February 2, 2014

Choose to be TRUE


Emmett and I were married on March 6, 2004 in the Mount Timpanogos Utah temple. It was a perfect day. Everything was just as we had planned it. The temple ceremony was beautiful. The man who sealed us gave us amazing counsel. The lighting was perfect for pictures. It was a little cold and overcast, but there wasn’t a shadow to be seen. I couldn’t have been happier. It was surreal standing outside the temple holding hands . . . as husband and wife.

 Afterwards, we had a luncheon at my mother’s house for our family and close friends. We had a blast running around the house with all the kids. We were too excited to eat. I remember going into my bedroom one last time and thinking . . . “This is the beginning of my new life.” I stared at all the pictures on the walls. I glanced down at my wedding ring. I thought of all the days I had spent in this room . . . dreaming about this day. I had planned it all out in my mind . . . and here I was, living it. I had found the man who loved me enough to want to share his life with me. It was everything I had pictured. Everyone was downstairs. All of my family. All of his. All of the people who believed in us as a couple and were excited to share this day with us.

Later, we held a reception at the old church featured in the movie Footloose. It had been transformed into a reception center, and it was amazing. I loved everything about it. The reception room was exactly as I had always pictured it. We got there early to take photos. Of course . . . I had mapped out every picture, and had a schedule drawn up for everyone who was to be in each photo. Making my list into a reality was no small task! Emmett was very patient with my craziness. For hours, he smiled through every pose I put him through.

Soon, the guests began to arrive. We had planned on dancing, toasting, and then cutting the cake, but the guests just kept coming. The reception was supposed to over at around eight o’clock, but the line just kept streaming in. For four hours, a steady stream of people came to show their love and support. We felt like a truly beloved couple. I think between the two of us, each having two sets of parents, and then having moved so many times in our lives, we felt like we and our parents must have known half the world! I loved every minute of it. It was like a little piece of Heaven seeing old faces, meeting new ones . . . and sharing this special event with the ones who had always been a part of our lives.

It was a perfect night. We finally left the reception center. We hadn’t eaten, and we had been on our feet all day. We didn’t care. We were like giddy little kids as we laughed in the car all the way to the hotel. After we had checked in, we got into the elevator and were joined by another couple. They told us they had just been married that day, as well. They teased me for still being in my wedding dress . . . well pretty much every person we passed on the way into the hotel teased me about that.  I don’t know what I was thinking! I guess I wasn’t. All I cared about was the man holding my hand as I got out of the car.

That day, Emmett and I had made many commitments. We had made covenants with each other and with our Heavenly Father to stand true to those commitments. We spent hours that next week on our honeymoon along the Oregon Coast reflecting on the promises we had made. We talked about our fears . . . and shared our deepest secrets. We cherished every moment we had together. We planned out our future and all that we wanted for our family. We both wanted a lot of kids . . . we knew that for sure. I came from a huge family and loved everything about it. Emmett was an only child . . . and he didn’t want that same thing for our family. We were on the same wavelength when it came to all of our hopes and dreams. It was easy to love him. I loved being his wife. I couldn’t wait to be the mother of his children.

I remember always glancing at his wedding ring and thinking . . . “Wow . . . this guy loves me enough . . . to wear a ring everywhere he goes just to make sure everyone knows he is taken.” I loved the feeling that we were only for each other. I loved the safety I saw in that ring on his hand. It was more than just a wedding ring to me, it was a symbol of all the commitments and promises we had made to each other that day . . . and he wore it proudly.

The night he died . . . long after the detectives were gone, I remember sitting and staring at that same ring. It sat up on its pedestal on top of our dresser. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. It had lost its luster. It didn’t shine like it had that day I first put it on his finger. It looked dull. It felt empty . . . it felt as if I was staring into the face of darkness. I hated that ring for being at my house that night. That ring, which had once symbolized such beauty and love . . . now just stood there shouting at me . . . “Guess you weren’t enough! Guess all those fears you always had about yourself are all true. Guess you weren’t worth it, Ashlee. If you had been, I wouldn’t be here right now . . . I would be on his left ring finger!” But if it had been on his finger, it would have been in a dark body bag.

Emmett taking off his wedding ring was not the first step that got us to where we were. In the beginning, it was just little things. I don’t know where it all began for sure, but I really think it started out innocently enough. Then that innocence turned into comfort . . . and comfort turned into justification. Then there was texting. The texting led to lunch dates . . . which led to late nights . . . and eventually, that ring was no longer a reminder of the love he had for me and the promises we had made to each other. For Emmett, it became I reminder of all that he should have been cherishing. He didn’t take off his ring because he wanted to start an affair . . . he took off that ring because he was too far into the garbage consuming him . . . that he was ashamed to carry a constant reminder of it on his finger. And for me, I hadn’t just wanted  him to wear his wedding ring day and night, I had wanted him to come home to me every night . . . I had wanted him to be there for me every day.

