated by seventh wedding anniversary. I was trying to think of what I’d learned in the year since my last anniversary, and it's this: There will be threats.

I’d always thought that the threats to my marriage would come from within: Infidelity, boredom, incompatibility, an attraction to Halle Berry (not mine), you name it. I never took seriously that there would be threats from outside of our marriage. Why would anybody want to wreck someone else’s marriage or wreak havoc within it?

Because they can. Or they think they can.

BMNB and I endured such a threat to the peace in our marriage since our last anniversary. Someone we’d invited into our home used our conversations and confidences and passed them along to someone else so that someone else could in turn manipulate us.

I felt used and betrayed. But a bought lesson is a learned lesson.

The sad thing is that now BMNB and I aren’t as open about having people, family or otherwise, in our lives and in our home. BMNB isn’t the most warm and welcoming guy to begin with, so if he has an inkling that you’re trying to be in our space to do us harm, you don’t get very far. I, who have always been the more friendly and chatty of us two, have become more closed off and aloof, too. Since this was a family member who caused us problems, I don’t extend myself to family members I’m not absolutely sure are in our corner. As far as I’m concerned, you’re either on our team – meaning you want our marriage to succeed – or you’re not, plain and simple. And people who aren’t on the team aren’t allowed in my life or in my home.

We’re also a lot more circumspect about the people we do let in our lives. BMNB doesn’t like nosy people who just want to come over to see how we’re living. I, on the other hand, can’t stand people who don’t have shit who want to come over and criticize what little we have. Between the two of us, we don’t do a lot of entertaining at home.

BMNB believes, moreso than do I, that for people you don’t trust, you create an “information vacuum.” If he doesn’t trust you, he won’t discuss his personal life with you in any way, shape or form. His feeling is that if you’re going to talk about him, you’re going to have to make stuff up because he’s not going to give you information to use.

And I’ve learned that there are a lot of unhappy people out there who take joy in stealing yours -- people who don’t work on their issues and instead want to inflict themselves and their issues on you. Shit stirrers. Those people are not my fault, and they’re not your fault, either. Unless you raised them, you didn’t cause their issues. I know I didn’t. And it’s not my job or yours to fix them. I’d always been more logical than intuitive on this point, believing that if someone caused me harm, I must have done something – intentionally or unintentionally – to elicit their response. I now appreciate that there are people out there who will go out of their way to wreak havoc in your relationship and your life for no reason related to anything you’ve said or done to them.

As we celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary, I marveled at the fact that, despite the outside threats to our marriage, it has endured. I don’t even fear Halle Berry anymore.

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