Sitting on the sofa, Curt’s arm around my shoulders, he presented his radical new idea. “Honey, how about we join the university students’ Key Club? They have one right here with the married students living in this complex. It’d be fun.” Not wanting to display my total ignorance, I silently whipped through my mental files, trying to find any occasion where I would have heard about this club.
“I have no idea what a Key Club is. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it? Where did you hear about it?”
“From Julio*. He is one of the guys I hung out with this summer. He and his wife live down the street from us. We walk right by their place on our way to campus. Maybe we could go over there and visit them sometime. What do you say? His wife could explain better than me, probably.”
“His wife? I don’t know Julio, let alone his wife! What can she possibly need to explain to me? What are you talking about? Didn’t you hang out with your bunkmate? You wrote about him in the only letter I got from you all summer. He sounded like a nice guy, and you had planned to study the Bible together.”
“Oh, yeah, well…uh, I didn’t see Rick* all that much. I was mostly with Julio and the guys from here. Anyway, how about it? Let’s join the Key Club!”
“What do they do at this club? Is it something where we rotate homes and play cards at a different home each week, or what?” I could see Curt begin to get a bit nervous, but he continued.
“Well, not cards, exactly, but I guess people could do that, if they wanted to. It works like this: The couples all come together at one person’s house on, say a Friday night. Sometimes it’s the men, and sometimes it’s the women, who have the car keys. If it’s the guys, for example, they form a circle in the living room, and toss their car keys in the middle of the circle. Then the wives form a circle where the guys had been. Each woman selects a set of keys. The man, who matches the keys, goes with that woman for the night. They can go out to dinner and then to his house or whatever they want to do. That part is decided by the people themselves. The main thing is that the place they go to is the house on the ring of keys, since both the car and house key would be together. Julio says that he and his wife have been in this Key Club for as long as they’ve been students here. It’s great fun, according to Julio. He says his wife agrees, or he wouldn’t do it, of course.” I wasn’t so sure ol’ Julio wouldn’t do something of that nature, even if his wife didn’t agree. But, that wasn’t my concern.
My concern was why in the world Curt ever got the idea I would want to do that…or be okay with him doing it? What did the marriage vows we’d taken mean to him…nothing? If he was determined to sleep with someone else’s wife, I couldn’t stop him. But, as for me…as sure as God made little green apples, I wasn’t going to be sleeping with anyone else’s husband!
“I don’t think I really have to answer you, do I? Curt, I committed my life to the Lord, and I meant it. I didn’t do it because I wanted to be part of the in-group or something. I did it, because I believe what the Bible says. Can you really sit there and tell me that you think God will bless our marriage, if we decide to join such a Club?”
“I know you’re serious about God and all. But, Julio said that the Key Club has really increased their enjoyment in making love with one another. You learn different things to bring pleasure to one another and…” I began to cry, interrupting his discourse.
“Curt, I can’t do that. I really can’t.” I doubt that he heard my strangled whispers, but I think he knew I was not excited about his proposition.
“Okay, well, just think about it. I know it’s a new idea and all. Let’s just take some time to think about it, okay? We can talk about it later. What was it you wanted to tell me?”
I thought about little Molly; the forlorn gaze of those beautiful brown eyes staring back at me. She needed love, lots of love. Molly needed parents, who would love her to wellness, but those parents had better be committed to loving one another, or there wouldn’t be room for her in the hard times ahead. Molly had enough of her own problems, without taking on the problem I just learned we had.
“It’s about Molly, a two-year-old. No one wants her and she is so beautiful. I’d hoped we could go visit the home where she is, so that you could meet her. I had thought we could love her, and care for her, and she’d be well, but…” I left my sentence hanging, as the tears rolled down both cheeks.
“You mean take care of someone else’s kid? How about having our own kids first, at least.”
“It’ll be too late for Molly then,” I interrupted, choking out the words. “She needs parents now, but I can see it won’t be us.”
“We never talked about adopting any kids.” He sounded like this was about the worst thing he could imagine, whereas, I had always thought I would be caring for kids not my own one day. The case of Molly’s need made me face something I’d not expected to be a problem for us, because there were so many things Curt and I had agreed upon in life…well, the Curt I knew before military camp, at least. I didn’t know him now, nor what he believed or what his thoughts were. I’d need to find out where I stood now. Was I married to a man who longed to be an adulterer?
A short time later, I moved into the dormitory for upper classmen on campus, while I tried to sort things out. One year later, the marriage was annulled. I never saw little Molly again, and don’t know what happened to her. As for Curt, he re-married and had three sons.
Do I regret what happened and my part in the demise of the marriage? Yes, I do. Would I have done things the same way, if I had to do it over again? I would never have committed adultery for Curt, but I do think I could have fought harder to keep him. In reality, I ran scared. I was too immature to really want to see how to change the situation. I was just afraid of getting pregnant, and being left to parent a child alone, when Curt got tired of not being a part of the Key Club scene. I was also finding I was afraid of him because of his aggression and language. He never acted like he would hit me or anything like that; but, he was not himself, and I was just plain afraid. I regret that as I do not think God is ever in favor of a couple dissolving a marriage as easily as ours was. Maybe it would have ended the same way, but I do regret my panic that caused me to cut and run.
That awful day at the courthouse, the lawyer said I was now, “Free.” That was not true, though. Yes, according to the letter of the law, I had never been married, since that is what an “annulment of a marriage” actually means. I didn’t have to ever indicate on any legal form that I had been married, neither did I have to answer the question in the affirmative, should anyone ask.
However, I was never “free” of the bond that uniting in marriage had created between us. Folks rarely asked if I’d ever been married, but when they did, I answered honestly, not according to the letter of the law. I later learned that a spiritual connection is created when a couple unites…the two do become one. There is a kind of spiritual ripping apart when that union is broken. That is what I was feeling, not relief or “freedom.”
How grateful I am to know that God understands me and the entire situation. His love forgives and heals. Though God’s truth is absolute…after all, He is the one Who created us…His mercy is also extended to those who, truly, repent of wrong-doing. God understands the mistakes of our youth and immaturity. We need only be willing to repent (turn away and make a change) to receive his forgiveness. Unlike the law in our land, God will never say we “were never married.” But, God will be there to help us through our repentance and needed change. It’s not easy, but it is possible, with our understanding God.
The top three on this list show clear signs that we should have waited a bit longer, but those things are better seen after the fact, of course!
Just How Engaging Is Engagement?
Just How Engaging Is Engagement?, Scene 2
Just How Engaging Is Engagement, Conclusion
Marriage License, Who Needs It?
A New Chapter Begins
Beginning a Home
The start of the dominos that ended in the final scene of our marriage:
*Names have been changed.
****Have a good weekend!