Infidelity starts somewhere . . . flirty little smiles. Personal text messages. Quick hellos via e-mail. It can happen in a matter of seconds. You let your guard down or show a moment’s weakness . . .  and Satan excitedly jumps in to coax you into feeling comfortable with doing just a little bit more. He delights as you walk the line and then stumble and decide it wouldn’t hurt to do it just this once. He nudges you a little more . . . and a little more.

You cannot allow it to begin. Find the strength to say no. Challenge yourself to put on your armor every day as you kiss your loved one goodbye. It is easy to be weak . . . but it will not bring you joy. Somewhere down the road, the easy road will end, and the joy you once hoped for . . . will just be a distant memory. Every secret has the power to destroy . . . even if it is just a “little” secret.

Around every corner lies deception. It is real. It is looking for you. Darkness is just a click away . . . a send button, an inappropriate conversation. It waits for you to question your commitments . . . question your decisions.

You can be stronger than the world. Satan wants you to believe that everyone is doing it. Just this once won’t hurt. Enjoy it. It feels good. Those lies may feel true for that split second . . . but before that second has the power to destroy you, think about all the moments you will be leaving behind. The moment you knelt at an altar, hand-in-hand, and made promises to each other. The moment you held your newborn baby in your arms next to the person you loved the most in the entire world. Moments when you look across a messy room full of dirty diapers and an overflowing sink . . . across the kids’ toys and the bills that pile up around you . . .  over to that person you loved enough to commit to . . . and you realize that you are exactly where you always wanted to be. Those are the moments you risk losing. When you see that person you love, you know without a doubt—even though your spouse drives you insane at times—that he or she is the person for whom you will put on your armor every single day as you leave your home. That is the smile you are going to come home to every night, and you will keep shining that ring . . .even when the world tells you to just take it off. You are going to put that person first . . . because you promised God that you would.

You have the power . . . you have the control. The promises you make to your spouse are not just words. They are covenants with your Heavenly Father. You promise Him that you will cherish and protect His child. There will be temptations everywhere you walk. There will be beautiful things everywhere you look. Find a way to look away . . . and look to the ones who love you back. True love isn’t found in fleeting lustful desires. True love is enduring. It is a dream that each one deserves to come true. When we came to this earth, we knew we would be tested. That moment when you made a commitment to another individual, you never believed your devotion would be tested. But it will. There will always be tests. There will always be trials . . . in all aspects of our life, and our faithfulness to each other is no exception.

Choose the higher road. Choose the road that leads you back to the promises you have made. In all relationships in our lives, there will be times when we question why we are there. There will be days when we just want to run away . . . and maybe even take off the symbols that bind us together. Don’t take the easy way out! Remember the times when all you could think about was being together. Remember the little things that caused you to fall in love, and fall in love with those things again . . . and stop focusing on the things that drive you away. Challenge yourself a little more. Be a little more loyal in all you do and say. If something is important to your spouse . . . do it. If something you do is hurting him or her . . . stop it. Put your spouse first. Think a little less about yourself. Hold true to the armor that protects you from everything the world will throw at you. Put your family first. If the luster on that ring has become dull . . . ask Heaven’s Angels to bring the polish you need to make it shine again. You have the power to choose . . . choose to be true.


28 comments:

Amanda said...

Oh how your words have hit home with me. We do need to put on the armor that protects us from the world. Remember what brings us joy. Thank you for your insights.

Anonymous said...

When my sister found out her husband was having an affair her bishop advised her to hold dear her temple recommend. Do not say or do things that would interrupt the blessings that come from holding and and attending the temple. She went to the temple often for strength and comfort. My sister and you are a great example thank you for your words of wisdom.

Anonymous said...

You must put on your armor everyday in marriage. I can relate to you in that my husband has put down his at times in our marriage and it has caused great pain. I have chose to stay with him and fight for our marriage and our children. As you say it is so true about things starting slowly and innocently a personal text here and a quick email or an flirty conversation. I second your wisdom on that. Just don't do it, keep your armor up. What seems innocent will eventually lead to broken promises and broken hearts. Thank you for sharing your testimony and the things you've learned through your experiences.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if pornography was a part of his infidelity?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. I saw your story on Dateline and ever since then I think about you often. I can't imagine going through what you have gone through, but what a strong woman you are.

Anonymous said...

