The Fear of Being Replaced in Your Spouse’s Heart

 

When I was a teenager, I watched Braveheart for the first time. In the beginning, William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson) falls in love with a beautiful peasant girl, Murron. Early on, the two lovers are sitting on a hill and the way that William talks to her and looks at her sure makes a girl swoon. I’m not going to go into everything about the story, but William has to marry Murron in secret so as not to have to share her with an English noble on their wedding night. William is Scottish and, as you see in the story, the English nobles take newlywed Scottish brides away to rape them and then give them back once they are finished.

My favorite part is when they are reciting their vows. William tells Murron, “I will love you my whole life, you and no other.” As soon as I heard him say that to her, I literally was never the same. I knew in that instant that I wanted that type of love in my marriage. The way he looked at her, the love in those vows, the beautiful consummation of their marriage by the lake was enough to turn me into a hopeless romantic. I loved his words so much that my husband and I wrote them into our vows.

Sadly, Murron dies tragically; killed by an English soldier. It’s so heartbreaking to see her look for him to save her, but he shows up too late. Her death fills William with such rage that it provides the fuel for him to start fighting the English. I loved that he fought for her. I could understand his righteous anger and I couldn’t blame him for wanting to take them all on. He fought for her memory and honor. It was beautiful. Then enters the pretty princess…

The pretty princess is French, but she’s forced to marry the English prince. She doesn’t really love the prince and when she meets William, they end up having a love affair. Once this happened, the movie was dead to me. Dead. Well, not totally, because it’s a fantastic movie, but I was furious with William.

“This movie is terrible! I hate it!” I remember screaming out while watching it with my dad.

Chuckling, my dad said, “Why do you say that?”

“Because! He just betrayed the love he pledged to his wife! (Said sarcastically) ‘Oh, I love you all the days of my life. Oh, I’ll love you and no other.’ Blah, Blah, Blah! Lies! Once the first pretty girl steps into his life his wife is forgotten and all he can think about is his groin! I hate this movie!”

“Amy, his wife died. What do you expect him to do? Live alone forever?”

“Yes! It would show his true love! How can he say he loves his wife and no other, but then be so quick to jump into bed with some other woman and love her, too?!”

This movie has always stirred a lot of emotions in me. In my head, I know that if a spouse dies, the other is free to marry again, but my heart just can’t go there. My head tells me that if something were to happen to me, that my husband should be free to find happiness in another woman, but I get a huge lump in my throat thinking of that.

I fear that I would be replaced and I can’t…I just can’t even think about it and find a way to be okay with it. I know, I know, I know, that in heaven I wouldn’t worry about it and I would be happy for Dustin to be happy. I know that it would be selfish of me to tell him to never marry again, but the thought just takes the breathe out of me. I’m not even joking.

The thought that another woman would take my place in our bed, fill his thoughts, hug and kiss him when he comes home is more than my heart can take. I know that some people have no problem with the thought of marriage after death. I know that this doesn’t mean they love their spouse less or anything like that. I’m not saying my love is more true or passionate. I know in my head that they aren’t really replacing their former spouse; they are just finding love with someone else. I’m not going to judge another’s motives or love, this is just how I feel.

Recently, on a camping trip, my husband, my cousin-in-law, and I were having this conversation. My cousin told this story about this lady who was dying of cancer and she wrote a letter to her husband’s future wife. She told her to take care of her husband and kids. She told her that she was okay with it and that she wanted them to be happy. As my cousin was relaying this story, she was filled with emotions and tears. She said, “Isn’t that just beautiful? That she’s able to give her blessing like that?”

My heart was unmoved. In my head I thought, “That’s nice and that lady must be a better woman than me.” In my imagination, I saw myself instead coming back to haunt my husband and the new woman. I was rattling chains and wailing like a banshee.

I’m kidding, of course, but only a little. No. No. Really, I’m kidding. But….I did make a good ghost in my thoughts. Lol.

It’s a hard thing to describe. I know it sounds completely selfish and jealous, but I guess it’s hard for me to think that there is another out there that Dustin could make a life with other than me. I know for me, if God forbid, anything happened to Dustin it wouldn’t be fair to any other man to marry him. Dustin took up residence in my heart when I met him and there he will remain forever. There may be other good men out there, in fact, I’m sure of it. Even some I could get along with well, but none could ever speak to my heart like Dustin. Any other man would always be compared to him. I think what makes me so emotional is the thought maybe I’m not that for him. He assures me that I am, but there’s still that lingering fear.

This is where I’m sure some readers are saying, “Wow, she has an unhealthy attachment to her husband.” Or some may even say, “Excuse me, but you need to make a little room for Christ in your heart. Seems you may hold up your husband like an idol.”

There may even be some lady out there that has experience with losing a husband and remarrying. She may even tell me that in time I would feel differently and find the ability to love again.

These people may all be right, I don’t know. I’m willing to admit that I may be neurotic about this. I mean, the Church does teach that it is okay to remarry after the death of a spouse. My head can wrap around it, but my heart cannot. Cannot. At. All.

In so many ways, Dustin feels like an extension of myself. Our love has only drawn me closer to God, because I recognize that this union we have it beyond the material stuff of this world. It’s supernatural. Powerful. Just in writing this, my feelings on the matter are so intense that I am moved to tears and feel a bursting feeling in my heart. I recognize daily the gift of this man and our life together. I see now that when God moves in your marriage, it takes it to a whole other level.

I honestly don’t know what I’m trying to say in this blog. The topic has been on my mind since the camping trip and I tend to use my writing as a way to work stuff out in my heart and head. I will never forget how I felt when I first saw Braveheart. I was overwhelmed in the beginning by William’s love for his wife, but near the end I was crushed by what I saw as a betrayal. I know it wasn’t, but it still doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe I’m just a sentimental fool or a hopeless romantic and you all will read this and think, “Whew, that lady needs to take it down a notch!”

I guess I would just say: Love your spouse and love them well. Love them fully and love them deeply. Invite God into your marriage and watch amazing things happen, even during tough times. Love your spouse as if there could never be another and, I know, God will take care of the rest.

 

 

 

4 comments

  1. Sara says:

    Stop it, I’m crying! Amy, your fire is inspiring! I get these jealous thoughts, too, sometimes, when I imagine my husband remarrying after I die in some imaginary catastrophic accident. And your conclusion?! It’s everything!!! I’m so glad you wrote and shared this!

    • Amy Thomas says:

      I’m telling you, you and I have connected thought, Lady. Thank you for reading! I was crying while I was writing and wondering if I was the only sap on earth to feel this way. It’s hard to say it out loud because I’m afraid everyone will think I’m a controlling selfish wife. I’m really not! Just love the man God gave me. 🙂

  2. Lisa says:

    I absolutely agree with you and feel the same way. I was divorced and know too well the feeling of being replaced…unfortunately it was during my marriage. I am now remarried (following an annulment) and I know I would never marry again. I deal with the same feeling you do also. It’s s tough pill to swallow.

    • Amy Thomas says:

      I can definitely see how this feeling could be felt during a divorce. My dad hinted at that, as well, after he read it. It is a tough pill to swallow. It’s one of those things were I don’t understand it all, but I trust it will all be okay.

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