I am so addicted to your blog!! My husband too had an office romance, and although it didn't turn out as tragically as yours, every word you wrote are all the words I wanted him to hear. Anyone who thinks they are exempt from the fiery darts of Satan are lying to themselves. I notice you have found love again. I can't wait to hear that story!

Anonymous said...

Ashlee... as I read your blog it makes me feel like I wasnt going crazy when I found out about my husband's affair. Although, for apparent reasons, I am able to ask him why and try to find understanding in his choices the only answers I get are"I don't know" or eventually, "I needed Break from reality." We have a large family as well. Seven children. I supported him through unemployment as well as his return and completion of a college degree. The affair started with a co- worker. I met her once, prior to their affair. I told him she was trouble and to steer clear. She was sleeping around with all the men there. But no he didn't listen to my pleadings as I found text messages on his phone from her. She was in upper management and there was no reason that she should be texting him or vice versa. He argued relentlessly with me that they were just friends and quit being so insecure. I told him over and over I was trying to protect our family. It wasn't enough. I finally listened to my intuition on his birthday and left work early. My intuition was eating me alive. I had to know. I couldn't find his car at school. But there it was parked at work. I went in and no one had seen him. Lucky me he left his cell phone plugged into his car charger. As I crawled through his back window of his truck, I'm sure that was a sight to see, I could feel it in the pit of my stomach. I turned the phone on and the first messages on his phone was "hap happy birthday lover". Needless to say I was a train wreck. I thought I was going to shrivel up and die. Right there in my car. My life as I knew it stopped. The fear, anxiety, hate, loneliness... I can't even describe it. I faced her and him that day. All I got was more lies. Finally 5 months later I got all the truth. I hate him for what he has done to our amazing family. As a woman we always place the blame on ourselves. But after much counseling it was his choice. I did nothing wrong but support him over and over again. Ive chosen to stay but have told him never again will he be allowed to do this to our family and if he does he will be on the first ride out. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts. It makes me feel like what I have experienced and will continue to struggle with is real. The pain is real. The healing is long and hard.

Jilleen said...

I came across your blog on Facebook and was captivated. You are truly inspirational. I am so very sorry for your heartache, loss and pain. What you are doing by sharing your hard earned wisdom and tender, personal insights is amazing. Your words can be applied no matter our circumstances. Thank you for sharing.

3spunkygirls said...

Thank you Ashlee for sharing your journey. The Lord has filled you with wisdom and strength that only He can give. You are a blessing.

val bateman said...

such great advice ashlee. so, so true that we must wear the armor of God every single day. every moment.

Anonymous said...

I have read your posts ...and WOW! Your wisdom and advice is so valuable in this day. Thank you! I remember being told that I was "crazy" but it is the Holy Ghost warning you of things are to come.

Courtney Mei said...

how true everything you said is. Your are amazing to me... I don't even know you but I think your amazing. Everything you have been through...it puts things into perspective.. im sorry you have had to be put through all that you have.. ive sat here for the past hour reading your blog posts and just can not believe how strong of a person you are. Your children are so lucky to have you as their mother. The words in this post has especially hit close to home so thank you for posting..

Anonymous said...

I was wondering the same thing! My husband had affairs and it all started with porn addiction. I hear a ton of stories where porn addiction is the beginning...seems to be Satan's biggest tool for starting infidelity.

Anonymous said...

I feel so sad that you have had to suffer so much because of others very poor choices. It is so hard to see people make decisions that lead to such heartache, regret, and pain. It confuses me why Emmitt didn't wake up and realize sooner. Why he hired someone who dressed so immodestly and seemed to have such questionable standards. It is hard to understand why. I do know that Heavenly Father loves all of us and allows us agency. It makes the teachings of the gospel even more clear that standards are in place to protect us because he cares so much about us. When people disappoint us we can rely on Heavenly Father and know that he truly cares and what he asks of us is to bring us peace and happiness. You are a precious mother with very precious children. I am grateful you realize God's love for you and your precious children. Thanks for setting a good example to so many.

Anonymous said...

I just saw a link to your blog today and have been reading it off and on. I got to this one and realized today would've been your 10th anniversary. If it were me, I know it would be a hard day, and I just wanted to tell you I think it's ok to let yourself hurt for a while today. Thank you for sharing your story and the lessons you've learned. I hope it's been a healing process for you. May the Lord continue to bless and strengthen you and your family!

Cathy J said...

My roommate sent me the link to your blog yesterday and since then, I find myself praying for you and your family and millions of people I've never met. Praying that they can be strong and make the decisions that will take them closer to God and to happiness. Praying for those families who are hurting because of poor decisions. Thank you for helping me look outward a little more.

Anonymous said...

The message at the end of the blog was something I needed to hear. I think if more people would take the higher road a little more each day Satans influence would dissipate and hurt and sorrows like this could be avoided. After my wife's affair I was hurt and broken too. The new normal is still hard to get used to. I'm not perfect and I have faults and things to work on too. Continual forgiveness and taking the higher road and not being the detective are the things I need to work on the most. Thank you for your blog and willingness to share.

Anonymous said...

My husband has an office affair. I was devastated. I have a made a complaint to his boss and both him and his mistress lost the job. Am I unreasonable?

Anonymous said...

Tahnk you so much for writing this blog entry! The section near the bottom from the paragraph that starts "Infidelity starts somewhere ... " to the end should be required reading for all couples (both male and female!) It might have prevented my wife from her affair.


Anonymous said...

Last night I received an email from a former (female) co-worker, just a "quick hello", and a promise to stay in touch. I started to respond to her, and I rememberd this blog. I came back here, read it, and deleted my response to her email as I read and pondered the powerful words that you have shared, and thought about my sweet wife and the covenants I have made. Thank you for these motivating words which help me to stay true! Infidelity does indeed start somewhere, and quick hellos via email are one of Satan's strongest tools today. Thank you for giving me the resolve to not reply!

glenda said...

Beautiful words... lots of wisdom... best to you and your hubby and fam!

Anonymous said...

My anniversary is today as well... I too was married March 6th, 2004. My husband told me two months ago that he too, has been addicted to porn for the past twenty years. Thankfully, it never turned to an affair, and that he came to me when he was ready to do everything possible to get out of it. However, any kind of sexual addiction is absolutely heartbreaking.

Kristi Chapo said...

Your posts are always very well written and insightful. This post was especially touching to me today. I needed this reminder today, I needed to feel the spirit that I felt while reading this. So thank you. Thank you for the beautiful post, and for the strength you show reliving these experiences to help others.

Janna said...

Ashlee, I am so impressed by your wisdom & discernment. It is clear that God is doing a great work in your heart to give you such insight. I am touched by the grace that you offer to Emmett, after everything he put you through. I am moved that you recognize that he didn't just throw away everything most dear to him suddenly... that it was a slow and gradual process that he somehow justified to himself over time. Had he taken the time to stop and see the damage he was doing to his family, and let the Holy Spirit convict his heart, he likely would have stopped. It is easy to wander off the "straight and narrow" onto rabbit trails that lead to destruction. Satan is so good at making the wrong choices look right. Just like the apple he tempted Eve with in the Garden of Eden... he entices us with things and lures us in. Next thing you know, you're doing things you NEVER thought you'd do. My heart breaks that Emmett was so far gone that he turned his back on you & your precious children. He probably knew, deep down, that he was making huge mistakes but he wasn't letting it affect his conscience. Then he paid the ultimate price for his decisions. I'm sure that he now regrets his decisions wholeheartedly! Not because he died, but because seeing God face-to-face would immediately bring you to your knees and see how foolish you've been. I am so grateful that your share your story with us and your struggles. I'm sure there are many people who can relate to your story, in some shape or form, and are greatly impacted by your faith in Christ. You are a beautiful person, inside and out. God bless you, Shawn, and your beautiful family!

Anonymous said...

The adversary knows our weaknesses and knows when the time is right to prey on those weaknesses. I was one became unfaithful to my spouse. It was a long road, yet, going to the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, saved our marriage and family. Learning how to use the Atonement was integral to being able to move forward. Our marriage now, is actually stronger than it has EVER been. I have seen how my spouse was able to forgive, and love me despite my weakness and sin. We are united now more than we even were when we were first married. I know and appreciate my spouses strengths and weaknesses. We stopped judging one another and truly started loving one another. It happened over 5 years ago, and I'm so grateful we worked through it because I would've missed out on some of the best years of my life. Repentance and forgiveness are real. If people have made mistakes, they can be overcome through the atonement; however, it does take that 'willingness to change'. I know that the best thing is to have never made a mistake, yet, I am reading that isn't always reality, and when it isn't reality, there is a way back.....

Anonymous said...

Sons of Helaman. Very successful in helping with addiction to pornogrophy. I know of a woman's husband went her and is now an advisor. Many success stories with this program.

http://www.lifechangingservices.org/sonsofhelaman/program-summary/

Wendy Williams said...

Ashlee, do you still have Emmett Corrigan wedding ring?

Garima Pal said...

grt

Post a Comment

 
Blog Design By: Sherbet Blossom Designs